Tire choice is as important as saddle choice, or shoe choice when it comes to road cycling. A bad selection of either can make a ride miserable with little to no way of avoiding the truth; that you can't trust your bike at full speed in a corner, sit comfortably on the tip of your perch in pace line or pedal without arch cramping or hot spots underfoot.
Tires have always interested me because they are the last variable in the formula of forward propulsion on a road bike. The 2009 Hutchinson Fusion Ultra 2 is the French company's new race tire. I pulled out the digital scale to confirm a weight of 210gr per tire. If you require a higher level of puncture resistance, move to the Hutchinson Intensive, weighing in at 230gr.
Installation of Hutchinson's road tires are surprisingly easy. I was originally running the Intensives on the T-Cube and swapped them over to my wife's Bianchi. Both tire installations were performed easily without tire levers! (note 700cX23c sizes). It's nice to know that I won't need to carry a tire lever on my rides while on the Fusion 2 Ultras; just a tube and Co2.
Yesterday I departed for an evening road ride and a tire shake down. The first thing I noticed with the FU2 is the tire casing profile. It has a round profile like the Michelin Pro Race series. (The previous tire from Hutchinson that I was riding, the Intensive, had what could be best described as a old school MotoGP tire profile; not round but rather rounded shoulders and a peaked/point tire contact patch. This peak gave the tire a lot of top end speed and in my opinion makes it really suitable for fast, sweeping turns.) The FU2 round profile allows for a quicker change of direction on the bike paired with a very soft/high grip compound. The are three zones of tread on the tire. The center tread is black and a firmer-low rolling resistance compound. Mid-shoulder is dark gray with a medium grip and the outer shoulder is light gray with a softer grip for a hard cornering angle.
After 32 miles of rolling terrain, mild climbing and fast cornering through the beautiful landscape of Lancaster, I can say I've found my new tire of choice. Weighing in at 185lbs, I run 115psi on the rear and 110 in the front tire. The Fusion 2 Ultra is fast, has tons of security and grip while cornering and the tire choice of Astana, 'nuff said.
I would also like to mention this is a tire that works well for crit racing...in fact it's supported for such events by the BMW-Bianchi Womens Elite Team. For more information about Hutchinson Tires, listen to the 6/21 TJPodcast featuring Hutchinson Tires main man Dana Carson--good info. Visit the corpo site for more data- Hutchinson Tires.