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Hutchinson Says the Blackbird is its Fastest Road Tire Ever, and We Agree.

Hutchinson Blackbird side walls
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Hutchinson tires are synonymous with on- and off-road racing. The French company hopes the new Hutchinson Blackbird will be the same for road racing performance. Their tubulars were the choice of many prolific world tour teams (USPS to name one), and they developed the modern road tubeless concept in 2006.

Hutchinson Blackbird tubeless road racing tire

Now, the tubeless pioneers are introducing an all-new race-performance tire to their road line, just in time for their Paris 2024 Olympic aspirations. 

Hutchinson Blackbird black
(Photo/Jordan Villella)

The Hutchinson Blackbird is the company’s first Racing Lab road tire, designed explicitly for performance. The new design ushers in an all-new casing concept that reduces rolling resistance, an all-new tread compound, and some larger sizes. 

What is the Hutchinson Blackbird

Hutchinson Blackbird carcass
(Photo/Jordan Villella)

The Blackbird represents four years of research and development at Hutchinson. The design team’s goal was to increase rolling efficiency, enhance the tread compound, and make the tire lighter overall.

Simple right?

They did accomplished their goals however. And created a high-speed, well-rounded performance road tire, hand-made in France.

How much Faster?

Hutchinson Blackbird presentation
The Hutchinson design team, showing the updated layup.(Photo/Hutchinson)

The new Blackbird improves rolling resistance by 10% compared to the previous generation, Fusion 5. But, at the same time, with an increased, class-leading lifespan of over 2,500 miles (4,000km) of real-world riding.

Designed Around Modern Wheels 

Hutchinson Blackbird on Madone
(Photo/Jordan Villella)

Road rims are getting wider and (for better or worse) hookless. The new Blackbird was created with that in mind and to thrive in such conditions. The tire tread surface on the Blackbird is 15% wider than that of previous generations of Hutchinson road tires – of the same casing size. This, combined with the more flexible SwiftEasy casing, means the tire’s contact patch with the road is more comprehensive than long, enabling aggressive cornering and reduced rolling resistance.

Hutchinson Racing Lab 

Hutchinson Blackbird lightweight tan side wall
(Photo/Jordan Villella)

The Racing Lab name is reserved for Hutchinson’s fastest and most performance-driven designs.

You might be familiar with some of the Racing Lab mountain bike or even gravel designs – the Skeleton being a personal favorite. These designs come from direct work with Hutchinson-sponsored professional cycling teams and athletes. The end product is a tire that’s for racing and results.

Introducing an all-new ‘SwiftEasy‘ Casing 

Hutchinson Blackbird tire tech
(Photo/Hutchinson)

The crux of the decreased rolling resistance is Hutchinson’s new casing design called SwiftEasy.

This new construction sees the tire’s casing wrapped around the bead and then bonded directly to a central polyamide puncture protection strip in the middle. This process differs from the ‘normal’ protocol of overlapping the layers. For the final step, a casing layer runs from bead to bead to reduce air leakage and a slight bead chafer to reduce punctures. 

Why is this process better?

Hutchinson Blackbird tread
(Photo/Jordan Villella)

The SwiftEasy casing offers a flexible point of contact with the road, decreasing rolling-resistance and giving the tire a better, more supple overall ride feel. The use of just two layers of 127tpi casing fabric also reduces weight.

The result is a super-fast, comfortable, and lightweight tire. The tubeless version of the Blackbird in size 28mm weighs in at a competitive 286g.

Mach Tread 3.0

Hutchinson Blackbird side walls
(Photo/Jordan Villella)

Another defining piece of the Blackbird puzzle is this Mach Tread 3.0 rubber. The Hutchinson team calls it “the fastest and most efficient tread compound that Hutchinson has ever developed.”

How different is it from the compound on the Fusion 5?

Well, it’s different. The compound is an entirely new formulation with low rolling resistance and high rebound that claims an increased energy return by 25% when it comes into contact with the road. 

Hutchinson Blackbird riding
(Photo/Hutchinson)

Mach Tread 3.0 is also 10% harder than the previous 11Storm compound (the same used on Dugast Tires until 2024). This means the tire is more resistant to tearing if cut by road debris.

