With a wet-weather capable compound, and moderately supple casing, the Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance 11Storm clincher tyres aim to balance grip and liveliness while promising enough durability to see you through the winter season.
It’s a brave company that sends its tyres out for testing in winter. Until you’ve ridden thousands of miles, it’s hard to say if a puncture was a random occurrence or symptomatic of a fragile nature.
So while I can say the Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance tyres didn’t accumulate nicks and cuts like some racey tyres tend to, I can’t say they were 100% puncture-free. Still, they seem relatively tough, especially when balanced against how fun they are to ride.
In winter I tend to run joyless heavy-duty tyres, then swap them for something light and fragile once the weather clears up. Sitting between these two poles, the Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance 11Storm tyre would make a good year-round option. Especially given the UK’s fairly consistent rainfall.
Image 2 of 7
What makes a racing tyre?
Racing tyres used to follow a similar format: a supple 320tpi casing smeared with a coating of rubber thinner than the margarine on a Blitz-era sandwich. Great when they held air, but on anything other than freshly swept tarmac they could be a gamble.
Having worked in a bike shop, I know that refusing a refund on a £55 tyre that’s died on its first outing won’t cut it with the average punter, even if the day before they were demanding the fastest tyres going.
Which brings us back to these Hutchinsons. It seems lots of brands are beefing up their tyres in the interests of durability and consumer confidence. These models come from Hutchinson’s slightly confusing Fusion 5 racing line. All sharing the same 127 TPI (threads-per-inch) casing the range is divided between the race-orientated Galactik, these mid-range Performance models and a more robust All-Season version.
Each gets a slightly different version of the 11Storm compound depending on the level of robustness required. The Galactik makes do with little puncture protection, while our tyres squeeze a Kevlar belt underneath the tread. Each model is then available in tubeless, tubeless-ready and conventional versions. We went with the last option.
According to its maker, our Performance model scores consistently across its five criteria – weight, protection, performance, grip, and comfort – making this version the brand’s go-to racing tyre. As much as I hate to agree with a brand’s marketing material, on the road these tyres do seem pretty well-rounded in their abilities.
Image 5 of 7
Available in 23, 25 and 28c versions, I’d go as wide as possible. Especially if you’ve got broad rims. With a fairly narrow span compared to their comparative tread size, this results in a low-ish overall volume.
A tyre’s listed width and the volume of air contained is not always directly related, and the Hutchinsons are on the slender side. I’d have preferred them a little chunkier for increased pot-hole resistance and float.
On very wide rims, this narrow sizing also gives them a slightly eggy profile. Looking as if you might run out of tread if you leaned too far over, it’s hard to be sure of the effect on handling. I certainly felt more confident once I had set them up on some narrower rims, which gave them a much more pleasing profile.
Image 4 of 7
Until Jarno Bierman over at bicyclerollingresistance.com chucks one on his test rig, I’ll have to guess at how quickly these roll. My spidey senses say somewhere in the quicker half of the middle. You could race on them without feeling short-changed, and they’re certainly light on the scales.
Having swapped them in for a pair of lovely but fragile Specialized Turbo Cottons, they felt slightly slower and a tad harsher, but I trusted them to get me home far more.
So it’s swings and roundabouts. Or in this case roundabouts, puddles, bits of broken glass and grime splattered everywhere by farm vehicles. In short, the Hutchinsons are a good tyre for real-world conditions.
With the tubeless version scoring highly with my colleague James Spender, I can well see the self-healing qualities conferred by a squirt of sealant making these an even more appealing prospect.
As it is, the Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance 11Storm clincher tyre is a good all-around choice. Fast enough for racing, but with enough meat on its carcass to give you a decent feeling of security, they’ll suit most riders in most conditions. Also, there’s the cost to consider. With Vittoria and Continental now wanting around £60 each for their top-end tyres, at £35.95 the Hutchinsons look like a bargain.
Just get them in the widest size possible if you like a bit of volume behind your treads.