Japanese company Bridgestone has created a new cycle tire that doesn’t need air and uses spokes to support themselves.
Punctures are the bane of all cyclists, and Bridgestone might be on the verge of eliminating them for good. The company’s new tire is called the “Air Free Concept”, and is an evolution of the airless car tires Bridgestone announced back in 2011.
The spokes are made out of rubber and a thermoplastic resin that’s flexible and strong, making it able to maintain shape when weight is applied, while also being able to bend so shocks are absorbed when cyclists go over bumps.
Airless tires are not a new idea, as solid rubber tyres have been around for sometime, but Bridgestone’s concept has been designed to offer a more comfortable ride, especially when users go off road. The design replaces the inner tube and a portion of the wheel completely, and looks very different to traditional bike wheels. It’s also made from recycleable materials and is very much an eco-friendly product.
Bridgestone is hoping to get the product to market in 2019, before Tokyo hosts the 2020 Olympics. It’s not the only advance in tires we’ve seen lately, with Pirelli’s Smart Tyres alerting motorists when they need maintenance. Another idea to keep cyclists moving quicker is the Dutch system Flo, which informs cyclists what speed to cycle at to hit more green lights. What other vehicles could benefit from such a unique design?