Tubeless road tires are the future, right? Well, not exactly. While they are certainly worth trying, not all tubeless road tires are created equal. It’s with that eye that I picked up a set of Hutchinson Fusion 3 tubeless road tires and mounted them to a set of Zipp 30 Course wheels.
Hutchinson Fusion 3 Road Tubeless Tire Features:
- Dual-density tread (harder center with softer shoulders for better rolling and cornering)
- Available in both 23 and 25mm widths (25mm tested)
- Features a 127 tpi casing
- Carbon bead structure
- Patchable with repair kit
- Weight: 320 grams
- MSRP: $105 ($39.99 at BikeWagon.com)
Durable, but heavy tubeless tires
Hutchinson is one of the original tubeless road champions and continue to provide tubeless offerings throughout their lineup. Going road tubeless does have its advantages and disadvantages. Overall, I’m a fan and have liked these tires, but they aren’t ideal for everything.
Mounting them up is a straightforward task. I’ve chosen to run these aboard the Zipp 30 Course wheels. Since they are 21mm wide, they allow tires to develop a fuller profile and, I think, seat in the rim much better.
I was able to get the tires on the rim, but only after a bit of persuasion. In the end I used a tire lever to pop the last 10-inches or so. Going with soapy water might have eliminated that need, but I got it done. From there, I used Bontrager sealant and inflated using the Bontrager TLR Flash Charger to seat up the bead. A couple of spins and I was set. Air leakage has been minimal — about what you’d expect from a typical tube/tire setup.
On the road, I immediately noticed the soft, supple ride. While the Zipp’s are great wheels, they are fairly stiff-riding and the Fusion 3’s went a long way to soften things up. Small road imperfections were muted and the overall ride was noticeably calmed. Compared to the Continental GP4000S tires and latex tubes that were removed, the Fusion 3’s do feel sluggish and end up adding about 1/3 lb. for the pair. Typically I see a weight reduction by going tubeless, but not here.
While there wasn’t a weight reduction, there was an increase in comfort and confidence. I’ve experienced more than my fair share of punctures with the 4000S, but I absolutely love their performance. The Fusion 3’s, on the other hand are nearly bombproof. I’d go so far as to call these “worry-free” with confidence. Just ride them for a few thousand miles and repeat.
The downsides? Well, aside from the weight penalty mentioned above, I’m going to knock them for their mediocre road feel. They do end up feeling vague and numb on the road. And, the added weight at the outermost edge does translate into a little bit of a gyroscope-effect while cornering. If you’re buying these tires, you’re not buying them for their zippiness — you’re buying them for their puncture resistance. Just remember that as you roll through that next patch of goat heads.
Note: The Fusion 3’s have been discontinued in favor of the Fusion 5’s, but are still around at a significant discount.
- Noticeable comfort improvement
- Worry-free performance
- Affordable ($39.99 now)
- Seats easily
- Heavy beasts
- Delivers a numb ride
- Rotational momentum affects steering
The Bottom Line: Hutchinson Fusion 3
Just ride your bike. Ride it anywhere, all year. Ride over glass, thorns and general road mayhem — all without punctures. Yes, you can slash these tires under the worst of scenarios, but normal punctures from glass and thorns are things of the past — they seal right up.
Buy Now: Available at BikeWagon.com
Again, you're going to love these if you want to ride your bike and not worry about punctures. Just let them roll for winter riding and roads or trails that often feature scree, thorns or glass. They are heavy and do affect steering precision, but if puncture-free performance is what you seek, the Fusion 3's are both reliable and affordable.