In 2020, Hutchinson’s Touareg bicycle tire makes an excellent entry into the world of gravel. And this, despite the many difficulties related to the health crisis. Its success lies in its made in France production carried out in Chalette-sur-Loing by a dynamic team that has been able to anticipate the trends of the gravel market. We had the chance to interview two people who played an important role in the design of the Touareg tire. Joël Balez (Product manager) and Alexandre Cuif (Product and digital marketing manager) tell us more about the made in France production of this high-end tire.
The Touareg tire occupies a privileged place in the world of gravel
How do Touareg tire technologies meet gravel needs?
Joël: “Gravel tires were created by Hutchinson to satisfy the desire of road cyclists who wanted to break away from the bitumen a little. They needed a tire for that More comfortable And more resistant punctures and tears on the sides. In 2018, the standard sections on road bikes were 25mm. Hutchinson then released its first gravel tire, the Overide, with a section of 35mm. A width that, for the time, seemed very substantial. His profile was made of tiny diamond points. Then the gravel market evolves with the increase in clearance at the forks and frames. Mountain bikers also show interest in the practice of gravel. This is how Hutchinson designs the Touareg. Like this premium tire, we have carried out a increase in sections, height and number of pavers. It is therefore more oriented towards loose and greasy soils. Finally, it is a tire reminiscent of those of the mountain bikes of the 2000s.
Alexandre: “The Touareg is today one of our best sellers on gravel in the 700 × 40 section with our tubeless ready made in France technology. “
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What kind of practice on gravel is the Touareg intended for?
Alexandre: “Today we talk about gravel trip, long-distance gravel and even racing tests with the UCI championships. We see that the Touareg and the Overide are suitable for true travel uses. These are in fact safe and reinforced tires with large 40 mm sections that offer real comfort. In addition, we have tubeless ready technology. “
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Why did you choose the name Touareg?
Alexandre: “We wanted to have a travel dimension. The idea was to have a tire master key, ultra versatile, with which we can afford to do everything. The aim was to cover 65% of the practice on gravel. The Touareg represents travel, sand, dryness and even wetlands. We thought the reference to Tuareg travelers worked well with the identity of the tire. “
The choice of made in France at the famous tire manufacturer Hutchinson
Why did you choose made in France on the Tuareg?
Alessandro: “The acquaintancesclearly, as well as the responsiveness. In fact, working with Asia, product development times can be very long. While in France we develop a product in less than a year. We can even break records like with the Tundra developed in just 4 months. Also, in France we know, thanks to The quality of Opera in laboratory And of the test Earth, we will aim straight. In Asia there may be waste and laboratory problems that will have to be justified internally and which will ultimately waste time. “
Joël: “Given the Asian deadlines, transport costs and the price of raw materials that have risen, made in France seems like an opportunity today. With local production, we have had a chance to have much better responsiveness. We could deliver products much faster without having to go through containers. Finally, the covid effect had a rather positive impact on the made in France production. “
Alexandre: “On the other hand, we have the ability to offer gravel products made in France with superior technological construction an almost equal price products made in Asia. Our French tires are generally worth around 49 and 54.90 euros, while Asian tires will be offered at around 42 and 44.90 euros. A minimal differential! “
Which countries buy the Touareg tire produced in France the most? How come ?
Alexandre: “About 90% of Hutchinson’s turnover is made in Europe. End of 2021, in the gravel range, ninety two% some products sold coming from of France. This is explained by the acquaintances production made in France e Good communication made on the product. Also, today we have practitioners who are paying more and more attention to what they buy. For Europeans, it is much nicer to buy a tire that has only driven 1200km than one that has driven 9000 and left a heavy carbon footprint behind. “
Made in France production, how many tires a year?
Alexandre: “We produce around 1,100,000 bicycle tires in France every year. Half is dedicated to private labels and for Hutchinson we are there 560 000 tires produced per year. In France, only high-end tires for mountain bikes, road and gravel are produced. “
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