It looks like Hutchinson hopes that its Cougar tyre will savage the lightweight fast rolling trail tyre market. We think it’s good, if not quite purrfect. Though it’s not doom and gloom either. We were able to ride hard and fast on the tubeless-ready Cougar after ﬁtting them to our test Intense Tracer 2, with a dose of sealant.
We asked for a big performance from the tyre and while the densely packed tread looked uninspiring, in the dry it actually served up a dollop of grip with a side order of well signalled drift. All good, especially on a bike like the Tracer 2 that asks a lot from any tyre. We ran them hard and soft, soft enough to burp them on our Easton rims but they, and the rolling speed, were always going to be above just okay thanks to a fairly compact tread pattern, with no big gaps between the treads.
Unfortunately, in the wet though they are only okay. You need to pick your lines carefully and apply power gently – don’t try forcing them as you will end up in a wheelspin or washout. We would keep the Cougar on standby for use through the dry weather and then go for something that’s a bit more manly and open in the wet.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.