Hutchinson has announced a new mesh tyre construction that is said to improve puncture protection, while being better for the environment too.
Called Gridskin, the knitted mesh construction has a reptile-like appearance thanks to its hexagonal criss-cross pattern and occasionally filled spaces.
But the design isn’t just to do with looks. Hutchinson claims the new pattern, which sits beneath the tyre’s rubber compound, “provides protective reinforcement designed to isolate tyre damage and prevent sharp debris progressing deeper, eventually creating larger holes and punctures.”
This, Hutchinson says, helps increase the usable lifespan of the product, seemingly because preventing larger holes means the tyres won’t have to be switched out quite so soon.
Gridskin is also claimed to be lighter than Hutchinson’s previous puncture protection and more effective at lower pressures “allowing riders to achieve a superior blend of protection, performance, weight and traction”, according to the brand.
The Gridskin design will initially be available on limited-edition versions of Hutchinson’s most popular tubeless tyres: the Touareg gravel tubeless tyre in 700×40mm and the Fusion 5 tubeless road tyre in 700×28mm.
Streamlined production for reduced environmental impact?
Cycling might have the lowest carbon footprint of any mode of personal transport, but parts do wear out, and replacing them still impacts the environment.
Hutchinson says that tyres account for a sizeable amount of waste in the cycling industry. In part, this is due to tyres having a limited lifespan, but it is also due to waste being created during manufacture.
To address this, Hutchinson says it created a ‘Green Team’ consisting of senior management, R&D and engineers, who were tasked with analysing production and finding ways to “minimise environmental impact whilst continuing to offer cyclists the best possible experience.”
According to Hutchinson, the Gridskin design has cut processing steps in manufacturing tyres from four to one.
Specifics around how the new tyres are made and processing has changed are hazy – and Hutchinson doesn’t want to share further information on the processing or composition of Gridskin – but this streamlined process is claimed to reduce waste, including plastic, rubber and electricity.
The two limited edition tubeless tyres have been left “naked” without any markings on them to further reduce waste, and are sold in packaging from recycled paper assembled in France, Hutchinson’s home.
The external rubber compound of the new tyres is the same as the standard Touareg and Fusion 5.
Hutchinson hasn’t elaborated on the environmental impact of this component of the tyre but does stress that it obtains raw materials from European suppliers and collaborates with fabric manufacturers from France and neighbouring countries.