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Hutchinson Sets Next Step in Developing Airless Tyres

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The tyres of bicycles in urban rental systems such as the Vlib in Paris are often vandalized or damaged. Maintaining pressure and repairing tyres eats up a lot of fleet managers time. The very high cost threatens the urban rental projects. To address these issues, durability and simplicity are crucial. Hutchinson has teamed up with the French R&D firm Biron Engineering, tackling the problem by developing a bicycle tyre requiring no air pressure.

Hutchinson Sets Next Step in Developing Airless Tyres

The tyres of bicycles in urban rental systems such as the Vélib in Paris are often vandalized or damaged. Maintaining pressure and repairing tyres eats up a lot of fleet managers’ time. The very high cost threatens the urban rental projects. To address these issues, durability and simplicity are crucial. Hutchinson has teamed up with the French R&D firm Biron Engineering, tackling the problem by developing a bicycle tyre requiring no air pressure.

The Hutchinson/Biron tyre was unveiled at last year’s Eurobike show. The technology behind the patented system is based on a special composite material, which keeps its basic shape even when not supported by air pressure. Depending on the desired performance of the tyre, varying layers of rubber, including a durable and grippy tread, are bonded on top of this foundation.

Hutchinson unveiled an additional proprietary ‘Serenity’ system at the Taipei Cycle Show this year. The inner part of the tyre is made out of a one piece tube (cut according to the required tyre perimeter length) as a sort of inner tube. A separate special tyre similar to a traditional tyre is then mounted on the wheel. Special tools are needed for the assembly.

The result is a tyre with a pressure of around 5 bar (70 psi). For a commuting bicycle the pressure may be just a bit high, but it’s still acceptable. More important is the fact the tyre behaves similarly to a normal air-pressure tyre in terms of shock absorption and rolling characteristics.=

Although the tyre is a little bit heavy, it does not have negative effects on rental bicycles.
The Hutchinson proprietary Serenity tyre has been mounted on a limited number of bicycles running in the Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, Barcelona and Oslo public bike share projects. Till now the tests have been positive. A decision on the use of the Serenity on a large scale on rental bicycles depends on the final result of long-term testing. The Hutchinson/Biron tyre will be developed further. Its implementation also depends on the results of the tests to be carried out in due time. The Serenity has been developed with children’s bicycle in mind as well. Hutchinson will launch small size tyres with the Serenity technology soon.

 

 

 

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