It has taken Bridgestone Tires over half a decade of work and research to develop a working concept for their patented “Air Free” tire. Originally targeted for automobiles, the idea turned out to be more successful for the smaller bicycle market.
The Bridgestone Airless Bicycle Tire ($TBA) eliminates the possibility of a flat. Traditionally, solid tires tend to ride rough and bounce badly. The air free tire overcomes this by having a rib-like structure of spokes made of a flexible thermoplastic resin – a resilient material that provides the cushioning, instead of a compressed air inner-tube. The material of the framework and spokes are 100% recyclable resin with a rubber outer tread.
With the Japanese tire manufacturer having quicker success for the Air Free in lighter vehicles, the flexible spoke design is being tested in a variety of sizes and purposes. Bridgestone hopes to have a commercial version of this airless bicycle tire into production and released sometime in 2019.