Suck it, Challenge, you bitch!


OK, those Compass tires weren’t the first tires I tried. I actually tried a pair of 23mm Paselas first, but they really didn’t do it for me.

In “Suck it, Compass, you bitch!”, i described how the only redeeming feature of the 700x26mm compass Cayuse Pass was how well it fit the tight confines of the Bianchi TSX frame. Truth be told, it helped that they measured out to be 24mm wide on my Mavic Open Pro wheelset.


So, when the Compass tires proved to be as useful as a tissue paper umbrella, I turned to the Challenge Strada. 700x25mm, handmade open tubular with a puncture protection strip. Fuck you, Compass, I found my tire.

Now, I ride a lot of Challenge tires; I ride the Strada Bianca on my SSCX Bianchi San Jose, and I ride the Parigi-Roubaix on my Salsa Colossal. In fact, the Parigi-Roubaix, nominally a 700×27, but measuring out at 29mm is the largest rubber that will fit in Colossal. I love those fucking tires, man.

One trend in Challenge tires, is their understated width. The Parigi-Roubaix measures 29mm. The Compass Cayuse Pass measured 24mm. The Challenge Strada, is a 25mm.

Bullshit. That dumb fucker measures out at 27mm wide on my Open Pros.


Fuck you, Challenge! Fuck you, Bianchi, for having such a tight fork crown, too. It was so close, but it just wouldn’t roll without rubbing, due to some generous (I really wanted to say sloppy) metal fitting in the unicrown fork.

Now, I ain’t afraid of steel, and I am deeply, deeply fucking frustrated with the lack of tire options I am encountering with this bike, and I have a pretty good set of metalworking gear. Now, it’s fuck you, Bianchi, time.

A little grinding and filing later, and it looks much nicer in there.


Fuck you, Challenge:


It’s a tight fit, but a nice ride. You can quote me on that.


Suck it, Compass, you bitch!


Fucking tires are the bane of my existence, especially on this tarted-up Italian wallet-slayer.

First try: Compass Cayuse Pass 700x26mm. Lightweight, supple, designed by Jan Heine himself after extensive testing, and produced for Compass Bicycles.

Utter fucking garbage, I can’t stress this enough. The only positive thing I can say about them is that they fit the frame well (this becomes important, later). These tires spontaneously flat. They have casings so thin, after mounting them, there are exposed fibers. The tread depth is a generous 3mm, so that should keep things, like dog hair, from causing punctures. Unfortunately, I can’t get a lot of miles in on my carpet of dog hair, so I have to ride on pavement, and asphalt, and the odd gravel section, which is too much for these.

Two rides, 50 miles, and three flats, including spontaneous flatting, and I threw these worthless fucking things aside.

I’ve always had good luck with Challenge Tires, anyway…

You’re killing me, Italy


Because I’m a sucker for Italians, I bought 20 year-old Bianchi Reparto Corse TSX Ultralight frame, built up with 10-speed Campagnolo Chorus groupset when it popped up locally on Facebook.


How could I resist? Full Campy, rode well. All it needed was new grease in the front hub, and a new chain…

Right. It’s fucking Italian, numbskull.

It needed a new chain ($70), new bearings, new cones, and a complete front hub rebuild ($70), and then I left Monkey Wrench with it to find out that now, nothing worked.

The rear cassette, (Record Titanium, of course) was shot, which is a $500 replacement part. A Centaur cassette was found at Olympia (these guys are great, btw), for $200, which was enough to keep it in gear now, but caused it to sound like an old sewing machine.

Fortunately, Olympia speaks Campy better than anyone else around here, so a week, and new replacement 53/39 chainrings ($200) later, it rides awesome. At least when tires aren’t blowing up on it. I guess it’s a testament to the bike that the previous owner rode it into the fucking ground.