Kraken combines XC speed with trail tyre grip

Hutchinson Kraken tyre
Kraken balances ridged edge blocks with a smoother-rolling centre tread (Image credit: Hutchinson)

Hutchinson’s new Kraken is a 29er cross-country (XC) riding tyre for mountain bikers who don’t shy away from technical trails.  

The French tyre giant has been observing the trends towards more technical terrain capable XC bikes of late.

As dropper seatposts and progressive geometry numbers have been applied to XC mountain bike frame design, it would only stand to reason, that a new approach is required to the tyres that they roll on.

Hutchinson’s Kraken is a new 29er tyre, designed for the purpose of rolling the latest generation of cross-country bikes down any trail, with confidence.

Sized at a carcass volume of 2.3in across, it is slightly larger than conventional 2.25in volume, which has long been the standard for XC racers. That higher volume carcass features an interesting tread pattern, with low-rolling-resistance being an obvious objective from Hutchinson’s engineers.

Amid the middle of the Kraken’s tread pattern, are bold horizontal bars, which should give the tyre excellent climbing and braking traction, without stalling its rolling momentum too greatly.

Rubber composition is always a question of balance when applied to mountain bike tyre design. The Kraken features tougher 60 ShA durometer rubber for is centre tread blocks and softer 50 ShA at the edges, to improve steering feel and grip when railing through corners. 

The Kraken is available in two variants: a lightweight 127 TPI and slightly more puncture resistance 66 TPI version, with the latter featuring Hutchinson’s Hardskin moulding, within the tyre’s structure.

Weights for these new Krakens register at 700g for the 127 TPI tyre and 800g for the burlier 66 TPI. Hutchinson is also offering a tanwall colour option for mountain bikers who desire the retro 1990s theme with their 2020 ride.

Positioned at the new intersection between traditional XC and trail tyres, the Kraken should prove a competent blend of traction and durability. The lighter Kraken retails for £39,95, whilst the Hardskin reinforced version is priced at £44,95.

Lance Branquinho
Freelance writer

Lance Branquinho is a Namibian-born journalist who graduated to mountain biking after injuries curtailed his trail running. He has a weakness for British steel hardtails, especially those which only run a single gear. As well as Bike Perfect, Lance has written for, and Cycling News.