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Challenge Grifo Tubular Cross

Product Reviews - Bikeman's Product Testing

I am in love with the big fat 34mm size and have been riding and racing almost exclusively on that size (I also have a set of 32mm). When you run the right pressure in the 34's (for me, being a 135lb rider, this has been about 2bar - a tad less on the REAL rough stuff) they roll so fast, corner like they're on rails and soak up the worst choppy ground.

The tread pattern is excellent at cornering in grass and wet grass. I mention this because I've had many problems (and crashes) with Tufos just letting go with no warning in the same cornering situations. The Grifo has a nice rounded cleat on the shoulder that adds some aggressive grip when you get the bike leaned over that far. The only place you might wash out unexpectedly is on loose gravel, but no tire will help you on that..

ImageThe biggest thing that I've had to get used to with these tires is the incredible sensitivity of the casing. 1 stroke of a floor pump can mean the difference between having the best ride of your life and feeling like your riding on 2 flat tires. I was used to running Tufo's LPS tires with a 220 TPI (treads per inch) sidewall, which I could run at almost 1.5 bar. with no sidewall flex. You can't do this with the Grifos or you will have major sidewall flex, making the bike uncontrollable.

This supple casing isn't a bad thing, it just requires some extra time and re-thinking about your tire pressure. You'll have to run more air than a tufo LPS, but because the casing is so soft it really doesn't feel any different. If anything it will protect you from flatting the tubular by bottoming out your rims on the ground. I recommend taking a few laps of the course (or around the neighborhood) and really getting the pressure dialed in. The optimum way to run them is in the "happy medium zone" which is just slightly above sidewall flex and rim bottom-out (this will depend on your weight of course). The difference the right pressure makes is amazing.

Set up your cross rig with a set of Grifo tubulars and you will be stoked at the improvement in handling. If the only thing you've ever ridden has been clinchers you are in for one soft, comfortable, grippy treat. You'll NEVER ride cross with clinchers again.

LIKES: Awesome tread pattern. Super supple casing. Light weight and great handling only found with a tubular tire. Good amount of tread on the 34mm size. They turn off-camber into flat ground. Price, for the money, you can't get a better tubular - period.

DISLIKES: Super supple casing (can be TOO supple at times). Some versions don't have removable vale cores (I'm told that the newer ones DO in fact have this so that's a huge plus!). Not very receptive to flat repair with sealant.

Rated: Image
Challenge Grifo Tubular Cross Tire

Challenge Grifo Cyclocross Tubular: The legendary Grifo cyclocross tubular abandoned by Clement and now resurrected by Challenge using the same molds. Still handmade for a super supple casing and unbeatable ride. Shares many of the characteristics of the Dugast tubulars including the tread but you don't have to take out a loan to get...
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