Blackbird Tech Details

Hutchinson Blackbird wheels
(Photo/Hutchinson)
  • New SwiftEasy Casing
  • MachTread 3.0 Compound
  • 15% Wider Tread
  • Tubeless Ready Construction (also available in a tubed version) 
  • Hookless Compatible, 700×28 and 700×30 sizes available
  • Polyamide Interply Reinforcement
  • Color options: All Black and Tan Wall colorways 
  • Sizes: 26mm, 28mm, and 30mm, weighing 275g, 286g* (actual weight) & 310g, respectively
  • Hookless compatible only on the 28 & 30mm versions
  • Price: Tubeless $75 / 70€. and Tube-type $54 / 50€ 

Hutchinson Blackbird Review

Villella riding PRESSCAMP BLACKBIRD 2024 (© Hutchinson)92
(Photo/Hutchinson)

I’m very familiar with Hutchinson road tires; I raced the Fusion 2s on Stans No Tubes road rims for years as my go-to race setup. I loved the feel of the tubeless tires. They were groundbreaking (in 2006). And the ride felt very different from tubed tires, especially the low pressures you could get away with. So when I heard that Hutchinson was going for a higher-end model of tubeless road tire, I was very excited. 

Hutchinson Blackbird 28mm weight
(Photo/Jordan Villella)

The Blackbird is a slight departure from what I remember of the Fusion tires but in a good way.

Out of the box, the tires feel more pliable and supple than the older road models. The construction is flawless, and the molding is very clean. 

The tread (not only the compound) is different, too. The design team took the slight ‘V’ from the Fusion, doubled-it and flipped-it, creating an “X.” They also eliminated the slight dimples from the shoulder, opting for a slick profile. As a matter of personal preference, the two-tone tan/black look of the Blackbird is much more appealing than the full black version of the Fusions. 

Installation

Hutchinson Blackbird demo bike
(Photo/Jordan Villella)

If you installed the old Hutchinson Fusion 2 tubeless tires on the tubeless specific Shimano wheels back in the day, you still have some scars from broken tire levers. The Blackbird tires couldn’t be more different. The installation was effortless enough that it didn’t require tire levers (at least on my chosen wheels) and was inflated with a floor pump. They did lose air slightly (5psi) immediately after my initial setup, but they have been leakproof since. 

I chose the Hutchinson Blackbirds in 28mm tubeless for my review rides. Most of my rides were at 74psi front and 75psi rear, but later went down in pressure to 70psi front and 72psi rear as a nice combo of cushion and confidence. At 160lbs for myself, that felt right on the money for most of my riding, especially with the tar & chip roads in my town.  

Ride Impressions

Hutchinson Blackbird
(Photo/Hutchinson)

I enjoyed my first rides on the Blackbirds with the Hutchinson crew in the south of France. The winding roads with technical descents were perfect for testing the Blackbirds’ cornering feel and comfort. 

Hutchinson Blackbird attack
(Photo/Hutchinson)

The first notable sensation was comfort.

They reminded me of the Fusions, but only in that “these feel nice” way. As the ride unfolded, I became more confident in the Blackbird, especially leaning into the turns. The first word that came to mind was ‘sticky.’ I could push the tires in the corners and be confident I had the grip. 

Back home on my wheels and my terrain 

When I arrived home, I installed the Blackbirds on my Bontrager Aeolus RSL 51 wheels. The 23mm internal rim width worked well with the 28mm-sized Blackbirds, which plumped to an excellent shape, not bulbous. 

Hutchinson Blackbird 28mm measured
(Photo/Jordan Villella)

I use the Bontrager Aeolus RSL 51 wheels for nearly all my road rides (I love them), so I’m familiar with them. On my home roads, the first thing again I noticed was the comfort of the tires.

The roads around my area are in “winter mode” and are not in great shape. The extra suppleness of the Blackbird casing, combined with the lower pressure, rounded out the edges of my rough roads. As for rolling resistance, I never felt wanting on the Blackbirds; they always ‘felt fast’, but I have no actual data to back that one up. I believe confidence is fast, and the Blackbirds inspire confidence (at least in me) in the corners of sweeping descents.

Confidence in Grip

Hutchinson Blackbird braking
(Photo/Hutchinson)

In my many review rides around my surrounding area, I’ve encountered all types of spring road conditions, including tar & chip, rain, ice, and random glass. I found the Blackbirds Mach 3.0 compound to be excellent in all conditions. I would say I ‘pushed it’ on the ice, but what looked like a wet road turned out to be black ice, and yet I managed to stay upright. 

The cornering and feel in the rain is that of a quite refined tire. The tread doesn’t look like much, but it offers a good bit of traction and water displacement when put to the test. 

Hutchinson Blackbird climbing
(Photo/Hutchinson)

I’ve yet to have a flat through various terrain and adverse conditions. (I can’t believe I said that out loud.) I noticed that the tread on the Blackbird was starting to wear slightly quicker than I had imagined after about 300 miles. That could also be from the gnarly nature of the roads this time of year on the east coast.

