Tubeless? Nah... These Are Airless Tires! 40

Though we're not sure how'd they'd hold up to some serious thrashing, these airless bike tires are certainly interesting. No, they aren't the cheesy solid rubber or foam tube replacements that you can buy at Walmart... countless hours of engineering and testing has been done to get the tires to the point they're at today. How amazing would it be to ditch the pump, spare tube, and patch kit from your pack, let alone always knowing your tires were ready to rock? The Energy Return Wheel (ERW) concept was originally developed for cars and has since been brought to mountain bikes by Brian Russell from Boulder, Colorado.

As shown in the photo above, tires are mounted (glued?) on top of the ERW system, which looks to be bolted to rim. It does provide some give, just like a traditional tire, and the amount of give can be adjusted depending on terrain and traction needs. Note that a thin sidewall will fully enclose the sides of the wheel. What you see here is a few generations into the prototype phase, and new concepts are being worked on and refined. Road and BMX prototypes are also in the works.

What do you think? Would you run it?


Cheers to ChopMTB for the find.

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  • georginet.acad

    11/6/2012 1:28 AM

    Really, can i get it?

  • Paddy_Taylor

    10/28/2012 8:25 AM

    good way to collect mud, water and small rocks

  • Flyin' Dutchman

    10/28/2012 8:37 AM

    Really? Did you read anything?

  • Pseudonym

    10/26/2012 8:11 PM

    I bet these will cost 50$ a piece

  • joey.riddle.14

    10/27/2012 6:38 AM

    You do realize that a descent kevlar bead mtb tire cost any were from $45-$100.

  • Flyin' Dutchman

    10/27/2012 7:22 AM

    I would expect new tire technology would be north of $100 each easily.

  • syngltrkmnd

    10/27/2012 8:41 AM

    It appears to be a wheel system, not just a tire. But either way, count on much more than $50 each.

  • Pseudonym

    10/28/2012 8:05 PM

    lolz calm down people. All I meant was that the TECH going into building each one would be 50$

  • Flyin' Dutchman

    10/29/2012 4:26 PM

    Aha - you could be right! I guess something like that will depend on quantities produced once/if they hit production...

  • SchredGreen

    10/26/2012 5:22 PM

    I will be happy to try. Send me a free set for evaluation, 26 x 2.25, please.

  • georginet.acad

    10/29/2012 4:40 AM

    I will be happy to try, too. How to get it?

  • syngltrkmnd

    10/26/2012 1:11 PM

    If I lived in Arizona or in SoCal where I used to get loads of shitty thorn punctures, I'd be interested for sure. I hope it pans out with lots of tread options, durometers, widths, and most of all, lightweight wheels. Innovate or Die, right?

  • Morpheous

    10/26/2012 11:23 AM

    Its very interesting that the MTB market has become so mainstream that any new idea or innovation is immediately scoffed by the mean populace who obviously either don't bother to read or do any further research on their own to determine wether an idea is viable or not. People, you are using and being sold 100 yr old technologies that have changed very little other than the materials used to produce them, Welcome new iterations and innovations as they will make the riding experience better. Mechanical tires, inboard self contained gearboxes, chain alternatives are all going to let you spend less time fixing and more time riding. 20 yrs ago, the closed minded scoffed disk brakes and full suspension. Wake TF up already!

  • Scott_Townes

    10/26/2012 2:16 PM

    hahaha, the MTB community has always hated new ideas, not a recent development because its more "mainstream"... I have no idea why that is but its always been like that. I wouldn't be surprised if in 10 years airless tires were on every bike and tubes (or tubeless) was seen as primitive as v-brakes... although I would like to see these get really tested and not just cruised around on over rocks at 2mph... haha

  • esstinkay

    10/26/2012 6:25 PM

    ..or maybe they're just critical thinkers or demand high standards. When you're traveling 30mph through a twisty rooty bed of rocks and trees, your well-being is literally in the trust of your equipment. It needs to be dependable.

    The first things that come to mind are how they'd hold up in corners and not dry conditions (yes, I read the part about the thin membrane) and on the fly adjustability.

    Cool idea, but it *actually is* ok to be skeptical.

  • Flyin' Dutchman

    10/26/2012 8:07 PM

    I totally agree it's ok to be skeptical and to demand high standards - but I wish we didn't post numerous rants and concerns about things that are already addressed in the article...however, I do find the broken tire and rock in tire comments quite funny - as they were meant to be.

  • Jeremy

    10/26/2012 9:00 AM

    I would like to try these for dirt jumpin!

