Faster, grippier and puncture resistant: Challenge releases new Criterium RS road tyre

Tyre's compound is said to be 50 per cent more puncture resistant than competitors

Challenge Criterium RS

Challenge has announced a new road tyre, the Criterium RS, said to offer “the perfect mix of speed, grip and durability”.


Announced to coincide with Eurobike 2022, the handmade road bike tyre has a 350 TPI casing and a new Smart Prime Compound.

Challenge claims these features help make the Criterium RS comfortable but also “one of the lowest rolling-resistance tyres on the market”.

The tyre is compatible with hookless rims and comes in either 25mm or 27mm widths. It has an €84.90 / $94.99 retail price and is available with white or black side walls.

Jose Mazza of Challenge said tubular versions will be available in the future.

A supple tyre with low rolling resistance

The tyre is available with white or black sidewalls, as pictured here.
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The 350 TPI Corespun Cotton casing of the Criterium RS tyre is said to create a supple tyre with optimised weight and comfort.

Challenge says the tyre’s low rolling resistance is due to its Smart Prime Compound, which is new for 2022.

The compound isn’t only good for rolling resistance, according to the brand. It is said to increase grip in dry and wet conditions, as well as improving puncture resistance.

Twist the tyre and you’ll see how supple it is.
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Challenge says the compound’s mix of natural rubber, chemicals and an un-specified proprietary formula means it is 50 per cent more puncture resistant than other compounds on the market.

There is also Challenge’s PPS Ganzo puncture protection system between the Criterium RS’s tread and casing. This is said to improve puncture resistance while ensuring the tyre remains supple.

The tread

The tread has a smooth central section and grip on the sides.
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If the casing and compound haven’t, the tread on the Criterium RS makes Challenge’s intentions for the new tyre clear.

With a slick line in the middle and grip on the exterior edges, the tyre is designed for speed but also to provide grip in wet weather.

This isn’t too surprising given Challenge is known for its gravel tyres and cyclocross tyres, which Tom Pidcock used on his cyclocross world championship bike.

Hookless compatible

Challenge says the Criterium RS tyre can be run tubeless, is compatible with hookless rims and is compliant with existing ETRTO and ISO standards.

The tyre has a new Zylon bead. Challenge says this means the tyre has improved load capacity and will not stretch.

There is also a chafer bead protection strip. This is said to enhance longevity by reducing the effects of chafing if the tyre is fitted to hooked rims.


The chafer bead is black and Challenge says the contrast in colour (we’re guessing it means if you have the white version of the tyre) helps you see whether the tyre is seated properly on a rim.