Hutchinson Squale 27.5 x 2.5-inch Tire - Reviewed

Feb 4, 2014
by Richard Cunningham  
Images: Luca Cometti

Hutchinson Squale 27.5 x 2.5 Tire 2014

Hutchinson's choice of a slightly more rounded tread profile while retaining the pronounced row of edging blocks that can be found on the most popular gravity tires provides more consistent cornering grip.



Hutchinson launched its redesigned Squale in June, 2013 as a lightweight downhill and enduro racing tire. Much of the input for the Squale came from Mick Hannah, who races the 2.5-inch version on World Cup venues where a lighter, faster-rolling tire will give him an advantage. The new Squale uses Hutchinson's "Race Reposte" three-compound tread, but only two of those materials appear on the tread surface. The pronounced edging blocks are molded from soft, 42 Shore-A rubber, while the lower, angled center tread is made from 50 Shore-A hardness rubber. The third compound is a harder material that is tucked under and into the tread and its purpose is to stiffen and reinforce the tread, so the soft-rubber tread blocks can develop full traction under high-pressure turning and braking without folding or distorting. The casing is a two-ply design with 66 threads per inch and Hutchinson offers the Squale with both wire and folding beads. Sizes are 2.3 inches in all three wheel diameters, with 2.5-inch widths available in 26 and 27.5 inches. We tested the 27.5 x 2.5-inch version, which weighed 1060 grams, and comes with an MSRP of $89 USD.



Specifications:

Purpose: DH and Enduro - mixed, dry and rocky terrain
Casing: Tubeless ready, Hardskin reinforced, 66 TPI
Bead: Folding
Tread: Race Reposte, two compound tread with reinforcing under-layer
Size Tested: 27.5 (650B), 2.5-inch
Diameter: 28.125 inches at 32 psi (715mm)
Width: 2.36 inches at 32 psi (60mm)
Weight: 1060 grams (measured)
MSRP: $89 USD
Contact: Hutchinson Tires



Construction

Hutchinson manufactures its tires in its own factory near Montargis, France, where it controls every step of the process from mixing and formulating the rubber to molding the tires their final shape. The two ply casing is constructed with 66 TPI fabric that is further reinforced against punctures and abrasion by a dense layer of nylon-like material from bead to bead. Hutchinson calls that layer, "Hardskin." The bead design and casing is tubeless ready, and because Hutchinson pioneered tubeless for cycling, you may be assured that the Squale will mount to any worthy rim.

The tread design is pretty straight-forward, with seven-millimeter edging blocks lined up like a castle wall on either side of the tire and with shorter, five-millimeter blocks in the center that are angled to reduce rolling resistance. Whether or not the treatment is functional, Hutchinson added a rough surface finish on the rubber between the tread blocks to further enhance the tire's grip on wet rocks and roots. The tread profile, when mounted to DH-width rims, is sightly rounded - a bit less than a Schwalbe Hans Dampf and more rounded than a Maxxis HR II.

The most interesting aspect of the new Squale's design, however, is that Hutchinson figured out a method to internally reinforce the tread blocks during the molding process. Normally, tall edging tread made from super soft 42 Shore-A durometer rubber would be too flexible to stand up to hard cornering. Hutchinson, however, figured a method to mold an under-layer into the tread, made from a harder durometer rubber, that reinforces the tread blocks. As we were to discover later, that process was key to the tire's performance.

Hutchinson Squale 27.5 x 2.5 Tire 2014

We put a lot of wear and tear on the Hutchinson tires, burning through two pairs during the test period. You wouldn't guess that they were durable by looking at this image, but Squales will outlast most popular DH tires.



Ride Review

We reviewed Hutchinson latest gravity tire in the type of situations where it was rated to perform best - rocky, dry soil and mixed conditions - on DH trails, and at nearby DH races. Most of the riding was done on Intense 951 EVO that was previously shod with Maxxis High-Roller II tires. At the races, the Squales put in a top five in the Pros against some heavy hitters, and on trail, they proved to be one of the better DH tires we have ridden.

