Cyclists spend most of their time thinking about the places they’re going, not the wheels that they’re riding on. After deciding size, width—depending on whether you are racing, commuting, or mountain biking—thread compounds, thread per inch, and bead what is there left to think about? That’s as far as tire selection has been for nearly 140 years. However, new tire models have arisen in the past 2 years that are challenging the traditional format of pneumatic tires and straight spokes for support as these designs literally reinvent the wheel.

Airless Tires

Though airless tires have been used in military technology since 2006, these designs have made their way into cycling culture and, over the past two years, increasingly integrated into bicycle patents.

Airless bike tires have many uses and benefits. For example, Britek’s Return Energy Wheel is great for tackling mountain trails or cycling over harsh terrain since it’s made from top-notch materials including carbon fiber, single wall nano tubes, Kevlar, and titanium; this airless design makes it resistant to terrain that would puncture a pneumatic tire. These tires are hollow inside, allowing them to come in a thick width with minimal weight. REW wheels are custom made and are usually equal to or less than the weight of pneumatic tires, but range within the hundreds and thousands of dollars.

Click here to see Britek’s Return Energy Wheel in action across rural and urban terrain.

Alternatives to Spokes

Innovators of the bicycle tire have also considered models which abandon traditional, straight spokes for designs focused on increased shock absorption. When the shock of a collision is not absorbed by the bike or the tires, it is the cyclist who suffers, and this can result in injury.

A perfect example of this concept is the loop wheel, which has been designed specifically for British commuters who ride their bikes over cobblestone roads daily. CNN provides a report on this design which was released within the past year.

Though this type of bicycle is not commonly seen on the streets of the United States yet, there are many variations of this idea being produced across the world to provide a smooth ride for cyclists.

New designs can improve safety through eliminating jolts or flat tires, but remember that the best security for safety is the judgment exercised by you and others on the road. Christensen and Hymas encourage riders to be safe on the roads and would like to provide any resources that are helpful to those who have found themselves hurt, despite their exercise of caution. If there are any question that we can answer for you or for someone who you know, please feel welcome to call us at 801-506-0800.