Thursday, January 09, 2014

First impressions: Challenge Griffo XS33 tyres

I've been looking around for a decent set of gravel tyres since my trusty old Schwalbe Marathons wore out. The Marathons are brilliant tyres but they keep messing around with the model names, so it's hard to figure out what the equivalent new models are. Besides, it's a good thing to try something new. I saw a Challenge Griffo on a mate's bike and liked the look of them.The reviews of Challenge tyres on the internet are mixed with some people saying they're a bit prone to punctures, although some others says this problem has been fixed by the addition of puncture protection in recent times. Hoping I was going to get some of the second type, I ordered myself a pair online a bit before Christmas. They're not exactly cheap at $A70 a tyre.

The tyres came the other day and I picked up some tubes and fitted them the other morning. They are nice looking (and even nice-smelling) tyres, light and 33mm wide with a tan sidewall and a low-profile raised diamond file tread with some small sidelugs, presumably to assist with cornering traction. They go on easily too despite a reputation for being tight. The red puncture proof strip in some Challenge tyres wasn't present in the tyres I received, nor was the PPS logo on the sidewall. I'm assuming this stands for (Puncture Protection System). 

I'm wary of initial impressions after finding Grand Bois tyres lovely in the short term but puncture prone once they have a few miles on them and I have sneaking reservations I might get bitten again. I managed to get a gravel ride in last night and I have to say I'm impressed. I inflated the tyres to a modest 70psi or so in the hope the greater width would soak up some of the bumps and that they most certainly did. The tyres felt grippy on tarmac and plush on gravel, making light work of a few ruts I hit and cornering well. Supple was the word that sprung to mind. Some of these qualities are common to all wide tyres, but the Griffos rolled well too, something not all wide tyres manage with the same elan.  I think I might have bored my riding companion by mentioning several times "I like these tyres". I'm enjoying the Griffos for now and hope they live up to their initial promise. At the same time I'm looking closely at what Challenge might have to offer for my touring bike.

Yes I know my stem is off-centre.
146km so far this year. 


Bert said...

The red strip inside and PPS-2 label stands for double puncture protection, which comes with their Almanzo, Strada Bianca and Paris Roubaix (and possibly others) tyres.

David Killick said...

Cool, many thanks for taking the time to point this out.