Old 09-05-02, 12:35 PM
Brian Ratliff
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Near Portland, OR
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Bikes: Three road bikes. Two track bikes.

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Originally posted by vlad
In the nine months and 2000+ miles that I have ridden bicycles equipped with airfree tires I have not noted any damage to the rims.

Will my rims suddenly shatter? or perhaps crumble on a downhill whizzzzzz at 48mph to pitch me headlong into a cactus; or to die impaled on a highway reflector standard gurgling in agony for the amusement of fourteen tourists who stopped to photograph this once-in-a-lifetime visual treat?

2000 miles is really not much time for anything to happen to a well built wheel, regardless of how it is treated. LBM is right that it is the large bumps that cause problems. Microfoam is a form of air inflation, but it impedes or prevents the distribution of air pressure throughout the tire. This means when the "airless" tire is compressed in one place, the air pressure in the foam is greater in that one place. If a pnumatic tire is compressed in one spot, the air pressure of the entire tire goes up, but not as much as the locallized air pressure in an airless tire.

What will happen then, is that the wheel is more likely to be damaged by a large bump (pothole, curb, etc.) with an airless tire, than with a pnumatic tire. Most people use pnumatic tires because inflating tires every day and fixing flats a couple times every 1000 miles is worth it to (partially) avoid repairing or replacing wheels due to accidental bumps.

So, no the rim will not shatter or suddenly fail in normal operation with an airless tire, but in abnormal conditions the wheel with the airless tire will fail before a pnumatically equiped wheel.

Hope this helps.

Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
"If you’re new enough [to racing] that you would ask such question, then i would hazard a guess that if you just made up a workout that sounded hard to do, and did it, you’d probably get faster." --the tiniest sprinter

Last edited by Brian Ratliff; 09-05-02 at 12:40 PM.
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