Setup: We ran the Squales tubeless for most of the test period and they mounted up with a floor pump on Novatec Diablo rims, sealed with Gorilla tape and Stan's fluid.

Grip: Hutchinson's under-tread rubber made a difference, giving the Squale tire a more predictable feel in the turns. When pushed hard, where a High Roller II's edging blocks begin to fold over, the Squale's are still holding a line. Braking traction is excellent until the trail gets super steep, and then the grip falls off a bit. It took wet, super tacky conditions for us to be able to find the limits of the Squale's edging blocks. The transition between the center and edging blocks, while not seamless, is about as good as it gets for a DH tread.

Rolling resistance: The consensus was that the Hutchinson tires roll faster than the rest of the HR II clones, meaning tread patterns that feature shorter, angled center blocks and an aggressive edging pattern. They were snappy under acceleration, but more impressive, was how well the tires carried speed between technical sections of the tracks.

Durability: We only had two flats after running two pairs of tires into the ground. The first was when we pinch-flatted the one and only time we ran an inner-tube and the second instance was when we cracked a rim and that was not the fault of the tire. Considering that most of our riding was at speed in rocky terrain, that is a remarkable score. In the wear department, the DH race member of the test team said that the Squales were the longest lasting DH tire he has used. That said, he could burn through a set in three or four weeks.

Issues: There are a lot of gravity riders who believe staunchly in tubes and, although we only had a single instance to use to form this opinion, may want to consider a heavier tire with a built-in anti-pinch-flat sidewall strategy. Hutchinson states that the Squale is designed to perform as a lighter-weight alternative for a DH tire and we would agree that it fits this role.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesHutchinson's new Squale tire is a winner and a welcome addition to those of us who ride 27.5-inch wheels. We'd recommend it to enduro racers seeking a fast rolling tire with the cornering grip and durability of a DH design, or to a DH racer who needs a lighter, faster tire for venues with more pedaling than usual. For the rest of us, the new Squale, with its predictable feel in the corners and lively sense under acceleration, is a hell of a lot of fun to ride. In its quest to make the ultimate racing tire for high-speed World Cup courses, Hutchinson may have accidentally invented the perfect tire for weekend gravity warriors. - RC



111 Comments

  • + 37
 noice
  • + 14
 noice!
  • + 14
 knoice!
  • + 16
 gnouice!
  • + 14
 endurice
  • + 5
 Noice looking. not so noice price. must be 90 bucks cuz it's enduro approved Smile
  • + 11
 everyu good dh tire is around 80-120 bucks bud^
  • + 4
 with the exception of intense 909s of course
  • + 2
 Gnarice
  • + 7
 For people who didn't get it.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQnYi3z56RE
  • + 5
 I'm still not sure that I get it:-(
  • + 1
 "noice" (in a deep voice) - bus driver
  • + 0
 dude nooice is my thing no nooice for you
  • + 0
 I said... noice one bruvaaaaa!
  • + 0
 i love key and peele
  • + 2
 wtf did i just watch??
  • + 1
 Pointless.
  • + 1
 Pointless indeed. But i'm sure you watched the whole clip anyway...and then went on to watch the second one as well.
  • + 1
 I'm sure your quite wrong mate!!!
  • + 2
 Twice. I just don't get any humor or anything from it. Is it solely entertaining because its infectious? Is it making fun of people who try to be super cool? Oh well, I'll just stick to watching videos of cats. At least then I'll know what I'm ment to be laughing at. :-)
  • + 24
 Pinkbike Staff: Thanks for doing more tire reviews. It seems like tire reviews carry more weight than say, a glove review, because there is such a domination in the market of one brand or even model(Minion) vs other components accessories. You don't see one glove, one fork, one bar, one rim, or even one frame that dominates the competition so strongly for so long. Just the review of the Magic Mary, alone, has sent those tires flying off the shelf at my local big shop.

