Commuting from September all the way through spring requires some hefty puncture proofness. I mean, take winter time; darkness, wetness, cold temperatures, debris all over the place.. Super eager to slash your tyres. Not to mention the last stretch through the city, over patches of broken glass, into the office.
But armor comes at a price: they don’t ride like tyres should. You can hardly notice any air in them. And I tried the classics: gatorskin, snakeskin, vectran, punctureproof, tubeless etc from Schwalbe, Continental, Michelin, Vittoria, and many more.
Until I came across the Challenge Strada Bianca‘s. Smooth, reasonably light, fast, beautiful tan sidewalls, fast and great puncture resistance. Absolutely love ’em.
No downsides? Well, yes. And a pretty annoying one. All my current clinchers have tubeless ready rims which are relatively wide and with those bead hooks specific for tubeless tyres.
I have had them blow off of my rims too many times, both with latex as well as butyl tubes. As a heavier type of rider, my tyres need a tad more pressure. My all-time favorite tyres are the 36C Challenge Gravel Grinders pro tan walls and i run those perfectly well with latex tubes as I never had a puncture or blow-off since the pressure is way lower (about 30psi), even on those same tubeless specific rims.
So my favorite rims are the box section Ambrosio ‘Golden Ticket’ Nemesis. Until recently those were the go-to tubulars for Paris-Roubaix, TdF and cyclocross (which I currently run with Challenge Chicanes) until everybody went carbon fibre. The closest to those in clincher guise is the Son+ TB14s.
Laced them in 3x around a set of Bitex hubs, 32 sapim race double butted spokes with standard sapim 12mm brass nipples. Ordered the spokes at bike24 and the rims at brick lane bikes. Calculated spoke length using the sapim tool.
Curious how they ride and hold up!
And if they (don’t) work, I still have a pair of 38mm carbon rims and dt swiss 240s CL hubs for the Strada Bianca tubular version … 😉