Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tire Review: Hutchinson Atom

At the beginning of last season, I was looking for a road tubeless tire with a bit more performance than the Hutchinson Fusion 3 Tubeless tires I had been using.  So I figured, why not try Hutchinson's top of the line tubeless road tire, the
Hutchinson Atom Tubeless.


Hutchinson lists the Hutchinson Atom Tubeless as a 23c tire.   I beg to differ.  I would say it looks more like a 20 or 21c tire as it is definitely narrower than the Hutchinson Fusion 3 Tubeless, both of which are listed as 23c.    I saw this width issue with the Intensive tire as well.   It was the same width as the Hutchinson Fusion 3 Tubeless, but was listed as a 25c.    Hutchinson really needs to get their act together when it comes to labeling tire widths.

Dimensions aside, the Hutchinson Atom Tubeless gives every indication of being a pure race tire.   It's narrow profile and light weight make it an excellent climbing tire.   I didn't break out the scale, but I have no reason to doubt Hutchinson's claimed weight of 270 grams.   This tire is comparable in weight to a high end clincher and tube combination, but maybe a few grams above after you add sealant.   Keep in mind that an ultra light tube will not give much reliability, while a tubeless tire with sealant will likely run down to the threads without having a flat.

I had only myself to blame for my performance in the local hill climb last spring that I rode with the Hutchinson Atom Tubeless.   Descending was also a bit dicier than on the Hutchinson Fusion 3 Tubeless, as one would expect from the narrower dimensions.   The ride was also a bit more harsh, which again, I attributed to the dimensions more than any difference between the Hutchinson Atom Tubeless and the Hutchinson Fusion 3 Tubeless.   By mid-season, I was looking forward to going back to the Fusion as I was doing more all day rides in the mountains.   The 20 grams per tire saved by choosing the Atoms over the Hutchinson Fusion 3 Tubeless was just not worth it to me for the small, but significant difference in ride comfort.

Who Needs This Tire

In my teens, I jumped at the chance to buy the narrowest, lightest, and fastest tires available for my suburban assaults on the local hills.    This would have been the perfect tire for me then.   If I was a racer looking to achieve maximum  performance with minimal weight in a tubeless tire, I would again select the Hutchinson Atom Tubeless.   Now that I am approaching forty, and I am having fun climbing mountains all day than I do racing, the Hutchinson Atom Tubeless just isn't providing the  level comfort I am looking for.   It is great that Hutchinson is offering a dedicating racing tire, but it forced me to face the fact that I am not really dedicated to racing.    For those who are, but don't want to mess with tubulars, this is the tire for you.


  1. Thanks for the review, I think I will go with a larger tire at my Clyde weight.

  2. Heya - finally got set up on these, so far so good!

    Weighed them, one was 275g, the other a few g more...so again, a bit heavier than advertised.

    They feel a bit faster than the Fusion3's, definitely more narrow, seems like i feel the road a bit more, but nothing awful. Good grip in corners, etc.. That's after just a couple rides, so far so good!

  3. Great explanation, thanks for the posting!
    Tires For Sale

  4. I have used the atom tubeless tires this year and have been pleased with the result , except for 1 thing. After 800km the rear tire started leaking through the sidewalls bad enugh that I had to fill it twice a day. I do not want to use sealant because of the mess. Replaced my rear tire with new and it has been fine -- so far. Contacted retailer and he said that leaky sidewalls happen and to add sealant , not what I wanted to hear

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  6. this is excellent! thanks so much

  7. I've been riding on the Atom for 2 years now, 2-3,000 miles per year. My expectations might be different, but I don't find the Atom to have a harsh ride. I spent 25 years riding tubulars, and wanted the closest ride to a high-end tubular that I could get with tubeless. That's what the Atom delivers. I'm using them with Shimano DuraAce C24 wheels, on an all-steel classic road frame (circa 1986) and have been delighted with the Atom. I'd describe the ride as lively, rather than harsh, certainly nothing that I find uncomfortable on 40-80 mile rides, with or without a lot of climbing. The pairing of the Atom with the C24 is magic, especially on the climbs. I'm not using sealant, since Shimano doesn't approve (voids the wheel warranty), but that hasn't caused me problems, and makes it much easier to fix a flat on the road (I'm averaging 1 flat per year, which isn't bad considering the road litter in NJ).