Hutchinson Touareg Tires: Getting Rolling – by Guitar Ted with additional comments from Grannygear –
Hutchinson Tires, a name not readily associated with the gravel riding scene, has been busy putting together a comprehensive all-around gravel tire in a few sizes which they have named the “Touareg”. (Like the SUV from Volkswagen) They have produced tires in the 700c diameter in 40mm and 45mm and in the popular 650B X 47mm size. We have received all three sizes and have three different testers on them. Let’s take a look first at what we have here, then we’ll get on to some first impressions of these tires.
What It Is: The Touareg is described by Hutchinson as a tire that “has no rules“. Here is what the Hutchinson webpage for the Touareg has to say about the tire:
“Whether gravel racing, bikepacking or just riding everyday, your bike can now follow wherever your adventures may take you. Our goal was to develop a gravel tyre with maximum versatility. Merging the best of our road and mountain bike expertise, we have created the Touareg : a tyre developed to meet optimal efficiency wherever in the world you are, providing the best combination of performance, grip and durability. “
The Touareg, as previously mentioned, comes in three sizes for the time being, in options for a tan sidewall in the 700 X 40 and 650B X 47mm sizes only. The Touareg series also boasts tubeless ready casings made in 127TPI, and featuring Hutchinson’s Hardskin casing reinforcement which is a bead to bead puncture protection belt. They also feature Hutchinson’s Bi-Compound rubber. The Touaregs are priced at $64.99 each MSRP.
Hutchinson claims weights for the Touareg tires as follows: 700 X 40mm @ 490gms, 700 X 45mm @ 550gms, and 650B X 47mm @ 585gms. Actual weights of the samples we received were as follows: 700 X 40mm @ 496/492gms, 700 X 45mm @ 605gms each, and the 650B X 47mm @ 585/584 gms. All within reason with the exception of the 45mm version which at over 50 grams above the claimed weight seems off.
First Impressions: All experiences with this tire setting it up tubeless on various rims seem normal to good. Grannygear said, “Mounting on the FSA gravel wheels was easy and tubeless inflation was ably handled with the Topeak Tubibooster X and a floor pump.” This echoed my experiences with the 45mm version which I mounted successfully on Shimano GRX wheels with just a floor pump. Our 650B set of Touaregs is being tested by the owner of our technical partner, Andy’s Bike Shop, and Andy had no issues using the shop air hose to set up the Touaregs on Easton wheels. Andy was surprised to see that the Touareg even held pressure without any sealant until he had time to inject some Muc-Off sealant using the KOM Cycling injector.
The mounted size of the Touareg has been consistent with the claimed sizes, but be prepared for the casings to come into their own over time. In all cases, the tires set to preferred pressures were measured undersized against the claims initially, but all three ended up slightly larger than claimed after a few rides. Grannygear said, “The initial width at install was 39mms but after some time, we are at 41mms wide (21mm internal rim).” The 45mm tires went on and after 24hrs were measured at 44.65mm, but after a few rides they had stretched out to end up being slightly over 46mm in width. Similarly, the 650B tires ended up at 48mm, or slightly wider.
The tread and casing shape is interesting on the Touareg. Keeping in mind that it is meant to be an all-around tire, we have a central, narrow set of knobs that sits at what Grannygear described as a “peak” in the casing. Then, there are two subsequent rows of small-ish knobs which step away from that peaked casing like a stair-step arrangement. It reminds me a lot of the old Kenda Smallblock 8 MTB tires of yore.
This arrangement of knobs and casing shape make the Touareg ride up on those central rows of knobs which have a very fast, quiet rolling nature. Grannygear shared that, “Looking at the shape of the tire, the Touareg is a bit peaky, with a crowned shape that falls away from center in even steps of blocks. The first rides were just local roads, mostly paved to see how they felt. They roll out very nicely on smooth asphalt, having barely a hum and they maintain speed well. ” This pretty much summed up my thoughts and Andy’s on these tires. Amazingly quiet, for all the knobs there, and they roll very well. In fact, the Hutchinson Touareg 700C X 45mm is now the top of the class in terms of my roll out test.
Those knobs tend to really hook up on smooth dirt too, but we will have a full report soon on off-pavement performance coming up in our Checkpoint post where you will get the viewpoints from three different testers. Look for that in a couple weeks here.
So Far: The Touareg is a true to size, all-around choice for gravel, smooth dirt, or back roads where pavement might be less than ideal, while also showing incredible speed and rolling ability on typical pavement. The Hardskin protection belt promises that your sharp rocks and street debris don’t end your day sooner than you’d like. Tubeless performance is excellent. Fairly true to size, and weight, for the most part. We’re impressed with the quality and feel so far. Stay tuned…..
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.