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Old 05-24-07, 06:14 PM   #1
greywave
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My experience with Air Free Tires

Their website is located @ airfreetires.com.

On the 30th of April, I placed an order with this company. Three automated email messages were sent to me within 24 hours. Everything seemed to be going well.

On the 5th of May, my rear pneumatic blew out, and I decided to wait for the new tires. Air Free Tires clearly states on their website that most orders ship within 48 hours.

My tires arrived today, on the 24th, a full 24 days after my order was placed. They made no attempt to call me about the delay in filling my order until I contacted the Greater Central Florida Better Business Bureau with a complaint. They refunded $15 of my total purchase price ($50 + $10.20 shipping) but refused to ship my order overnight. I contacted them (most of my calls during their posted normal business hours were not answered.) before the BBB about the delay in my order, and Hugh, the owner, claimed that he could do nothing to find me a tracking number or otherwise shed some light on the situation.

After nearly three weeks, I can ride again. In the meantime, I attempted to patch my pneumatic tube and created two new holes. Those presta wheels are tricky.

If the product demonstrates a superior level of quality and durability, I would consider ordering again from this company. However, I will first seek out alternate manufacturers and distributors, even if that means paying more money for the same merchandise through someone else's service.

At least the waiting period has finally come to an end.
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Old 05-24-07, 06:46 PM   #2
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please post again when you've ridden on them for a while.
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Old 05-24-07, 08:31 PM   #3
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Airfree tires=crap.
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Old 05-24-07, 09:08 PM   #4
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Aren't airless tires famous for their heavy and harsh ride qualities?

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tires.html#airless
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Old 05-24-07, 10:15 PM   #5
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learn how to replace a tube
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Old 05-25-07, 08:30 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjvw
Aren't airless tires famous for their heavy and harsh ride qualities?

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tires.html#airless
I've heard they are heavy but not harsh. I've heard rather than harsh they are very squishy. My wife had some for a few years and said it's like they are filled with a firm foam, so you feel like you are always riding with a low tire, not flat, but could use an extra 30 psi.

I just remembered, my wife wasn't using the airless ones you get on that site, she was using ones she got from walmart in a big yellow box, the "tube" was black hard foam. it was very very difficult to get the tire onto the rim because it wasn't deflated.

Last edited by mlh122; 05-25-07 at 08:41 AM.
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Old 05-25-07, 09:06 AM   #7
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This has airless tires as well. Let's just say we have come a long way since then and know that airless is not better.




I just happen to own three different styles of wagons/carts for my horses....and they all have pneumatic tires. This isn't an accident.
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Old 05-25-07, 10:01 AM   #8
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Haven't used them but I suspect that all foam will deteriorate over time. For foam to simulate air, the foam will have to have similar ride characteristics. I cannt imagine how this could be. Also if the foam does deteriorate over time, I suspect that the deterioration will not be even throughout the tire. That is, the ride will start to get lumpy.

So that means, a lot of research dollars need to be put in the materials science in this type of tire. Do you think a small company can do that? Maybe an aerospace company backed up by the US govt military complex, or a Michelin if its in their best interest.
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Old 05-25-07, 11:20 AM   #9
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The other problem is you have no choice in the stiffness of the tire once you buy them. For example on tar and chip roads I put my pressure 20 psi lower than I do for silky smooth roads. I wouldn't have this option on an airless tire. And with MTBing it is even more restrictive since there are dozens of conditions where you may want one pressure over another.
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Old 05-25-07, 04:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse
Lots of assumptions there.

Come back when you have facts.

CE
Since you're so quick to attack others, let's hear YOUR experiences with airless tires.
Again I refer the original poster to http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_a.html#airless as he can explain it far more succinctly than I can.
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Old 05-25-07, 05:31 PM   #11
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When "Tweel" technology finally becomes mainstream will i consider getting airless tires for my bike:

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Old 05-25-07, 08:15 PM   #12
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Wow, those Tweels are cool... check this out.
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Old 05-25-07, 09:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse
because...........

