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The Hutchinson Tundra tyre is a gravel tyre designed for all year round riding conditions on a variety of surfaces. Gravel is a broad church, so this sounds like a bold claim…
- Brand: Hutchinson
- Product: Tundra
- From: Hutchinson Tires
- Price: £49.95 (700×45 tested, 700×40 and 700×50 also available)
- Tested by: Hannah for 3 months
- Impressively puncture proof
- Grip well, roll well
- A good all-rounder
- This spec only in tan wall
- Quite a firm ride
I have had the mid-sized 700x45C Hutchinson Tundra tyres in bronze colour to test. These are made in France – as are all the bronze sidewall versions. The black ones are made in Asia. The bronze ones – shall we be done with it and call them tan wall? – also have ‘Hardskin’ puncture protection, while the black ones have ‘Reinforced+’. So if you’re looking to buy, be aware that the colours come with performance differences.
Hardskin is Hutchinson’s wall-to-wall puncture protection – it’s not just on the sidewalls – in the layer below the outer tread. The tread itself is bi-compound, with a harder wear rubber at the centre, and a softer compound at the edges.
The tread pattern takes inspiration from Hutchinson’s Black Mamba CX tyre, although there’s no front and rear difference – one tyre for all conditions and all wheel positions.
Fitting the Tundras was easy enough with the help of a tubeless ‘blaster’ style pump – no undue wrestling required.
To my mind, Hutchinson has done what they set out to do. The harder compound centre tread is reasonably fast rolling on tarmac, yet the tyres are still grippy on a variety of surfaces.
Even on autumn leaf terror-mush-on-tarmac I’ve happily sped along without any of the squirrelly fears I’ve had on some tyres. I reckon the grip is more mechanical than chemical though, as on my local rocky/slabby/oversized cobble climbs I’ve found myself slip-grip-slipping along in some spots – but still, ultimately, gripping.
Sure, there are faster rolling tyres, but if you’re more likely to find yourself on gravel, rocks and mud than road, I think you’ll be glad of grip these give. On the other hand, if you commute on the road and just head to a canal path for the weekend, these are probably overkill as a daily driver.
In drier and dusty conditions too I’ve found these tyres to offer a good balance of grip and speed, meaning they really do live up to that ‘year round’ billing. For a fit and forget tyre, they seem to me to be a great option.
Add to the the puncture protection – I’ve (touch wood) not had a single puncture, and they’ve held air even with long spells between rides – and I think they’re a good choice for the rider who just wants to grab their bike and get rolling.
These aren’t in the same soft, supple and comfortable league as the Panaracer SK Gravelking – my previous all-round tyre of choice. But the Gravelkings get out of their depth when things get wet and muddy, and the Tundras do not. For the kind of ‘gravel’ conditions I usually encounter, I think the Tundras are a better choice. I still love the feel of the Gravelkings when rolling along the finer stuff, but the confidence given by the Tundras offers mental comfort.
I imagine that the Hardskin protection is adding an element of firmness to the ride, but for confidence in being able to keep riding without fear of punctures that doesn’t seem like a hardship. For reference, I’ve run them at 38-40psi for mixed surface stuff.
Cornering seems fine – though I’d say I’ve not been doing any berm whipping on these. Just riding along and not worrying about sliding out.
If you’re prepared to swap tyres according to terrain and conditions, then you can deploy tyres for niches at will. Personally, I like being able to ride wherever and enjoy whatever the trail may offer up. The Hutchinson Tundra tyres do a great job. If your riding is more off road than on tarmac, these are a great choice.
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