tokyo-based tire company bridgestone have set our to save cyclists from punctures with their air-free bicycle tire, created together with bridgestone cycle co. the next-generation wheel is a practical application of the company’s ‘air-free concept,’ which eliminates the need for tires to be inflated with air. instead, the tires support the rider’s weight by using a unique structure of spokes made from thermoplastic resin, which stretch along the inner sides of the wheel. the futuristic looking tires are made from entirely recyclable materials, and bridgewater are working to maximize the cyclical use of warn tires right back into new ones.
the ‘air-free concept’ removes the need for air by using resin spokes to support the weight of the rider
bridgestone first disrupted the (air) flow back in 2011, when an idea for an airless car tire was patented. the ‘air-free’ concept was designed not only to prevent riders and drivers alike pulling up on the hard shoulder to change their tires, but also in a bid to reduce c02 emissions and make transport more sustainable. come 2017, the company have finally adapted their technology for bikes. by simplifying the structure of the classic tire, bridgestone has reduced the resistance caused by wheels continuously changing shape as they roll. this in turn maximizes efficiency and reduces wasted energy—whether that comes from gas or man-power.
all the materials used in bridgestone’s airless tires are recyclable
by using thermoplastic resin—a synthetic resin that becomes flexible when heated and hardens when cooled, allowing it to be processed into a variety of shapes —bridgestone has unveiled design possibilites for next-generation bicycles that have never been seen before. the company set out to make the bicycle tire available in 2019, just in time for the tokyo olympics in 2020. in the future, the japanese tire-makers aim to continue working on their mantra to fuse convenience with sustainability, proposing even more ways of cycling using the ‘air-free concept,’ while adapting the technology to be used in various other types of tires.
the airless tire is designed to be equally convenient and sustainable
bridgestone first made waves with the airless concept for cars back in 2011