Hutchinson Touareg Tires: Checkpoint – by Guitar Ted with Grannygear and Andy
Time flies when you are having fun. Fun on a new tire, that is. The Hutchinson Touareg that is being tested by three different people makes for a lot to get coordinated. But we are getting there! Miss our introductory post? Check that out here.
Let’s dig in. So far many of our first impressions on these tires seems to be holding up. Ditto for tread wear as well. Nothing unusual to report there. We all like the fast feeling roll of the Touareg also.
Grannygear reports in and says,” I have been on the Touaregs exclusively since I first mounted them on the GR250 in early summer. It has been a hot, late summer in So Cal so gravel riding has been less than I expected it to be. Still, I have had some pretty good time on the Touaregs, enough to be pretty impressed.”
Andy remarked, “These tires hold air amazingly well. I haven’t had to pump them up much.” Grannygear also mentioned this trait of the Touaregs he has. This led us to also connect that experience with the possibility that the puncture protection belt is why this is. Thicker casing, less air loss? Well, maybe. We do also blame this casing for a stiffer ride that non-puncture protected tires don’t suffer from. Grannygear saying, “I can’t quite decide if it rides a bit roughly or not. I think it has a bit less casing compliance than the tires I have been using, but dropping tire pressure a few psi seems to have evened that out.” The Touareg seems to ride better at lower than we normally run pressures. So, beware of this if you buy into the Touareg.
In my experiences, the Touareg seems to be less adept at loose, chunky crushed rock, or any surface that is loose and deeper, like sand, or pea gravel with no real hard base underneath it. Here in these situations the Touareg wants to plow into the surface of the terrain rather than ride up over it. This can cause sketchy handling and makes cornering harder. Grannygear commented that, “Where I found it a bit less then amazing is in deeper sand where it tends to wander a bit, perhaps due to that peaky profile.” However, Andy said that in corners where the Touareg gives up a bit that if you hold on, those tread blocks will eventually grip and you can ride out of a slight drift. he claimed it was the tread wrapping around that “peaky” casing which allowed for this.
I also found that the Touareg responded better when it was mounted on a higher quality wheel set with less lateral instability. I recently swapped the Touaregs I am riding from the GRX wheel set to the Atomik/Berd Ultimate wheels, (on test here), and the result was eye-opening. The Touareg on the stiffer wheel set was found to track much better, but there was still that little bit of instability in the chunkier, deeper gravel where that rounded casing wants to squirm and shoot out gravel from under the tread, rather than roll over the top.
Grannygear has been enjoying the hardpack performance of the Touaregs and also mentioned the fast roll they have on pavement here when he said. ” As we said before, they have very good road manners and I would run these even if my rides had a good bit of tarmac in them…and they do. But what stands out to be is how well they do in hard dirt and rocks where the shape and the tread really hang tough with very little feel of slipping and sliding. I did two good rides in the mountains of Big Bear, CA, on roads where there was little moisture and lots of dust, small chunky rocks and hard pack. The Touaregs really gave me a secure feeling in those conditions. Perhaps the name is working for me there: desert tire. I could almost see the shimmering images of a caravan making it’s way across the horizon. ”
So Far…. Here’s what Grannygear thinks about the 700 X 40mm Touaregs so far: “It’s a compelling tire. Other than the sand issue, it’s a good sized tire, it rolls well, grips well, excels in rougher conditions, and holds air nicely. ” Meanwhile, Andy, who has been using the 650B X 47mm Touaregs says, “I think these are tires we will be recommending at Andy’s Bike shop for my customers. They are pretty impressive “.
Much of what they say I also agree with here. The Touareg has much about it to recommend it to anyone looking for a great all-around gravel tire. It maybe gives up a bit in deeper gravel, sand, or anything really deep and loose. But after that, it seems to be a very good choice as a set-it-and-forget-it tire. Making sure you dump some air pressure from your normal set up, of course, because the Touareg’s casing is a bit on the stiff side. The bead-to-bead protection belt is to blame here, but you get a robust, tough tire ready to take on most anything. It also gives this tire absolutely amazing air retention qualities. The best we’ve seen in a gravel tire, to be honest.
Stay tuned for a final verdict on these tires to come in a few weeks.
Note: Hutchinson Tires sent over the Touaregs in various sizes to Riding Gravel for test and review at no charge. We are not being paid, nor bribed, for these reviews and we will always strive to give you our honest thoughts and views throughout.