Hutchinson Fusion 2 Tyre
700×23 tested srp from £26.99
Hutchinson forms a small band of European tyre manufacturers that actually still make some of their tyre range in Europe (the other two being Continental and Michelin).
The Fusions have a completely smooth surface that, because of the
use of a triple compound, is said to improve grip. The tyres are reinforced with a Kevlar belt which is claimed to reduce punctures by up to 50%. They are available in five different colours so matching them to your bike (or clashing with) should present no problem.
So what are they like to ride? The first thing you notice with these tyres is just how grippy they are. To put a perspective on it for me, the grip was right in between the Continental GP4000 (non Black Chili compound) and the Michelin Pro Race, good company to keep in my books. The speed of the tyre is very similar to the GP4000, although Michelin still leads the way for all out speed in a clincher tyre. What has been impressive, is the casing is rated at just 127tpi and it has provided a comfortable and supple ride. I can only put this down to the compound utilized in the manufacture, as a tyre rated to this tpi normally feels a little wooden. Maybe it’s a French concept but Michelin also only uses 127 tpi on their top rated tyres.
In the three months of use I have not suffered one single puncture, even while running them as low as 85psi! The Kevlar belt has not produced that dead feeling that can haunt some performance tyres when adding puncture protection. The wear rate is very good with no noticeable knicks or cuts in the surface of the tyre. Riding in the wet produced controllable breaking and grip remained positive.
At 220g this tyre is in the right ballpark for a top end clincher tyre. I am sure they could shave off a few grams if they wished, probably by upping the tpi count. If they decided to go down that route I am convinced it would only improve what is already a great riding tyre.
You might feel that they are a little pricey when compared to some of the competition, but the quality and wear has been very good and has distilled any thoughts that I had initially in this area.
If you like the feel of the Fusions there is also a wider 25mm option available in the Long Distance version of the tyre. It uses a more durable version of the triple compound. As I have not used a set I can’t comment on what this does to the grip and wet weather performance of the tyre. With the increase in both Cyclosportives and Audax rides this could be an alternative if you were looking to add a little more comfort to the bike.