While looking at the Wikipedia web page on "emergent technologies" I stumbled across a word that I had never seen before "tweel"
"The Tweel (a portmanteau of tire and wheel) is an experimental tire design developed by the French tire company Michelin. The tire uses no air, and therefore cannot burst or become flat. Instead, the Tweel's hub connects to flexible polyurethane spokes which are used to support an outer rim and assume the shock-absorbing role of a traditional tire's pneumatic properties."
"The Tweel consists of a cable-reinforced band of conventional tire rubber with molded tread, a shear band just below the tread that creates a compliant contact patch, and a series of energy-absorbing polyurethane spokes. The rectangular spokes can be designed to have a range of stiffnesses, so engineers can control how the Tweel handles loads. The inner hub contains a matrix of deformable plastic structures that flex under load and return to their original shape. By varying the thickness and size of the spokes, Michelin can generate a wide array of ride and handling qualities. The tread can be as specialised as any of today's tires and is replaceable when worn.
The Wikipedia page also states this, which I thought might also apply to malicious anti-bicyling puncture strips which people in Portland have recently been finding on bike trails..: "The Tweel can also withstand a police 'stinger' spike strip, which would force law enforcement to adapt in order to catch a suspect in a vehicle equipped with Tweels."
According to a 2006 article on BicycleTech blog http://bicycletech.blogspot.com/2006...of-future.html
which quotes gizmag.com.au (more here) "The Tweel promises performance levels beyond those possible with conventional pneumatic technology. The first commercial applications of the Tweel will be in lower-speed, lower-weight vehicles"
Looks as if it would work on bikes, definitely. I'm sure somebody, somewhere has tried it..
They look promising. A flatless, shock absorbing, fast wheel.