Hutchinson’s new Kraken Racing Lab mountain bike tire aims to bridge the gap between XC racer and trail rider, mixing a fast-rolling design with higher volume and more aggressive cornering knobs. The result is a versatile (mostly) dry conditions tire that rolls quickly on the trail, and inspires confidence in technical terrain.
Hutchinson Kraken Racing Lab versatile XC & trail MTB tires
The tire was developed with Hutchinson’s XC World Cup racers for versatility. Pairing the 2.3″ Kraken up front with a 2.1″ Skeleton in the back gave MMR Racing’s David Valero his ideal combination of speed & grip. Then, developing a superlight 127tpi casing and a second, more durable 66tpi casing with bead-to-bead Hardskin anti-puncture protection, allowed the Kraken to appeal to a wider range of marathon racers and recreational trail riders.
The Kraken essentially falls into the same category as their earlier Cobra, replacing that tire as their ideal singletrack all-rounder for mixed dry to wet, hardpack to rocky trail conditions.
Kraken – Tech details
The new Kraken mixes the race DNA of their Skeleton with more aggressive transition & shoulder knobs for confident handling in all conditions. The almost continuous center tread of the Kraken is almost exactly lifted from the ‘backbone’ of the racy Skeleton (with an extra depression in the largest knob for some more edges to grip.) But then larger, blockier transition and paired & buttressed shoulder knobs inspired by the Griffus offer improved cornering grip.
Hutchinson produces the top-spec Kraken Racing Lab tires at their factory in Chalette-sur-Loing in northern France, using their triple-compound Race Ripost XC rubber. The entire base of the tread is formed from softer durometer 65 ShA rubber for support. Then harder, faster rebounding 60 ShA keeps the central ‘backbone’ fast-rolling, and soft & slower rebound 50ShA rubber adds grip on the shoulders.
The 2.3″ Kraken was developed for modern 30mm internal MTB rims, and is tubeless-ready, meaning it needs sealant for tubeless setup, of which Hutchinson recommends using their latex-based Protect’Air Max sealant.
Hutchinson Kraken – Options, pricing & availability
The new Kraken comes in one size only 29″x2.3″ , and in three casing levels – two with top spec Racing Lab rubber and one entry-level with more basic rubber & casing spec. The two Racing Lab (RL) tires are entirely made in France – available for 46€ with in the ultra-supple 127tpi XC race casing prioritizing light weight (700g claimed) or the $100 / 51€ trail-focused 66tpi casing with Hardskin protection (800g claim).
The Racing Lab + Hardskin tire exclusively, is available either with a standard black sidewall or a tan wall edition.
An entry-level, non RL version will sell for 36€, which looks to include the same 66tpi casing and Hardskin protection, but without the softer French-made multi-compound rubber.
The new Kraken tires should be available now through regular Hutchinson distribution channels, with all tires offered in Europe, but possibly just the Racing Lab + Hardskin tire in the USA.