Date:2 May 2017
What if you didn’t have to think about tire inflation ever again. Bridgestone thinks they can help with just that.
Six years ago, Bridgestone introduced the airless car tire concept, which hasn’t really moved pass the conceptual testing phase. The company’s approach to airless tires differs in their design which consists of thermoplastic resin supports inside the wheel.
The airless concept is a technology that eliminates the need for tires to be inflated with air, using a unique structure of spokes stretching along the inner sides of tires. This allows to support the weight of the rider while absorbing road shocks. These tires will only be ready for use within the next two years and here’s the catch – it’s not for your car. The company is adapting the technology for pedal-powered two-wheeled bicycles.
Airless tires aren’t new, tire manufacturer Michelin introduced the X-Tweel to the market first. This airless radial tire is made in a variety of sizes for very specific vehicles like golf carts and skid steer loaders.
Bridgestone believes the airless tire should make riding a more convenient affair. They say a lack of air-inflated tires means you can leave the bike pump, spare tube, and a few other dedicated tools at home. Essentially you’ll have a lower chance of finding yourself stranded on the side of the road.
The airless tires are easy to install onto bikes without any special equipment. They’re also made from recyclable materials which means it’s better for the environment.
The idea of an airless tire in the case of a vehicle would be greatly beneficial. No more flats and you can ditch the spare to save weight which translates to improved fuel economy. Sounds pretty good to me. But don’t get too excited just yet.
There are future plans to adapt these tires to eventually be available for cars. Until then, you’ll need something with two wheels and a set of pedals to go airless.