Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Gear

Tech Talk with Matt Pacocha: Hutchinson Bulldog tubeless tires

Until recently I had forgotten how much fun it is to just get out and ride for the sake of riding. Over the past 10 winters (give or take a few) I have been logging mile-upon-mile, all in the name of establishing a good base to support my body throughout the next six to eight months of torture it would be put through racing. You see for the last 15 years, right up until about 8 months ago, I was working hard to be a professional cyclist. In some ways I made it, and lived a small part of the dream I had been chasing. I have raced in the pro-class at NORBA Nationals, and I have stood atop

Don't miss a moment from Paris-Roubaix and Unbound Gravel, to the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and everything in between when you join Outside+.

By Matt Pacocha

Tech Talk with Matt Pacocha: Hutchinson Bulldog tubeless tires

Tech Talk with Matt Pacocha: Hutchinson Bulldog tubeless tires

Photo:

Until recently I had forgotten how much fun it is to just get out and ride for the sake of riding.

Over the past 10 winters (give or take a few) I have been logging mile-upon-mile, all in the name of establishing a good base to support my body throughout the next six to eight months of torture it would be put through racing.

You see for the last 15 years, right up until about 8 months ago, I was working hard to be a professional cyclist. In some ways I made it, and lived a small part of the dream I had been chasing. I have raced in the pro-class at NORBA Nationals, and I have stood atop an amateur road-racing podium in Europe. I even have a few titles to my name, yet in my eyes I never really made it. In the last couple of years of “trying” I realized I may have lost sight of why I was pedaling so much and so hard.

This past winter was filled with skiing, hiking and running, but oddly enough, no bikes. I wasn’t really missing them either. I was preoccupied with life, a new engagement and the prospect of finding a “real job.” I have had my nose to the grindstone here at VeloNews, working hard to hopefully become a permanent fixture. All this while with no bikes, well, no riding bikes anyways. You can imagine that after 15 years of never taking more than a couple of weeks away from my bike how strange three months might be.

When I picked up my mountain bike a couple of weeks ago it felt really good. I went from saying I was done racing to actually looking forward to my favorite races this summer. Best of all, I have a fire under my seat to get out again, and I am really jazzed about just plain riding.

One of my first this season was on a trail I had never ridden before. It is a steep, gnarly, technical beast the majority of which I walked down. Since then, it has kept me up at night, running the crux sections over in my head and plotting my next attempt. This trail has made me feel 14 years old again; when all I could do was think about riding and trails. To think I could be riding trails like this every week using them to test tires, pedals and suspension all for a “real job,” somebody pinch me, this can’t be real.

By this time you might be thinking, “What’s the deal?” I thought this was supposed to be a tech article, not the musings of some wannabe pro whining about how he never made it. Well it is a tech article but I figured you might want to know who it might be here behind the keyboard.

Here’s my vision for this column, a story about the rides I do on mountain bike trails over my ability level, the roads around Boulder, and races in Colorado and beyond. Using them all to give you my best impression of how the products you want to read about actually perform.

Finally here’s some tech stuff; this week let’s look at some tires from Hutchinson.

This year you will see more tire manufactures referencing multiple compounds and rubber durometers in their advertising. The downhill set has been in tune with soft compound low rebound tires for a few years now. Many DH racers will tell you a soft compound tire is worth its weight in gold on the racecourse. An Ironic statement seeing as though this rubber technology is expensive and in some cases the tires only last for a few runs.

The credit for pushing this technology from the racecourse to the trail has to go to the freeriders. Ultimately their need for control on tight steep terrain and stunts out weigh the cost of using the technology.

Tech Talk with Matt Pacocha: Hutchinson Bulldog tubeless tires

Tech Talk with Matt Pacocha: Hutchinson Bulldog tubeless tires

Photo:

For the cross-country crew, a well put together dual compound tire can have performance benefits similar to its DH counter part while providing reasonable wear characteristics. Recently I have been riding dual compound tires from Hutchinson.

The Bulldog is one of Hutchinson’s newest tires. There are a lot of choices for this tire besides a size range from 2.1-2.5.

There are three different MCR (Maximum Rebound Control) choices. Basically MCR refers to the rubber durometer, your choices are high (cross-country), medium (freeride) and low (dh, extreme situations). There is a standard tubeless option, as well as a Tubeless Light version. The concept behind this is to take a tubeless tire, make it as light as possible then run sealant with it, something most tubeless users do anyway. Like many of their competitors Hutchinson has a new sealant to go with their tubeless and tubeless light tires. Called Preventive Liquid it is non-latex based and capable of sealing punctures up to 3mm.

I have been riding the regular tubeless Bulldog MCR high tires ($65), they are the cross-country specific version, but in the fairly large size of 2.3.

Hutchinson has a specific type of construction going into its multi compound tires called “4//extrusion.” They double co-extrude the tread; setting four sections of different rubbers infused with silica and carbon side by side. This mates soft compound grip on the sides (55 durometer) with harder center rubber (65 durometer) to keep tread wear acceptable. Ultimatly 4//extrusion allows Hutchinson to choose how each part of the tread will perform.

The Bulldog is Hutchinson’s do it all tire made for a combination of rocks, dry and moist soil. Square blocks down the middle of the tire provide good drive traction, as well as braking characteristics. The design is useable on the front or rear of the bike. Cornering on the Bulldog is quite comfortable, as it gives fair warning before washing out. But when the conditions get really loose and dry you have to be careful, this is where the Bulldog is at its worst, and drifting becomes a problem. In defense of Hutchinson the Bulldog was not designed dry conditions, they have a different tire for the dry. On soft loamy soils the Bulldog shines providing ample traction, and cornering grip. Its knobs are spaced well enough to allow mud to clear fairly well. Looking at a well-ridden MCR high tire you immediately notice that the side knobs show a fair amount of wear this is because of the softer rubber. The center knobs show better wear resistance. This is the point; put a softer compound on the sides to provide the best traction when cornering, and in the center a harder compound to handle the more intense forces of drive and braking. The Bulldog wears well, and impressively evenly; especially considering the level of performance the tire is capable of. In all the Bulldog is a pretty impressive tire, but my best recommendation is that this tire is best suited to moist climates, wet days in dry areas or any area with a reasonably soft, loamy soil.

The Hutchinson Python may be a much better choice for the dry conditions like those found here on the front range of Colorado; I’ll let you know as soon as I get my hands on a pair.

A tubeless 2.3 Bulldog comes in at 895 grams, making it a bit heavy for the racecourse. A better choice for the racer may be the tubeless light version, available in a 2.1 width. This tire comes in at 665 grams, a much more manageable figure for the weight conscious racer to stomach. In all the Tubeless 2.3 MCR High Bulldog would be a good choice for a trail bike anywhere the conditions vary yet lean toward the moist. There is a place for the 2.3 Bulldog on the cross-country racecourse. Something technical and gnarly like the NORBAs at Mount Snow or West Virginia, where a tire of this stature can do wonders for a racer’s confidence.

We have some great stuff for this column in the near future so stay tuned. In the mean time, be sure to check out Lennard’s article in the current issue about the latest offering from Cannondale for the Road.

Photo Gallery