The Hutchinson Toro Tubeless Ready Concept 29 inch tire is now out and we have ours mounted tubeless. With a few rides under my belt, here are my first impressions of the new tread. I must first confess something though. I had originally intended to mount this tire on a 28mm wide rim, but I ended up going to a 24mm wide rim instead in a last minute administartive decision to accomodate another test I am undertaking. So, I have a Toro mounted to a Bontrager Race X Lite TLR wheel using the TLR rim strip and some “secret” tubeless solution that is latex based. The Toro is mounted as a front tire with a Python in the rear as per Hutchinson’s recommendo.

Hutchinson Toro 29

I let the Toro set up overnight with 40 psi in the casing to get it settled in. I came back and measured the tire at a disappointing 50.1mm casing width. This tire is listed as a 2.1 inch width, but you will be needing a really wide rim to stretch it out that wide and then the resulting loss in casing height would be a negative. Besides, on my 24mm wide rim, the Toro already has a “flatter crowned” profile which a wider rim would only tend to make nearly flat, which would really be detrimental to its cornering performance. By the way, the Python I had mounted tubeless on the Bontrager TLR rim in the rear of my bike was nearly a full millimeter wider! Perhaps given some time, this tire might stretch a bit more, but after two weeks it shows no signs of doing so. I must say that I was surprised that Hutchinson is saying this is a 2.1 incher. More 1.95-ish by my measuring stick.

The Hutchinson site lists the Toro as an “excellent” mud shedder. So off to the mud with it I went. First, let me qualify my findings here by saying a bit about the mud we have here in my locale. It is the sort of mud that has its closest relation in sticky clay. The dirt is the rare “black earth” variety with a healthy dose of sand. I always have to temper my expectations of “mud shedding” against this extreme type of mud, so read on with this in mind.

Badger in the mud
The Toro didn’t fare too well in my mud tests.

With the Toro’s knobs being the same from base to top without much taper, and the knobs close enough together to let the mud get a grip on the casing, I found that the Toro packed up pretty severely in a few revolutions into the mud. Now this isn’t the end of the test, the tire is then allowed to fling off the mud, if it can, by riding on dry terrain immediately after the mud packs on. Well, the Toro only collected more debris in the form of dry leaves and grass which began to accumulate to a point that started to make the tire/mud rub on the fork blades. Well, so much for the mud shedding abilities!

I did find that the Toro was a decent roller, had good grip at moderate lean angles, and performed in a good manner in dry conditions. Folks that like to throw the bike over in corners will not like the Toro. It has too flat a profile for that style of riding. Finesse riders that use moderate lean angles in corners may find the Toro to their liking though. I thought that the casing felt somewhat stiffer than the Pythons does. I will have to try a lower pressure to search this out though.

I will also be looking to set the Toro in a more rocky, extreme off camber situation soon to test the lateral grip and casing toughness that Hutchinson claims for the Toro. In as far as the width and mud shedding abilities are concerned though, the Toro falls short. I also question the tire as a front, since the width is narrow, I may take it off the front and pair it up with a wider tire for the front end like a Maxxis Ardent. This will probably play to the Toro’s flattish profile and make it more an advantage than it does by running the Toro up front.

Stay tuned for an update on the Toro in a month or so.