What's the point in training till you drop if you're going to be losing efficiency and speed in your tyres? Ride quality is paramount, and no other tyre offers the supple, responsive traction of a Challenge Tubular, eliminating barriers in achieving your maximum speed and potential.
Supple tyres not only offer a sublime ride, they reduce rolling resistance, and enable more precise handling and a greater range of pressures. They adapt quickly as the tyre changes shape while cornering and rolling, which increases road surface contact and grip while cornering, plus shock absorption as you pass over irregularities in the road.
When searching for a Tubular consider the following factors, all of which play a role in the tyre's performance.
Tubulars - Tubular tyres are, well, tubular. They are sewn shut around a Seamless Latex Inner Tube, already in a tube shape, and are mounted and glued directly on a rim, rather than around a tube. However, they require a purpose-made tubular rim that would usually only be used on race day to avoid damage.
Non-vulcanized - Ultimately the major difference between a Handmade Tubular or Open Tubular and the majority of clinchers is that it will avoid the heat and pressure process called vulcanization, which most tyres undergo in production. It is used to bind the materials, but compromises the ride quality when the rubber gets stiffer. Treads are hand-glued onto Challenge Tubulars and Open Tubulars, and the latex and rubber maintain their ideal quality.
Thread count (TPI) - Thread count plays a major role in the weight, suppleness and durability of Tubulars and Open Tubulars. The higher the number of threads per inch (TPI), the thinner each individual thread, making a thinner and lighter casing and a more supple tyre. Their lower TPI casings are thicker and more durable.
Casings - They offer casings made from silk, cotton or polyester. Silk provides the highest ride quality, with threads so fine they don't measure the thread count, and is stronger than cotton and polyester. Corespun cotton casing is lite and supple, and available up to 320TPI for maximum control and performance. SuperPoly and Poly polyester casings are less expensive and more durable, still providing the qualities of top-end tubulars.
Rubber - Their treads are made from locally-sourced natural rubber in their own factory in Thailand. Not only is natural rubber more supple than synthetic rubber — which accounts for the majority of the world's tyre production — the grip is far superior.
Puncture Protection Strip (PPS) - An extra layer of uniquely-crafted fabric with highly resistant properties sits between the casing and the tyre to reduce the risk of punctures. Tyres intended for use in intense conditions with a high puncture risk are reinforced with a second PPS layer beneath the casing.
Seamless latex inner tube - Their Seamless Latex Inner Tubes are also produced in their own factory from locally-sourced materials and are either sewn inside their Tubulars or sold individually to be mounted onto an Open Tubular setup. Latex has elastic and absorptive qualities that enable a larger point of contact than a butyl tube. The added elasticity reduces rolling resistance and enhances comfort and speed, making latex an ideal material for racers at the top level of the sport.