The Hutchinson Touareg is a versatile gravel and adventure tyre, designed for everything from racing to adventure riding. It's a tough and grippy tyre at an attractive price – especially it's folding, tubeless ready and features Hardskin puncture protection – but it's very stiff and considerably heavier than claimed.
The Touareg comes in two 700c widths (40 and 45mm) and a single 27.5" width (47mm), and the sizing is accurate – our 700x45s, fitted to a rim with 22mm internal width, blew up just 1mm bigger at 46mm.
Unfortunately the claimed weight is less accurate. Ours weighed between 635-640g, which made them around 15 percent heavier than the claimed 550g.
Installation is extremely easy, popping onto rims with the minimal help from tyre levers and pumping up tubeless with a track pump. The beads pop into place easily, and I never had any issues with them leaking.
I am not a number
Curiously, the Touareg comes with a specific pressure on the side – 36psi (2.5bar). Given the variety of uses, rider weights and conditions this figure won't suit everyone, so treat it as a starting point rather than a law.
The casing uses a pretty high 127 theads per inch (TPI), and the general consensus is that a higher TPI gives a better ride quality – you certainly see it more on premium tyres – and is lighter.
Certainly it's a quiet and smooth-rolling tyre, especially on sealed surfaces. Gravel tyres can be noisy or feel slow, but this Hutchinson is impressive for its size and weight.
Shake, rattle and roll
Despite this, however, it's not a comfortable tyre offroad, with vibrations and chatter buzzing up even on smooth-ish road and gravel surfaces. It's tempting to blame the Hardskin protection for this excessive sidewall stiffness – it's less supple even than some smaller volume tyres – though it's less of an issue under greater stress on really rough tracks.
In contrast the grip is excellent, whatever the surface or weather. On smooth tracks it feels reasonably quick, while on loose surfaces it still finds traction – even on steep climbs.
It can't compete against more aggressive tyres on wet and muddy trails, obviously, but it does grip far better than you'd expect for such a low profile, tightly-packed design. It packs up on really claggy trails and I wouldn't recommend it for muddy use, but for the occasional foray across wet dirt and fireroads it's fine.
More than you bargained for
At 635g this is not a light tyre, and on long or steep climbs it's noticeable. The extra weight is at least in part due to the puncture resistance. I certainly didn't suffer any punctures and, while that may just be luck, the thickness and rigidity is evident – if tyre damage is a regular problem for you, the Touareg could be the answer.
The Touareg is also excellent value – it's around half the price of some premium tyres, and priced more like a budget option. Considering the quality of construction and the puncture resistance, it could be a great option for riders on long, tough adventures.
The Hutchinson Touareg is fast and offers more grip than you might think. It's predictable in all weathers and the price is good. It's a fair bit heavier than claimed, however, and the stiff sidewalls mean it's best when it's either very smooth or extremely rough – for everything in between it's just a bit too harsh and low on comfort for such a big tyre.
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