Challenge Gravel Grinder tires review – an all-round, race-ready option

The Challenge Gravel Grinder is one of the fastest rolling gravel tires on the scene that will also perform well on cyclocross winter duties

Two gravel wheels outdoors
(Image: © Amy Perryman)

Bike Perfect Verdict

This fast-rolling tire is designed to make gravel riding speedier and more efficient. Aggressive knobs on the edge of the grip surface means the tire can not only handle dry conditions but also perform well in muddier, softer ground. They're more as a high-speed, race-specific gravel tire rather than your bulky, more durable exploration tire.


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    Watt saving

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    Aggressive tread

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    Tubeless ready

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    Handle nearly all surfaces well


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    Tricky to mount

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    Can struggle in heavy gloop

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Gravel can cover such a wide range of riding, from racing world-class level events such as Unbound Gravel or adventure bikepacking like the riders who take on the Rapha Pennine Rally. Whether you are racing or cruising, you can call yourself a gravel rider. However, bike setup and frame can be massively different depending on the style of the event or weather conditions. Choosing the best gravel tire for the riding you do is crucial for safer riding, durability and those extra free watts up for grabs.

Challenge Gravel Grinders have been on the market for what seems like forever and over the years they have improved the build of the tire to suit modern riding. With a very fast rolling tread and chunky grip on the edges, they’re ideal for a drier course and provide a backup for when the corners are a little slippier than planned. Where initially people would use the Gravel Grinders on faster rolling CX courses, they’re also now targeted and tailored for riders who specifically ride gravel. Challenge has since launched a whole range of different tires specifically for gravel racing/riding, including the new Getaway XP

Close up of the Challenge Grinder Tire tread

The Gravel Grinders are designed for a host of riding conditions  (Image credit: Amy Perryman)

Design and specifications

These 700x40mm tires tested are part of Challenge's Handmade Tubeless Ready “Pro Series” and are recommended for hardpack gravel, sand or rocky terrain. This technology retains an impressive rolling resistance with comfort and overall bike handling improved. With a TPI (Threads Per Inch) of 260 and utilizing a double side wall of SuperPoly Corazza Armour, they are claimed to be more stable and puncture resistant than most gravel tires on the market. Other width options include 33mm, 36mm, 40mm 42mm and 46mm, all on a tanned wall, with black walled options and 650 sizing also available.

Top down view of the Challenge Grinder Tire

Challenge runs a tight beading on their tubeless setup which means that mounting onto the wheels cab be slightly challenging  (Image credit: Amy Perryman)


Initially, I struggled to mount these tires onto my wheels. Challenge runs a very tight beading on their tubeless tires to help reduce the risk of them coming off the rim when riding low pressures, but this means stretching onto the wheels is rather difficult. To mount these tires it took: Two pairs of hands, three tire levers and warming the tires in the oven for 10 minutes (we don't recommend trying this at home – Ed) to heat the rubber and add a little stretch. However, Bike Perfect staff writer, Paul, had better success in his how to setup tubeless tires feature using the Gravel Grinders. Once the tires were firmly mounted and stretched onto the rim, I never had an issue with the removal or mounting. 

Having meticulously tested these tires in dry and very wet conditions, it’s safe to say I've given them a run for their money. I found that when riding on easy gravel, such as a fire trail or bike path, this tread performed incredibly well. It was fast rolling and I trusted the grip enough to rail corners at a decent speed – the same goes for grass tracks where the tire resistance was low, saving precious watts. In the gloop I found they cut nicely through mud, especially at speed, but they do have a tendency to skip around in really thick muddy conditions.

I am yet to puncture on the Gravel Grinders, despite putting them through some pretty rough conditions, on a variety of terrain, so top marks on the protection of the double side wall of SuperPoly Corazza Armour.

Close up view of the Challenge Grinder Tire outer tread

The Challenge Grinder tire has a very fast rolling tread and chunkier knobs at the edges (Image credit: Amy Perryman)


Overall the Challenge Gravel Grinder is a great all-round tire for all types of gravel riding, it does have certain limits in the real heavy mud as the grip is minimal on the central rolling tread, so lacks any use when in the deep gloop. Although for me they were a slight pain to get onto the rim and turn tubeless, as mentioned, my colleague Paul had better success.

Price-wise they are around the same as the best gravel tires and I would say for me these tires are perfect for fast gravel races, and I will probably run these at Kings Cup Gravel National Champs later this September as well as the early season CX races where intermediate tread tires are necessary. 

Challenge Grinder Tire mounted on carbon wheels

The Grinders look great with the tan wall option (Image credit: Amy Perryman)

Tech specs: Challenge Gravel Grinder tires

  • Price: $89.99 / £54.78 / €63.85
  • Use: Hardpack, Gravel, Sand, Loose, Rocky
  • Sizes: 700 and 650
  • Widths: 33mm, 36mm, 40mm, 42mm, 46mm
  • Type: Handmade Tubeless Ready 
  • Color: Tan
  • Weight: 420g (700x40mm tested)
  • Pressure: 2-3.5 bar 
  • Safety limit: 400 kpa
Amy Perryman
Freelance Writer

As someone who has grown up immersed in the cycling community, Amy has a deep knowledge of the sport. Based in Portsmouth, she began racing track aged 7 and as her love for it grew, at 21, she now competes to a high level in various disciplines, eg. Cyclocross, Road/crit racing, MTB XC and Gravel, racing the CX season for Montezuma's Race Team and throughout the summer racing for the London-based team TEKKERZ CC. Coming from a very intense racing background, she has newly discovered the gravel and off-road bikepacking scene. Amy would love to travel the world more with her bike, so is keen to dip into this newer side of cycling and see what the hype is about.

Rides: Canyon Ultimate CFR, Specialized Allez Sprint 2022, Ridley X-night SL, Scott Spark RC Team edition

Height: 166cm

Weight: 66kg