Hutchinson's tires tend to fly under the radar in North America, but the French company is working to change that with the release of the Griffus. The new tires were developed to meet the needs of Hutchinson's EWS athletes, who were looking for a tire that could work well in a wide range of dry conditions. What's a Griffus? Well, Google says that it means "clawed" in French, which seems like a very fitting name for a mountain bike tire.
The release of the Griffus marks the start of a new range of tires that will be marked with the Racing Lab logo, which indicates that they're designed for the highest level of performance, whether that's on the Enduro World Series circuit, or gunning it for glory on your local trails.
Hutchinson Griffus Details
• Intended use: enduro
• Best for dry, mixed, rocky conditions
• Wheel size: 27.5" or 29"
• Width: 2.5" or 2.4"
• Hardskin casing reinforcement
• Tubeless ready
• Made in France
• Weight: 1060 grams (29", actual)
• MSRP: $79.99 USD
The Griffus is available for 27.5” and 29” wheels in 2.4” and 2.5” widths, with the 2.5” option receiving a taller, more aggressive tread pattern. Hutchinson suggests running the 2.5” version up front, and the 2.4” in the back, but riders looking for lower rolling resistance can run the Griffus 2.4 front and rear, or take the dual 2.5” route for more traction.
The tires are constructed with a 66tpi casing, and Hutchinson's Hardskin fabric runs from bead to bead to provide additional puncture protection. The tread is comprised of three compounds – there's a 94a durometer base layer that provides support, which is overlayed by a 50a durometer rubber for the center tread pattern, and softer, 40a compound for the side knobs. Oh, and for all the tan sidewall
fans out there, that's an available option, as long as you have 27.5” wheels.
The 29 x 2.5” Griffus has a claimed weight of 1100 grams, and the 2.4” models is supposed to weigh in at 1050 grams, but on my scale both tires weighed the same – 1060 grams. Griffus 2.5
Lower profile center knobs make the 2.4" Griffus work best as a rear tire, but it can still be called into duty as a faster-rolling option for the front.
Hutchinson bill the Griffus as a dry conditions tire, but I think that's underselling the range of usable conditions a bit. Yes, in really deep mud a taller, more open tread pattern will be the way to go, but my first few rides have all been in wet, squishy conditions, and the Griffus did just fine. The fact that they don't have a super tall, mud-spike-like tread profile actually helps on wet roots and rocks – there's less chance of the knobs collapsing and causing sudden slide outs.
The Griffus' overall profile is a bit more round than square, which gives them a very predictable nature – there's not the on / off sensation that a really squared-off profile can deliver when transitioning to the side knobs. I need more time on them (and some sunny weather) to really make the call on their rolling resistance, dry conditions performance, and durability, but so far things are off to a promising start. The rubber compound seems nice and sticky, the tread pattern is easy to get along with, and the casing has a nice supple feel to it that allows the tires to really conform to the trail.
The competition in the all-mountain / enduro tire world is heating up, which is good news for consumers - there are more trail-worthy options on the market than ever. The Griffus seems like it'll be a very versatile addition to Hutchinson's lineup, and it's going to be interesting to see what else emerges from their Racing Lab program.