I purchased a set of Hutchinson Override 700x35c tires late last fall to use as winter training tires. Here in Colorado, we had an underwhelming winter, so instead of spending my days removing p-tex one impact at a time from my ski bases, I managed to get in some decent road miles. Now, before I get too far, let me address the people who will jump up and argue that the ski season of 2017-18 was actually really great. No, it wasn’t. If not for the extensive snowmaking infrastructure that was built after the drought of 1977, you would have been on your bike too.
The tire measures at 35.5mm on a DT Swiss Spline rim (26mm outside, so probably 22mm inside or so). It measured similarly on American Classic Hurricane wheels. Claimed weight is 350g, and it has a 127TPI carcass (I don’t have actual weights). Tubless setup on both the DT and American Classic wheels was easy. I used the ‘dry’ technique of setting the bead first and adding sealant through the valve stem later. A bit of Windex shpritzed on the tire helped in the bead seating, and I used a small nail-gun style Senco compressor at 80PSI to do the work.
On a separate, but related note, several manufacturers have released nifty pumps which will allow a blast of air to abruptly release in order to seat tubeless tires. While a cool idea, these are pretty much all significantly more expensive than a small compressor from Lowe’s, Home Depot, Harbor Freight, or that guy who seems to have a garage sale at his house every weekend. Basically, you can get a fairly decent compressor for under $100. It may not be of a quality that would run on a jobsite all day with framing guns, but how often do you change your tubeless setup?
I use a mix of Stan’s and Stan’s Race Day sealants, pouring about 1/2-3/4 oz of each into a syringe, then shaking, and injecting though the valve stem. I put about 1-1/2oz into each tire and sloshed well. On the Race Day label, it says not to put the sealant in through the stem. I do it anyway, and not only have my valves not clogged, but I have a set of tires on one bike that are holding air 8 months after application. Odds are rather high that you’ve been told many times not to do something, and you’ve done it anyway. This falls falls into that category.
I’m running the tires on an older set of DT Swiss Spline 1700 29er wheels mounted on a titanium-framed gravel bike. The tires roll very well on both pavement and packed dirt surfaces. I run them at about 48-50PSI, and have tested them on fresh-ish blacktop, mag-chloride-sealed road base, road sand sprinkled by the plow trucks, packed hard dirt, and loose dirt. Overall, they feel fast and smooth on the pavement and roadbase. On general principle, I tried to avoid the road sand spread by the county road department, because crashing next to stop signs is embarassing.
While riding very hard-packed singletrack in Fruita (18 Road), the tires really impressed. They have a sort of progressive side-knob size, starting as small dots adjacent to the center strip and growing towards the edges. The trail conditions were excellent- as in the notoriously gooey mud along the Book Cliffs was dry and hard as concrete, and the tires rolled fast with no breakaway. Even going up and over sandstone they held their grip, and while descending Kessel Run, I was able to lean the bike quite far on each side with no loss of traction. A few days later, I tested them on a higher-altitude singletrack, which twists under scrub oaks and has a softer soil. This trail has lots of fist-sized river rock and some cut-off oak stumps, plus much of the trail is freshly-cut and is not super packed. This chunky surface caused some small but un-noticed burps (the tire, not me), judging by the wet sealant along both rims. However, the tires did not come loose or drop any significant pressure. Overall, even on the softer soil, I only lost sidewall traction once.
Our region has many unpaved roads, which is wonderful. We are spoiled here with multiple options to combine paved and dirt sections. Most county roads are regular sand-and-gravel roadbase, which is then dust-sealed with magnesium chloride. The MgCL is a bit of a double-edged sword: when used on the highways as ice melt, it glues dirt to your car and is rumored to eat brake linings. When applied to a freshly-graded dirt road, it sets up hard and resists washboards and clouds of dust. “Fresh Mag” is often as smooth and fast as fresh blacktop, but only lasts for a few weeks before it loses adhesion and the road surface breaks apart. The Override tires felt great on both versions of magged dirt, with the low pressures, large size, and good tread smoothing out the feel of the road.
The tires are very smooth on the center rolling strip, so you need to account for this based on road surface. Out-of-the-saddle climbing can cause them to spin, so either stay seated or shift your weight aft to maintain traction on looser surfaces. Similarly, they can skid on looser surface descents, so be aware that they do not offer the tenacious grip that tires like the MSO provide.
During a trip to Belgium, a friend used the bike, wheels, and Override tires to ride Flemish and French cobbles. He had no issues with the tires, and said they performed well in both (very) wet and dry conditions.
To date, this set of tires has a bit over 500 miles and is holding up extremely well. Without empirical data, I can’t really verify this, but they definitely feel faster now that they have been worn in a bit. This is somewhat common with tires (the Clement/Donnelly MSOs are definitely faster once a bit worn), and although there are other tires on the workbench waiting to be used, I will keep these going for some time.
Based on the way they have performed, I’d say they are great for rides which switch between pavement and unpaved, hardpacked roads. Looser surfaces are not their forte, but they can still make it through loose stuff if you adjust your line and speed accordingly. These tires feel great on the road and are an excellent tubeless all-round tire, particularly if your riding is more than 50% on pavement. If your gravel rides are well over 60% dirt and loose surface, MSOs or similar will probably be a better choice.
Notes: I bought these with my own money, after reading up on their specifications and squinting at pictures of them online. The Hutchinson page linked above has very little useful info, and seems to have been run through Google Translate.