A great combination of assured grip, easy roll and a gorgeous ride feel that’s super simple to set up tubeless and looks stealthily ‘proto’ but that comes at a high cost.
- - Very light
- - Fast, especially on rougher roads
- - Trustworthy all-conditions grip
- - Limousine ride-feel
- - Very durable so far
- - Super easy tubeless set up
- - Significantly reduced eco impact
- - Significantly increased wallet impact
Hutchinson is a brand rich in heritage, finding its roots in late 19th-century Chalette-sur-Loing, and seeing many victors through the finish line at the Tour de France. The Limited Edition Fusion 5 Gridskins pictured here are a stripped down version of the brand's regular best road bike tyre option, the Fusion 5 Performance. We’ve already reviewed the Hutchinson Touareg Gridskin gravel tyres over on our sister site Bike Perfect, which earned a spot on our list of the best gravel tyres.
These Hutchinson Limited Edition Fusion 5s are a fantastic tyre to use and ride for all sorts of reasons, though there’s currently only one sizing option and cost is high.
Design and specification
The Fusion 5 tyre has been around for a while as a conspicuously smooth and grippy rubber option that’s a breeze to set up tubeless, and those key markers haven’t unchanged. Unwrap the recycled paper packaging, thumb the beads onto the rims, feed some sealant in, and they’ll casually creep across the rim bed and pop into place without sweat or drama. They’ve held pressure since the first inflation, and not burped even when I’ve provoked them with silly lean angles, gravel excursions and deliberate low pressure side hops.
The construction of the Limited Edition Gridskins is very different from the original, and uses a ‘naked’ construction where the new Gridskin reinforcement mesh is used as the exposed outer ply rather than being embedded into the casing. That reduces weight noticeably over the already light standard carcass Fusion for really lively acceleration.
Crucially for protection, it makes the mesh the first line in terms of cut, scuff and tear defence. It also lets the grid and casing move more easily too, and that compliance and enhanced smoothness is really noticeable, turning what was occasionally a chattery tyre into a proper ‘feels like 10psi softer’ limousine ride.
The efficiency and grip of the quick but still surefooted ElevenSTORM rubber compound is enhanced further by the more fluid carcass losing less energy to surface irregularities, so the Gridskins feel properly fast (anecdotal perception and on-road wattage tests suggest they’re on par with Schwalbe Pro One, but not quite up to Specialized RapidAir or Continental GP 5000 levels), particularly on rougher roads.
Wet and dry grip is also excellent, and while typically for Hutchinson the tread strip is only 21.5mm wide on the 28mm carcass, it’s just enough to cope with Moto GP moments. Despite deliberately (I’m a tester after all) abusive use on- and off-road, I’m not seeing any signs of carcass or deep tread damage, and I’ve not punctured (or at least not noticed I have) either.
While it might not be for everyone, I love the lack of ‘hot patch’ tyre logos, which means no stress about lining up valves for Instagram, and more importantly it reduces construction steps and energy required, material wastage and eco impact.
The sole 28mm size option is a good balance of comfort, weight and clearance too, but I would love to see some fatter versions, as I reckon the Gridskin advantages might shine even brighter on a bigger stage.
Pricing is on par with other premium tyres too, rather than being Hutchinson’s typical bargain cost.
I’ve always loved the grip and speed balance, low weight and easy tubeless setup of Hutchinson’s Fusion tyres. The new Gridskin version is lighter, grippier, and faster (especially on rougher roads) with a gorgeously supple ride feel making it a joy to ride. It’s just as simple to set up, and kinder on the environment too. It is, however, almost double the price of the standard Fusion 5, and currently only available in one size.
Tech Specs: Hutchinson Fusion 5 Gridskin Ltd Ed
- Price: £64.95 / $76 / €78 / AU$119
- Weight: 253g
- Width: 28mm (70psi on 21mm internal rims)
- Sizes: 700 x 28mm only
- Colours: ‘Gridskin’ only
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