French tyre brand Hutchinson has just released its the Challenger, an all-rounder endurance tyre. It's designed to be tough enough to be used year round, whilst still being light and fast enough for Gran Fondos and ultra-endurance riding.
That’s an awful lot to ask of a tyre, but Hutchinson backs up its vision for the Challenger with a wealth of claims. First, let’s take a look at those that pertain to its suitability as a winter tyre.
Hutchinson has tested the Challenger for distances of up to 8,000km (5,000mi) and has integrated high density fibres along with a thicker tread (up to 4.45mm) to help boost the puncture resistance.
The Challenger uses a softer compound on the shoulders of the tyre for better grip through the corners, while a harder wearing and faster rolling compound is used for the centre tread.
Coming now to the performance aspects of the Challenger, it's claimed to weigh just 255g in a 25mm width (the 28mm set we've got in on test are 304g). The supple carcass is said to offer comfort, while the rolling resistance is supposed to be low enough to make the tyre suitable for Gran Fondos and ultra-distance rides.
The Challenger is to be priced at £29.99 and available in 25, 28, and 30mm widths, with the option of a tan sidewall in the 28mm version. It’s also inner tube specific, so great for those who aren’t swayed by sealant, although disappointing for fans of the tubeless system.
That said, a tubeless version is due to follow in 2023 and will utilise a brand new technology being developed by Hutchinson - so that will be exciting to see. More information can be found on Hutchinson's website here.
These certainly are a lot of bold claims from Hutchinson. But then again, some of them are unequivocal straight off the bat.
The Challenger definitely does cost £29.99 and the weight definitely is 304g in the 28mm width, which does make the tyre quite cheap and quite light (for its width, price and application).
But the other claims, particularly when all taken together, stand to make this a highly impressive tyre – should the Challenger prove to live up to them.
There are various tyres out there that combine a long wear life, high puncture resistance and good cornering grip - Schwalbe’s Marathon tyres are a particular stalwart of this category. But the trade off is generally that the tyres are less supple and slower rolling.
To be fair, the Challenger is already atypical in their lighter weight than most workhorse rubber. But whether the tyres will also manage to combine a silky ride quality with reasonable speed is something that will remain to be seen.
We’ve got a set in on test and will be putting the miles in - if these do what they say on the sidewall, they could turn out to be a great all-rounder.
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