I just put these tires on my CX bike to get some rides in before the Oregon Stampede (130 miles, 70% GRAVEL). I am a 5'3 woman so I was reluctant to put this big of a tire on my bike for fear I would think it was too slow when not riding gravel. The tires feel fine on the road but they really do shine in gravel. After riding for a few hours in Forest Park (Portland, OR, gravel roads are fire roads) I was most impressed with how I was able to get out of the saddle and accelerate in gravel, especially up steep uphill grades, without that sinking in or spin out feeling at all. The tire also feels very secure through corners (even if one has to brake through the corner to avoid a dog that should be on a leash). On pavement, the tires feel faster than traditional cross tires. If I do any early season CX racing in dry conditions I would even consider leaving these tires on for racing.
As the hosts of the unofficial Gravel Worlds, you'd imagine we've got plenty of gravel around Lincoln, Nebraska and we do. I settled on a 38mm set of these to roll on my CX to give me a little more width, but still roll well. They do their job well. Riding on pavement, they're smooth. Riding all types of gravel they handle well too.
When I got my cyclocross bike I primarily got it for gravel and after riding with the stock 32 tire on gravel I decided to try something different. The stock tires walked a lot on gravel and were slow when I was on the road. I read a review of the Gravel Grinders by Guitar Ted and decided to try them. I have rode about 500 miles on them and I love them. No more walking on gravel unless it is very loose. They are fast on the road as well despite their size due to the file tread pattern in the middle of the tread. I had a lot more control on mud as well with them. Mud does like to stick to the sides due to tread on the sides. I highly suggest them and I haven't found anyone who doesn't like them.
I ride lots of dirt roads and rail trails in New England. These are the best all round ones I've found so far (have ridden Vittoria XG, Maxxis Mud Wrestler, Clement MSO 40's). They are light for a 38mm, wide enough to avoid pinch flats, quiet and fast enough on pavement, and provide great traction on a wide variety of surface and allow you to stand on graveldirt hill climbs. They dampen the ride without being too bouncy.
I live in Kansas and am from Emporia, the heart of Dirty Kanza and Flint Hills territory. I have used these tires thru 3 Dirty Kanzas, 2 Almanzos, 1 epic fail at Landrun(mud and weather, tires were fine) and countless other rides and races through Flint Hills Gravel. Two flats, both were pinch flats and totally my fault for running too low of pressure under my 190 lbs. About 53-55 PSI rear and 48 PSI front seems to keep me out of pinch flat trouble even in the Flint Hills Gravel. Rolling resistance is minimal on hard pack, yet traction remains great in the loose stuff. They do tend to wear a little fast, but at the price and weight well worth it. As a side note, on the two flats I did have, they go on and off the rims using no levers for a quick change under the stress of race conditions. In gravel cycling the tire of the moment always seems be in every conversation, but I have found no need to experiment or go tubeless with these tires around and will continue to run the Gravel Grinders.
Got these for my CX bike and a gravel race. Running them with latex tubes. Race had some single track with hills and some mud. Surprised how well the gripped. Have now been running them on pavement and see that my average speed is not much slower than on my road bike. No flats. Very pleased.
I've only got one ride on these but I'm super happy with them! My clement tires aren't very confident cornering, even on the road. These challenge tires transition real well in corners and lock up nicely on gravel. Reasonably fast on road or dry hardpack as well. Corner well in gravel.
I mounted them on a pretty narrow pair of road rims (vuelta) and my micrometer says they're more like 32's on these rims.
I needed tires for a dirt road event in Vermont and after reading a lot of reviews, I settled on the Gravel Grinders. I wanted something wide, with reasonable rolling resistance on paved roads and hard-packed dirt, but aggressive edge lugs for cornering in looser conditions. This tire has all of that and excellent durability, too. I couldn't be happier with their performance.
FYI, at 174, I ran these at 50/55, frontrear and that was perfect on a hard-packed course. My 110 girlfriend ran them at 30/35.
This tire is my go-to tire from May-mid September. I opted for the Gravel Grinder after realizing that a 40mm MSO just didn't fit right in my bike. Sacrificed 2mm of width, but gained a hell of a lot of acceleration and versatility of use. Really like that I can use this tire for the early-season races and it's super-puncture protective.
Also, even though it's not technically a tubeless tire, it hooks up like a dream on both my Stan's NoTubes wheels and my DT Swiss rims on my Asylum Meuse.
Prior to this I have been racing on Challenges high end open tubular Grifo XS in 33mm and soon its high end open tubular Gravel Grinder in 700x36mm tire. For training and commuting I do not want to burn through [$] high end tires when I can burn through the same tread for less than half the money and have an even tougher casing than the open tubular design saving them for race day! For training I have been riding every type of nail file tread pattern I could buy, My favorite up until this tire was released was in this order, Clement Las 33mm (actually a 36mm)for fast gravel country roads and finer gravel, or for rougher gravel Clement USH 35mm, Vittoria Pro XN 32mm(actually 30mm), Schwalbe Sammy Slick 35mm (actually a 31mm), and for rougher gravel and dirt Kenda Happy Mediums in 35mm or 40mm (both slightly undersized as well. I hope that Challenge continue to make Vulcanized Versions of its already top OT tires like The Grifo Pro now, as I wish they would make a Grifo XS 32mm vulcanized soon for my wife as this is her favorite tire! Do your self a favor and get this tire, it is the best!
Originally went w the 33s for tackling the (awesome!) Hoosier National Forest roads. Loved the tires but found them too narrow for some of the loose gravel. Bumped up to the 38s and they are perfect. Expertly manage the slime of sloppy lime dust but also do a better job of floating over loose gravel. Excellent on dry hard packed gravel and tough enough for the occasional bit of singletrack. Roll nicely over paved sections. About 1000 miles without a flat. Have tried them tubeless but the sidewalls leak too much - not sold as tubeless so that's fair. Great tire!
I live in the city with streets and paved bike paths, but I'm at the edge of town with gravel section roads stretching to the horizons through farmland. These tires have been a welcome upgrade over the stock 33mm tires that came on my Specialized CruX. Smoother rolling center tread, knobby on the edges to bite in the loose and chunky gravel, and enough volume to lower my pressures for a smoother ride. Near perfect.
I purchased these after experiencing reliability issues with another tire. I found myself riding hard-core gravel and wanted a tire that could withstand the punishment, but still provide good rolling resistance on pavement. For me, it was between these and the MSOs. I ran the Gravel Grinder Race for 8 months with acceptable results.
A few notes Tubeless performance was unsatisfactory. This was disappointing, but they were not sold as tubeless ready, so what can you do? This is the main reason I don't run these anymore, and why i gave only 4 stars. Another observation is those larger side knobbies. To me, they seemed like a distraction. I did not like the way they felt underneath when they engaged. It felt like the tire changed its characteristics whenever in a hard cornering situation (which is where I want it to be the most consistent). Get rid of the side knobbies, they're dumb.
The tire looks good, rolls well, and is reasonably tough. It's a good alternative to Clement MSO or even USH. Do not expect to run these tubeless. I found they wore a little faster than I'd hoped for.
These tires are very fast, they roll well, but still have good traction when needed.
They have good grip in gravel and the side knobs have enough grip to keep you from losing the front wheel if you hit an unexpected patch of deep sand. As expected they provide virtually no forward traction in deep lose sand.
The only downside is the 38mm tires measure out to 35mm on my wheels, but so far their performance has more than made up for being skinnier than advertised. I'll probably get about 800 miles out of the rear which is on par with other tires I've used.