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Review: Hutchinson’s Python 3 & Python Race Live Up to the Hype

Hutchinson Python 3 header
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Hot off a podium finish in Mairiporã, Brazil, Hutchinson is showing off two new XC mountain bike tires. The design is new, but the name and the pedigree go back many years. Prepare for the all-new Hutchinson Python 3 and Python Race XC mountain bike tires. 

Hutchinson History

Hutchinson Python old
Photo: Hutchinson

Let me catch you up if you’re new to the Hutchinson Python range. The design and name has been around for years and in many colors (color treads were cooler in the 90’s). 

Hutchinson Python 3 old version
Photo: Hutchinson

The Python has depth in racing, claiming gold at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 under Italian rider powerhouse Paola Pezzo. 

Hutchinson Python 3 top press
Photo: Hutchinson

Iterations have come and gone, but remnants of the original Python tread design remain clear. The newest version of the Python made its lustrous return under the Decathalon Ford Racing Team at the WHOOP UCI Mountain Bike World Series in Mairiporã, Brazil. Rising American superstar Savilia Blunk (check out her bike profile here) rode it to a 2nd place finish.

Meet Hutchinson’s New Python Range

Hutchinson Python 3 header
Photo: Hutchinson

Alongside the new Python 3 launch is a World Cup-level version of the Python Race. Don’t let the naming fool you; both are performance focused designs. The Python Race doubles down on less tread and more speed for those World Cup courses. 

Let’s dive deeper… 

Next Generation Python Development 

Hutchinson Python 3 Blunk
Photo: Hutchinson

Development of the next-generation Python range began in 2022 and was a direct response to Hutchinson-sponsored teams. The athletes were looking for a tire better suited to modern XC riding, changing course designs, and adapting to evolving tech. 

Hutchinson Python Race bike
The bike of French powerhouse Maxime Marotte Photo: Hutchinson

Wider rims and larger-volume tires are common in the top tier of XC mountain bike designs. Hutchinson leaned into these newer developments, opting for a voluminous design.  

The design team agreed on two new tires, Python 3, a versatile successor to Python 2, and the Python Race, oriented exclusively towards efficiency and performance. Both are reminiscent of the Python predecessor but usher it into the new world of cross-country mountain bikes. Most importantly, the new designs improve ride feel and rider satisfaction (well, I liked it…more on that later).

Hutchinson Python 3 side
Photo: Villella

Where does the Python 3 fall in the Hutchinson mountain bike line?

For those familiar with cross country offerings from Hutchinson. The new Python Race is for hardpack and dry race conditions, making it the fastest rolling tire in the quiver. Next is the Skeleton for hardpack, the Kraken for dry and slight downcountry vibes, and then the new Python 3 (if were going on tread alone). There are many more tires they offer, you can check them out here.

Cross Country Compound 

Hutchinson Python 3 race top
Photo: Hutchinson

The updated Python range employs an evolution of Hutchinson’s long-standing RRXC compound. The new compound pivots to a Bi-compound construction with a harder compound in center sections and a softer side compound for increased deformation and grip. 

The new Python 3 and Python Race tires slot under the Hutchinson Racing Lab, meaning they have been hand-made in France and developed in conjunction with leading elite athletes. This concept is similar to the Hutchinson BlackBird Tire we reviewed here.

Hutchinson Python Race 

Hutchinson Python Race top

The Python Race directly results from Hutchinson’s partnership with the Decathlon Ford Racing Team. The team requested a tire that could contend with the best at elite-level XC racing. Something that would help their pursuit of World Cup medals and success at Hutchinson’s home Olympic Games in Paris this summer. 

Hutchinson Python Race side
Photo: Hutchinson

Since its inception, the Phyon Race has seen many prototyping and design changes, resulting in a high-speed tire. As part of the Racing Lab program, the team has been racing and testing various prototypes since the 2023 season. 

The design team assessed different construction methods and rubber compounds to determine the ultimate combination of performance, weight, and comfort. The end result is a class-leading 600g tire built entirely for speed, the fastest rolling tire in Hutchinson’s MTB range. 

Hutchinson Python Race
Photo: Hutchinson

Now let me tell you, this isn’t a “ride to the trails and the bar after tire,” but a race day tire. We haven’t ridden this design, but we have seen it, and it’s impressive. The combination of large volume and low profile knobs are right on trend with the winning tires in the World Series of Mountain Bike. 

The Python Race features the RRXC compound, a 3×127 TPI construction, and a super low profile 1.5mm center line tread for speed—more aggressive side knobs for increased grip in corners and a degree of puncture protection. 

Python Race

  • Available: May
  • Options: Black only
  • Sizes: 29″ x 2.4″

Price: $75.00/£60.00/€70.00

Hutchinson Python 3 

Hutchinson Python 3 store photo
Photo: Hutchinson

The Python 3 is a direct successor to the Python 2 and original Python. This is a do-it-all tire and now, a race-it-all tire (IMO). The idea was to improve the Python’s speed, grip, and comfort. The canvas was broader XC rims Mavic CrossMax wheelset with a 30mm internal rim width, the exact model the Decathalon Ford Team rides.

Hutchinson Python 3 full side
Photo: Hutchinson

The tread design is based on Python’s signature tread but updated with some tweaks. The design team opted for a more comprehensive center tread design to maintain ground contact for increased braking surface and bite while still providing room for mud clearance. 

