Airless, puncture-proof bike tyres unveiled
Colorado-based firm Britek Tire and Rubber has unveiled the Energy Return Wheel, a 'revolutionary' puncture-proof tyre that incorporates a flexible internal matrix instead of air.
The advanced wheel technology has been designed to eliminate the common occurrence of punctures and inner tube replacements, whilst also improving performance.
At the centre of the wheel is a layer of rubber, which is stretched and held taut by adjustable rods. A rubber tread covers the outside of the tyre, while a series of elastic cushions occupy the space between.
The mountain bike version of the wheels incorporate lightweight 29in carbon fibre rims, and are open on the sides. Riders can adjust the rubber-tensioning rods to make the wheels harder of softer, just as they would conventionally by adjusting the air pressure.
According to Britek founder Brian Russell, the tyres take their name because the stretching of the internal rubber layer allows elastic potential energy to be stored within the wheel.
As that layer is compressed by knocks transmitted from the road or path, the stored energy is returned and converted into forward momentum.
The company is now looking into the possibility of implementing a thin side wall to keep mud and debris out.
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