Hutchinson was among those setting the trends a few years ago, when they released some of the world’s first tubeless cyclocross tyres, the Piranha and the Bulldog. The Hutchinson Sector was another tyre of note from the company’s range, one of the earlier tubeless road tyres to hit the market. Since those days, tubeless tyre technology has come a long way. Hutchinson’s early cyclocross tyre offerings were fine in concept, but hard cornering at one’s local cyclocross race would result in air loss (burping), making for a product that didn’t exactly instill confidence in tubeless tyre technology.
But, Hutchinson persevered. Later in the development cycle, they added a carbon bead which vastly improved the tyre and rim interface, resulting in a seal that is almost too good. In fact, some wheel manufacturers specifically warn against mounting tyres with carbon fiber beads, or else face the prospect of never being able to remove them.*
But with the advent of the Hutchinson Overide, the company may have overcome all of these hurdles, and at the same time, entered themselves into the increasingly crowded market of gravel tyres.
“The Overide is the tire for Gravel usage, whether occasional or intensive. Classic roads, degraded, paths or tracks, the Overide is the ideal mounting for versatile and improvised outings.”
“The 700×38 version has had more work on its central part to bring adhesion and rideability. In its Road Tubeless Ready version, its bead to bead reinforcement coupled to a lower pressure will blow away all the amateurs of transversal routes and long course journeys.”
Marketing hubbub aside, outwardly, the 38mm version of the Override has the makings of a solid, dry conditions gravel tyre that is foldable along with a 127tpi casing.
* I once I had to cut a pair of Hutchinson Sectors from a reputable brand of road wheels, because the incompatible carbon beads made them impossible to remove!
Weighing Them Up
Our Hutchinson Overides in 700c x 38mm weighed 421 grams and 437 grams respectively. This sample set is the tubeless variety, or “Road Tubeless Ready” as Hutchinson calls them, and the sidewalls are marked with “Protect’air MAX”, the company’s nomenclature for beefed up sidewalls and their own brand of tyre sealant. More on that later.
Hutchinson’s website lists just one variant of the 38mm Overide, which according to their “Concept” chart actually has “No Concept”, versus being a tyre designed for a tube, or one designed to be “Road Tubeless Ready”. A little confusing, no? But rest assured, these tyres are indeed tubeless ready, but their weights were over the manufacturer’s specification of 400 grams per tyre. However, I believe there to be more than just one error in their website specifications, as it would seem the manufacturer has not taken into account the additional weight of a tubeless tyre bead. Assuming I’m correct, that would jive with the approximate 20 to 30 gram weight gain. Moving on…
Mounting the Hutchinson Override 700c x 38mm Gravel Tyre
The Hurchinson Overide tyres are intended for use with the company’s own sealant, Protect’air MAX. The sample review tyres didn’t arrive with sealant of any kind, so what to do? Install whatever sealant you have laying around! In my case, that would be Orange Seal’s Endurance Formula Sealant. The Overides were a doddle (a very easy task for us who don’t speak Aussie) to mount on the Token RoubX Prime Disc Brake Allroad, a wheelset I reviewed earlier on behalf of my friends at BikeRumor.
Inflation was another simple affair, with WTB providing the valves, and Bontrager’s TLR Flash Charger pump for the chore of inflation. With that said, the Topeak Joe Blow Booster pump would have worked just as well for popping these tyres onto the rim. Generally, I inflated these tyres to around 32psi front and 35psi rear. Questions about tyre pressure? Do yourself a favor and check out Enve’s tyre pressure chart!
Always dry mount a tyre first sans sealant, to ensure it will seat and hold air. That can save making a big mess and losing a bunch of sealant.
If you have trouble mounting a tubeless tyre, these tips can help:
- Remove the valve core and inflate. This process allows a greater volume of air into the tyre and most times, will pop the tyre onto the bead.
- If this doesn’t work, apply something like Sleek Beeswax & Mink Oil Furniture Polish to the sidewall. This product is far better than soap and water, and will help seat even the most stubborn of tyres. This product can be purchased from your local furniture store or online.
