The Fusion 5 Performance 11Storm tyres are visually appealing and fast-rolling but are found wanting when it comes to all-out traction
Low TPI count
The tall profile makes for unexpected handling
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When buying Hutchinson Fusion5 tyres, there are a number of options available. When it comes to puncture protection, there are three variants: All Season, Performance or Galactik, all in either a standard or Hutchinson's new 11Storm compound. Next comes tubeless or tube-type, black or tan sidewalls and size - of which there are three: 23c, 25c or 28c.
We got our hands on the Fusion 5 Performance 11Storm, tube-type with tan sidewalls in a size 25c. I've been using these road bike tyres through all sorts of conditions ranging from scorching summertime temperatures to diabolical downpours.
For this test, I have run the tyres on two wheelsets, the Roval CLX50 and Mavic Aksium Elite wheels. Hutchinson recommends running them between 80 and 115 psi - I've always found these figures to be overstated, so chose to use pressures between 70 and 90 throughout my test period.
Design and aesthetics
On first impressions, the dark tan sidewalls make for a great looking pair of tyres, offering a slightly different hue to the more yellow-looking sidewalls of the Specialized Turbo Cottons, and the pale colour of the Vittoria Corsas.
The tan sidewalls are simply a colour dye rather than a result of the tyre’s construction and there are a few sections of colour bleed which detract somewhat from an otherwise very good looking pair of tyres.
Specification and build quality
The Hutchinson Fusion5 Performance road tyre uses a Kevlar Pro Tech layer of puncture protection and, thanks to this, puncture protection is as good as anything I've used before. My three-month test period has covered many grit-and-glass-covered cycle lanes, down a number of gravel-covered canal paths and even a short stint of singletrack, and still, my puncture tally remains squarely at zero.
The 127 threads-per-inch count isn't as high as the 320tpi offered by the Vittoria Corsa or the Specialized Turbo Cotton, but I can't disagree with Hutchinson's claim that its 11Storm compound provides low-rolling resistance and durability. This does result in a slightly less-premium rubber, which on colder days can feel slippery and drain handling confidence.
These tyres weigh in at 210 grams each, which is a five-gram premium over the black sidewall versions. Who said looking good costs nothing? That said, this is in line with its competition. As for construction, they feel thin, light, and supple, with a noticeably thicker centre thanks to the Kevlar reinforcement.
The tyres feel quick. I cannot back this up with data but there is certainly no sluggishness about them in a straight line. They respond quickly to accelerations and short uphill sprints without hesitation.
The narrow profile and thicker centre results in a tyre that has a tall profile and twitchy handling. Hutchinson knows a thing or two about making tyres that can corner - just watch Niccolo Bonifazio's descent of the Cipressa at this year's Milan-San Remo for proof of that - but these take a few rides before you feel ready to fully commit.
Of course, this is primarily going to be an issue for criterium racers, for whom cornering speed and confidence is essential. For the average road rider, this is more a trivial concern than a deal-breaker.
While traction and cornering confidence left a little to be desired, the Fusion 5 Performance 11Storm tyres are a visually appealing, fast-rolling, puncture-resistant and reasonably priced tyre. For your everyday ride and rolling road race, these Hutchinson tyres are entirely capable. The Performance is the mid-range option, yet puncture protection is, as yet, impenetrable, so unless you live in a thornbush, these are an ideal all-year-round riding option.
Specifications: Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance 25c
- Weight: 210g (25mm)
- Protection: Kevlar Pro Tech
- Width options: 23-28mm
- Format: Clincher
- Tubeless: Yes
- Bead: Foldable
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