Guide to Challenge Cyclocross Tyres

Challenge Tyres produce some of the most used cyclocross tyres in the world. Their logo and gum sidewalls make them recognisable at a glance. Challenge Tyres are produced using a 300 tpi casing in both the tubular and open tubular (clincher) variety. This results in a flexible casing allowing the tyres to conform to the terrain giving more traction and a supple feel.

Australia is a big country, and if you race in the National Cyclocross Series you will encounter almost every weather condition possible. Although we are yet to see a race held on ice and snow – maybe Canberra? Because of variations in weather, it is not unusual to see riders at racers with multiple tyres and or wheel sets.

Challenge Tyres produce 5 cyclocross specific tyres, each one designed to work with various course conditions. Cyclocross tyres are normally divided into 3 categories, dry, intermediate and muddy. There will of course be some overlaps, so having a few tyres on hand will help you choose the right one for the day.

In dry conditions Challenge have two options. The tried and true Grifo XS has a file tread centre with low stacked open spaced knobs on the sides. The Grifo XS is for dry hard pack courses. The new Chicane has the same centre section as the Grifo XS but borrows the side knobs from the Limus to create a fast rolling tyres with huge amounts of cornering grip. Put a Chicane up front and a Grifo XS on the back and you will have a winning combo for those dry, dusty, short grass races. Interestingly, many racers report the file tread tyre is also their preferred choice in the sand. The theory is the file tread doesn’t bite into the sand as much as a mud tread, this allows the tyre to roll on the ‘crust’ of the sand making the bike more stable and predictable.

Grifo XS

Intermediate tyres are designed to be used when it’s not really dry or muddy. These tyres are very versatile because they cover a wide variety of conditions. If the weather is expected to change or the course deteriorate during a race, an intermediate tyre could be the best option (outside of a pit bike with different tyres). Again, Challenge offer two tyres in this category. The Fango has a diamond centre tread and large side knobs. Best performance for the Fango is in dry to wet conditions. The Fango isn’t really suited to muddy conditions when used as a rear tyre. The Grifo is probably the most used cyclocross tyre in the world, with good reason. As far as an all-round do anything tyre the Grifo can’t be beaten. If you don’t want the hassle of multiple tyres or can only afford one set, the Grifo is the one to get. The arrow centre tread and round stud-style side knobs is a magic combination of cyclocross tyre design.


When the weather turns bad for spectators, that means it’s normally perfect for cyclocross racing. A big smile should come to your face when you reach for Challenges mud tyre, the Limus. With it’s deep aggressive three-pointed tread, the Limus bites into soft mud and wet soggy grass keeping traction at a maximum. Slipping out in the mud is only fun until you start losing places.


Regardless of the course conditions presented, Challenge Tyres have a set of rubber to give you the ultimate performance from your cyclocross machine.

Challenge Tyres is a supporter of Cyclocross in Queensland and around Australia. Queensland Cyclocross did not receive money or product for producing this guide.