  • Flyin' Dutchman

    10/26/2012 8:41 AM

    Open minds people? Good grief, the write up already explains that the open sidewalls is addressed with a thin sidewall. It also mentions adjustable 'give' to imitate variable tire pressure. This could be way cool.

  • commanderagl

    10/26/2012 8:14 AM

    It would need a complete sidewall, unless you want to get bogged down in mud

  • B0tswana

    10/26/2012 7:50 AM

    Still prefer inner tubes over something that is potentially going to cost way more.

  • That-Norco-Dude

    10/26/2012 7:28 AM

    I am ok with this, Great idea for people who freak about flats. My concern though is can you buy in different stiffness? I am not a hard pressure tire guy, love low pressure. If these tires are made so there like a tire with 35-40 psi then no, but if offered at a 20-25 psi then yes!

  • mcrammerstein

    10/26/2012 7:05 AM

    this idea was originally developed for the moon rover a looooooooooooooooooooong time ago... (no atmosphere, pneumatic tires don't work)
    would be interesting to make it tuneable and sealed from squirrels...

  • syngltrkmnd

    10/27/2012 8:45 AM

    Michelin has been working on this for some time. Their system is called "Tweel".
    The next step would be like Mercedes' dynamic wheel system, which alters sidewall height/wheel diameter from side to side on a single wheel for flatter cornering! Hell yeah! (Kidding - this technology exists, but I'm not seriously proposing it for bikes)

  • Dave_Camp

    10/29/2012 3:47 PM

    Why wouldn't air filled tires work on the moon? I'm pretty sure the space ship that went to the moon was full of air.

  • syngltrkmnd

    10/29/2012 4:01 PM

    Not sure if serious...^^^^

  • Aux

    10/26/2012 6:30 AM

    As far as I can see they have two major drawbacks:

    1. They are too rigid meaning you will loose grip.
    2. Mud and dirt will fill them with the speed of light.

    Not an MTB tire. At least at the moment.

  • bturman

    10/26/2012 6:53 AM

    2 - A thin sidewall will fully enclose the sides of the wheel.

  • simon.bruun.3

    10/26/2012 8:00 AM

    1. It does provide some give, just like a traditional tire, and the amount of give can be adjusted depending on terrain and traction needs

  • Daniel_Layton

    12/1/2012 11:18 PM

    How? how will it be adjustable? I read the full article and went to the website because i really would like to know Maybe they mean you can buy a different tire with different construction that allows more or less give but i certainly don't see anyway for it to have on the fly adjustability like adding or removing a few PSI. This imo is the only downside to this technology and would be a serious barrier to their entry to the mountain biking market.

    PS those were Maxxis Crossmarks cut an pasted onto their tire chassis.

  • simon.bruun.3

    12/2/2012 8:20 AM

    I don't know how you can adjust the give, but the company claims that it is possible.. Don't ask me such hard questions. I am way too busy to break into the factory, just to steal the blueprints so that i can tell you how it works..

  • georginet.acad

    10/26/2012 6:25 AM

    Cool, is it possible to buy it?

  • rubenlozanoparra

    10/26/2012 6:24 AM

    Quiero un par yaaaaa....... donde las venden?

  • kyle10bike

    10/26/2012 6:20 AM

    The inventor of these wheels has brought every proto type into the bike shop I work at for us to try them out and give them feedback. He has a really good idea going. I think it will be extremely popular with commuters.

  • syngltrkmnd

    10/26/2012 1:13 PM

    I hadn't thought of that market. I think you're right. For the countless joe-bobs out there (you know, the guys who say "presto" valve) this will be an attractive feature, and I GARE-UN-TEE this will lead to more people riding their bikes. Why? Because they will never see another flat tire on a dusty bike out in the garage.

  • pdr77

    10/26/2012 6:14 AM

    Nice stock plastic pedals.

  • samnation

    10/26/2012 5:56 AM

    "I broke my tire" You mean you flatted? No my tire is broken.

  • TimBud

    10/26/2012 5:38 AM

    Hmm, can just imagine what it would be like riding in the mud with those on.

  • jasonvelocity

    10/26/2012 5:32 AM

    "Dude, pull over. I have a rock in my tire".

  • bturman

    10/26/2012 5:35 AM

    Haha. No doubt! From the looks of the images they have some sort of thin membrane over the holes to keep stuff out. We're guessing they removed it for dramatic effect for the video.

  • syngltrkmnd

    10/27/2012 8:46 AM

    Also so people can stop and ask him questions when they see these wheels out and about with the goal of generating more buzz. No one would notice if they were plain-ol' boring tires, right?

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