These limited-edition tires take the tenacious dry/hard grip and smoothly damped ride feel of Hutchinson’s best gravel bike tire - the existing Touareg - and adds a new reinforced layer to save a lot of weight and significantly reduce the number of manufacturing processes. The result is a much more expensive but more responsive and more eco-friendly tire that’s great for summer off-road control.
Hutchinson was one of the first brands to create a truly tough and bombproof tubeless all-road tire in the Sector, which was our high-speed go-to in early gravel races. There’s a lot of that tech transferred into the Touareg, too. As usual for Hutchinson, the tires could be fitted without levers and popped into place on rims and sealed perfectly the first time even with casual track pumping. They’ve stayed settled and bleed/burp free on both Hunt hooked and Zipp hookless rims even when rallied hard at 30psi.
The Gridskin construction also saves a ton of weight over the standard heavyweight Hardskin Touareg’s (630g in 700 x 45mm) bringing the Gridskin down to a more competitive sub 500g mark. The center tread is raised and constant enough to roll okay on the road, and then the tiny blocks open up and increase in size progressively towards the edge for more bite. The outer shoulders also get a skin of soft 50 duro rubber compound to give a stickier cornering/off-camber edge. As a result, while the tread fills up pretty quickly in soft conditions, it still hangs in there if summer dust turns to slip and slide roots and wet rocks.
- Best gravel bikes: fast-rolling yet grippy rubber for drop-bar dirt road rides
It’s the obviously quiet and damped ride feel that’s the standout character of the Hutchinsons though. While the Gridskin are only available in 700 x 40mm (Hardskin come in 700 x 45mm and 650 x 47mm), they still have a lovely composed float and compliance that calms nerves as you bank in skittering gravel corners and soothes the sharp edges of bigger rim dinging rocks. While you’ll appreciate this most for speed sustained off-road, it also gives a really silky, frame flattering ride on the road. That can make them feel slower than they actually are unless you’re benching them against wattage numbers or known pace riders, but as said previously they actually roll okay.
The Gridskin construction also lets Hutchinson remove three extra steps from the handmade French construction process, reducing waste and energy consumption to lower the eco-impact. The Gridskin’s don’t have a ‘hot patch’ name badge either. They come mounted on minimalist recycled card packaging, and if you’re in Europe the French manufacture will reduce shipping footprint.
Despite having hammered them really hard over chunky terrain on wide rims at low pressure, the naked construction has held up totally fine too with no cuts, punctures, sealant weeping or other signs of carcass stress. They are £30 more per tire (so nearly double the price) compared to the Hardskin version though.
Hutchinson’s Touareg Gridskins are a bike-flattering, terrain-smoothing, control-boosting, easy-fit tire that rolls okay on the road but really come into their own on drier, technical off-road trails. They’re significantly lighter, more responsive and easier on the planet than the standard Touaregs. They’re nearly double the price and only available in one size option though.
- Cheap gravel bikes: gravel bikes under $1,500
- Best gravel shoes: gravel shoe options for racers or explorers
- Best gravel bike pedals: light yet tough pedals for getting the power down off-road
Tech Specs: Hutchinson Touareg Gridskin Ltd. Edition tires
- Price: £62.95 / €59.90
- Weight: 480g (700 x 40mm)
- Colors: Naked Gridskin
- Sizes: 700 x 40mm