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Michelin Tweel - Bicycle Tire of the Future?


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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 articles
Michelin 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)


2 Responses to “Michelin Tweel - Bicycle Tire of the Future?”

  1. Anonymous James 

    I have been hearing a lot about the Tweel since it was developed at Michelin here in Greenville, SC. Here is an older article about it from our local paper.

    http://greenvilleonline.com/news/business/2005/01/08/2005010856370.htm

  2. Anonymous dokein 

    I was wondering if this might hold promise for making folding bicycles with full-size wheels, but I imagine any tweel flexible enough to fold in half would be to weak to support the weight of the bike and the handle the stresses on it.

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