Great ride feel and low rolling resistance make up for being a pain to fit
Weight: 290g Contact: www.hutchinsontires.com
Tubeless MTB tyres have been around for a while and while they're still niche there's plenty of people who swear by them. I suspect road tubeless will go the same way: the hassle of fitting them will put many people off but those who do try these Fusion 2 tubeless tyres will be rewarded with excellent feel and low rolling resistance.
To fit tubeless road tyres you'll need a few bits and bobs: sealing rim tape, a valve, some latex solution and, of course, the tyres themselves. I've seen kits with all the stuff you need retailing for as much as £200 but this is a nonsense; you can pick up everything for two wheels for about £85 if you shop around, which is about the same as the RRP on two of these tyres.
Fitting the tyres is fiddly, you can read my experiences here but basically I'd budget for a wedge of time and a CO2 inflator to make the job a whole lot easier. Once they're on the 'tubeless' moniker on the side is the only thing to give them away, and although they need topping up a little more than a tyre and tube they don't require any special treatment.
So if it's a fiddle, then why switch? MTBers make great sway by a tubeless tyre's ability to resit pinch flats, meaning you can run lower pressures for better grip. That's not so much of an issue on tarmac, but there is a good reason to try them, and that's the ride quality.
Rolling resistance is noticeably lower, and the tyres feel very supple and sure footed on all surfaces. I've used (and liked) Fusion 2s before although I've never found them to be the grippiest, but the tubeless version is a notch above the standard tyre. I still found its limits on wet shiny downhill tarmac, but on climbs they were superb. For most of the test I ran them at 100psi; I had a few runs at lower pressure to see if the tyres performed better but to be honest I preferred them harder and it didn't seem to affect the rolling resistance at all.
It's only fair to report that I completely wrecked one of the test tyres: I hit a sharp rock that dented the rim and put a one-inch gash in the carcass of the tyre. Obviously the latex didn't seal that but with an improvised tyre boot and spare tube I was able to complete my ride, and the damage to the tyre didn't spread. I'm convinced that any other tyre would have suffered a similar fate given the circumstances, so it doesn't reflect badly on the Fusion 2. Fitting a tube was straightforward, if a little messy due to all the latex solution. I've seen reports that these tyres are hard to fit by hand but I didn't have had any problems in testing.
Apart from that incident I've had no punctures on the Fusion 2s. Whether small holes have in fact been sealed by the latex when out riding it's difficult to say, but having prodded the tyres with various sharp implements in the workshop I can reliably say that the liquid does its job when there is an intrusion, sometimes instantaneously and sometimes with a bit of pressure loss.
Overall these are good quality tyres with a great ride feel and superbly low rolling resistance. Some of the benefits of running tubeless translate well to the road and others are less applicable, but overall the ride quality is the main benefit. If you're up to the job of fitting them, they're certainly worth a try.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Hutchinson Fusion 2 tubeless 700x23c tyre
Size tested: 23mm
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Fusion 2 is a competition tubeless tyre for everything up to competition riding
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Competition type slick profile
Ultra light 127 tpi casing
Carbon bead technology provided ride flat safety
Well built tyres, not over light but then you're not running a tube.
Really good feel and low rolling resistance. Small punctures do seal in workshop conditions, difficult to know whether any happened on the road.
Solidly constructed with a 3-compound system giving a harder wearing central section
Other tubeless tyres are lighter, though the system as a whole doesn't weigh more than a good tyre and tube
Excellent ride feel and rolling resistance
The system's not a lot more than two decent tyres, so it's not bad value if you're prepared for the faff of fitting
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Low rolling resistance and great ride feel
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? yes
Would you consider buying the product? yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? yes
About the tester
I usually ride: Schwinn Moab, urbanised with 700cs My best bike is: Trek 1.5 with upgrades
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track