Bridgestone have become the latest to develop an air-free bicycle tyre, and plan to make tyres with their patented ‘Air Free Concept’ technology available to the public by 2019.
The Air Free Concept technology uses a unique structure of resin spokes stretching along the inner side of the tyre, which supports the rider’s weight in place of air. Bridgestone say their innovation will also “enable proposals of next-generation bicycles which have never been seen before” due to the high flexibility that resin allows in terms of design.
In addition, the thermoplastic resin used for the spokes tick the eco-friendly box, as it can be re-moulded after cooling and heating so it can easily be recycled.
Air-free tyres have been tried and tested with various degrees of success to date, with perhaps the best endorsement so far being the Ukrainian National cycling team using Tannus Aither 1.1 solid tyres for their training rides. Although the weight and rolling resistance of the Aither 1.1 still isn’t comparable to a high-end clincher, Bridgestone claimed back in 2013 that their Air Free Concept car tyre prototype achieved the same rolling resistance as their pneumatic fuel-efficient tyres, so we’re hoping for more with Bridgestone’s innovation.
Although the intended 2019 release date at the time of writing means we’re a long way from being able to test, the promise of puncture-free riding means we’ll be following Bridgestone’s updates in earnest over the coming months…
After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He joined road.cc in 2017, having previously worked for 220 Triathlon magazine. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake.