Startup brand reTyre is offering tyres that can be adapted for different surfaces and conditions with the addition of a surface “skin” that zips into place.
Well, it’s certainly an interesting idea.
“After thee years of development, we at reTyre are now ready to launch the world's first modular tyre system where you can change the surface of your tyre in seconds using integrated zippers – adapting the bike to your needs,” says reTyre.
“We have built our own factory and ensured international patents to be able to disrupt the tyre industry and improve the riding experience of all the fantastic year-round bikers out there.”
“What we hope to do is to make biking easier and better, reduce the unsustainable rubber consumption of the tyre industry, and challenge what a tyre can (and should) do.”
Okay, so here’s the concept: you have base reTyres tyres on your bike and you can zip what they’re calling skins over the top to suit the riding you want to do.
One half of the zip sits permanently on the base tyre, just above the top of the wheel’s rim wall, the other half of the zip lives on the skin. You put them together, zip ’em up and away you go. You don’t need to deflate the base tyre to instal the skin.
The zipper is said to be ‘highly durable’ – you’d hope it would be – with the same lifetime expectancy as the tyre, and it’s self locking.
Obvious question: what’s the point?
“Correct treading provides better grip, less rolling resistance and a better biking experience,” says reTyre. “The tyres also last longer.”
The idea is that you can quickly attach a new skin to adapt to the weather and/or road conditions without the need to fit an entirely different tyre. The skins are also said to provide addition flat protection.
reTyre initially offers off-road skins and studded skins for winter riding.
“We are launching skins with embedded electronics and LEDs using inductive charging and communicating to your smartphone,” says reTyre. “We are also introducing new exotic materials such as textiles, recycled coconut fibres and completely recyclable skins.”
The base tyre is ERTRO 42-622 (28-1.60) size – 700 x 42 – with a 26in version planned. The skin increases the size, obviously, normally up to about a 47mm width, according to reTyre. It isn’t tubeless ready although a tubeless version is in the works too.
We’ve not used reTyres so we can’t tell you whether there’s any sort of bump when the join in the skin touches the ground.
The base tyres have RRPs of US$35.99 (standard type) and US$69.99 (premium type). The off-road skin is US$54.99 while the urban winter skin – with 156 studs – is US$69.99.
reTyre will be available soon to pre-order on www.retyre.no and Kickstarter.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.