Friday, August 14, 2009

Hutchinson Tubeless Road Tire Test

I have completed several hundred miles on a set of the Hutchinson Tubeless Road Tires setup with Stans rim tape and sealant - These tires offer a wonderful alternative to standard road tires with either butyl tubes or even latex tubes. The most interesting aspect of these tires is the sidewall stiffness. Now I am not a heavy rider by anyone's measure, but I was able to ride these tires with as little as 65psi for long road rides with little problems, and I never felt the tire come close to bottoming out or having any excessive deflection. I did notice on very steep climbs and during hill top sprints that at a lower pressure (sub 75psi) I could feel some movement of the tire. I settled on riding with around 75psi as my preferred pressure after starting in the 90's and working my way down.

Wear so far is negligible and I expect that they would last at least a few thousand miles. I have had no flats so far or any holes that I know of that the sealant may have sealed. I have also alarmingly started to get unconcerned with road debris and glass, so now I am worried about what will happen when I am riding with regular tires and tubes - I will probably forget to rub them after going through glass!

I like the comfort of the tires, the confidence that I won't flat in most situations, the cornering feel, and the idea that they have reduced rolling resistance (I can't confirm that).

My only cons on these tires are the weight (290-300g), the fact that they are bit narrow, Shimano's new Dura-Ace wheels have a wider rim to flatten out the profile of these tires, the apparent ease of cuts that destroy the tire (Two other riders I know have had 3 different cut failures during the same period I was testing these tires).

I would rate these tires, with the Stans sealant, at 4.5 stars out of 5.

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