27.5 X 2.35-inch Toro RR tire is the star of this review and at a distance, it closely resembles two popular competitors: the Maxxis High Roller and Kenda’s Nevegal. All share pronounced rows of stiff edging blocks, with a fast-rolling center tread comprised of low-profile blocks. Up close, however, the Hutchinson Toro’s tread design steps out of the box, with subtle changes in block-angle and tread profiling, which may give the Toro a decided advantage as a multi-condition, all-mountain/trail tire. Hutchinson makes the Toro in its factory in France, and offers it in a wide range of sizes and options, including a narrow cyclocross application, and in 24, 26, 27.5 and 29-inch mountain bike models. For this review, we chose the tubeless-ready 650B tire which is only available in the full-width, 2.35-inch, heavy-duty Hardskin casing, and with Hutchinson’s triple-compound ‘Race Riposte’ tread design. Hutchinson states the weight for the 2.35 Toro RR tire at 800-grams and its MSRP at $85 USD.
Hutchinson Toro RR 27.5 Tire:
• Purpose: All-mountain/Trail, Enduro
• Size reviewed: 27.5 x 2.35”
• Actual tire dimensions at 32psi: Height = 27.75” and width = 2.25” on 25.5mm ID rim
• Sizes available: 24 x 2.0” and 1.85” - 26 x 2.15,” 2.35” and 2.6” - 27.5 x 2.35” – 29 x 2.15” and 2.35”
• Casing: 60 TPI, Hardskin, nylon-mesh reinforced, tubeless-ready
• Bead: Kevlar, UST style
• Tread: All-condition, Race Riposte, triple-compound rubber
• Weight: 798 grams (weighed)
• MSRP: $85 USDToro RR Construction
Toro tires are manufactured at Hutchinson’s factory in Montargis, France, where they control every aspect of its construction, from raw rubber, compounding, casing construction, hand-layering the rubber for the tread and the final molding process. The Toro’s single-ply casing is 60 thread-per-inch fabric, with a closely woven nylon mesh layer called ‘Hardskin’ that is wrapped around the entire width of the casing to add abrasion and puncture resistance. Hutchinson goes one step further in its definition of ‘tubeless ready’ by adding a true UST-type bead to ensure easy inflation and a more secure seal.
(From left) Hutchinson's new logo, Toro tread is directional. We measured the casing at 2.25 inches wide, but the tire appears a lot wider. Hutchinson molds a true UST tubeless bead for the Toro, but it still requires sealant. Hardskin is a tough mesh fabric liner that protects the casing - as is evident in the pics.
“RR” on the Toro’s hot-patch indicates that the tread is Hutchinson’s Race Riposte, triple rubber compound – a hard center-tread and a softer compound for the edging blocks, with a special under-tread layer that supports the center blocks so they will roll faster. The center tread blocks are closely spaced and topped with a concave depression which adds a second ‘edge’ at low angles of attack. The side-blocks have a deeper, rectangular depression that adds some flexibility to help the tire to grip on hard surfaces. The transition blocks are angled to match the slip-angle of the tire when it is steering up front, or drifting, when the Toro is used as a rear tire.
The center blocks are molded low and spaced apart to allow the Toro's casing to flex and thus roll more easily over rough surfaces. There are tiny diamond-shaped nubs in the center of the empty spaces between the crown tread to protect the casing from high-impact events. Toro tires are directional, with the rear and front reversed for best traction. While the Toro is billed as a 2.35-inch tire and it looks impressive on the rim, we measured it at 2.25-inches in its widest dimension – which turned out to be the casing - when mounted to a 25.5-millimeter ID, Stan’s ZTR Flow EX rim. Toro 27.5 RR Trail Test
We mounted the Toro RR tires (as mentioned)
, tubeless, to Stan’s AM-width ZTR Flow EX rims and they aired up without a hitch. The tread profile is relatively flat, so there is no problem reaching the edging blocks when leaning the bike into a corner. Previously, our test bike was fitted with Schwalbe Hans Dampf 2.35-inch tires, with a much wider casing, and what we assumed to be a grippier tread pattern. Like the Hans Dampf, the Toro is sold as an all-condition tire, but most testing was done in dry conditions in various soil types that ranged from pea-gravel on rock-hard clay, to deep dust and sand, to slick-rock, and the volcanic pumice of Mammoth Mountain.
Hutchinson formulated a durable rubber for the Toro's Race Riposte tread. The wear was minimal, considering that the test intervals were held almost exclusively on rocky terrain. Note the recess in the edging tread that allows the reinforced block to squeeze down slightly before it offers maximum resistance.
Test riders were initially hesitant to push the Toro hard on the slippery hardpack surfaces common to Southern California’s gravity tracks, but the Toro’s tread delivered the goods. The edging blocks grip at a multitude of lean angles and there is rarely any sense that the tire is transitioning from the center to the edging tread – a trait that is common to its look-alike cousins. The easy transition is a plus for 650B riders because the larger wheel requires a slightly more exaggerated lean angle to emulate a 26-inch bike in the turns.Braking/climbing:
Under braking, there was a lot of control, with the edging tread holding grip we began to set up for the turns. In a straight line, braking grip felt nearly as good as the Hans Dampf tire - arguably one of the all-time best stopping treads in that situation. A good braking tire is usually a grippy climbing tire as well, and we can report that the Toro can roll up sketchy climbs without forcing its power source to do anything goofy in order to maintain traction. Rolling resistance:
Where Hutchinson’s Toro really showed it merits, however, was its rolling resistance – or more precisely; its lack thereof. For a relatively aggressive tread pattern, the Toro builds and holds onto speed with an XC-tire-like feel. We found that pressures around 32 to 35 PSI gave the best straight-line results, while still maximizing cornering performance.Wear:
In the durability department, we ran the tires over sharp rock gardens nearly every day of testing and the tread and casing look unphased by the abuse. Wear was about right for a racing tire designed to handle gravity-oriented trail riding, with some noticeable abrasion on the center blocks, but otherwise, the Toros were in serviceable condition after a testing them most of summer. All the tread blocks were accounted for last time we took a roll call.Comments:
Overall, we liked the Toro design best up front, where its pointy blocks and great edging traction gave the bike a trustworthy feel down steeps and around corners. We would definitely choose the Toro for both ends of the bike where ultimate cornering traction was at stake, as it can find grip almost anywhere and drifts evenly fore and aft when traction is not forthcoming. That said, we found that its secure feel as a front choice allowed us to cheat a little and run a faster, slightly narrower rear tire for hardpack conditions when we were after KOM’s.Pinkbike's take:
|Hutchinson has a winner in the Toro RR. As mentioned, we did not get a chance to test the Toro in wet or loamy terrain, but considering where Hutchinson does most of its testing, we'd assume that it can hold its own on the roots. Speculation aside, what we can say with surety is that the Toro absolutely rocks as a dry condition tire for fast-paced, gravity-motivated trail riding. If you are a hard-driving bike-handler who still swears by the old standards we all grew up on, you owe it to yourself to try a pair of Hutchinson Toro RR tires. - RC|