I just cannot trust 90% of the reviews from other websites/magazines because they mostly talk about how much traction they had WHEN they found it. They rarely talk about where the tire falls short, like you guys do, and with discerning detail. I appreciate the reviews on the Bontrager tire, this Hutchinson, and some other brands/tires that we don't hear as much about. Keep it up!
  • + 2
 Because Minion are nearly half the price over every other model on CRC.
  • + 1
 That's where I got mine! Can't beat $35 USD for 42a single ply minions....
  • + 1
 Dear Pinkbike please review these that get No Flats Ever cause they don't have air. Been waiting for this tech since the 90's.
www.energyreturnwheel.com/Home.aspxhttps
://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9SWIsY8rzQ
  • + 3
 The old Squale was one of the best tire I ever had. Used this tire to win a Nationals race back in 2001 on a muddy tecnical track and everybody was impressed how the tire hold up on that slick mud of Canela downhill track that was yoo steep and rocky. It funny that it was totaly diferent from the new Squale.
  • + 6
 I know of vaginas with more traction than a Hutchinson Squale tire, this review is bs!
  • + 19
 HA! Then you know the wrong kind of women!! lol
  • + 25
 PM sent
  • + 2
 See who wrote the review, explains a lot.
  • - 3
 @bonkywonky truth, RC never says anything is bad it's MBA style reviews
  • - 2
 I love how he does the reviews but you rarely see him riding in the review. . . . Mountain Bike Fiction
  • - 1
 @poozank Exagtly what i thought,i mean i love pinkbike but they always say in theire Reviews that everything is awesome,but we Know thats bs
  • - 1
 My point was more the fact that RC doesn't ride fast enough to have a HR II's knobs folding over.. It's one of, if not the most popular downhill tyres ever and since Peaty and Bryceland swear by them I doubt they fold that badly.
  • + 14
 I'm sure readers would rather see a more handsome photo model. The test writer is one of the test riders who evaluate important products. When we test DH specific products, we employ top talent to give us a wider perspective. I'd say a fourth place finish in a pro DH (first paragraph of review sec.) might substantiate our conclusions. I used the HRII as a baseline - because we all are familiar with it - and also because all three test riders referred to that tire as its closest competition. The role I play in tests like this, is that I bridge the gap between the true top level riders and the enthusiast level, so I can relate how a product will play in the broader audience. More important, is that all test riders come into the game with predisposed likes and dislikes, and the test writer acts as a filter. As far as saying good things about products - bikes and gear that come from recognized brands has evolved to a very high standard. If it's a damn good product, what's the truth in saying bad things about it to make haters happy?
Just sayin'
  • - 4
flag RippinRickyRoy (Feb 5, 2014 at 12:59) (Below Threshold)
 I was just joking by the way, I've never even tried a Hutchinson Squale tire, nor do I know of any vaginas that have any traction what so ever. Also the review was actually quite interesting.
  • + 8
 back pedal much...........
  • + 3
 Would a number or letter rating system be better? We sometimes we hear of comparisons to unnamed tires that most of us may recognize, and we hear the positives/negatives of many tires, but how about an overall score system to really rank all the tires tested? Test a Minion DHF or HR2 just as a baseline and see where all these other tires from other brands fall on that rating scale. Hell, have a scale for wet loam, dry SW stuff, and rolling resistance and have a graph at the end of the year for all the tires reviewed that year.
  • + 2
 Flats, no tube, has this greasy shine which is hallmark of lowend OEM tires. Knobs folding over on hard pack - agree - does not feel nice. All other conditons its fine. Comparing to HRII is ok for its intended use. Minion is still better.
  • + 1
