Hutchinson, the French pioneer of tubeless cycling tyre technology has today announced the Challenger Tubeless, the ultimate all-season, ultra endurance and training tyre. Designed to offer safe, confidence-inspiring handling in all conditions, the Challenger Tubeless offers a level of puncture resistance never achieved in a performance road tyre before, a huge 10,000km lifespan and unrivalled comfort in the endurance and training category.
As an originator of the road tubeless standard created in 2006, Hutchinson has a long history of developing new tubeless technologies, the Challenger Tubeless continues that legacy. Representing the culmination of years of intense research and development from Hutchinson’s team in France, two new ground breaking technologies are being introduced on the tyre.
The first is an entirely new puncture protection technology called HARDSHIELD™. Formed of two separate protective layers working in tandem, HARDSHIELD™ offers puncture resistance at a level previously unseen in a performance road tyre while retaining superior flexibility and comfort. One protective layer is formed of a flexible wide polyamide reinforcement that covers the width of the tread, while the second is a slightly narrower strip of super strong Aramid threads, concentrating protection at the ground contact patch.
To gauge the tyres ability to resist punctures Hutchinson subjected it and a range of competitors tyres to a testing regime. It found that of the tyres it tested, punctures typically occurred at a force rating of 80 to 120 Newtons, the Challenger Tubeless resisted punctures up to a force of 170 Newtons, an over 100% increase in some cases.
HARDSHIELD™ has also been subjected to real world tests at the world’s toughest Ultra-Endurance road race, the Transcontinental Race. Over the past two editions the tyre has been tested by three top athletes with a combined total of over 9,000 puncture free kilometres, even delivering Ulrich Bartholmös to a top five result in 2022.
The second ground breaking advancement in tyre technology is AIRSHIELD™, a pioneering new construction technique that represents a paradigm shift in tubeless setups. Completely eliminating the common issues of air loss. By integrating two high performance sealing compounds that coat the inside of the tyre and the bead, AIRSHIELD™ ensures an entirely airtight environment.
At the core of this innovation lies a flexible butyl layer that extends seamlessly to the rim line, distinguishing it from conventional textile reinforcements. This unique attribute allows it to deform and flex in sync with the tyre’s movement, effectively maintaining an impenetrable seal against air leakage.
In addition to this, a robust, abrasion-resistant coating encircles the tyre’s bead guaranteeing a seamless connection between the tyre and the rim. This fortified layer is able to withstand the friction generated by the rim, ensuring a sustained airtight seal over time. This breakthrough eliminates the necessity for traditional bead fabric reinforcements, preserving the flexibility of the sidewall and, consequently, elevating ride comfort to unprecedented levels.
The combination of AIRSHIELD™ anti-air loss technology and resilient HARDSHIELD™ puncture protection introduces the possibility of running the Challenger Tubeless tyres without sealant. Opening up the world of tubeless to those that previously avoided the technology due to perceived difficulties in set up and maintenance. If a puncture was to occur, just install an innertube and repair the tyre at home for a mess free tubeless experience. Alternatively, pair with Hutchinson Protect’Air Max Sealant to unleash unrivalled levels of puncture resistance, perfect for ultra-endurance riding and all-season training.
The construction of the Challenger Tubeless is based on a triple layer 127 TPI carcass matched with a new Hutchinson Endurance Bi-Compound. Softer shoulders (53 Sha. rating) offer reliable grip in all conditions while a harder central tread (62 Sha. rating) brings low rolling resistance and high abrasion resistance. The central tread measures 2.3mm thick, bringing even further puncture resistance, comfort and an industry leading 10,000km real world lifespan.
The Challenger Tubeless is available in 25, 28 and 32mm versions, weighing in at 385g, 400g and 450g respectively. The €59.99 / £59.95 price tag makes it a cost effective upgrade designed to last for an entire year’s riding.