Hutchinson Challenger TLR
The Hutchinson Challenger TLR tyre promises to be the ‘ultimate all-season road tyre’
The new Challenger TLR is said to offer “unparalleled comfort, durability, and puncture resistance.” They go on to say it offers an “entirely new level of puncture protection”. The French firm claim that this will make it the ultimate winter tyre and perfect for year-round training and endurance riding: no small claim!
Hutchinson have been making tyres since 1890 and still make the Challenger TLT at their historic Chalette-sur-Loing plant. They have often led the way with tyre technology, from their involvement in setting up the UST standard, pioneering the use of kevlar in cycle tyres and leading the way with road-tubeless. So what new developments make the Challenger TLR so innovative?
The first of these is Hardshield. This consists of two protective layers, working together to prevent punctures. The first layer is a wide polyamide strip that covers the whole of the tread. A narrower, super-strong Aramid layer then sits on top of this, concentrating protection at the ground contact patch.
When Hutchinson tested it against it’s competitors, Challenger TLR came up trumps in puncture resistance. The tests consisted of applying a force equivalent to what would normally cause a puncture; 80-120 Newtons. With its Hardshield protection, Challenger TLR was able to resist forces up to 170 Newtons. That’s an impressive result and one that will hopefully translate onto the road.
The second development is Airshield, which Hutchinson call a “paradigm shift in tubeless setups”; no small claim. So what is Airshield? Hutchinson have coated the inner surface and bead of the 127tpi carcass with “two high-performance sealing compounds“. This coating ensures an air-tight seal; something that tubeless tyres can suffer from is pressure loss. Looking at the info available, Hutchinson says the flexible “butyl” layer allows the tyre to flex and deform, maintaining that all-important seal. An anti-abrasion coating is also applied to the tyre’s bead to protect it . This negates the need for a fabric reinforcement, which improve the tyres suppleness.
Hutchinson are so confident of the Challenger TLR’s ability to shrug off punctures that they say you won’t need sealant. That’s good news for those that don’t want to mess around with sealant. You can just carry a tube like normal and repair the tyre at home, where it’s warm! Of course if you do want to use sealant – it makes a lot of sense – Hutchinson do their own Protect Max Air Sealant.
The new tyre uses Hutchinson’s 3x127tpi carcass, which has a bi-compound tread. This combines a softer compound on the shoulders of the tyre for improved cornering grip. Meanwhile a harder compound is used in the centre for improved rolling resistance and durability. Speaking of durability, Hutchinson say the 2.3mm thick tread not only improves puncture resistance, but will give you a 10,000km real-world lifespan. It’s available in 25, 28 and 32mm and has a rrp of £51.62.
We’ll get some in and see how they perform over the winter.