This tyre has performed well in independent rolling resistance tests, and felt sticky enough on the road to allow for confident cornering. Set-up as a clincher was arduous, though in tubeless guise I had no problems. Whilst I can't mark an entire tyre model down just because I experienced one puncture, it can't be overlooked that it took only two rides before I was plugging my rubber with a £5 note by the side of the road. In this case, the fact that Hutchinson has opted for speed over puncture protection is a pretty obvious culprit. My colleague had a much better time with the Hutchinson's Fusion 5 Performance tyre, and I'd point interested riders the direction of this more resilient version.
Limited puncture protection
Ride feel not remarkable
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Hutchinson's Fusion 5 range of tyres is extensive: there are multiple versions, so before we go any further I'd like to make it clear that I'm reviewing the Galactik model, which is the fastest and lightest version, over the reportedly more durable 'All Season' and the middle ground 'Performance' style.
We scored the 'Performance' model an 8/10, and actually, Hutchinson is discontinuing the Galaktik model for the summer ahead - so whilst close-out stock is still available (hence the decision to plough on with this review), it looks like the brand might well have come to a similar conclusion to myself: my experience would suggest that the Performance model is a better bet for most riders.
Hutchinson Fusion 5 Galactik tubeless ready tyre: construction
The Galactik model carries a claimed weight of 240g, and incredibly both my 25mm tyres came in at exactly 240g on our scales. The 11Storm graphics and arrow shaped water shedding grooves initially had me chasing after the wrong scent - believing this would be a tough, winter tyre. Not so - Hutchinson calls this 'the tyre for pure racers finding speed and performance.'
All three Fusion 5 tyres come with the 11Storm compound: this is said to be sticky, providing excellent grip. The surface features arrow-shaped tread patterns reportedly to aid wet weather performance, but I'd usually rely upon compound over rubber etchings when seeking reassurance.
The model on test is a tubeless-ready clincher, so you can run them in either guise - though it's usually best to run a tubeless-ready tyre without tubes in my experience, as the tougher bead can make clincher set ups a bit arduous. The sidewalls also need to be tougher to prevent sealant from "weeping" out of the tyre, but this has a negative effect if you're running the tye with tubes, both on fitting and ride quality - the latter being eliminated by the lower pressures made possible when ridden as intended.
The tyre comes with a Thread Per Inch (TPI) count of 127, which is the same as one of my favourites, the Pirelli P Zero Velo. Because it is the fast, race model, there's no puncture protection belt - this sets it apart from the likes of the All Season and Performance models - which in tubeless ready guise have a Hardskin protection layer (Kevlar Pro Tech in the tube type).
Set-up and the ride
I initially set these tyres up as tubeless-ready clinchers at home, before taking them to the office to raid the sealant, rim tape and valve supplies.
With tubes, I found the bead was very tough and it took a fair amount of thumb abuse and a liberal layer of swearing to get the tyre on to the rim.
Set up and ready to ride at 75/80psi, the experience was fairly good - the tyres rolled well and offered grip in the corners, though I'd say with less of the supple joy of some of my other favourites within this class (the Specialized Turbo Cotton, Wolfpack Road Race Tyre - interestingly, both of which are clinchers, and Continental GP5000 tubeless).
Next, I set the tyres up tubeless - using the Muc Off sealant we use in the Cycling Weekly workshop, opting for 68/70psi. The first ride passed without issue, the tyres again gripping the road, and as you'd expect, with more confidence than the higher-pressure, tubed experience. However, on my second ride, I rolled over an object which pierced the tyre, going right through the rubber and resulting in sealant bubbling up out of the hole, unable to seal. The object itself flicked out on inspection, but felt like a thorn or piece of flint.
Since I wasn't carrying anything more purpose designed for the job, I used a new £5 note as a tyre boot and inserted a tube to get me home.
In the case that the sealant fails to work, the fault can be with the tyre, or the sealant - but when I tried to set the tyre up again with a different sealant, the white liquid leaked across the patio - signifying that the problem was the hole in the tyre simply being too big. This is a more common issue in the case of narrower tyres (sub 28mm), run at higher pressures. It's less likely to happen on a wide, low pressure gravel tyre. It is possible to fix a damaged tubeless tyre using a worm or a patch, so this wouldn't have to be game over if you'd shelled out for these tyres, but it wasn't a great experience.
Of course, the puncture fairy visits all riders, and it's not fair to say that this tyre is sub standard because I happened to roll over a piece of flint on a wet day. These are summer race tyres, and they don't come with a robust puncture belt. However, I can only review based upon my own experience. I have successfully ridden both the Turbo Cotton tyres and Wolfpack Road Race tyres over similar routes, in similar conditions, riding hundreds of kilometres with no flats.
In their defence, the Hutchinson Fusion 5 Galactik tyres stacked up well in terms of rolling resistance comparisons, performed by independent testers bicyclerollingresistance.com. The test was a 2017 model, so it's not an exact match but gives you an idea. They came in better than the Continental GP5000, better than the Wolfpack Road Race, and providing similar results to the Specialized Turbo Cotton.
At £44.95, these tyres do come in cheaper than the aforementioned (clincher) favourites - the Specialized Turbo Cotton, and at a similar RRP to the Wolfpack Road Race Tyre. They're also cheaper than the Continental GP5000 tubeless tyre, at £65.99. However, I've previously managed an entire winter of riding on the Conti GP5000 tubeless with no flats, enjoying a quality ride feel, too.
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