CE
Solid tires on bikes is nothing new there CE. If they were so great there would be many, many more in use/production than what is in current use/production. If you like them then use them.
But to answer your question , i had them on my tricycles when i was like 15 y/o or so & even then i knew i didn't like them.

Last edited by _beaver_; 05-25-07 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 05-25-07, 10:02 PM   #14
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Are you sure you want to die on your air free hill, CE? Tell us how great these tires are and why I might want to switch.
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Old 05-26-07, 12:19 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse
I didn't like computers when I first tried them back in the 1980's.
I doubt there was any change since then.

CE

Tricycles at 15?
good example. Many computer manufactures,eh? lots of devolopments since the 80's ,eh?
Can't claim that for bicycle airless tires.
Yes i was still riding tricycles until 15 .

Last edited by _beaver_; 05-26-07 at 12:33 AM.
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Old 05-26-07, 12:24 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse

I'm just fighting the good fight. I'm just sayin' if you haven't used them.....shadap!

CE
"fighting the good fight"? Why get beat up over something so trivial? If you like them then by all means use them.
After you use them for a while post your thoughts about them.
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Old 05-26-07, 06:25 AM   #17
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There's a service the local tire shop has where they inject a foam into tires to make them flat proof. The foam is a solid, rubbery type consistency. It's touted for use in farm equiptment, or trucks in construction zones, where punctures are more likely to happen.

Here's a brief summary of the foam:

Quote:
Urethane foam can be substituted for air in a tractor tire. Foam is available in several densities which approximate different inflation pressures. Once the foam sets, the tire is truly puncture proof. This is popular with construction equipment, but useful for small tractors, as well. It is expensive: $40 or more for a small tire. Foam-filled tires are several times heavier than air-filled tires. Foam-filled tires are harder on a tractor's steering mechanism than air-filled tires, since there is less "give" to the foam. For the same reason, foam-filled tires tend to create dents and ruts in the ground. Finally, foam filling does not make a thin tire stronger; in fact, it may put more stress on a light duty tire than it was designed to withstand -- resulting in a shredded tire with nothing to support the foam. So, this process is recommended only for heavy duty tires. Most industrial tire dealers provide this service.


I'm not sure if you can put this in a bicycle tire or not.

I have, however, been tempted to get my tires filled with nitrogen so I won't have to check the pressure as often.
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Old 05-26-07, 06:44 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conveyor Belt
I have, however, been tempted to get my tires filled with nitrogen so I won't have to check the pressure as often.
[/SIZE][/FONT]
??? Air is 4/5 nitrogen. How would 5/5 nitrogen help keep tires at proper pressure?
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Old 05-26-07, 06:46 AM   #19
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I don't get the point. If you learn to properly change a tube it is a quick and painless procedure. Airless tires seem mostly to appeal to very infrequent or novice riders that still have a disproportionate fear of flat tires (no offense meant to the OP). Good tires and proper inflation make flats a relatively infrequent event anyway.

Trying them is beside the point, for me. The problems inherent in the design seem clear, and I don't feel it necessary to spend money to confirm it. It is difficult to find a more effective, lighter, or cheaper shock absorber than air.
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Old 05-26-07, 09:26 AM   #20
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Maybe Run Flat tires? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Run_flat_tire
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Old 05-26-07, 11:00 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barba
I don't get the point. If you learn to properly change a tube it is a quick and painless procedure. Airless tires seem mostly to appeal to very infrequent or novice riders that still have a disproportionate fear of flat tires (no offense meant to the OP). Good tires and proper inflation make flats a relatively infrequent event anyway.
Speak for yourself. As a transportation cyclist, I am curious about them. After one flat in three years, I've had three flats in a month! In one case this made me late for an important job and I had to handle a $3000 camera with road dirt and grease on my hands (public park, no washrooms).

Say, in the downtown core, I can find some rare free space to stop to fix the flat (may have to walk a block or two). My rear tire/rim combo is hard to deal with, plus time to patch, plus re-inflating to at least 60psi, then clean hands. I'm looking at about 15 minutes - great for you if you can do all that in less. A lot of the time that is an unacceptable delay for me, and can cost me a job (freelance photojournalism is like that).

