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The Hutchinson Challenger is an endurance tyre, designed for big miles, and for such a hardwearing tyre it is surprisingly supple, offering great handling wet and dry, and good rolling resistance. On top of all that, it's quite the bargain.
Hutchinson released the Challenger a couple of months back, an endurance tyre which it says has lasted 5,000 miles (8,000km) in testing.
I've had a set of them for around five weeks, and so far they've covered around 450 miles so this is more about performance than durability. They do still looking pristine, but I'll be back later in the year to update you on those all-important wear rates.
The usual way to make a tyre last longer is to use a hard compound rubber. It won't wear as quickly as a softer one, but you tend to sacrifice grip and ride quality because of the lack of suppleness.
For the Challenger, Hutchinson has specced a bi-compound rubber: harder for the narrow central section, softer either side of that. So you are kind of getting the best of both worlds.
In a straight line they roll pretty well, not as quick as a high-end race tyre but they don't have that wooden feel of some cheaper tyres. You are getting a decent amount of feedback from the road, too.
When cornering, the softer compound is noticeable and the amount of grip is impressive for a tyre costing under 30 quid. In the dry you can take corners fast, and in the wet, too, the Hutchinsons feel surefooted and inspire confidence.
The Challengers have a 66tpi (threads per inch) carcass, which is low, and they lose some suppleness over tyres with a higher thread count. A non-tubeless Continental GP5000 clincher has three layers of 110tpi, for instance.
The overall ride quality is better than that figure would have you expect, though, still offering decent amounts of comfort.
Having a lower thread count can help robustness, and the Hutchinsons have so far proved to be incredibly resistant to cuts. They do have a slightly thicker tread than a race tyre, which also helps, and I have had no problems with punctures over the test period.
For a 28mm tyre Hutchinson claims a weight of 300g, which is roughloy what they tipped our scales at, so this extra rubber does bring a bit of a penalty weight-wise. In the grand scheme of things it's not major, but for comparison a 28mm Pirelli P-Zero Race clincher weighs just 235g.
Fitting was relatively straightforward on a range of wheels with inner rim widths of 19mm and 21mm.
The Challengers are standard clinchers, as in not tubeless ready (there is a tubeless version on the way in 2023), so they generally are easier to fit anyway. I could get these fitted just using thumb pressure so no worries about pinching the inner tube with a tyre lever.
Priced at £29.95 the Challengers represent good value for money considering the performance and the ride quality. A 25mm and 30mm width are also available, with these 28mm ones also being available with tan walls.
The Pirelli P7 Sport tyres are designed as big mileage tyres that are durable for year-round use. In his test of the 28mm model (310g) Steve found them a touch on the sluggish side, although grip levels were pretty good. They cost £28.99 currently.
When Matt tested the CST Cito tyre last year he was very impressed. It has a 170tpi casing, which Matt said gave it a great ride feel, and the compound was grippy in both the wet and dry. In a 28mm size it weighed just 240g, and it costs £32.95.
Overall, for the money the Hutchinson Challengers give a great ride feel and are looking to be very durable too, so if you want a quick tyre that'll also last the distance they make a sound choice.
A supple ride feel and plenty of grip give the feel of a more expensive performance tyre
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Hutchinson Challenger tyre
Size tested: 700x28
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Hutchinson says, "The new endurance tire from Hutchinson
Complete peace of mind, all year round.
A tire with no compromises, delivering exceptional performance in terms of longevity, comfort and safety. The tire uses a combination of a slightly thicker tread and high density fibre reinforcement technology to offer unrivalled puncture protection and an incredible lifespan that has been tested up to 8000km.
All of this comes with hardly any weight penalty, a 25mm tire weighing in at just 255g, even lighter than the competition.
A new Hutchinson's Bi-Compound rubber offers a harder compound in the centre of the tire designed to resist cuts and abrasion. This is matched with a softer lateral compound and grooved tread for superior grip when cornering on both wet and dry roads. A 66 TPI casing offers the perfect ratio of weight, protection and rolling resistance."
The Challenger is hardwearing and durable but gives a performance ride feel.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Size: 700 x 25/28/30mm
Tube Type (TT), fits standard rims with inner tube.
Reinforced (RF), 100% polyamide puncture reinforcement under the trade. 25% increase in puncture resistance without significant weight.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Wear rates are looking minimal and performance is impressive for a tyre designed to be durable and hardwearing.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Supple ride feel considering the low tpi count.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing really – a tubeless option would be nice.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
For the performance the Challengers are well priced, outperforming others I mention in the review. The CST Citos do offer even better value for money, though, if you want a quick tyre.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's early days in terms of durability, but so far they are holding up well. What does impress already, though, is the ride quality and grip for the price. They're very good.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
As part of the Tech Hub here at F-At Digital, our senior product reviewer Stu uses the knowledge gained from putting well over a 1,000 products through their paces (including hundreds of bikes) to write in-depth reviews of a huge range of kit. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 160,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. Although, as he spends a fair bit of his time reviewing ebikes these days he's becoming an expert in letting the motor take the strain. He's also waiting for 23mm race tyres to make a comeback!