Second Look: Hutchinson Sector 28 Tubeless Tires

After analyzing three years of visitor stats for the GRAVELBIKE site, it’s pretty clear that people like reading about tires. This year alone, five of the top-ten articles have been tire reviews. One of the more popular pieces is last summer’s review of Hutchinson’s Sector 28 tires. With the increased interest in road tubeless setups, we decided to give the Sector 28s a second look.

When we first tested the Hutchinson Sector 28 tires, we paired them sans-tubes with Pacenti SL23 rims. That combination produced an extremely smooth ride, but the tires’ tight fit made us dread a roadside tube swap if the sealant failed to fix a puncture. So for this go-around, we opted to test the Sector 28 tires with and without inner tubes on rims of various widths.

Sector 28 front (tube)

Sector 28s installed with inner tubes on HED Ardennes Plus LT wheels.

Installed with inner tubes on both narrow and wide wheelsets, we were pleasantly surprised at just how lively the Sector 28 tires felt. Fitted with 80g Mavic tubes, the Hutchinson tires retained most, if not all of their supple tubeless feel. Despite a minor weight penalty, acceleration was on par with lighter tires of similar size such as the 700×28 Panaracer Gravelking (using identical rims and tubes). Interestingly enough, we ended up running the same pressure (70-75 front, 80-85 rear) with inner tubes and in tubeless mode.

For our tubeless testing, we used HED’s Ardennes Plus LT wheels and Caffelatex sealant. Mounting the Sector 28 tires was effortless with the 25mm-wide HED rims, and the beads seated at 50-60psi using a standard floor pump. As we stated in our original review, the Hutchinson tires can be run at lower pressures (in tubeless mode) without negatively affecting performance. This was even more apparent with the wider HED wheels, as the rims’ extra width gave the tire a more pronounced u-shaped profile.

Sector 28 (tubeless)

The Hutchinson tires set up tubeless using Caffelatex sealant.

Tire manufacturers may be slow to embrace tubeless technology for road use, but Hutchinson’s Sector 28 is a real bright spot in today’s market. The French company has succeeded in delivering the advantages of tubeless tires (puncture resistance, safety) without sacrificing the performance of lightweight clinchers. Riders looking to explore dirt and gravel roads without the worry of pinch-flats would be well served by the Sector 28 tires.

Disclosure: Caffelatex, HED, Hutchinson, and Mavic provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.

Under Test: Blackburn Central 100 & 20 Lights

Blackburn Central 100 Front

It may only be August, but it’s not too early to start thinking about lights. Blackburn Design‘s new Central 100 (front, shown) and 20 (rear, not pictured) are compact, lightweight, and easily via a micro-USB cable (included).

Stay tuned…

First Impressions: Alpinestars Moab Gloves

When you think of Moab, images of slickrock, epic singletrack, and desert heat spring to mind. Alpinestars designed their Moab full-finger gloves to excel in exactly those types of conditions. I put the company’s gloves through the proverbial wringer to see if they lived up to their namesake.

Balancing ventilation and protection in a glove can be tricky. For its Moab glove ($44.95 MSRP), Alpinestars uses mesh/spandex main construction with synthetic leather reinforcements. Wrist and knuckle padding help protect against falls and impact, while the double-layer palm maintains a positive tactile feel. If I had to categorize the Moab, it sits in between a minimalist race glove, and more heavily armored gravity model.

AStars Moab gloves

The author’s Moab gloves after several months of use and countless launderings.

The Moab’s fit is slim, but not restrictive. I usually wear a large size glove, and the large Alpinestars fit me, well, like a glove. Riders with thick fingers or meaty palms may want to size up, however. While the majority of the glove is nicely proportioned, the thumbs are a bit shorter than expected. This created some tightness between the thumb and forefinger, but it didn’t seem to affect function or durability.

For warm weather riding, the Alpinestars gloves offer a reasonable amount of ventilation. They may lack the hands-in-the-breeze feeling of single-layer gloves, but they’re extremely effective at managing moisture. Despite my copious perspiration, the Moabs never felt clammy or slippery. The fingers’ silicone print offered increased grip and control during braking, and didn’t peel off after the first washing.

Although they lack the exoskeleton-like armor found on many enduro or downhill-oriented models, Alpinestars’ Moab gloves easily fended off branches and sticker bushes. I happened to be wearing the Moab gloves when I took a nasty spill back in May, and aside from some cosmetic damage to the rubberized graphics and minor abrasion on one palm, they remained intact (which is more than I can say for myself). Three months after the aforementioned crash, the Alpinestars gloves are still going strong.

Riders looking for a lightweight glove that still offers a modicum of protection would do well to consider Alpinestars’ Moab model. With sizes ranging from XXS all the way up to 3XL, and seven colorways to choose from, chances are there’s one that’s just right for you.

Disclosure: Alpinestars provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation for this review.