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.