|The Touareg tire may be hard to find in the US, but it is well worth seeking out.
Many people still are reticent to try out tubeless tires for their gravel rigs. If you are one of these folks, I recommend finding a set of Hutchinson Touareg tires. You will not find an easier to live with tubeless tire than this.
Now, I admit, finding these tires may be difficult. I almost did not include this tire on my list but for the fact that I did find an online source for them recently. Hutchinson, if you did not know, is a French based tire manufacturer that was making a push into the US market right about at the same time the pandemic hit. Then after about a year, they made the curious decision to pull out of the US market. So, it may be hard to find a set of Touaregs, but they are well worth your time to search for.
So, why the bother? Well, if you don't like the sound of all the tubeless goop, failures, and hassles you may have heard about, the Touaregs will put all of that behind you and your mind will be at ease. The Touareg holds air as well as a tubed tire, maybe even better, and sealant seems to last longer as well, at least in my case. In other words, you'd be hard pressed to say that running a tubeless Touareg was anything but a positive experience.
|Bonus points for the Touareg are that it rolls fast and has a really long wearing tread.
Okay, but how is it as a tire for gravel? Actually, it holds its own on gravel, giving up very little to the best rolling and riding feel tires. The mini-blocks roll fast on pavement, and the rounded casing profile make this tire quick on smoother dirt and gravel. The ride feel is pretty good if you bump the pressures down a few psi from your normal settings to offset the stiffness due to the puncture protection belt the Touareg has.
Negatives are that this tire doesn't do well in mud at all, it tends to get a bit squirrely on loose, deep gravel, and it isn't the lightest tire in its class. (But at just under 500 grams each, (as I tested them, it isn't the heaviest either) The Touareg is also a bit of a 'gravel flinger' in that the small blocks will toss up small pebbles and squirt bigger chunks of gravel sideways at times. This can be annoying depending on the state of your gravel.
You can read more in the long form review series on this tire on Riding Gravel. From that link there are links back to two previous posts on that site which will give you a long, detailed look at these tires.
These are still some of my favorite tires. They are tough, long wearing, and as I say, really good at being tubeless. These are not the best riding tires, the fastest tires, or the best feeling tires, but if you are not sold on the tubeless idea 100%, these tires will change your mind on that. Plus, if you just want a tire that does its job and does it well without worry on your part, look at the Touareg. Had these not been available at all, I would have been disappointed that I could not share these with you. And yes- they may be really hard to get a hold of. But in my opinion, these tires are worth the effort.
Keep in mind that the Standard Disclaimer applies to these tires. I'll come back next week with another tire you should know about.