In a perfect world rides would never be ruined by the menace that is a flat tyre. With news of the Energy Return Wheel from a Colorado-based company it seems we could be one step closer to that becoming a reality. Imagine that, punctures banished forever.
We're not dreaming. The company, Britek Tire and Rubber, has developed a a wheel system which stretches the tread over a series of tensioning rods.These rods can be adjusted to alter the firmness of the tyre, the equivalent of adjusting tyre pressure.
All sounds a too good to be true, but as the photos show the system has been developed and is being tested. It's primarily been developed for automotive use but they've adapted the design quite successfully onto a mountain bike. We see no reason why it couldn't be adapted for road bikes too and its attractiveness to commuting and city bikes in particular is immense.
And the benefits don't end there. They reckon the design allows elastic potential energy to be stored inside the wheel so when the tyre is compressed over bumps the stored energy is returned by th wheel and converted into forward velocity. Oh, and one of the other benefits of having a tyre with no inner tube and that's full of holes is that it should be lighter too.
Complete madness? Have a watch of this video and decide for yourself.
David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.