Never again a flat tire with air-free bicycle tires
Cycling is a great way of transportation, but the design of a bicycle has one major flaw: inflated tires. While they absorb bumps in the road, burst or flat tires commonly happen when you do not have time to deal with them. Tokyo-based tire company Bridgestone has come with a solution: air-free tires that still absorb impacts.
Following the ‘air-free concept’, the technology eliminates the need for tires to be inflated with air. Instead, the tires support your weight using a structure if spokes stretching along the inner sides of the tires. In addition, the resins used in the spokes and rubbers help realise more efficient use of resources. The result is a bicycle tire that cannot be punctured.
The spoke structure is made from thermoplastic resin and, along with the rubber in the tread portion, the materials are recyclable.
The air-free bicycle tire is based on an earlier version of a similar concept, namely an air-free car tire. The car tires have similar (though much more) spokes that support the weight of the vehicle. Unfortunately, the car tires are not for just any vehicle. They can bear a load of 410 kilograms (904 pounds) and reach speeds up to 60 kilometres per hour (37 miles per hour).
The air-free tires not only guarantee no more flat tires, they also prevent soft tires. Soft tires in car tires means more energy consumption, thus more emissions, and in bicycle tires that you have to peddle much harder.
Bridgestone aims to have the new bicycle tires available in market by 2019.