Thanks to Bridgestone’s latest technological breakthrough – their “Air Free” bicycle tyre – grateful cyclists the world over could be dumping their air pumps and puncture repair kits by 2019.
Working up a sweat to fix a puncture on the side of the trail, while fellow competitors give you a cheery wave as they motor past, is for the birds. In short, a completely puncture-free ride has to be the ultimate fantasy for any dedicated cyclist. With that in mind, global tyre manufacturing giant Bridgestone is proposing their own unique solution to the problem. Their latest development – a next-generation bicycle tyre designed using their “Air Free Concept” first conceived back in 2013 – could, if further feasibility tests go as hoped, be available for us all to fit onto our bikes by 2019.
Granted, the images supplied with Bridgestone’s press release aren’t exactly the kind of design that inspires confidence in competitive road or MTB riders – the wheels shown here are more like something my mom would use on her no-frills commuter bike to quickly nip to the shops. However, what they do is hint towards a day in the not-so-distant future were cyclists of all riding genres (and competitive levels) can consider bike punctures to be a thing of the past.
The company first developed its “Air Free Concept (Non-Pneumatic) Tyre” back in 2013 to improve the load-bearing capabilities, environmental design and driving performance of tyres used on small cars. And, while the tech hasn’t yet made its way into the vehicle market, it seems to have matured enough to become viable for human-powered wheels.
Featuring a unique spoke structure made from a high-strength, flexible thermoplastic resin, these tyres (or should they be called wheels?) are plenty strong enough to support the weight of a vehicle – or, in this case, a bike. Plus all the materials used to manufacture the wheels, including the tread, are fully recyclable; eliminating many of the logistical headaches that occur when trying to dispose of old, worn tyres the traditional way. The way Bridgestone sees it, their new airless bike tyre could go a long way to help revolutionise future bike designs. And, moving forward, they want to adapt this technology to suit various other types of tyres, too. – (c) 2017 NavWorld