The idea of airless tires is great — flats don’t happen to any one person that often, but when they do, they can make for awful experiences, especially if they happen outside of the city. In the world of bicycles, we’ve seen attempts at airless tires before, but up until now, we’ve mostly seen solutions that don’t make sense — foam-filled tires that don’t go flat, but tend to be bouncy, worse at shock absorption, and much less durable than regular tires. Understandably, the world’s bike shops proprietors have mostly stayed away. But, a couple bike shop owners think they’ve figured out a way to get the best of both worlds. Two ways, actually — Nexo and Ever tires.
A couple bike shop guys from Utah calling themselves Canyon Crawler have used injection molding and polymers to create new kinds or airless tires that don’t suffer from the same problems as the foam-filled kind. The Nexo tires can be fitted onto existing rims using a series of spikes called T-bolts that grab onto the polymer that makes up the tire. Due to the wheel’s construction, shock absorption, weight, and stiffness are more like what’s found on an air-filled tire than a foam-filled tire, allowing for the kind of speed and comfort foam-filled tires have never been able to provide. They won’t deform when pierced, either, making them flat-proof.
The Ever tires are a little more striking — not only are they not filled with air, the tires are lined with holes! The Ever tires are actually entire wheel sets, and they’ve been made for lightness. That’s one of the reasons for the holes — less mass means less weight, which helps the tires feel better on a ride. The team says durability won’t be a concern, either, with the Ever tires rated for 5,000 miles.
The team themselves admits the tires aren’t perfect. While they’re closer to air-filled tires than foam-filled tires, they still can’t match the performance of an air-filled tire. They won’t be quite as durable, although they also won’t go flat — depending on how often you get flats, these tires could end up lasting longer in the end. The bigger problem for some will be that tire pressure can’t be adjusted — because of their natural stiffness, they’re only being suggested for road use, not for mountain biking.
Of course, we also have to mention that this is a Kickstarter project promising an end to a very difficult, very annoying problem. We’ve heard this story before, and it doesn’t always end well. Do your due diligence, and if you happen to live in or around Utah, you can try to track down the creators’ bike shop and try the tires for yourself. Otherwise, you’ll be rolling the dice. So far, the team says they’ve done extensive testing and are satisfied with how they feel, so there’s reason for optimism. Pledges to get either set of tires start at $75, and increase for larger-sized tires. Delivery is scheduled for next January.
Via My Modern Met