Innovation That Matters

reTyre has developed zip-on treads that can be used to adapt to changing weather conditions | Photo source reTyre

Zip-on tyre treads make it safer to ride in all weathers

Mobility & Transport

A new system uses tyre 'skins' that can be easily fitted to bikes to suit different weather conditions

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Spotted: One thing is certain, in order to meet ambitious climate goals, there need to be far fewer trips taken by car. According to research by the UN Environmental Programme, switching from a car to a bicycle saves 150 grammes of carbon dioxide per kilometre. But with the resurgence in cycling, there is also a new focus on safety.

Now, Norwegian firm reTyre has developed a modular tyre system that allows users to simply zip different types of treads on and off – allowing easy and rapid adjustment to different conditions.

ReTyre was started in 2020 by Paul Magne Amundsen, a student at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. He had the idea after noticing that, although most students rode bikes, very few of them had winter tyres – crucial for safety in the icy conditions of a Norwegian winter. Amundsen and colleagues designed a modular tyre, made up of a base tyre and different ‘skins’ which could be zipped on and off to suit different weather conditions.

Amundsen explains that, “We realised that we needed to make some kind of studded winter surface that mimics a tyre, looks like a tyre, but is easy to take on and off. When you want to attach a new skin to the tyre, you slip on your surface layer, and that surface sits very snugly on the tyre, so you have the performance that you’d expect from a normal tyre.”

Cycling just one day a week can reduce an individual’s carbon footprint by about half a tonne of CO2 over a year. Cycling also reduces pollution, saves money over driving and brings health benefits to the cyclist. This is likely why we are seeing such a wide range of innovations, such as improved handlebars and bike-by-wire systems designed to make cycling easier for everyone. 

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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