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New 2-layer polyurethane tires

Old 09-28-17, 07:15 AM
  #1  
TomJD
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New 2-layer polyurethane tires

Saw this in a chemistry trade website. BASF is making these non-inflatable tires for rental/loaner bicycles. The article claims the new tires are 30% lighter (than what?), but that makes me wonder if this technology could be applied to lighter high-performance tires for road bikes.

"Enabled by a unique dual density technology, the outer layer of the PU based tire system is hardy over rough surfaces, while the inner layer provides outstanding shock absorption as a result of the materialís high rebound performance. The inflation-free tire system also eliminates the annoyance of conventional inner-tube patching and repair."

link to the full article follows:
https://omnexus.specialchem.com/news...n%2Bcblz7M_8Nd
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Old 09-28-17, 08:04 AM
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Non-inflatable tires cannot be adjusted for rider weight or road conditions.

These are probably great for utility cycling applications but inability to adjust pressure (durometer?) makes them unacceptable for high performance applications.


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Old 09-28-17, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by TomJD View Post
Saw this in a chemistry trade website. BASF is making these non-inflatable tires for rental/loaner bicycles. The article claims the new tires are 30% lighter (than what?), but that makes me wonder if this technology could be applied to lighter high-performance tires for road bikes.

"Enabled by a unique dual density technology, the outer layer of the PU based tire system is hardy over rough surfaces, while the inner layer provides outstanding shock absorption as a result of the materialís high rebound performance. The inflation-free tire system also eliminates the annoyance of conventional inner-tube patching and repair."

link to the full article follows:
https://omnexus.specialchem.com/news...n%2Bcblz7M_8Nd
The article says "30% lighter than rubber tires" which I find a bit hard to believe. I could believe 30% lighter than other solid tires but 70% of 2000 lbs is still 1400 lbs which is still damned close to a ton
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Old 09-28-17, 08:16 AM
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Also, solid tires are very hard on rims, because shocks are distributed locally whereas pneumatic tires distribute shock all around the wheel.
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Old 09-28-17, 09:15 AM
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I'd expect the "rental/loaner" segment would cover bikeshare applications. For that, where 95%+ of the riders are fair-weather cruisers, polyurethane might be acceptable. I wouldn't want to take one on curving, hilly roads, or out when it's wet -- give me some traction!!
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Old 09-28-17, 09:37 AM
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Weight is not the primary driver of tire performance. Airless tires in the past have suffered from high rolling resistance due to hysteresis losses in the tire (not to mention difficult mounting and unmounting on rims). It's not clear whether this new tire has solved these problems.
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Old 09-28-17, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Weight is not the primary driver of tire performance. Airless tires in the past have suffered from high rolling resistance due to hysteresis losses in the tire (not to mention difficult mounting and unmounting on rims). It's not clear whether this new tire has solved these problems.
The ones I've had to deal with at my local co-op definitely have a weight problem which impacts their performance. Getting, and keeping, a wheel rolling that weight 3 to 5 times what a normal wheel weighs is a chore.
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Old 09-28-17, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
The ones I've had to deal with at my local co-op definitely have a weight problem which impacts their performance. Getting, and keeping, a wheel rolling that weight 3 to 5 times what a normal wheel weighs is a chore.
I guess I ride enough bikes with heavy wheels (part of my volunteer job rehabilitating donated bikes for our local jobs skills charity) that I don't notice weight as much as rolling resistance.
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Old 09-30-17, 12:14 AM
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I don't know anything about these particular BASF airless bicycle tires.

From what I know otherwise: when used in wet circumstances, urethane tires tend to have a LOT less traction than rubber tires do.
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Old 09-30-17, 02:57 AM
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I've ridden a lot on greentyre airless tires. Never thought about traction other than on cobbles or when passing lane markers.
For regular riding (=not all-it attack) on regular road surfaces, even in rain, I'd have no concerns.
Even studded one for winter use.
Inline skates also use urethane wheels. They do get slippery in the wet but are considerably harder.
Interestingly enough, roads that see motorized traffic gets a lot slicker in rain than bicycle/pedestrian-only roads get. There's a theory about rubber particles and various leaked substances that gets lifted to the road surface and acting as a lube.
The weight punishment is hugely dependent on tire width. A 2" MTB tire will add a lot more than a 25-28 mm road tire.
Likewise rolling losses.
These are far greater on a tire mimicking MTB pressures than on one emulating road tire pressures.
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Old 09-30-17, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
I guess I ride enough bikes with heavy wheels (part of my volunteer job rehabilitating donated bikes for our local jobs skills charity) that I don't notice weight as much as rolling resistance.
I also find the rolling resistance to be much more significant than mere weight. The weight makes them feel sluggish when first accelerating and when climbing but is almost insignificant once up to speed on fairly level terrain whereas the rolling resistance is a constant annoyance. But in tires the two are frequently correlated since tires that are heavy usually also are less elastic and therefore roll less efficiently.
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