Challenge Eroica: Tight!

…and I don’t mean “tight” in the positive sense.

Last night I attempted to mount a set of 30 mm Challenge Eroica tires on my new cross bike (which isn’t actually intended for cross, but more about that later). They were so tight that I couldn’t even stuff a tube under them. So for 2 hours of effort all I got were some blistered thumbs and a popped tube (Exhibit A).

Exhibit A: Human thumb after failed attempt to mount a Challenge Eroica 30 mm tire*

Tubular Thumb

I’ve never had a set of tires that were so tight that I couldn’t mount them. Even Veloflex tires, which are ordinarily quite tight. In this case, I couldn’t even use a tire jack because I couldn’t get the tube in. It was so bad that even Winston was disgusted. Exhibit B shows a typical feline reaction to Challenge Eroica tires.

Exhibit B. Feline reaction to Challenge Eroica tires.

Lamb Doesn't Like Challenge

In any case, I’m returning these and getting some of the new Grand Bois Extra Legere 32s: 230 grams for a 32 mm tire (and 181 grams for the 23–lighter than Veloflex)! I’ve used the Grand Bois 23s, 32s, and 42s in the past, and they were great tires.

Now, I just need to track down some 28-32 mm latex tubes. Every place I’ve checked seems to be sold out. Anyone know of a source?

I’ll let you know how the Grand Bois tires work out after some serious gravel road abuse.

*The blistered thumb in Exhibit A is actually from removing a too well-glued tubular tire a few months ago, but serves as an example of what you can look forward to if you try to mount Eroicas.


19 thoughts on “Challenge Eroica: Tight!

  1. wassertreter

    Hey what about stretching them without tube for a few days? (Admittedly you don’t want a tyre that’s so tight for the eventual roadside repair). Shame, I was really interested in this tyre too.

    Which rims, btw?

  2. rfj1862 Post author

    Stan’s rims. I’m actually stretching the tires with a 10-lb weight, so far not much success! Even if I could get them on with a struggle, as you say, I wouldn’t want to try to pull them off on the roadside. I’ve never had this problem before…I can usually get tires on and off with just my hands.

  3. Chris

    Vittoria 25-28c latex tubes will work fine. They are pretty big. I’ve used them for a couple of cross seasons with 32c and 34c cross tires with no issues.

  4. barturtle

    Stans rims have been measured to have a bead seat diameter of 626mm as opposed to the standard 622mm. This means the overall circumference is 12mm (0.47″) larger. This probably explains your problem getting these tyres on…and why you even need to own a tyre jack.

    1. John Ferguson Post author

      But I can get Grand Bois and Vittorias on and off these rims by hand.

      I own the tire jack because Pacenti Pari-Motos can be a real pain to get on by hand, at least on the rims I am using.

  5. Eric D

    John, where did you find the Eroica’s? I don’t even see them on the Challenge website. Although I do see the Almanzo’s which I think were just released recently. Any thoughts on the Almanzo?

  6. John Ferguson Post author

    I got mine from Mike Kone at Rene Herse Bicycles. Compass Bicycles might also sell them, I haven’t checked. If you want my pair, e-mail me, I’d be happy to sell them at a significant discount.

    1. Hejt

      I just bought a pair pretty discounted. One was open the other still sealed off the E-Bay. Guess he forgot to mention that in his posting. What rims are you guys using? They are very flat coming out of the pkg, but I just popped mine on a Mavic open pro rim without levers. I did use one lever to start taking them off the rim. I think the rubber is a bit too fresh and will age them for a year or so before they go out on the road with the tubies. They actually measured 28.5mm inflated to 90psi , so I am good to go next spring on them.

  7. John Ferguson Post author

    Do yourself a favor though and just get some Grand Bois Extra Leger, they’re worth it. I don’t know if they are better than the Eroicas, of course, because I never manged to mount the Eroicas, but they are definitely more pliant in the hand than the Eroicas.

    1. Paul Ahart

      Just yesterday I installed some Eroica tires on my Boulder Brevet bike. Rims were Mavic Open Pro, with thin cloth rim tape (Schwalbe). First bead just snapped right on, but getting in a well-talc’d tube and the other bead was something of a bitch. Got about 12″ from done, but one end kept coming out as I gently levered in the other. Ended up putting a zip tie tight on it, the proceeded to get the rest seated, with the help of a Kool Stop Tire Jack, a nifty tool few bikies own. Tire inflated nicely and fits well in my frame (which has canti brakes, fenders and very adequate clearance.
      These tires are replacing Conti Grand Prix 4000 Four Season 700×28, which I find durable but very harsh riding on our local chip and seal roads. I’m looking forward to trying the new Eroicas.

      1. John Ferguson Post author

        Hopefully it will stretch, or good luck doing that on the road!

        I just don’t know that Eroicas are worth the effort, given that there are easier to mount, more supple ,and substantially lighter options out there.

  8. Ronnie Bryant

    I have a pair of Eroicas that I will let go – they are the tan sidewalls which don’t match my color scheme. They have not even been un-packaged.

  9. Paul Ahart

    An update on the Challenge Eroica tires. I’ve ridden them several hundred miles with no problems. They are fast but cushy. With the bike on my car rack, the front tire suddenly went flat. It was with terror that I approached removing the tire. To my amazemet, the kevlar bead had stretched enough the tire nearly “fell off” the Open Pro rim. The tube had a pinch caused by a slipped rim tape. I replaced the tube in minutes with bare hands and zero blisters.
    My suggestion: get yourself a Koolstop Tirejack. Use it for the first installation, and when out on the road, don’t worry about them! After maybe 100 miles the Eroica bead stretches enough it will be very easy to remove and reinstall. Don’t sweat it.

  10. Johan Larsson

    For tight tires, put the tube in the tire _before_ you mount it on the rim. And use a lubricant when inflating.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s