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Review – Challenge Limus Team Edition S 33mm Cyclocross Tubulars

In short: When Pros are putting in special requests for unbranded Limus’ on the muddiest of days it’s no wonder we found the Limus excelled in the muddiest of conditions.

With the wet weather finally arriving, mud is now expected for the majority of the remaining CX season. This means riders will be looking to maximise traction on the bike in order to minimise time spent off it, therefore aggressively treaded mud tyres, like the Challenge Limus will be the most common selection for the Pro riders.

The Challenge Limus tyre has been around for a fair few years now, however we were lucky enough to get our hands on the brand new Team Edition S3 model to put it through its paces.

Review - Challenge Limus Team Edition S 33mm Cyclocross Tubulars

The first thing to mention is that all of Challenges tubular selection are available in open tubular models too. These can be mounted to a standard clincher rim and can provide excellent ride feel, speed and traction compared to a standard clincher tyre. Of the big 3 tyre manufacturers: Dugast, FMB and Challenge, it is only currently Challenge who offer open tubular models – therefore allowing those riders who still run clincher setups to use quality CX tyres.

The Dugast Rhino has long been the favourite choice for the Pro’s, however in recent years the Limus model has becoming increasingly popular. We’ve seen Sven and Thibau Nys riding Challenge, amongst other big name riders.

What really caught our eye though was at this years super muddy World Championships in Valkenberg 3 out of the 5 races were won by riders on the Limus and we even heard rumours of a certain Mathieu Van der Poel having requested a special delivery of Limus tyres for the big event!

Review - Challenge Limus Team Edition S 33mm Cyclocross Tubulars
Poor Quality – but that’s certainly a Limus tread on Van der Poel’s Canyon

The first impressions of mounting the tyre onto our test rims clearly showed the severity of the Limus’ aggressive tread. It’s not always you have sore hands having mounted tubulars, however I guess it could be a good thing showing us just how much grip the tyres have! The process was also made much easier thanks to the Team Editions new softer sidewall, featuring 320 threads per inch allowing the tyre to comfortably roll onto our test rim.

The new sidewall also offers additional protection from wear and tear thanks to Challenges new factory installed protective layer, helping increase durability and keeping those cotton sidewalls looking clean after some muddy races!

The new sidewall technology also offers a significant improvement in performance, especially when run at lower pressures. Challenge recommends PSI of 23-90 for the Limus, however as most cross riders know riders opt for the bare minimum when it comes to tyre pressure in the mud, in order to maximise grip, and we got our test pair down to as low as 16 PSI without issue (60kg test rider).

The ride feel at lower pressures was also a noticeable difference, thanks to the corespun sealed sidewall and 320 TPI the tyre behaved predictably at these lower pressures eliminating the feeling the tyre may roll off the rim in the corners.

Review - Challenge Limus Team Edition S 33mm Cyclocross Tubulars

Although the Limus does feature a super aggressive tread, which does roll slightly slower than the Grifo model (designed for faster grassy courses) a Latex inner tube helps reduce rolling resistance and allows speed to be maintained in the straights.

The Limus features one of the deepest treads on the market which allowed us to survive longer without the tyres clogging up with mud compared to other brands, whilst also being able to dig deeper into the soft stuff to provide traction when in other circumstances the wheel may have spun out.

The Limus tread is somewhat more different to the likes of FMB’s Super Mud offering, however with all the recent success of riders on Challenges’ Limus, time will tell if other brands follow Challenges lead with re-engineered mud treads.

Limus vs Super Mud
Left – Challenge Limus | Right – FMB Super Mud

 

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Review – Challenge Grifo Team Edition S 33mm Cyclocross Tubulars

In short: Excellent all round CX tubulars with the proven Grifo Tread, a super soft sidewall, 320TPI casing and a new factory installed sidewall protection.

With us now entering November, and the course conditions softening up, the pros hang up their file-treads and opt for the Grifo Style Pattern.

We glued up a set of Challenge Grifo Team Edition S 33mm Cyclocross Tubular Tyres to see for ourselves why so many athletes are opting for the Grifo as an all round tyre.

First impressions of the new Team Edition S3 super soft sidewall were impressive, with the supple sidewall allowing for the tyres to easily be mounted to our test rims.

The new sidewall also offers additional protection from wear and tear with a new factory installed protective layer, preventing the sidewalls from rotting as fast increasing the tyres durability. That being said, the team edition cotton sidewalls won’t last as well as the basic ‘Grifo Pro’ Model which features a cheaper, less subtle, 300 TPI Super Polly casing compared to the Team Editions 320 TPI Corespun Sealed sidewall.

The new Team Edition sidewall offers a noticeable improvement in performance and feel, compared to the cheaper Grifo Pro Model, however we found the cheaper model to be slightly more durable. That being said, when compared to other big brands the Challenge Range offers excellent durability in comparison and the Team Edition S will still be going strong after a seasons use.

Another benefit of the high TPI (threads per inch) count offered by Challenge is that the feeling of the tyre rolling underneath you in the corners when run at low pressures is almost eliminated. This allowed us to corner at greater speed thanks to a more predictable ride feel.

Challenge sticks with the traditional proven Grifo Tread which offers a combination of different size knobs to allow for low rolling resistance whilst providing traction in the faster corners. The tyres also feature a latex inner tube sewn by hand into the tubulars in Challenges Italian Factory. This combination provides excellent all round speed for the faster grassier courses. The Grifo tread pattern clears mud very well so is also suitable for slippy conditions when others treads may begin to clog up, although if you are looking for something with a more aggressive tread for those really muddy days you should opt for the Limus model, which was ridden to multiple victories in Valkenberg earlier this year at the World Championships.

The main reason why we preferred the Grifo to its rivals such as the Dugast Typhoon and FMB Sprint is the additional side knobs on the very edge of the tyre. We found these provided extra traction when the bike was lent over in the turns and didn’t cost us any straight line speed. This allowed us to still be able to run our intermediate ‘all round’ Grifo tyres on days other racers had to bring out the mud tubs.

Challenge Grifo Tread vs Dugast Typhoon
Left – Challenge Grifo – Right Dugast Typhoon

Finally all Challenge Tyres are also available as Open Tubulars which fit on a standard clincher rim. This allows you to run both the same treads on training and race wheels, and although tubulars for cyclocross provide a massive benefit compared to a clincher tyre, the new Clincher Pro series paired with a Challenge Latex CX Tube helped us bridge the gap in performance between a tubular and clincher setup.

Technical features

Use: Cross Racing: All Around Soft Pack
Size: 28″
Tire Width: 33 mm
Internal Rim Width: 15-19 mm
Weight: 405 gr
TPI: 320
Bead:
Casing: Corespun SEALED
Flat

protection:

PPS
BAR: 1.6-6
PSI: 23-90 – we ran ours as low as 16 PSI
Inner tube: latex
Color: Black-White