I haven't tried the airless, nor have I met anyone who has. I'm not going to dismiss them based on rumors. I'll probably end up trying tire liners first, but why dismiss anything without learning about it first?
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Old 05-26-07, 11:55 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by patc
Speak for yourself. As a transportation cyclist, I am curious about them. After one flat in three years, I've had three flats in a month! In one case this made me late for an important job and I had to handle a $3000 camera with road dirt and grease on my hands (public park, no washrooms).

Say, in the downtown core, I can find some rare free space to stop to fix the flat (may have to walk a block or two). My rear tire/rim combo is hard to deal with, plus time to patch, plus re-inflating to at least 60psi, then clean hands. I'm looking at about 15 minutes - great for you if you can do all that in less. A lot of the time that is an unacceptable delay for me, and can cost me a job (freelance photojournalism is like that).

I haven't tried the airless, nor have I met anyone who has. I'm not going to dismiss them based on rumors. I'll probably end up trying tire liners first, but why dismiss anything without learning about it first?
The use of the infinitive "I" indicates that I am speaking for myself. Buy some if you like. Wet naps and budgeting a bit of extra time for important meetings just in case are my solutions. I also do my patching at home, not on the side of the road. With a spare tube, I can do it in about five minutes. The fact that you don't know any cyclists that use airless tires (nor do I) could be seen as a sort of evidence in and of itself, by the way.
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Old 05-26-07, 01:51 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barba
The use of the infinitive "I" indicates that I am speaking for myself. Buy some if you like. Wet naps and budgeting a bit of extra time for important meetings just in case are my solutions. I also do my patching at home, not on the side of the road. With a spare tube, I can do it in about five minutes. The fact that you don't know any cyclists that use airless tires (nor do I) could be seen as a sort of evidence in and of itself, by the way.
The "three flats in a month" bit took care of my collection of spare tubes! Murphy's law etc. Budgeting extra time is easier said than done. Its trivial for me to plan to be at the studio early, or arrive early for a single meeting. If I need to do three or four things in an afternoon, however, even five minutes can be a big consideration - that's enough time to miss the grip-and-grin shot.

Wet naps are good, so is grass if that's all that is available, but on a bike that is on the road 6 or 7 days a week you need a good scrubbing of your hands after handling the tires! However that's really beside the point - of course most flats can be taken care of relatively quickly. However just because something is relatively fast and easy does not make it hassle-free. If I can get a bit of peace-of-mind and reliability from something, I want to look into it. I have business insurance for the same reason.

The fact that we don't know anyone who uses airless tires is evidence that they are not common, and nothing else. It may be evidence that the trade-off in using them is not worth it for many - that doesn't mean it would not be worth it to me. If I decide to try a set I will post my observations.
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Old 05-26-07, 08:25 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greywave
After nearly three weeks, I can ride again. In the meantime, I attempted to patch my pneumatic tube and created two new holes. Those presta wheels are tricky.
This seems to indicate there are more severe problems than just getting flats....
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Old 05-27-07, 06:26 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conveyor Belt
There's a service the local tire shop has where they inject a foam into tires to make them flat proof. The foam is a solid, rubbery type consistency. It's touted for use in farm equiptment, or trucks in construction zones, where punctures are more likely to happen.

I'm not sure if you can put this in a bicycle tire or not.
It's more suitable for bicycle tyres than farm or construction equipment. As the blurb said it's a lot heavier and absorbs a lot less shock than the original pneumatic tyre. As a result whatever the tyre is attached to may be stressed more than it was designed to take. There is a company here that has been doing it for a long time and now mostly focus on mobility scooters and wheel chairs. They go nice and slow and usually stick to smooth surfaces so the filled tyres don't cause too many problems. Plus they often have two piece wheels which makes tyre replacement much easier.

I had some filled tyres on a bike as a kid. The lack of shock absorption is a big problem if you can get over the additional weight. The wheels and the rider take a beating if the road surface isn't smooth. They are pretty much a last resort option when you have tried every possible way to reduce punctures with pneumatic tyres.
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