HUTCHINSON TAIPAIN 29 X 2.35” TRAIL TYRE
The Taipan is pitched as Hutchinson’s “Ultra Versatile” all season XC/Trail tyre. Offered in a range of casings, widths and wheel sizes we fitted the Hardskin trail version of the 29 x 2.35” (27.5” is also available) tyre front and rear for our recent New Zealand adventure. Their 2x66 ply casing is just what you’d expect – two 66 thread per inch casings laid over each other. So we expected they should be pretty strong! Hutchinson claims that the Taipan is well suited in a range of trail conditions from dry and loose conditions to wet and muddy utilising its mud shedding knob profiles. Looking at the Taipan it is easy to see this is a high volume and balloon like tyre with the side knobs sitting quite pronounced from the casing itself. The centre knobs are lower in profile and a harder compound for faster rolling and long term durability with all knobs equipped with a very slightly angled edge to keep them shedding debris and not caking up in the mud. In the dry we found the Taipan to roll very fast considering the large and well spaced tread pattern with a predictable transition from the centre to side knobs without the bike wanting to tip in and break away suddenly. Some cornering traction has been sacrificed with the choice of durable compound in the dry but it remained composed on most surfaces. The Hardskin casing did perform very well and took lots of abuse crossing loose and sharp scree slopes. We did suffer a small hole in the sidewall from a sharp stick, which we sealed up easily with a Weldtite tubeless tyre repair kit. Thankfully the high thread count and Hardskin casing stopped the hole from tearing and is has permanently sealed. In the wet the Taipan did bite well into the dirt and mud shedding even clay quite well and remaining clear enough to maintain good traction both climbing and descending. It did struggle on wet rocks and roots with the hard yet durable compound glancing off on the angle of the offending object. As the rains cleared and the sun came out leaving a loose and tacky dirt, the Taipan was highly capable. Just the right mount of shedding ability, stable knobs that don’t fold and a protruding side knob meant they hung onto the loose and crafty local lines. Under hard braking and quick direction changes, we did encounter some tyre casing squirm and deformation due to the light yet durable Hardskin. While Hutchinson claims this tyres dips its knobs into the Enduro realm we question its stability at speed when the going gets rough. If you’re looking for a light weight and durable all season tyre that can indeed handle both wet and dry then this could be the Jack of all trades tyre you have been looking for.