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Wheels and Tyres

Hutchinson Toro – the best year-round UK trail tyre?

Updated rubber compounds and treads from France

Just into dirt is all the latest from French brand Hutchinson. with new models and improved compounds We revisit the toro with impressive results. An old favourite is back and better than ever!

Hutchinson were one of the pioneers of tubeless technology, being there with a UST tyre before many brands and moving on with reliable tubeless-ready rubber. We’ve maybe overlooked this brand recently but in the past the Hutchinson Toro has hit the spot for us as a great 50/50 tyre that we could leave on for the bulk of the year and able to cope with those wet and dry spring rides when lower-profile summer rubber just can’t quite cope.

The quality and manufacturing consistency is great with Hutchinson and this was something that was Clemont was keen to discuss. All the aftermarket tyres from Hutchinson are produced in their own factory and they have control over everything they design and manufacture, not partnering with any other factories in an attempt to cut costs. Premium tyres designed to perform at the highest level.

Let’s take a look at the key tyres that sparked an interest for us here at Dirt

TORO

You can maybe blame it on tubeless set-ups, you can certainly blame it on the very changeable weather conditions here in the UK and northern Europe. Either way, swapping tyres can be a faff and having a tread, compound and size that hits the spot for a good mix of conditions can really help keep you out of the garage and onto the hill. This new and improved Toro may well be the one…

What did we say about them first time around?

“If you’re faced with intermediate conditions then these are tough tyres to beat. They manage to dig though the greasy stuff without holding you back when it comes to speed. One of the other things we really like about them though is that they’re available with a ‘Hardskin’ casing which we think is worth the extra weight thanks to the extra stability and cut resistance it provides”

So what’s changed? Have they made any improvements since we wrote those words five years ago?  First up is obviously wheel sizes have moved on. The last time we really rode these tyres was on a 26″ wheel, now the test bikes we have are all 27.5″ and 29″ but a ‘good tyre should work on all sizes’?

The Toro is a mid sized trail tyre with evenly spaced tread, (taller at the shoulder and with a lower height in the central area) and is designed to be run front or rear. Hutchinson’s Hardskin reinforcement sits within the tyre’s 66TPI casing runs from bead to bead and is also available as a double ply (2x66TPI) for tougher trail conditions. Size-wise, the Toro covers all bases, (with 2.10″, 2.25″ and 2.35″ options being of interest to us here at Dirt) are tubeless compatible and available in different compound specs at various price points. The tyres we have on test are the highest spec Toro aimed at harder trail riding or enduro racing.

This is the one for us…

We rode the latest RR (Race Riposte) Enduro compound with a soft 50a compound on the central tread and an even softer 40a rubber on the shoulders. The 2.2 inch width is good, but with a pair of 2.35 tyres just landed here at Dirt we feel these will be even more impressive in tougher terrain.They worked well set up tubeless (it popped on and sealed with just a track pump) and tested in mixed condition tracks on mid travel trail bikes. We’ll be leaving them on into the summer months and testing them back to back with our favourite dry weather tyres but so far the tread pattern, soft compound and shape have found favour in a variety of track conditions.  Are they a ‘fit and forget’ option? Stay tuned and we’ll keep you posted.

PRICE: (27.5″ x 2.25/2.35″ RR ENDURO) £49.00

WEIGHT: 946g (2.25″), 1080g (2.35″)

 

So what else have Hutchinson got in their latest range?

DZO

“Perhaps the most aggressive MTB tyre ever” is how Hutchinson describe the DZO and maybe they’re right.

There are plenty of applications for these types of tyres, from uplifting on wet days through to racing on torn-apart off-camber tracks that never seem to dry out. We’ve found favourites in the Schwalbe Magic Mary and the Specialized Hillbilly DH, both picks in the 2016 Dirt 100. These are both versatlie treads that go beyond the wet weather applications that are at the top of their design briefs. At 2.25″ the Dzo is a touch narrower than both of these tyres, especially when comparing the it to the VertStar version of the Schwalbe and as such weighs in at a lighter weight of 1053g. The Magic Mary hits the scales at 1100g for the an equivalent 2.35″ with Supergravity casing (or 1400g for the wire bead DH model). At 1290g the wire bead HillBilly DH has a wider carcass at 2.5″.

With a double-ply carcass (2 x 66TPI), reliable tubeless compatibility and Hutchinson’s ‘Race Riposte Enduro’ dual compound tread (as per the Toro above), this DZO has a lot on offer. The time has almost passed for immediate testing (with local tracks now drying out nicely) but if the rains arrive for more than a few days we’ll be fitting these for some back to back testing.

PRICE: (27.5 x 2.25″ RR ENDURO) £49.00

WEIGHT: 1053g

PYTHON 2

If you’re looking for a rear tyre to add a dose of acceleration and pace to your bike over the drier months then this revised version of the Python could well be one for your list. Like the Toro, it’s been in the Hutchinson line up for years and as such has just needed an update to stay up with the leaders of the pack.

With the new wave of harder hitting semi-slicks such as the Schwalbe Rock Razor and the Specialized Slaughter become established larger volume choices, the Python 2 has some stiff competition. So what doe it offer?

Hutchinson list the Python 2 as a tyre designed for dry, mixed and/or rocky terrain. In the past, a faster rolling tyre was usually built around a lightweight XC carcass and there was always a risk that when mounted to the rear of a bike and used on more punishing trails they would be easily damaged. The Hardskin construction appears again with this tyre and squeezing the sidewall between finger and thumb shows a reassuringly robust (yet flexible) carcass. Good news, as drier conditions allow faster speeds and often harder impacts on and off rock and roots. Again, this tyre has grown up with rise of enduro racing and as such is offered in a higher volume 2.25″ width (as well as a 2.1″) as well as options for a regular compound tread or a Race Riposte (RR) XC version. Tubeless ready is a given on most versions of the Python 2, with Hutchinson making their own sealant too.

The tread on the Python 2 is an almost continuous alternating central tread, with a closely spaced shoulder of chamfered knobs for cornering grip. The main tread pattern has a higher profile than the semi slicks from Schwalbe, Specialized and Maxxis, with more ability to bite into loose ground and this along with a good outer edge of raised knobs should give the Python purpose in mixed terrain with careful tuning of air pressure.

A rear tyre only for us here at Dirt and one that should come into its own over the next few months. We’ll report back on this tyre and the rest of the Hutchinson rubber that we’ve got in to test.

PRICE: (27.5″ x 2.25″ RR ENDURO) £49.00

WEIGHT: 930g

hutchinsontires.com

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