For the $75 tire price tag, the Hutchinson Blackbird is a great race/performance tire option. I recommend it for riders looking for comfort and confidence in their ride. Stay tuned for a long-term review as road and crit racing season unfolds. 

Hutchinson.com

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20 Comments
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Brent
Brent
28 days ago

Glad to see Hutchinson back at the top level of tires, but will have to wait BRR to test them to get a hint on rolling performance.

Oliver
Oliver
28 days ago

It would need to be more than 10% lower RR to be anywhere near competitive – and we know that manufacturer claims are almost always exaggerated. Their current crop of road and gravel tires are really, really slow.

Brent
Brent
27 days ago
Reply to  Oliver

Will see, Continental and Michelin improvement claims have been accurate over the years. the fusion 5 is not very robust but for a tire released in 2017 it is still fast (11W versus 9 for the GP5K as per BRR). But agree, 10% will not put it at the same level than the Conti or Michelin refrences.

Eugene C
Eugene C
27 days ago
Reply to  Oliver

Hutchinson-made tires like the original Fusion 5 Galactik and the Zipp Tangente Speed TLR were among the fastest tires when released and still pretty fast by today’s standards.

Sam
Sam
28 days ago

I should hope they increase the durability. My Fusion 5’s wore out and split after 800 miles while my GP5000’s are still going strong with 2000+ under them. Fusions were squirrelly cornering in the wet or on sand patches while the GP’s remain planted and consistent

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
28 days ago

I wish this came in 32 and 35mm. I love how my Panaracer GK Slicks ride but the mileage is terrible. These could go on my TT bike for training though

ismo
ismo
28 days ago

Over 70 PSI with 28 mm on modern wide road rims sounds pretty high. Did you test how the tyres perform with lower pressures? Many calculators would suggest pressures in the range of 55 to 58 PSI.

Brent
Brent
27 days ago
Reply to  ismo

Are you using the Sram pressure calculator? Cause on Silca I am on 78 and 76 for 76kg rolling weigh. the Sram one is notoriuos to be very low to fit as many people within their HL pressure limits.

Dirk
Dirk
24 days ago
Reply to  Brent

I ride 28mm Pirelli on tpu tubes. Back is max 68 psi and front 62 at 72kg. I use the sram and add .2 bar.

ismo
ismo
21 days ago
Reply to  Brent

The Silca calculator is useless, because it does not take the rim ID into account in the calculation. A modern wide rim and some old narrow rim require different pressure for the same tyre width.

Josh at SILCA
Josh at SILCA
20 days ago
Reply to  ismo

You have it backwards, the SILCA calculator uses measured/installed width of the tire, so it is the ONLY calculator that fully takes this into account. Even within rim batches of same rim or between various tire molds of the same model tire you will have +/-0.5mm variance between ‘identical’ parts. By measuring the inflated tire and then calculating using our method, you compensate for all of this. Using tire sidewall number and internal bead width of most calculators, you will generally be off by 1-2mm from the real number.

blahblahblah
blahblahblah
26 days ago

just but gp 5000s

Brent
Brent
26 days ago
Reply to  blahblahblah

So, those tires haven’t yet hit the ground and here you are with a non-sustained comment. Yest the GP5K is a very good tire, but it is not the fastest (Power cup will be faster for example), ride quite hard and its performance degrades faster on poor roads over some of the most flexible tires. Grip under wet conditions is not always very good…

nooner
nooner
26 days ago
Reply to  Brent

GP5’s with latex tubes bro. FTW!

Dirk
Dirk
24 days ago
Reply to  nooner

Ditched th gp5000. Harsh ride and are square in no time with cuts. Also somehow I puncture often. Now riding Pirelli race with tpu. Much more compliant, no cutting up, no squaring and punctured once last year on 18k km (not same tire of course)

nooner
nooner
23 days ago
Reply to  Dirk

The latex tubes kill the harsh ride qualities, if you don’t mind pumping up your tires everyday. Nicer riding than tubeless,IMO. I’m getting around 4K miles from them.

Brent
Brent
21 days ago
Reply to  nooner

on the Tubetype category it improves things but the GP5000 remains a tire with relatively stiff sidewalls compared to a vittoria or a michelin.
it explains why their RR degrades a bit faster than other more souple tires on poor roads.

Davym2112
Davym2112
19 days ago
Reply to  blahblahblah

Michelin power cup a better tire in every way, especially puncture resistance. That’s after 3 years on GP’s

Herd
Herd
23 days ago

Typical bike industry paid advertising puff piece with zero data.

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