Compass Bicycles now carries the Hutchinson “Confrérie des 650″ tire. The Confrérie des 650 was created by French riders who loved their 650B bikes. They were concerned that the wheel size might become extinct, leaving them without rims and tires for their bikes. So they formed the Confrérie and began working with manufacturers to offer 650B tires.
Since its inception, the Confrérie has focused on 32 mm-wide tires, because most French 650B bikes of the 1960s-80s used this size, for example, this lovely 1965 René Herse that recently sold on eBay. The first tire the Confrérie created was the Michelin Megamium. This was a utilitarian tire, but it was enough to keep many bikes on the road. In recent years, the increasing popularity of 650B tires in North America and Japan has brought many new and excellent 650B tires to the market, and there is no longer any risk of the wheel size becoming extinct. However, the Confrérie was wary of depending on others for their supplies. So when Michelin decided to stop making the 650B Megamium, the Confrérie worked with Hutchinson to make a replacement.
The result is the new Hutchinson 650B x 32 mm tire. Unlike the relatively narrow Megamium, it measures a true 32 mm wide. Hutchinson used their top-of-the-line racing casing for this tire, so it rolls very smoothly and absorbs shock very well. It is hard to estimate puncture resistance, but it appears to be fine in that respect. As a modern tire, the Hutchinson is black with reflective silver sidewalls. Whether you like it or not is a matter of taste – I prefer the more classic appearance of other 650B tires. It’s hard to dislike the light weight of the Hutchinson: At 267 g, it is the lightest 650B tire available today.
I feel that the Hutchinson is an excellent tire that adds significantly to the appeal of the 650B wheel size. To make it available in North America, Compass Bicycles now carries it in our tire program. More information is here.