Hutchinson invented the first road tubeless tyres back in 2006 in a partnership with Shimano. It has continued to evolve its tyre range in the intervening years, and the latest Fusion 5 Performance tyres are the best yet. They're fast, grippy, supple, durable and easy to fit, and a rival for any other tubeless tyre currently available.
The Fusion 5 is a successor to the Fusion 3, but what happened to the Fusion 4? Well, Hutchinson reckons it has made five key improvements in developing the new tyre, so the leap to five was made. Those five key improvements are listed as being 10% better traction, 18% better rolling resistance, 22% more durable, and improved puncture resistance and comfort.
Big claims indeed. That's why I've been testing these tyres on different wheels and bikes for the past couple of months to really get to know them and put them through a proper test including lots of different road surfaces and conditions. And the verdict? I'm impressed. They deliver a fast and supple road feel, they have proved to be durable, highly resistant to punctures and grippy in all conditions.
The new Fusion 5 comes in three flavours. I've been testing the mid-range Performance model, which is probably the most suitable all-round tyre for general riding and racing. It's offered in 23 and 25mm widths and I've been testing the latter, a width that has largely become standard on road race bikes these days. A 28mm version is going to be added soon.
There's also an All-Season (which comes in 28mm) that has a tread pattern and is designed for wet weather with increased durability and traction. If you want the lightest, the Fusion 5 Galactik weighs a claimed 180g in the 23mm width.
Puncture resistance has been superb. In fact, touch wood, I've not had one flat. Compared to the Galactik, the Performance tyre adds a layer of Kevlar puncture resistance material, and while it also adds a bit of weight, it's a fair compromise for peace of mind when riding in a range of conditions and racking up decent miles.
Durability has been excellent as well. Inspecting the tyres recently, they're still in very good condition, with no discernible cuts or gashes to show for the miles I've put into them. That's good to know if you are riding at this time of year when the roads are often covered in muck and debris that can very rapidly take its toll on tyres that simply aren't up to the task.
Adding sealant to the tyre is one of the big advantages of a tubeless tyre setup, and in most cases small holes or cuts of about 2-4mm will be sealed by the sealant. Tyre pressure is a personal thing – I opted for between 80 and 95psi depending on conditions; I usually go a bit lower in the front and higher in the rear.
Tubeless tyres are often heavier than regular clincher tyres because an extra layer of rubber has to be added to make them airtight. Hutchinson claims a weight of 315g, but I measured the tyres on the road.cc scales at 328g. That's comparable with the Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tyre, for many considered the current benchmark race tubeless tyre.
Installation of tubeless tyres is a bit trickier than a regular clincher and inner tube setup, and I know how daunting it can seem at first. There are many horror stories on the internet, and I've had more than my share of hiccups. Generally, progress is being made towards simplifying the whole process, but there are sometimes compatability issues with different tyre and rim combinations.
I fitted the tyres to a range of different wheels through the test period and never experienced any problems. Sometimes they inflated with just a regular track pump, but occasionally I had to resort to using a dedicated tubeless inflator, of which there are now many options on the market at a range of prices.
Hutchinson offers a pair of Fusion 5 tubeless tyres with rim tape, valves, sealant and a Convert' air kit for £99.95, which seems a good way to get entirely converted to tubeless if you already have tubeless-ready wheels. It certainly makes going tubeless much easier because you have everything you need in the box to get you converted.
Once inflated, the tyres maintained good pressure with no leakage to report over the course of days and weeks. I make a habit of regularly checking tyre pressures (I ride my bike every day and as part of the test procedure it's optimal to ensure the tyres are adequately inflated).
For a long time the Schwalbe Pro One has been the benchmark performance tubeless tyre against which all others are measured, but the traction of the Fusion 5s out of the box in a range of conditions, especially in the wet, surpasses the Pro Ones. Factors like speed and rolling resistance are trickier to compare, but they certainly don't feel any slower at all, and puncture resistance is superb.
Grip from the ElevenSTORM compound has been a highlight of the Fusion 5 Performance. In the wet, it is markedly better than the Pro One, with the sort of predictability you want when riding tricky terrain and challenging descents with varying grip levels. In the dry they are superb, you can really push the tyres hard into corners and the tread compound latches onto the road surface.
Overall, I've been really impressed with the Fusion 5 Performance tyres, and I have no hesitation in recommending them.
Fast, grippy and durable tubeless tyres that might have just set a new benchmark
road.cc test report
Make and model: Hutchinson Fusion 5 Tubeless Performance Road Tyre
Size tested: 700 x 25
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?
Hutchinson says: "The Fusion 5 is literally an all rounder tubeless tyre, designed to combine grip, efficiency, durability, puncture resistance and comfort. This combination enables this tyre to reach a high level of performance when out on the road.
"During 2 years, Hutchinson teams have been working on a unique process allowing the HDF>5 to reach high level results on the 5 performance highlights of a tire : Grip / Efficiency / Durability / Puncture resistant / Comfort.
"It's the union of all HUTCHINSON Group intelligences, regarding research, development, and experience in the composition of the best cycling compounds.It is 105 combinations of compound mixtures, 80 000 miles on test benches, 21 000 miles on the bike."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Low rolling resistance with ElevenSTORM® compound.
Top mileage abilities.
High grip on wet & dry roads.
Benchmark light weight.
ElevenSTORM® is the new exclusive performance compound developed by Hutchinson R&D Laboratory.
The new ElevenSTORM® compound comes with energy and violence, and will erase on its way all the doubts about possibility to combine in one compound devastating performances in all the fields.
Rolling performance, Grip, Mileage.
No time for compromise anymore.
Top Features of the Hutchinson Fusion 5 Tubeless Performance Road Tyre
A Tubeless, Efficent and Durable tire
Excellent cost-performance value
Competition spec clincher tire
Durable and performance compounds
Tyre Bead: Folding
Tyre TPI: 127
Wheel Size: 700c (622)
Always worth shopping around for the best deals, but the RRP is on a par with other road tubeless tyres; £100 for a pair of tyres and all the tubeless gubbins you need seems pretty good to me.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed above expectations.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Easy installation, good grip in all weathers, durable and fast feeling.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
There's no 28mm version at present, but there soon will be...
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
If you are into tubeless and want a fast, grippy and durable tyre, this is one of the best currently available.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.