Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance – Tubeless Road Bike Tyres have Great Advantages! [Review]
Tubeless tyres have practically become a standard for mountain bikers. Road cyclists still haven’t quite adopted the technology however. The advantages are pretty much the same though; being able to run a lower tyre pressure, and reducing your chances of getting a puncture. Add to that the weight reduction by getting rid of the inner tubes, and you’re left with nothing but pro’s. We decided to try our hand at tubeless road bike tyres and spent a few weeks riding the latest Tubeless Read Hutchinsons in this extensive Hutchinsons Fusion 5 Performance review.
I just recently made the switch to tubeless with my mountain bike and it was a really nice change for me. So nice in fact that I needed little persuasion to give it a try on my road bike as well.
I had the good fortune of being on a set of high-end DT Swiss wheels for a review which is yet to be published. The rims were tubeless ready, so that made the leap to tubeless tyres all that much simpler.
Hutchinson Fusion 5 review – First impressions
When I unpacked the tyres I first noticed that the sidewalls weren’t -like so many tubeless tyres- overly thin and supple. In fact, the Hutchinsons felt pretty much as thick on the sides as they did on the tread. They felt robust, but supple.
The tread is very subtle as you’d expect, and is somewhat reminiscent of the standard Conti SII.
Fitting tubeless road bike tyres – Hutchinson
I first installed the valves. The tubeless valves fit like a glove and with a pair of valve extenders I was able to use them with my deep section DT Swiss wheels.
After securing the valves, the tyres could go on to the rim. The tyres were easy enough to fit and I managed to get them seated without any tools. They don’t fall onto the rim nearly as tightly as some regular clinchers do.
According to the Hutchinsons manual, I now had to first inflate the tyres without adding latex. Something which once again was a breeze. Even without the latex, the tyres hooked onto the rims nicely and you could hear several distinct pops while the bead settled onto the rim.
Let the air out again, remove the valve core and pour the liquid latex through the opening into the tyre. Spin the wheel a few times, and add air. Easy job really.
According to the Hutchinsons packaging, I now had to let my freshly fitted tyres settle for 24 hours. Who’s got the patience to do that? Not me anyway. According to Hutchinson, 6.5 bar of pressure was all that was needed with my 70 kilograms of bodyweight. A full bar less than what I’d ordinarily run at.
No less than 15 minutes after having fitted the tyres to the rims, I hopped onto my bike for a first ride. You could instantly feel things were different from my trusty SII Conti’s. Different, but it felt very good.
More grip and more confidence
In fact, at just 6.5 bar I could really feel a lot more grip in the corners. The real difference showed in how they felt on the road in general.
The lower pressure meant I felt a lot less of the smaller imperfections in the road, aiding rider comfort. The downside was that I got the impression that rolling resistance had increased ever so slightly.
I Particularly got the impression that on straight, silky smooth tarmac I wasn’t getting any major benefits from using my Hutchinsons. Only when the road surface started to degrade or in really twisty sections of road did I get the feeling that I could carry more speed through.
I also felt more confident about picking up more speed on descends. The lower tyre pressure just made the bike feel a little more stable and relaxed than what I was used to.
The real test
As the puncture resistance of the tubeless Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance is one of its key features, I decide to actively seek out a little more risky situations.
I choose the worst roads littered with pebbles, grit, mud, potholes, and what not. Normally you steer around the worst of it, but now I purposefully rode right into everything. No swerving around potholes, but right through instead.
The Hutchinsons held up to it all. Despite me trying desperately to wreck the tyres, they never gave in. After my ride, I checked the state of my tyres after having suffered quite a few miles of abuse.
I was really impressed when I noticed that they looked fine after all that. No grit lodged in the tread, and no small cuts worth mentioning. I was pleasantly surprised.
Number of punctures: zero
I’ve never punctured once during my 600 kilometres of testing on the Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance. Even though I desperately tried to get them to. Only after my last ride did I notice that a little air had escaped from the tyre.
They didn’t suffer a puncture, but my hasty installation of the tyres might have caused them to not seat on the rim perfectly, allowing a little air to slowly get out when running over one of the many bumps.
Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance review – Conclusion
I’d been convinced previously of the advantage of tubeless mountain bike tyres. The Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance Tubeless Ready has also convinced me of their plusses on a road bike as well.
Running tubeless is a particularly great option if you suffer regular punctures due to poor road surfaces. The tyres are a little more expensive than regular puncture-protected tyres, but then you won’t have to use inner tubes.
The marginal increase in rolling resistance is only an issue if you constantly find yourself riding on silky smooth tarmac. Then again you could compensate for this by increasing the tyre pressure slightly, going a little above what Hutchinson would recommend.
Wear after 600 kilometres of testing was virtually zero, so I’m pretty confident to give them a thumbs up when it comes to durability. When my current tyres need replacing, I’ll definitely throw on a set of the Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance tubeless tyres.