I'be been asked so many times ‘what do you think of solid tyres?’ So, I’ve been doing some research and am pleasantly surprised at how they have progressed.
Solid tyres (no inner tubes) are manufactured by Tannus based in South Korea and have been developing these tyres since 2003. Their background is sports shoe soles, working with brands such as Nike.
The material is Polymer Structure, called Aither, and the tyre is constructed of one material based on foaming technology - simply loads of air bubbles about 10 micrometres wide. So, if one bubble bursts it does not affect the tyre’s construction, as opposed to a normal tyre which would puncture.
A few of the questions which always come up about solid tyres are:
Do they roll well?
The reason for this question is because they have been known to be sticky, due to heat, reducing their rolling resistance.
This now seems not to be the case. A test was carried out putting the same efforts into both the solid and conventional tyres and the speed difference is: solid 29kph and traditional 30kph. If you are racing then it’s certainly an issue, but when commuting or training, or even touring, then it’s just the job! The testing of a conventional tyre is carried out at the tyre’s preferred tyre pressure to give optimal rolling resistance, because when you are commuting or training a loss of pressure can be caused by riding in adverse conditions and bad roads. You have to keep an eye on the pressure of the tyres to maintain the optimal rolling resistance. The solid tyre, on the contrary, has no maintenance of any kind of pressure at all so maintains its rolling resistance. Also, not forgetting, there is no repairing of punctures in the pouring rain!
Are they heavy?
The consensus seems to be with a good tyre, such as a four season Continental with an inner tube, there is not much in it to be honest. When you’re commuting or training it doesn’t really matter!!
There is a wide range of tyres.
How long do they last?
Good for 5000k or more. Also the tyres have a good range to cater for your type of riding and also come in all kinds of funky colours.
I would say if there is one thing which could put you off, it is that Tannus have their own patented fitting system, which takes around an hour to do, but if you weigh up fixing punctures over 5000k then it’s quite a small chunk of time and also some main dealers offer free fitting.
I think these are a great product for commuting, training and touring. They are hassle free, no punctures,tyres just ride them every day, in all kinds of weather. Just the job, and the way the tyres are being developed, they will only get faster and lighter. If you are interested head on over to Tannus' website tannus.co.uk
It’s not quite the same feel as a conventional tyre and for racing of any kind I’d stick to conventional tyres.
The views shared are that of the author and are not necessarily that of Lexham Insurance Consultants Ltd.