Bicycle industry news is a little slow today so I'll have to go back into the memory banks to pull something out interesting. Last May, I came across something on gizmag.com that I had wished I had a blog to post it on. And now that I do...Talking about integration (see Keyword: Integrated), Michelin combined a wheel and a tire to make a Tweel (yeah, almost as creative a name as Wii). Anyhow, the tire is made up of "flexible spokes" of tire rubber joining a hub and the outer tire surface (see the picture, you get the idea). This replaces air in the tire = no more flats! From gizmag.com:
"The Tweel promises performance levels beyond those possible with conventional pneumatic technology. The first commercial applications of the Tweel will be in lower-speed, lower-weight vehicles"
The article goes on to say that the Audi A4 outfitted with a set of Tweel tires has better handling response than the conventional pneumatic tire. It also is within 5 per cent of rolling resistance and mass of normal tires. Seems like everyone is getting in the game to re-invent the wheel (see Reinventing the Wheel - Industry Nine). Could we see this applied to bicycle wheels? The sharp edges might make them a little difficult for cornering.Thanks goes to James for the related article link below in the GreenvilleOnline.Related articlesMichelin Lets the Air Out of Future Tire Innovation (michelin.com)Radical new wheel technology (gizmag.com)Tire + Wheel = TWEEL (forums.mtbr.com)Michelin's Tweel Can Never Go Flat (GreenvilleOnline)