- Once the dry mount test has been passed, install your favourite sealant and inflate. Don’t forget to keep a fingertip over the valve if you removed the core. This simple step will retain the air you just inflated; if you’re good at juggling, you can quickly re-install the valve core and still keep some air inside the tyre. Then, inflate to the desired pressure.
How do the Hutchinson Overide 700c x 38mm gravel tyres measure up?
The Overides measured 38.8mm mounted to the Token RoubX Prime Disc Brake Allroad wheelset. These rims on this wheelset measure 31.1mm externally and 25.3mm internally.
Unlike most tyres which seem to increase in size by about two millimetres on a decently wide rim, the Overides only increased a smidge from their stock specification. This isn’t a point of concern, and on the positive, the Overides aren’t undersized.
Riding the Hutchinson Overide 700c x 38mm gravel tyre
The Hutchinson Overide is a flat-out fast tyre on pavement and a variety of gravel surfaces, provided the gravel you are riding is dry and hard packed.
The centre tread is a speed merchant. It isn’t quite smooth, rather, accentuated with tiny diamond-shaped protuberances that don’t hinder forward momentum, provided you’re keeping speeds on pavement below 25mph / 40km/hr. Above that, you will feel some resistance as the almost 40mm tyre casing cuts through the air – pushing a tyre of this size at speed is never an easy proposition, but it is much faster on paved surfaces than say an all-around gravel tyre such as the WTB Resolute.
However, there is more to this tyre than smoothing out rough pavement / bitumen. Continuing with the theme of diamonds, albeit larger, the tread increases in height from the edge of the center line of the tyre, all the way to the tread at each leading edge.
In my experience, a gravel tyre with a flatter profile versus the more rounded profile of the Overide handles better on loose gravel. The Overide’s shape is best illustrated by taking another look at the photograph of the tyre with the measurement calipers (pictured above). This tyre profile paired with its not-so-aggressive tread lend itself to fast straight line performance but at a compromise of cornering grip.
You’ll need to exercise caution if you turn hard into corners on loose gravel, particularly if you’re the type of rider who turns the bike in a complete arc, versus the three-point loose corner approach assuming a 90-degree turn. Turn your handlebars about 45 degrees, allow the bike to run straight through the apex over any loose terrain, then complete the final 45 degrees of the turn.
The minimalistic centre tread can break traction, especially if you’re ascending a climb or hill with a decent grade, riding out of the saddle. Anytime a rider experiences a half-second of lost traction whilst under load is a little disconcerting, whereas staying firmly planted on the bike over rough stuff and loose sections of road is a better approach for this tyre. On the subject of the centre tread section, it doesn’t take long to wear it smooth, particularly if you’re riding pavement / bitumen on these tyres, or at least using those sorts of roads to transition between gravel sectors. Those little centre diamonds are quite small, so this is to be expected.
The “Protect’air MAX” sidewalls are decently supple, despite being toughened up to alleviate the possibility of sidewall cuts. The tyre with its inherent puncture protection adds weight to the tyre casing, which does affect initial roll-up speed. But, these are gravel tyres, where the focus isn’t always on speed, but longevity, comfort, control and hopefully, puncture protection.
The Hutchinson Override in 700c x 38mm is a fast tyre for dry, hard packed conditions, but, gravel roads can be unpredictable at times, with variances in conditions. There are better gravel tyres available for loose, chunky and rocky gravel roads, ones that provide enhanced traction in these situations, and serve better if you’re seeking a tyre to cover most of your riding. In muddy conditions, the Overides will slip and slide a bit, but as the tread pattern is designed for fast and smooth riding, mud doesn’t really have anything to grab on to. They’re no mud tyres, but that is a positive.
The Overide is a superb performer on rough pavement, but its true gravel, dirt, mud and everything else performance are compromised by its lack of appropriate tread. Still, if your local gravel roads are of the milder variety, this may be a good tyre for you.
Hutchinson’s Overide tyres won’t break the bank can be found for about $US 40.00 to $US 55.00 each, depending on where you buy.
Article by Gravel Cyclist. Jayson O’Mahoney is the Gravel Cyclist: A website about the Gravel Cycling Experience.