Hutchinson make a lot of road tyres, they also make a lot of mountain bike tyres, and squeezed between the two are just a few cyclo-cross tyres with the Toro being one. With its pattern of small, square knobs it looks like a mountain bike tyre but smaller, which comes as no surprise as it's based on Hutchinson's Toro MTB tyre.
Hutchinson are champions of the road tubeless movement but, unlike like their Piranha and Bulldog CX tyres, the Toro isn't tubeless ready. It prefers a regular tube inside, which is just fine for the majority of cyclo-cross riders.
The stated tyre size of 700x32 is hopelessly optimistic as the tyre measures nearer 30mm from outside knob to outside knob, so some Gallic boasting there, but the actual weight of the tested tyres is more gamine than the claimed weight of 350g at 301g and 312g respectively. They're slimmer and svelter than advertised nature is immediately noticeable on the bike making for a fast and skippy ride, the directional shallow tread making the Toro pretty sprinty even on the road. And that speed translates well off-road where there's more grip than its light weight and skinny 127 TPI carcass would suggest.
Hutchinson peddles the Toro as a tyre for wet and muddy conditions but they behave really, really well over a variety of terrains, unlike some other mud biased tyres. Their diminutive size and mass means a bit of care has to be taken anywhere rocky, pointy, bumpy or rooty but they make a good fist of anything if you give them faith, making for a fun, stimulating and rewarding ride. Over anything hardpacked they fly along, and when it eventually does get sloppy they grip with more assurance than those small blocks would have you believe. There's enough room between those blocks to allow mud to clear quickly too.
So there's a lot to like – love, even – about the Toro. These are tyres that somehow manage to skip along the delicate line between frisky and confident and they would frolic happily to the top of the charts if they weren't the fastest wearing tyres in the world. Probably. After just two rides the rear tyre was showing significant signs of abuse. After half a dozen rides it was looking like it had done a hard season already, and with a dozen outings under its belt the rear tyre was already looking on the internet for a replacement. The central knobs were almost down to the tyre body on the leading edges and the rest looked pretty well gnawed. Even compared to other mud ready CX tyres, deterioration was swift with the front tyre looking distressingly scuffed as well.
Although they're a tyre suggested for the wet and mud, the Toros perform well in all off-road theatres. As they're not at all draggy like other mud-friendly tyres can be, they're tarmac friendly as well. For a short while. Light, thin and with a mountain bikey tread pattern, they're fast yet sticky, but they don't 'arf wear fast, even when compared to other slop-specific tyres. Sadly, that means they're best kept off the play or commute CX bike and saved for competition days where they'll enter the ring fighting.
The Toro's are a bit of a tricky tyre to mark. They look to be a great CX tyre for mucking about on as nothing about them screams elite or mud tyre, but their wear rate is prohibitive and they should be marked down severely because of this. But Hutchinson label the Toro as a competition tyre where performance could be seen to come before longevity. They're probably not the tyre for you if you like multi-hour 'cross jaunts over a variety of tyre-chewing terrains or just for work and back. They're meant for a painful hour round the soft mud, which is something they do really well, being light, fast and slop-happy. So the final mark's going to reflect their competition genetics and be just a teeny bit more charitable.
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Make and model: Hutchinson Toro CX 700x32c
Size tested: 32mm
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Toro is a cyclocross competition tyre for wet and muddy conditions with aggressive knobs for traction and braking performance, also optimised for low rolling resistance and good mud clearance, it says here. The low weight and slender carcass definitely point to the performance end of the scale, and it does grip well in sloppy conditions whilst still being speedy. Ridiculously fast wear when just riding about makes them definitely a competition-only tread.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
700x32, 127tpi, folding bead, semi-soft compound on the sides for good cornering grip.
Well made... for the duration of their short life, that is.
A fast and fun tyre that grips where you don't expect it to.
The quickest wearing CX tyre I've ever ridden (and I had some Michelin Mud greens once!).
For such a thin, light, shallow treaded tyre they weren't too punishing.
I'd like more than a dozen rides out of any tyre before I need to look for another one, even from a mud tyre.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Take the 'competition' tag in the Toro's description to heart because it won't last long anywhere else.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The light weight, the speed, the grip.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The ridiculously fast wear.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, while it lasted.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, but I'd only use it on special race days, not for general mucking about.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they only ever used it for racing.
Age: 42 Height: 180cm Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: It varies as to the season. My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Fun
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.