Thoughts on non-pneumatic bicycle tires

Would you be interested in this product? Keep in mind it is not being marketed for racing

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Audrey Duke

New Member
Mar 21, 2017
I am working on developing a new product for an engineering design class and would like some feedback on my idea. After this class I plan to take the product and develop a start-up company. Currently I am working on a schematic, but the product would have a similar look to it as the TWEEL industrial tires by Michelin, except it would be changed to be optimal for a cycling tire. Thoughts, comments and suggestions are appreciated. Below is a product description:

"The proposed product is a non-pneumatic bicycle tire that utilizes an inter-webbing of polymer to create a spider web shaped shell. This shell eliminates the need for tubes with air in them. The product is light weight and durable. Also, the grid of polymers features three separate layers which will be more resistant to tears than the average tire and will mold around bumps and obstacles in the road or pathway while cycling. The tire will utilize different grades of styrene-butadiene rubber, the strongest layer being in the middle of the tire. Since there will not be any air in the tires, the problem of flat tires and replacing them will be completely eliminated. Also, cyclists will not need to monitor and check air pressure in the tires before each ride. These tires will be marketed to commuters, children and enjoyments riders, not professionals or those who race. Although there are current competitors on the market, the design of this product utilizes a completely unique design."
Non-pneumatic tires all face the same challenges - soft/hardness and hysteresis. Tires need to be able to deform a bit to provide traction and comfort. And pneumatic tires are the ones that can deform and spring back with the least amount of energy lost to deformation of the material.
How will your design be able to do a better job of deforming w/o soaking up energy and creating rolling resistance than the other products already available?
And how will it mount to the rim
Another advantage of pneumatic tires is that they expand to fit the rim when inflated. How will yours lock on to the bead hooks and stay centered?

If you want to fill a market void, go for an airless, studded winter tire.
A flat in summer is a manageable nuisance. A flat in sub-zero temperatures can be outright dangerous.
We have abundant goat head thorns in this area and I dislike fixing flats on a ride. If your non-pneumatic could offer the same weight, ride quality and speed of a quality pneumatic tire I might be interested, depending on cost.
I rarely race, do not commute and most rides are casual 30 to 50 miles.