Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tire Review: Hutchinson Fusion 3 Tubeless
When I first ran road tubeless, back in early 2007, pretty much the only tire on the market was the Hutchinson Fusion 2 Tubeless. (If there was ever a Fusion 1 Tubeless, I have never heard of it.) The Fusion line is positioned right in between the narrower Hutchinson Atom Tubeless, and the heavier and more durable Hutchinson Intensive. I have been riding my Hutchinson Fusion 3 Tubeless since June of 2010, and it is my preferred tire for the kind of riding I do on my road bike. While the Hutchinson Fusion 2 Tubeless had a different colored center line, to denote a multi-compound tire, the Hutchinson Fusion 3 is all black, despite Hutchinson's designating it as triple compound design.
Mounting a Hutchinson Fusion 3 Tubeless, or any tubeless tire can be a challenge your first time. The key is to have a good set of tire levers and to use a bit of muscle. I have gotten to the point where I can hold one part of the rim with my hand and work the last foot of remaining bead with a tire iron inch by inch until the bead snaps into the rim. After that, I soap up the bead and let my compressor do the work the first time I inflate it to set the bead. I then deflate the tire, add sealant, and re-inflate. With a tubeless tire, you leave the tire on the rim until it wears out, never having to mount it again, something I have never done with a standard clincher in 25 years of riding.
The Hutchinson Fusion 3 Tubeless is about the right size for a 23c clincher. It is slightly wider than the pure racing Hutchinson Atom Tubeless, and just big enough to inspire the confidence I need on a good, switchback descent. At 290 grams, it is very competitive from a weight standpoint with a decent tube and tire combination. Sure, you could find an ultra-light tube and tire, but durability would suffer dramatically, and your costs would go up as you puncture your fragile and expensive tubes.
How I Tested The Fusion 3
As a 180 pound rider on a 15 pound bike, and I generally run 105 psi in the rear and 100 in the front. I try to minimize my rolling resistance while maintaining a comfortable ride. I run 2 ounces of Stan's sealant in each tire. The first time you ride a Hutchinson Fusion 3 Tubeless you will instantly notice a comfort difference compared to a standard clincher
Here in Colorado, I like to climb, and I like to descend. In the summer, I enjoy all day slogs through the mountains in preparation for epic rides like my annual assault on Mt. Evans or the Triple Bypass. I find the Hutchinson Fusion 3 Tubeless to be the perfect tire for my needs. It is more comfortable than any clincher I have ever ridden, and most riders find it to be on par with a tubular. Unlike a tubular, I need not carry a spare tire with me on my excursions that can be 30 miles from anything resembling a bicycle shop. In fact, I have yet to use even my spare tube as flats are extremely uncommon. To put this in perspective, last summer I broke my freewheel, had a part on my pedal fail, lost a chainring bolt, and broke a spoke. During that time, I had no flats. In essence, my tires went from being one of the most common causes of a mid-ride maintenance stop, to one of the least likely.
If there a trade-off with the Hutchinson Fusion 3 Tubeless it is durability. The tire has a relatively soft compound that wears steadily as you pour on the miles. I did suffer one cut with my Hutchinson Fusion 3 Tubeless, but, with sealant, the tire still held enough air to get me home. I was later able to patch the tire using Hutchinson Rep'Air Tubeless Repair Kit for Road. The tire is very vulnerable to wear if you ride on a stationary trainer or on unpaved surfaces. In order to get more life from my Hutchinson Fusion 3 Tubeless, I am now avoiding the few packed dirt roads that I used to ride occasionally.
As I have put miles on the tires, I have noticed the rear tire wearing faster than the front. When the rear is finally too worn to ride, I plan on moving the front tire to the rear wheel, and put a new Hutchinson Fusion 3 Tubeless on the front, in order to save money.
The Hutchinson Fusion 3 Tubeless are my favorite road tubeless tires out there, and they a worthy compliment to my lightest wheelset on my most expensive bike. They are fast, light, and comfortable enough for an all day ride. Treat them well and they will serve you faithfully for about 2,000 miles.
Every new technology has a "killer app" that proves it's value, and the Hutchinson Fusion 3 Tubeless is the tire that will make you swear off of tubes for good.
Posted by Jason at 12:52 PM