Wins, all the time, for a reason.
Because cyclocross tires have to accommodate a particularly wide array of conditions — from pavement to pure mud — in a single race, their tread pattern has to be especially capable. Having been refined over many years, and on its way to countless podiums and numerous world championships, the Challenge Grifo 33 Clincher Tire delivers that capability, and then some.
The Grifo owes its success to a host of seemingly singular contributions, but ultimately, it all comes down the tread pattern. Challenge bestowed a pattern, that, at first glance, appears low in profile — and that's because it is. The pattern design doesn't require the extra weight of bulky, tall knobs. Instead, the evident knob shape provides ample grip in terrible conditions while minimizing the associated rolling-resistance over harder stuff. The highest point of the pattern lies in the middle of the tire, while moving outward, the knobbies gradually take on a svelte shape to provide traction in corners. However, the Grifo's tread pattern is intended to be mounted in either direction. Should you require heavy traction, say in hearty mud conditions, Challenge recommends that you mount the tire with the tread orientation facing backward. For "normal" race conditions, mount with the tread rolling forward. Regardless, you'll be rolling fast.
For durability, the Grifo is constructed from a highly puncture-resistant and lightweight Super Poly casing. The bead of the tire uses an open tubular design. We know that it sounds like an oxymoron — a clincher tubular. However, the benefits of Challenge open tubulars are astounding. They use the same hand-made construction techniques and materials as Challenge's tubulars. The only difference is that instead of being sewn, beads are actually formed by folding the casing around Aramid fibers. What's Aramid? Aramid is used for the tire beads for the same reason that it's used for bullet-proof vests — its lightweight, compact strength. This fiber prevents rolling-off in corners, and adds to the cumulative strength of the tire.
The Challenge Grifo 33 Cross Tire - Clincher is available as a 700c x 33mm open tubular tire and in the color Black/tan. Each tire weighs in around 340g without tubes.
View more Cyclocross Clincher Tires
Reviews & Community
Great tires, short lifespan
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Over the last few years, I have owned a few sets of these and have ridden them a lot on multiple bikes. As a high, performance, race-day type tires, these are ideal. As a trainer/gravel grinder, they are great, but not terribly practical. The casing (300tpi) is easily the most supple I've ever ridden with tubes. Now, the down sides - they are not inexpensive, they cannot run tubeless, they are awful to mount the first time (they stretch out and are fine later), and they don't last very long (the tread can separate from the casing and may need to be re-glued). All in all, though, I love them. If they were made to be more durable, they probably wouldn't have the same ride quality.
Can these be mounted tubeless?
Absolutely not, and get your tire levers ready, because these things are a BEAR to mount! Once you get them on, they are pretty sweet!