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But more on that in a minute. The latest tire making technology is now widely available, allowing for some pretty good product from a variety of sources – with the best coming from the guys who are smart enough to push the technology further. I make no bones about the fact that having “cool” gear is better – it’s just more fun to ride what the pros ride. Enter French tire maker Hutchinson – makers of high performance racing tires worthy of such pro teams as Quick Step Davitamon, Once, Saeco, CSC, Big Mat Auber 93, and United States Postal Service. Obviously no dummies, Hutchinson has created a line of tires in their sponsored teams’ official colors – what better way to increase your brand’s profile?
Hutchinson has been in the “rubber” business for a long time, and has expertisie in making high- perfromance rubber products of all types, including seals for airliner windows, special tires for military vehicles, and even good ol’ fashioned French Letters (ask yer grampa to explain it..!) These tires use their “4 Extrusion” technology, which basically allows them to place different compounds of rubber on & in specific areas of the tire. This is essentially how they end up with a tire that weighs in at only 20 grams each, has a smooth center bead for minimum rolling resistance, a slight tread on either side edge to increase corner grip, and higher sidewalls for a smoother more comfortable ride.
On to the Test
So hit the road I did – I strapped these bad boys onto the Trek 5900 I’ve been testing, figured I might as well complete the whole US Postal look – and off I went. The first ride took me through several hazardous obstacles –
1. Rush Hour traffic – seems I can’t get out for a ride before about 4:00 most days, and since I’m in the city – this mean dodging stressed out comuters enroute, (good thing I spent that summer as a bike courier).
2. Urban Roads – we’re talking hard core gutter action – glass, stones, nails – your basic tire hell.
3. The Secret Test Zone: After about an hour, it was clear the tires were handling the first two obstacles well, but since I was fed up with the traffic, I decided that evasive action was needed. A quick right turn from my usual route started me up a deteriorating paved surface that climbed away from the noise and into the woods. 1 km later, the pavement had become a dirt road – full on gravel, pot holes, dust and wash boards. My only escape was 5 km more of gradual climbing through this stuff – but what better way test the tires?
The tread is smooth in the middle with traction-action on the edges.
The ride? No trouble, no trouble at all – the Carbon Comps performed well – no flats and no cuts, resulting in no more traffic for me! And they’ve continued to perform as I’d expect – even after my sound thrashing through the woods… Several hundred kms later still no flats… but even better, the cool red and blue US Postal team colors have held their own – so I look darn snazzy out there dodging rush hour traffic.
Check this out – colors to match the pros: Saeco, Quick Step, ONCE, CSC, and US Postal Service.
Get more info at the Hutchinson Tires website: tires.hutchinson.fr
Photography courtesy of Fotografica Studios These guys are good!