Tokyo, Japan – This is Bridgestone’s first practical application of the Air Free Concept 1, a way of making a tyre using flexible spokes, rather than air, to cushion the rider from the bumps in the road.

It’s been made possible by research into new resin and rubber compounds that not only make the tyre more flexible – without overheating and losing its properties – but also allow greater freedom in design, as well as the obvious benefit of preventing punctures.

The Air Free tyre is made entirely of recycled materials, says Bridgestone; it plans to begin marketing e Beta version through various bicycle companies within two years.

Bridgestone says it’s looking at new ways of designing bicycles using air-free tyres, as well as using the technology in other types of tyre. One possibility that springs to mind immediately is that it could be used to make a run-fast tyre without the stiff, harsh-running sidewalls of today’s run-flats – after all the tyres on the bicycle in the picture have no sidewalls at all.

IOL Motoring

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