Tannus makes solid tyres and they’ve been deemed good enough by the Ukraine national track squad to be used on their bikes for training.
A dozen members of the cycling team are using the Tannus Aither 1.1 tyres for training, including double European track gold winner Liubov Basova, 28, and Andrii Vynokurov, 34, currently lying second in the UCI Keirin rankings. Olena Pavlukhina, a member of the women’s Astana team, who competed in the Rio Olympics road race is also training on the tyres.
Despite obvious scepticism, solid tyres have been getting better in recent years. Tannus is a Korean company that has been developing solid tyres since 2003 and its latest product, the Aither 1.1, claims to offer nearly the same rolling resistance as a regular tyre while lasting 6,000 miles and weighing 430g.
While the puncture resistance benefits of solid tyres are clear, it’s the rolling resistance and ride feel that are the main hurdles to wider adoption by performance cyclists. The tyre is made from a nanofoam polymer. It’s similar stuff to that used in trainers and has a constant pressure that's about the same as an inner tube pumped up to 100 psi, and it can withstand temperatures of -15º to + 50º.
The unique polymer that the company has developed has resulted in a tyre with a rolling resistance just 2% higher than normal tyres, according to its clams. According to Tannus, tests against a Panaracer tyre revealed that when pedalled at the same power output the Aither 1.1 can travel at 29kph, compared to 30kph for the Panaracer.
The Tannus tyres were introduced to the Ukraine team by former member Alex Lopatyuk after he tested the tyres for six months.
“Ten to 12 of the team are using the tyres for off-track training. Most have them on two bikes a regular road bike and a track bike fitted with brakes for outside training,” says Alex.
“We tested them for six months prior to making contact to check that they performed at the level required. You would never offer top athletes new equipment unless you are very sure it is going to work for them and sure of the benefit. They are completely safe and make you work harder. Even the highly sceptical mechanics accepted the tyres by the end of 2016.”
So there you go, solid tyres are gaining more traction in the cycle racing world. Have you ever considered solid tyres or are they something you might be interested in trying in the future?
Tannus will be at the London Bike Show on 16-19th February if you want to take a closer look.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. 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.