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Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance 11Storm tubeless tyres review

10 Nov 2019
Verdict:

Hutchinson is leading the way with tubeless tyres. Fast, supple, easy to install with added puncture protection

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£39.95 each
For 
Fast, grippy and supple • Lighter than most clincher setups • Tubeless puncture sealing abilities • A cinch to install
Against 
Rubber nubbins on tyre edge are annoying • Still not quite blessed with the ride quality of the best open tubular clinchers

From the originators of tubeless tyres – that’s right, you could have been riding tubeless road tyres from 2006 with Hutchinson’s help – comes a new trio of tubeless ready tyres. The tyres’ names are a tad confusing, the Hutchinson website more so, but what is clear is just how good the French company’s new tubeless line up is.

The range revolves around Hutchinson’s new rubber compound, 11Storm. Hutchinson says 11Storm has been proven in independent tests (performed by Finland’s Wheel Energy lab) to be significantly better in every way to its previous best HDF compound, offering an average 14% less rolling resistance, 19% more durability and 11% more grip in the wet.

11Storm features on three new Fusion 5 tyres, all based around a 127tpi carcass. The lightest, fastest tyre gets the Galactik suffix (£49.95), the most durable is the All Season (£39.95) and the all-rounder is the Performance (£39.95).

In 25mm, the Galactik weighs a claimed 240g a tyre, the Performance 255g and the All Season 260g.

I plumped to test the Fusion 5 Performance 11Storm in 25mm, reasoning they would go on a bike that was in for hard commuting miles plus the occasional ‘proper’ ride. I wanted something that felt less wooden than the previous tubeless tyres on my bike (Specialized Roubaix Tubeless Ready), but that wasn’t going to slash up at the first sight of glass.

Long story short, I was very, very impressed by the Fusion 5 Performance 11Storms. To date, they are tied in first place for the best tubeless tyres I’ve ridden. Long story long, this is why…

Nitty gritty

Before installation onto a set of Fulcrum Racing 1s, I weighed each tyre at 245g dead on, 10g less than the claimed weight.

To put that in perspective, the 25mm Roubaix tyres these replaced were a claimed 295g; the previous versions of the Fusion 5 Performance were 315g. Schwalbe’s Pro One tubeless are 255g, the Vittoria Corsa Speed G+ are lightest in class at 225g. A popular clincher setup such as a Continental GP4000 S II and Conti Race Light inner is a claimed 225g and a is 65g respectively.

Thus, even with the recommended 30ml of sealant per tyre, the Fusion 5 Performances setup weighed 275g a wheel. Wherever your tyre delectations take you, that is seriously light. Yes, you could find lighter in some tubulars and clincher tyres such as Tufo’s 150g Calibra Lites, but there are sacrifices in repairability and longevity, trust me.

And yes, the Corsa Speeds are lighter, but again, whilst I love the ride feel of these incredibly supple 320tpi tyres, they have proved relatively fragile, and as such I feel they not practical for anything more than best bikes.

Buy the Hutchinson Fusion 5 11Storm tubeless tyres from Wiggle for £37.99

For all these considerations – weight, suppleness and longevity – I’ve long since held the Schwalbe Pro Ones aloft as kings of every road they survey. They ride like the best clinchers going (discounting ‘open tubular’ clinchers here, Vittoria and Challenge tyres offer better feel and grip for my money), but have less rolling resistance due to the lack of inner tubes and can reseal themselves in the event of most usual punctures.

Bigger slashes, no. But then when was the last time a big slash didn’t spell curtains for any other tyre? For the record, you can boot and insert a tube into a tubeless tyre to get you home.

I digress. The Schwalbes are superb. These Hutchinson Fusions are every bit as good.

Making it work

The Fusions are incredibly easy to install. I’ve tried these on two sets of wheels – a pair of alloy Hunts and the Fulcrums – and both times the tyres could be rolled on with grunt and thumbs, and inflated first time with just a track pump. No sealant, no soap, no valve core removal.

Be under no allusions every wheel/tyre combo will work this well, though. A fellow writer had some difficulty with Bontrager’s Aeolus XXX 4 wheels, but in his words, ‘those wheels make even tight clinchers look “baggy”.’ It is the luck of the draw, based around manufacturing tolerances.

Yet I’d gamble the odds are stacked very much in your favour with the Fusions.

Sealant injected through the removed valve core, tyres re-inflated and I was away.

Full disclosure: The tyres lost around 10psi a day for the first few days whilst the sealant worked its way into any minute gaps between tyre bead and rim.

This is to be expected for any tubeless setup, especially on used wheels such as the Fuclrums, and anyway, after a week things settled down and clincher-type service resumed. Clinchers do always seem to hold air better than even the best, cleanest tubeless installs, but a few strokes of a track pump once a week is hardly a chore – I’d guess most riders check their tyres before the big weekend ride, whatever setup they have.

Top marks for solving the oft-cited grumble of tubeless tyres being difficult to install, then.

Width-wise, on the 17mm internal Fulcrums, the Fusion 5s came up faithfully to 25mm, no more, no less, and run at 90psi they offered happy amounts of grip. But run at 80psi, they were a floaty, grippy joy.

Lower pressure is not always better, though; below 70psi I could feel the tyres dragging. But for my 78kg rider weight 80psi offered a sweetspot of the best of all possible riding worlds.

This, I think, is the ultimate endgame for tubeless. Excellent grip without the worry of pinch flats or a sluggish quality, with the added benefit of low pressure = high comfort.

This is precisely what the Schwalbe Pro Ones showed us was possible, and it’s exactly what Hutchinson is now taking to the next level with the ever-so-slightly lighter, ever so slightly easier to install Fusion 5 Performance 11Storm Road Tubeless Ready tyres.

Without wanting to turn this review into a comparison test, but seemingly having done so… if out and out grip, feel and speed is your thing, the Vittoria Corsa Speed G+ are still kings of the hill.

But there is no way I could tell the overall ride quality of the Hutchinson’s apart from the Schwalbes, and given the slightly lower weight –lower still with the Fusion 5 Galatiks – the Hutchinsons edge it for me, and show once again why the clincher tyres days are (or should be) numbered.

Remember that name

As an advisory note to any prospective customers: Hutchinson still offers non-11Storm Fusion 5 tyres with the Galactik, Performance and All Season suffixes, and offers all Fusion 5s in tube and tubeless types, so be careful you are looking at the right ones. The previous Fusion 5 tubeless tyres are really very average.

Buy the Hutchinson Fusion 5 11storm tubeless tyre from Wiggle for £37.99

Also, the moulding process leaves dozens of little rubber nubbins around the edge of the tyre. This is not unusual, but on the Hutchinson Fusion 5s these nubbins are in such a position down the tread that I can only imagine it will take thousands of kilometres before they get worn away, or a hundred laps at full cornering tilt on a concrete track to rub away just one side.

I can’t, as yet, speak to their long-term durability. I’ve been riding them for my daily 20km commute for nearly two months, with a few extra Ks at lunch or the weekend thrown in. There are no discernible nicks or cuts, and I have not punctured.

I would assume they would seal as well as any other tubeless tyre, and in the event of a catastrophic gash, I am 100% confident of being able to easily fit a tube to get me home – the fit here really is user-friendly.

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