Taipan Hardskin TR 27.5x2.1
Hutchinson’s distinctive brown sidewalled tyres are a popular original equipment choice on European trail bikes. Their very reliable tubeless connection and toughness make them a great fit-and-forget choice for long-distance riders but their indifferent traction doesn’t suit those who like to push the limits.
As usual for Hutchinson the tyres blew up easily on every rim we tried. The hardskin carcass has improved in later versions to become a lot more supple and smooth at lower pressures, so ground-hugging is good.
They’re impressively rockproof considering their relatively light weight too. And the bigger enduro versions can be ridden hard through pretty much any size and shape of trouble.
The multi-directional, multi-shaped, low, flat tread knobs carpet the whole top of the tyre round to mid-height staggered shoulder buttress blocks that are spaced wide enough to clear fast. That means the levels of grip are consistent as far as you tip the easily leaning, rounded carcass into turns.
Unfortunately, that grip is consistently underwhelming because of a relatively hard triple-compound mix that prioritises wear life and rolling speed over adhesion. That makes them sketchy and prone to big slides in wetter woodsy and singletrack conditions.
The wide-spaced tread also means they roll noticeably slower than most tyres with similar grip.