 Comparing this to a high roller 2 is a little odd, since they are two very different tires. This Hutch looks like a rear specific tire whereas the HR2 is better on the front. Smaller knobs will fold over easier, that's a given.
  • + 2
 No idea what Hutch wants. Looks like an allround tire built in their usual compound and process. At least its round...;-)
  • + 6
 Is it just me or is that an Intense M9 on 27.5 rims and tires???
  • + 2
 Last shot sure makes it seem like it....
  • + 1
 951 is their 27.5" dh rig I thought... Stop confusing me
  • + 1
 Sharp eye there LocalsOnly. I noticed that too. Is this a prototype or a 275 conversion? I would think, given the reset of the Intense line that 275 M9 is inevitable.
  • + 2
 The m9 fits a 27.5 in the rear end in the middle, and long rear end setting. The tire was tested on both the new Intense evo 951 and m9 with 27.5 wheels
  • + 1
 Luca FTW, btw good luck in Sundays Fontucky race!
  • + 4
 sweet super informative review, the comparisons to other popular choices were welcome
  • + 4
 Does anyone if it has stiffer sidewalls than a HR II?
  • + 2
 If this tire is anything like the Toro DH and the DZO then the sidewalls are the same stiffness as the HR II. If you want stiffer then go Schwalbe but be warned once you go Schwalbe you won't go back!
  • + 1
 ^^^Yes. About the same sidewall stiffness, with a more supple feel. I'm back on HRIIs for a little while.
  • + 1
 want sidewall stiffness? go to the ultimate all round dh tyre, continental der baron in black chilli, 6ply sidewalls, amazing grip and durability. but also not heavy, lighter then comparable maxxis.
  • + 1
 Rc, or anyone else, what would you recommend for a 650b tire for super rocky trail condition...something to help prevent denting my rim?
  • + 3
 Another 5psi might help.
  • + 1
 I would recommend the new Schwalbe Magic Mary 650bx2.35 tire for super rocky terrrain. You could go with the DH casing but personallly I think the Supergravity is just as good pinch flat wise and it is lighter (DH casing on the sidewalls and single ply on the top). I have had this tire on the front since October last year and have tested it in rocky conditions with no problems. Super grip with the vertstar compound and no flats! You could also try the Hans Damf in 650bx2.35 if you do more trail riding than DH and it is 60g lighter if that matters.
  • + 1
 @SintraFreeride, Thanks for the input, I will be buying a Schwalbe in the near future
  • + 5
 gneiss!
  • + 6
 Now I want a Guinness.
  • + 3
 Maxxis has been using a harder support rubber with their 3C stuff since it was introduced.
  • + 0
 Looks like a tire that would still give good side grip for turning even after its significantly worn. But if it's not a real DH tire because it's not great for preventing pinches,, I'm not sure if it is as 'nice' as everybody is thinking it is.
  • + 1
 I dunno, the review says the under layer of harder rubber is under and inside the tread, I wonder at what point you'd actually notice a decrease in cornering traction? Would suck if it's @ 50%
  • + 1
 If you've used about 50% of your tyre knobs, of nay tyre, you can basically throw it away I think.
  • + 1
 Very late comment but I'd like to add that its AWESOME they gave outer diameter of these. Something many tire companies don't willingly give out.
  • + 1
 Can't find anywhere mention of the 27.5x2.5 Squale, where the heck did you get one? Even on Hutchinson website it doesn't mention the 2.5 in that wheelsize Oo
  • + 1
 HAHAH The Hutch' site is lagging a bit!
  • + 4
 Nyse
  • + 3
 nise.
  • + 3
 Нойс
  • + 1
 Looks like they just revised and combined the Schwalbe Hans Dampf and Continental Kaiser.. lol
  • + 1
 I've been wanting to try these for a while. I have barracudas and love them. But I cant justify $90 for a tire.
  • + 1
 Man how good are the Barracudas in deep sand! Best tyre for sand I have tried so far.
  • + 1
 Defenitly a good tire. I found they're rather good in mud as well.
  • + 3
 niceeeeeeee
  • + 2
 Was it really launched in June 2003, or is it supposed to be June 2013?
  • + 3
 Nálysz.
  • + 1
 26" and 650b only. Hmmm, the death of the 29er seems to be already in the horizon.
  • + 1
 "Diameter: 28.125 inches at 32 psi (715mm)"

