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…
Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.