A deep dive into Challenge's Team Edition S3 cyclocross tubular tires

A deep dive into Challenge's Team Edition S3 cyclocross tubular tires

You've seen them at your local race course, or while live-streaming the cyclocross World Cup: eye-catching tubular tires with distinctive white sidewalls. What are those tires, exactly?

The tires with the white sidewalls are the Team Edition S3 line from Challenge. In addition to being available to sponsored athletes, they're also available to amateurs in the United States. Let's take a look at some of the features of the Team Edition S3 tire line, and find out if they're right for you.

What is S3? 

Challenge's "S3" label includes 3 primary features: Supple, Sealed, and Soft - important features for both pro athletes and privateer amateurs.

With a 320 TPI casing, each S3 Team Edition tire is supple for amazing grip and control. Higher casing tires also come with a lighter weight, so they're easier to accelerate.

The S3 Team Edition tires come from the factory with sealed sidewalls. You may have seen recommendations to seal the sidewalls of tubular tires (with Aquaseal, for example) to help protect them from water and moisture. This is especially important on cyclocross bikes with unsealed tires, which are raced in the mud and wet, and also pressure-washed many times in a season. Over time, water can degrade and rot the tire sidewall, so a sealant is needed.

Applying a sealant is unnecessary on Challenge S3 tires, because they already have a sealed sidewall when you receive them.

Compared with the Challenge "Pro" tubular line, S3 Team Edition use a softer rubber compound. The softer rubber conforms to obstacles just a little bit better, for improved traction, at the expense of faster wear. For many riders looking for a competitive edge, this is an acceptable trade-off.

Riders who are interested in the longest possible tire lifespan may want to use the Challenge Pro series (brown sidewall) tubulars instead.

Other features of Challenge Team Edition S3 tires

In addition to the supple, sealed, soft features, each Team Edition S3 tubular tire also includes the Challenge PPS puncture protection system to help prevent flats.

The S3 is available in all popular tread styles, including the Grifo, Limus, Baby Limus, and Chicane, to suit every possible terrain and weather condition a rider may encounter.

Challenge sponsored athletes

Over the years you've seen the Team Edition S3 tires underneath elite athletes like Stephen Hyde, Ellen Van Loy, and Helen Wyman. 

Who should use these tires?

The S3 Team Edition line from Challenge is the choice of riders who want a no-compromise, race-day-only option. Because the sealed sidewalls are standard, they're idea for riders who race in wet and muddy conditions that require repeated bike washing. 

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