Paris-Roubaix tire: secrets and tips

Since the early XX Century, Paris-Roubaix race won the heart of the riders and the fans with its incredible status of “Hell of the North”. Legendary riders fought against their rivals and against all the adversities hidden in each small piece of cobble stone. The cobbles are vicious, full of holes and dips; tires are the only bikes component hitting them: tires’ performance is extremely important for the rider’s safety and results.

For these reasons, Paris-Roubaix is the worst condition that a tire can face in a road race.

Challenge tires invested quite a few years in Flanders to develop and test different tires in order to achieve the best behaviour on Pavè, speed, punctures resistance and vibrations absorption. Yes, we made it: it is the Challenge Paris-Roubaix tire.

A 27mm width tire with special sidewall, double puncture protection, very supple and performant at the same time.

Handmade tubular, clincher or tubeless ready. Which is the Professional rider’s choice? (#)

The tubular version is still the Pro riders’ choice: tubulars better absorb vibrations due to latex innertubes and to tubular rim shape. In case a puncture, air loss is gradual, letting the riders proceed waiting for the support car without losing much speed and minimizing the loss. Tubulars also have the lowest puncture rate!

In the last few years, a new Tubeless Ready technology has also been tested. Small holes or limited cuts in the tires (< 2cm) could be sealed by the sealant inside. Performance is still far away from tubulars but not that far, so lets’ see if TLR tires will convince Pro riders to switch to this new technology. Challenge in the last months developed the best of both worlds, coming out with a handmade technology TLR!

A handmade clincher is probably not the right option for a Pro rider. However, in combination with a latex innertube, this system is the best, the cheapest and the most performant option for an amateur rider to obtain the closest feel of that performing tubular.

Useful tips (#)

Pressure: it’s one of the most important parameters. Pressure changes from tubular to TLR or clincher, also depending on weather conditions and rider’s weight. In the worst cobbles conditions, Paris-Roubaix could be ridden at 4.5/5 BAR (65/75 PSI) for TLR/clincher and 5/5.5 BAR (75/83) for tubulars. In dry conditions, pressure can increase a little bit up to 6/6.5 BAR (90/100 PSI). However, higher pressure is not recommended since the tire won’t absorb the impact in a correct way, causing more easily punctures.

Grip: to increase tire performance in wet conditions, we suggest cleaning the tread pattern with vinegar. This process will remove all oil residue and combined with slightly lower pressure (0.5 BAR), this will grant a much better grip to the ground