Colossal: Challenge Parigi-Roubaix and Strada Bianca


Tonight I mounted up some fresh Challenge Tires.

The 700x27C Parigi-Roubaix


The 700x30C Strada Bianca.


Both tires are handmade, open tubular tires with a puncture protection strip under the tread. Both tires were a bitch to mount up. You need three hands. My thumbs hurt like a motherfucker.

Two tips for mounting these:

  1. Mount them on a spare rim, without a tube to stretch them out a bit.
  2. Use a slightly smaller tube than usual, use a new tube, ideally.
  3. Be careful of pinch flats, because the tire is so tight, and so flat, it’s easy to do.

When mounted, the deflated tire is very flat:


Once mounted, which took about 90 minutes, for two tires (Yeah, fuck that), I inflated both to 100 psi to measure fit and width.

On the rear, the 700x30C Strada Bianca measures 31mm wide on a Sun Assault (18mm wide x 19mm high) rim. The tire/rim combination measures 47mm high. As you can see, there’s plenty of clearance in the back.


On the front, the 700x27C Parigi-Roubaix measures 29mm wide, by 44mm high on a Sun Assault rim. There’s not much clearance left, about 3mm. With only 3mm of space, there’s no hope of fitting a Strada Bianca in there.


Realistically, I won’t run these tires at 100 psi. 75 front/60 rear is probably closer to where I would start out on gravel, and that might allow me to just squeeze a Strada Bianca in the fork, but what would the value be, if the tolerances are so close that adding a few psi causes the tire to rub?

I’ll test ride these in the next day or so, and write up a review.


SSCX Bianchi San Jose debut ride


First ride today of my newly completed Bianchi San Jose. James, Yukon Cornelius, and myself tested our new rides on gravel trails with some bonus singletrack. Aside from a few adjustments, and a flat tire on the San Jose, it was a pleasant 22 mile ride in teeth-chattering 20 degree temps. The Bianchi complete comes in at 21.8 lbs, and I cannot say enough positive things about my new ride, it feels light and responsive, it feels great!

Did I say complete? I carelessly forgot to install a rim strip on the back wheel.

The resulting flat at mile 12 was extra fun to change in the cold. CO2 cartridges don’t work quite as well when it’s only 20 degrees out.

Anyway, the singletrack rocked, the bike feels great, and the boys enjoyed the galettes.


Surly Arctic Cross, St. Pauli edition


Winter Solstice Race, Gravel Edition bike preparation


SKS X-tra Dry rear clip on fender, MOB Fat Bikes downtube splash shield. I had to cut the splash shield down quite a bit to allow it to clear the pedals. A quick test ride showed no interference with my pedal stroke. I am a little concerned it will act like a sail on descents. I also put fresh batteries into the blinkies, since I anticipate the cold will kill them.


45NRTH Xerxes studded snow tires (700c X 30) @50 psi, mounted on my Shimano R501 wheelset. Gearing on the bike is 48/34 chainrings with an 11-32 SRAM 9 spd cassette.

It’s already snowing in Herman. Tomorrow should be interesting.

Upgrades Complete (For Now)


I installed a sweet 39t 105 chainring purchased just today from the good folks at Monkey Wrench Cycles here in Lincoln, NE.  I took the rig for a spin and knew right away this was the correct choice: just big enough, when paired with my 17t freewheel, to not spin out on the flats.


I’ll save the Challenge tires for actual racing season next year.  For now, the Kenda Small Block 8’s that came on it will work just fine.

Kenda Kommando





Listed as 32mm, measure out to 28mm on 15mm wide Shimano R501 wheels. It offers two directions of rotation, depending on course conditions (hard vs. soft). I bought them on a whim, after seeing them on sale for $25/ea. at Joyride bicycles.