Airless Technology: No More Flat Tires In Utah Back Country
Growing up in Utah, I loved to ride my bike, but I hated the constant maintenance. The biggest problem was flat tires. I spent hours replacing or patching tubes. I tried one of those solid rubber tubes that were great for not having to fix flats, but you felt even the smallest bump in the asphalt.
This airless technology for tires has been around for a long time. The army experimented with it way back in the 1930s and 40s for their military vehicles. Since then, there have been many versions of the tire made for vehicles, the latest versions are sold by Michelin and Bridgestone.
So, why aren’t we all driving on these babies oblivious of nails and screws in the roadway? I have dreams of exploring the Arizona Strip with my airless tires with no worry of getting a flat. The reason why we have not embraced airless tires is because the technology is expensive, and often unworkable.
The airless tire from Michelin will cost you $750 a tire and that’s the cheap one. It’s hard to justify spending more when the benefit is small.
The other problem is the performance is not the same as a tire with air. To hold up the weight of a car, the airless tire has put in more structure that makes it harder. When you hit a bump, it’s the same as my solid tube on my bike. Not good when you are driving on a rough road.
Tires also heat up from the friction of the road. A tire with air can dissipate the heat, but an airless tire will catch on fire. For this reason, airless tires can’t be driven over 40 miles per hour. That’s not going to work for driving.
Airless tires are used for golf carts, ATV’s and construction equipment. These are situations that make sense for technology. So, if you see me headed down River Road towards the Grand Canyon on a golf cart, you’ll know I’ve finally purchased some airless tires to fulfill my dream.