And THIS is why the wheel size should only be referred to as 650B.
  • + 2
 Actually this is why wheel size should be referred to by rim diameter eg this 27.5/650b x 2.5 would be 584mmx60 or 23inx2.35
the 26in version would be 559mmx60 or 22inx2.35
  • + 0
 650B DOES refer to the rim diameter. Its even a french rim diameter.
  • + 1
 No reason to start screaming.
  • + 1
 650B is not the rim diameter it is the diameter of the rim plus a road tire! 650mm is 584mm PLUS 66mm or a 33mm tire height aka road tire! The car industry using rim diameter and so does the motocycle industry I don't see why we have to be any different! As it is it just leads to confusion!
  • + 0
 Actually a "B" tire would be a medium width tire, so not road. Touring more like it. 650B is a french designation for a particular size wheel/tire combination, just as is 650A, 650C, 700A thru C (700D was an early 90s american invention that followed the old french code types) and so on.

The car industry is easily as confusing or more so than bicycle tires. Sure they use rim diameters, but they also use Aspect ratios as a percentage of the tire width to measure casing heights, on passenger car tires anyway, but even then they also mix metric and imperial on the same damn tire. A P195/50R15 is a 195mm width tire with a 50 aspect ratio on a 15 inch rim. To get the actual diameter you multiple 2 times the aspect ratio by the width and then add the diameter times 25.4. But a 37x12.5R17LT for example is giving you the actual nominal tire diameter and then the width of the tire on a 17" rim for light trucks. So even the car industry makes up their own sizings for whatever suits them, which is just as confusing if you don't know the background to the info on the tires. Then in Japan they don't use the aspect ratio but instead put the actual nominal tire diameter as the second number after the width. Also any given car/truck size is based on a specific WIDTH of rim and fitted to a narrower or wider rim can change the tire geometry when its inflated and skew the figures.
  • + 3
 NAJS
  • + 2
 naice
  • + 1
 If it's "certified Enduro" rubber I"M ALL IN!
  • + 1
 27.5 on an M9? How did you do that?
  • + 1
 I'm square. Are you square? #autocorrect
  • + 2
 Knice!
  • + 0
 How many comments that just say variations of the word "nice" are we gonna get here?
  • + 2
 Nice.
  • + 4
 Nnnnnnn eyes
  • + 1
 Watch out, serious comment alert. Front or back for enduro
  • + 2
 If you want your question answered you have to use a questionmark, or so I'm led to believe.
  • + 1
 So, @panaphonic, pray tell, front or back for enduro?
  • + 1
 I don't know sorry, I've never tried these tires before. Personal preference and different tracks/terrain tells me that you are the only person that can answer that. It would also depend on what other tire you were planning on pairing it with. For me, this tire has the knob size/shape that I like on the front tire but the casing is more than I would ever need for my normal riding. HR2 front, ardent 2.4 rear is the combo that works best for me. 860/800 grams in the 26" versions.
  • + 1
 Square! No, squale! Ugh, autocorrect!!!!!
  • + 2
 fkn ice!
  • + 0
 Na na niiii....ce Maybe uk only on that one I'm not sure n dubz made it over the pond.
  • + 0
 Dammit I don't race, I guess I can't buy this tyre!
  • + 0
 Hutchinson sucks! I won't try anymore tyres by this brand!!
  • + 1
 I got Hutchinson Pythons and they lasted me 6000km of riding on all kinds of terrain. They make great tires.
  • + 0
 Damn! Now I'm gonna have to really consider switching to a 650b......
  • + 1
 Somebody gave you a negative props for your comment. Most likely an insecure 29er feeling threatened by such a statement. Your back in the plus now. Unless more insecure 29ers give you negatives.
  • + 1
 Neinz
  • + 0
 who knew that pinkbike reviewed decade old products
  • + 1
 n fcukin' eyes
  • + 0
 Nine ice
  • + 0
 N'ice

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