I have a long ride coming up, 250 miles, in a single day. I’ll post more about that in another dedicated post but for now I wanted to justify the purchasing of new tyres. My current tyres are starting to get towards the end of their life, I will aim to eek out some extra miles from them later in the year but for the big ride I wanted some that were wider and newer. So after much studying of the options I’ve decided to go for the Hutchinson Fusion 5 in the ‘All Season’ guise and in the 700x25c size.
Obviously my main requirement was for the new tyres to be road tubeless, so that immediately narrows down the range of options. I’ve been pretty happy with my pair of Fusion 3 tyres that these are replacing, with my only real gripes being that they are 23c width and that they are really, really tight to get on to the rim. My understanding of the new Fusion 5 range from what I’ve read on the internet was that the fitting is more relaxed; and obviously choosing the 25 over the 23 is a simple click!
So in the end the choice came down to either something from the Hutchinson range or the Schwalbe Pro One. My understanding of the Schwalbe Pro One is that it’s a lightweight, fast racing, tyre (much like the Galactik version of the Fusion 5). My needs on this occasion were for a slightly more durable tyre but something that’s still going to allow me to ride at a decent pace. The Fusion 5 is available in 3 levels of weight v durability; these are Galactik, Performance & All Season. All 3 of them being marketed as race tyres, but with the All Season that I went for being the most durable of the three. For riders wanting durability beyond this range, Hutchinson also offer the Intensive too.
First up is the task of getting the tyre onto the rim. This one went on completely by hand; no need for tyre levers. Sure, I still needed to work it around the rim and push pretty hard with my thumbs but didn’t actually use a lever once. So compared to the previous Fusion 3 it’s a definite improvement and meets my expectations. For anyone unfamiliar with my bike, it has Campagnolo Zonda wheels, obviously ease of fitting may differ on other wheels. It’s also plenty supple enough to allow you to see whether you’ve got the bead down beside the valve properly or not, which is helpful.
Once the tyre was seated on the rim, I decided to pump it up with no sealant inside, using my track pump. This worked fine, the bead popped into the rim hook straight away and I quickly reached pressure. However straight away it became pretty obvious, by the means of significant hissing, that the air was leaking out rapidly and within a minute I’d lost the 100psi that I’d put in. This means that these tyres aren’t supplied fully sealed like the Fusion 3 were, you will need sealant in them from day 1, in order to get them to stay up. This is often referred to as ‘Tubeless Ready’. So I let them down, took out the valve core and popped in some sealant (my usual Stans), which I was planning on doing anyway. With the sealant in place and sloshed about a bit, they went up to pressure and stayed there just fine.
When fitted and inflated they definitely appear larger than the Fusion 3 700×23, but they don’t appear to be as big as the non-tubeless Michelin Pro4 Endurance 700×25 that I still have from my pre-tubeless days. However, when measured using a set of electronic calipers (at work, I don’t own any of these) they come out at 24.6 fitted to my wheels; the old Fusion 3 700×23 measure 22.8. So it seems that Hutchinson Fusion tyres in general are slightly on the small side compared to some other brands and no doubt my Michelins were on the large side, but the 25s are in the correct ballpark.
As I mentioned earlier these are the All Season version of the Fusion 5. This means that they have thicker rubber and more of a tread pattern, making them slightly more resilient than the others and the tread pattern should hopefully disperse the water better on wet roads. You won’t ever find yourself aqua-planning on a bike of course, but it should hopefully lead to less spray than a completely slick tyre. The rubber compound used is also more focused on durability and grip than all out speed.
The quote on the Hutchinson website is: “ALL SEASON : A specifically developed compound offering efficiency and grip in all weathers. Greater grain size for more grip and puncture resistance. Striated design for an optimum grip and evacuation of water. For long winter rides, uncertain spring roads or dry summer conditions, the Fusion 5 All Season will accompany the most regular cyclists.“
Obviously final proof is in the riding. At this point I can’t really comment too much as I haven’t had enough miles on them to say anything for certain. However, all seems good so far and I will post an update with a load more detail sometime soon. I’m certainly positive that these tyres will serve me well and I’m looking forward to the miles that I will ride on them!