The side knobs are more staggered than the previous generation, allowing for increased grip and more progressive handling.

Hutchinson Python 3 python race weight
Photo: Villella

For practicality, the design boasts bead-to-bead Hardskin protection, making it a very versatile tire. The design hopes to strike a balance of speed, grip, comfort, and practicality — I think they hit the nail right on the head, but more in my impressions. 

Hutchinson Python 3 tubetype
Photo: Hutchinson

Python 3 also features the same RRXC compound as the Python Race but is matched with a 3×66 TPI casing that balances flexibility and weight. 

Suppose you’re not looking for the lightest and most tech-heavy version of the Python 3. Non-Racing Lab versions of the Python 3 will also be available. This design drops the Hardskin puncture protection for Sideskin reinforcement and will retail 

Python 3 

  • Available: Now 
  • Side wall options: Black and Tan Walls, 
  • Available Sizes: Python 3 is available in 2.3″ and 2.4″ sizes, weighing 780g and 800g* real weight, 
  • Price:  $75.00/£60.00/€66.00

Python

  • Available: Now 
  • Side wall options: Black
  • Price: Tubed version: $25.00/£19.00/€20.00 and $52.00/£42.00/€46.00 for the Tubeless version.

Hutchinson Python 3 Ride Review

Hutchinson Python Race old
Photo: Hutchinson

I’ve spent a decent amount of time on Python 3, considering the adverse mountain bike weather conditions on the East Coast. I was able to experience Python 3 first in its natural habitat in France, on some rocky and slightly damp trails. 

Photo: Hutchinson

When I first mounted my demo bike, I noticed the tire’s voluminous size and round profile. Lots of tires have a slightly higher cornering side knob and give a flat top kind of shape. It’s never completely round, but the Python 3 is round. 

Dial in Period

Hutchinson Python 3 Jv rocks
Photo: Hutchinson

With a 2.40 tire, I find it slightly hard to get the correct pressure; I either go too high or too low. I started my ride with 20psi front and 21psi rear — too high. Something didn’t feel right after riding my first sector on the rocks. The grip was there and I wasn’t sliding, but the deformation and soft supported feel of a 2.40 wasn’t. I dropped the pressure to 18psi front and 19psi rear which was the magic number(I’m around 160lbs with gear). I felt the support, the “float over the rocks” sensation a 2.40 should have, all with an excellent grip and mud shedding the Python 3 promised. 

Hutchinson Python 3 press JV rock
Photo: Hutchinson

Over the day, I found myself more and more confident in the cornering of the tire. I was sheepish at first, something about the lower side knobs, I guess, but after some time, I felt right at home, railing turns. 

On My Home Trails 

Hutchinson Python Race presser
Photo: Hutchinson

When I got home, I mounted the Python 3 on a set of Mavic Crossmax SL Ultimates I have in for review (they are seriously fast; review coming). Mounting, inflation, and seating were uneventful. I could seat the tires using my floor pump and had zero issues getting the tire on without a tire lever. The tires inflated to a plump 2.38-ish size, slightly smaller than the 2.40 hot patch. 

Hutchinson Python 3 clearance
Photo: Villella

On my Thomus demo, the max tire size for the frame is 2.40, and the Python 3 fits nicely. It had just just enough room to clear mud, and get out of true without hitting the chainstays.

Hutchinson Python 3 on bike
Photo: Villella

Appearance wise — I like the tan side walls, which bring a pop of color to the carbon black wheels. 

There are fewer rocks and more dirt on my home trails, so I was eager to see how the Python 3 would hold up and shed mud as claimed. Like my time in France, I felt some confidence in the larger tire. I typically ride 2.35, but these feel much larger, or I’ve been spending too much time on my gravel bike. Either way, the larger tire size boosted my confidence. I pumped the tires to my 18-19psi from previous rides and was content with the result. 

Mixed Real World Conditions

Hutchinson Python 3 top
Photo: Villella

Riding to and from my home trials, the tires were faster than expected on pavement and double track. They were very comfortable eating up small rocks and roots in the forest. The way the 30mm internal rim width pairs with the sizing of the Python 3 is very nice. While cornering, I felt on top of the tread, and very in control of the bike. The tires have a supple ride, and the carcass conforms nicely to roots and trail bits. 

Hutchinson Python 3 side top
Photo: Villella

The mud-shedding and mud performance is top-notch. The classic Python tread has a slight tugboat design that helps pedaling traction in mud. The new slightly staggered blocks and new compound allow the mud to flake off easily while maintaining a solid grip overall. 

Final Thoughts

Hutchinson Python 3 blur
Photo: Hutchinson

I remain very impressed with the Hutchinson Python 3 tire. It’s very versatile but leans towards mixed and slightly damp riding. I found it to be a fantastic spring condition tire.

How can you check it out? As far as distribution, I rarely see Hutchinson at our local shops. It’s hard to purchase a tire without touching and seeing it yourself. 

If you’re looking for a tire that performs well in all conditions and has a very cut-resistant casing, give the Python 3 a try. I highly recommend it for riders who want a single tire for the season and value ride feel and tire suppleness. 

Hutchinson.com

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seraph
1 month ago

Hutchinson needs to get their shit together regarding US distribution. The Overide is my favorite gravel tire but I can’t get them through any distributors anymore.

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