Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 9

Pros:

  • As fast as top tubulars
  • Easier to mount than tubs
  • Reduced risk of pinch flats
  • Can be run softer for better comfort and grip

Cons:

  • Putting them on takes a bit of practice

Product:

Hutchinson Atom Road Tubeless

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£34.99

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Tubeless road tyres have been a long time coming but it looks as though 2009 will be their breakthrough year. After a false start in 2004, when we expected Michelin and Mavic to bring tubeless tyres to the market, Hutchinson took the project on, collaborating with Shimano for the wheels.

The French company, which supplied the tyres for all seven of Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France wins, now has three tyres in its Road Tubeless range. The new Hutchinson Atom, at 270g is the lightest and the fastest. The Fusion2, 295g, is Hutchinson’s original Road Tubeless tyre and is meant for all-round riding. The Intensive, also new this year, is a heavier 25mm tyre intended for long-distance riding.

So why tubeless? Cars and motorcycles have been running on tubeless tyres for years, and mountain bikers swear by them too. There’s no inner tube, and though they’re a little tougher to mount on a rim than a standard clincher, they’re a hell of a lot less hassle than sticking on a tub! Tubeless tyres are claimed to be faster than clinchers, and Hutchinson says it has proven in tests that its tubeless tyres are as fast as top tubulars. Without an inner tube, tubeless can be run at a lower pressure for increased comfort and grip with no loss of efficiency. Of course, not having an inner tube also means a reduced risk of pinch flats.

Admittedly, fitting and inflating road tubeless takes a bit of practice, not to mention strength, but once you’ve got the hang of getting the carbon bead to make the ‘pop’ sound that tells you it is seated in the rim, you’re away and you won’t look back.

Verdict

We rode the new Hutchinson Atom at the Hutchinson Open Tour in May. Measuring 21mm rather than the published 23mm, it is narrow, but Hutchinson’s mechanics stressed 100psi was enough and they were dead right. On the road the Atoms felt soft yet fast — two adjectives which rarely go together in cycling — and cornering was ultra-precise. We ran them in conjunction with Hutchinson RT1 deep-rim carbon wheel (a rebadged Corima Aero+), and this was another winning combo, one that we reckon would be extremely effective in hilly time trials.

  • D. Misner

    I have used atom tubeless on campy eurus wheels this year and have been very happy with performance. After 800km the rear tire leaked so badly though the sidewalls that I had to fill it twice a day. Contacted retailer and was told that they do this and to add sealant. Replaced rear tire with my only spare and so far so good.

  • G Keers

    These tyres have nice soft grippy rubber which is nice for cornering but even when I dropped about 20psi from my usual 110/120 to 90psi I was surprised they they were not more comfortable and easy rolling. My guess is that the thick sidewalls that these tyres have (I presume to make them easy to seal and inflate) means that they give up some comfort and rolling resistant performance. It also explains why they are not particularly light for a racing tyre. It is a shame that Hutchinson have not yet come out with an all out racing tubeless tyre, even if it means that an air hose would be required to inflate them.

  • M Jamieson

    Very dissapointed with the lack of choice in tubeless tyres. Considering that there are probably a dozen high spec wheel sets out there which can take tubeless tyres why is there only one manufacturer and one racing tyre to do the job?
    The Atoms are now priced at £43.99 each !!! I have a shinny new Ultegra wheelset which cost a little over £200 and i am very reluctant to furnish them with the most expensive tubless tyres in the world. Esspecially since my only experience with Huchinson tyres was with a pair of Fusion 2 (with tubes) which punctured constantly and handled poorly in the wet.
    Any ideas?

  • Ron Hardiman

    My experience, your mileage may vary.

    Ran the Tufo system (Elite Ride 23 front and Elite Ride 25 rear) on all the family bikes for a couple of years and have been running the Hutchinson’s (Funsion2’s) for the last year. Recently (within the last month) started using Hutchinson Intensive as a rear tire on my own bike as I finally found a supply.

    Initial reason to moving to the Tufo’s was too many pinch flats running Continental 3000/4000’s (700Cx23) at 125 psi. I am a very heavy (270 pound) rider.

    Initial durability seems about the same. I have had one early failure with a rock/glass casing cut on each System that effectively destroyed the tire. In this instance the Hutchinson is significantly better as the casing seems to be more evenly woven as regards bias strength. A similar cut in the Tufo Elite Ride 23 could not be fixed using the Tufo sealant as the casing did not appear to be as balanced and the hole kept growing along the bias. The Tufo tire did get me home but I had to stop and every 5-6 miles and re-pump. The 1/8 inch diameter hole in the Hutchinson held at 80 psi for 40 kilometers using the Stan’s No Tubes sealant system.

    Note that the Tufo does not have a tube but instead an air tight butyl rubber compound bonded to the inner surface of the casing. The fact that the air tight layer is bonded to the casing is the reason you can us a sealant on the Tufo tires but not on other tubulars.

    My wife appears to be completely oblivious to debris on the road, thus my experience is that the Tufo’s are much more prone to punctures that require application/reapplication of sealant. This is likely as much an issue regarding the differences in the Tufo and Stan’s sealants as it is the actual performance of the tires. The Stan’s system typically seals before a significant loss of pressure, the Tufo system, not so much. Punctures, once sealed, do not tend to me a long term issue in either system. The Stan’s sealant is A LOT easier to clean up.

    Traction on all four tires types was perfectly adequate, wet or dry. When the tires do break loose, they all do so in a predictable and controllable manner.

    The Tufo tire, especially the Elite Ride 25, seemed to be suppler than the Hutchinsons. The Intense is significantly more comfortable to ride than the Fusion2.

    I have not had any problems with sidewalls on ten Hutchinson tires installed.

    I am using the Stan’s No Tube rim tape system on conventional clincher rims (Shamino WH-7701’s, Rolf Pros, and Mavic Open Pros). Initial seating of tires on the Open Pros was an issue. Use of a CO2 inflator quickly solved the problem.

  • coco

    Why would I want to buy a tyre that Hutchinson have a monopoly on and charge a lot more for than other clinchers would be priced at. Monopolies don’t interest me and I have been told by the industry that Hutch(not CWs) is a crepe tyre. I have the wheels but refuse to buy the tyres priced in this fashion.Shampag Camals TwoWay Twit is my spinners, hump back bridges are easy, one thump or who?

  • dan gregory

    What about Tufos? Okay they have a tube like a tub does but they do fit on regular Clincher rims. I’ve been using them for years and as far as I know I’ve never had a puncture.
    Have Hutchinson sorted out their sidewall problems yet?