Good value tires that have ridden well for hundreds of kilometers, while their aesthetically pleasing tan sidewalls have improved the appearance of my bike.
Good puncture resistance
Confident grip when cornering
A bit hard to get on Prime rims
Central compound can slip a bit on wet climbs
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Called in to accompany the Prime Doyenne 56 wheels I have been reviewing, the Hutchinson Challenger tires have proved to be a good partner for a fast pair of wheels. Covering more than 500km, I haven’t punctured once, despite riding over some rough road surfaces, past freshly cut hedgerows and through a lot of post-rain road grit. The tires are also showing little sign of wear, with just surface dirt to show for the distance they’ve covered. Durably built for long distances, the Challengers are among the best road bike tires we've tested.
Hutchinson Challenger: Construction
The Hutchinson Challenger tires have a 66 TPI construction with a reinforced puncture protection layer – which I have found to be effective. The rubber is bi-compound: there is a harder 65 ShA compound in the middle for lower rolling resistance, greater durability and puncture protection but a softer 60 ShA compound on the sides for enhanced grip.
“If you count the outer compound and puncture protection layer there is up to 4.45mm of rubber that not only offers great puncture protection but also allows for huge mileage: officially rated for up to 8000km,” says the brand.
The tires are currently clincher only, but a tubeless version is under development. The prototype 30mm tubeless version was raced by Hutchinson athletes Ulrich Bartholmoes (who finished 4th) and Josh Reid at last year's Trans-Continental Race. Both rode over 4,500km, including several gravel sections – without a single puncture between them, according to Hutchinson.
Hutchinson Challenger: The ride
Overall, I have been very pleased with the performance of the tires – especially the lack of flats. I’m usually inclined to add some Muc-Off tube sealant to all-road clincher tires for extra protection against punctures, but that wasn’t possible here as the supplied tubes did not have removable cores. Just as well, really, as going without sealant gave a more accurate impression of each tire's ability to shrug off road debris.
The tires corner well, never losing grip, and roll along nicely across a range of tarmac quality. However, a few times I did lose traction in a straight line, with the rear wheels spinning slightly on the spot, when accelerating up steep inclines on wet tarmac. This is likely to have been caused by the harder central compound (for increased durability), rather than the power I’m managing to put out, and is something I have found across brands – so not something I’m going to mark the Hutchinsons down too harshly for.
Hutchinson Challenger: Value and conclusion
At $35.00 / £29.95 I would describe these tires as excellent value for money – and they come in below half the price of some of their rivals, so you can get both for the price of one rival. The tires look good on the bike – I am a fan of tan sidewalls – they roll well, haven’t punctured (yet, fingers crossed), and between them and the same-brand tubes have held their pressure.
They were slightly difficult to get on but that could be as much about the rims as the tires. Would I recommend these tires? Yes. Just try and stay seated on steep inclines to improve traction.
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