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Easy Roller with a Terrible Edge

  • Nov 25, 2009
Rating:
-3
Pros: Rolling resistance, low noise (on-road), forgiving ride.

Cons: Loses traction into turns too easily.  Wears out quickly.   

The Bottom Line:

Definitely for the occasional off-road user but not for the off-road racer. 



As a mountain bike patrol officer, I put my tires to a thorough workout every time.  My daily patrol trails consists of a mix of gravel, hard pack and sandy soil for me to try this tire on.  After two season using the IRC Mythos XC, which I reviewed here: http://www.epinions.com/review/IRC_Mythos_XC...132/content_88335224452  It was time to try another new tire on the rear wheel.  So my experiences that I am about to share only relate to using the Hutchinson Python tire on the rear wheel only for about two months, five days a week. 

Here are my findings:

Climbing
As a rear tire, it's climbing abilities are on par with some of the best out there.  Hard pack seems to be the favorite for this tire.  No slippage or loss of power felt when climbing hard pack.  Surprisingly, I expected this tire to not do so well with the loose gravel or sand soil that I encounter on my patrols but the Hutchinson actually did pretty well.  As with any tire, there will be some expected slippage on loose gravel or sandy soil but the Hutchinson didn't exhibit any more than I was used to. 

Carving Turns 
This is probably the Hutchinson's greatest weakness.   Though this tire is supposed to be redesigned with 1.5 mm taller blocks on its edge, the Hutchinson didn't seems to grab very well on switchback turns.  If the sharp turns have gravel or loose soil, the Hutchinson would easily break and lose traction making you have to slow down more than normal.  I definitely experienced a much slower descent time with the Hutchinson due to the rear of my bike sliding out even under a moderate turn at speed than any other tire I have tried.  The break away from traction is a bit unpredictable not helping your confidence with the tire in turns.     

Downhill Runs
If the trail points straight down with gradual sweeping turns, the Hutchinson will help you add 1-2 mph to your downhill speed.  This is probably due to the low rolling resistance of the tire which I will discuss in the next section.

Rolling Resistance
This is probably the greatest benefit that this tire has going for it.  Due to the densely packed knob pattern, this tire is probably the lowest rolling resistance tire I have tried.  It is very prominent when you are on the streets when you don't hear that familiar roar that other knobby mountain bike tires emit while on the road.  This same low rolling resistance also translates off-road.  It feels easier to pedal than other tires that I have tried and the IRC Mythos XC was already one of the lowest rolling resistance tires I have experienced.  The Hutchinson easily beats the IRC Mythos as the lowest rolling resistance tire I have tried, and I have tried tires by Panaracer, Onza, Maxxis, etc. 

Comfort
The Hutchinson has a very pliable sidewall which is very forgiving to bumps and trail irregularities.  This is probably due to the high TPI count the Hutchinson has which is 127.  Most mountain bike tires have only half this number.   

Mounting on Rim
About the same ease as other mountain bike tires.  Not much difficulty at all.  So if you are in a race, and needed to change a flat, it won't slow you down.  Like most mountain bike tires, the Hutchinson is directional with a somewhat difficult to find directional triangle on the sidewall.   

Flat Resistance
Haven't had a flat so far.  But if you check the Internet, some say the thin sidewalls are prone to damage.  The sidewalls are certainly a bit thinner than what I am used to seeing.

Weight
It is on par with the IRC Mythos XC at a claimed weight of 500 grams.  My digital gram scale actually said 490 grams. 

Durability
After two months of use, the very hard durometer rubber compound shows only minor wear.  I would expect it to last as long, if not longer than the IRC Mythos.  The knobs on the Hutchinson is much stiffer than the IRC, Panaracer Smoke and Maxxix tires I have used previously. 

General Purpose
If you had to ask me how to describe this tire in relation to an automobile tire, I would describe it as an All-Season Performance tire.  Basically a general purpose tire.  Made to work in a multitude of conditions but cannot excel like a performance specific tire.  This tire would be a good choice for the occasional mountain biker but mainly uses their mountain bike for commuting or exercising on the road.  If you are a mountain bike racer, you are better off going with a more aggressive tread pattern that the competitors offer.  I couldn't imagine using this tire for the front, I would be worried about the front tire washing out on every sharp turn.  

Summary and Thoughts 
Overall, due my needs for an off-road specific tire, the Hutchinson Python would not be my first choice for an off-road tire.  Now, if I were one of those individuals that only occasionally went off-road, then I would consider the Hutchinson.   

UPDATE!!!!!!!
Now with more time using this tire, I have come to the realization that not recommending this tire for the avid or expert mountain biker is true.  Turn in traction is subpar and what is worse that the center tread pattern is already wearing out with only a couple of months of use.  Though it is one of the lowest resistance tires that I have tried and owned, it doesn't mean a thing if you can't have enough traction during moderate turns or climbs when the tire wears out so quickly.  Brand new, the tire was OK, but with a few miles on it, there are better performing tires out there that last longer, give more control and are less expensive.   

Recommended:
No

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Member Since: Oct 5, 2010
Last Login: Apr 27, 2012 01:26 PM UTC
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About this product

Wiki

High air volume structure helps prevent pinch flats while providing optimum efficiency and comfort, especially over rough surfaces. USAGE The tire of choice for elite cross-country racers. Used with the green tube for low pressure pinch resistance. PROFILE, SHAPE AND TREAD DESIGN . Sharp, angled knobs for superior traction. . Multi-knob angled tread pattern for permanent contact with the ground.
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Tags

Sport And Outdoor, Bicycles, Bicycling, Mountain Biking, Bicycle Tires, Mountain Bike Tires

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