View Full Version : Michelin unveils tyre without air

22nd September 2004, 15:08
From nzherald.co.nz

Michelin unveils tyre without air

22.09.2004 2.45 pm

PARIS - Europe's biggest tyre maker Michelin unveiled an airless tyre on Tuesday designed to weather tough road conditions countries like China and India.

Michelin said its "Airless Wheel" and "Tweel" tyres, which will be presented at the Paris auto show this week, were still at the concept stage but would hopefully hit the mass market in 10 years.

The tyres, which Michelin hopes to adapt for motorcycles, cars and heavier vehicles, are non-pneumatic and made of elastic.

That means they are better able to absorb shock, making for a smoother ride on often pothole-riven roads in less developed countries, it said.

"There is a robustness that is especially designed for fast-growing markets, like China and India, where the roads and infrastructure are not as well developed as ours," Didier Miraton, Michelin's head of Research and Development, told reporters at a briefing.

Miraton said designs for future tyres like the Airless Wheel tended to use an increasingly wide range of materials, so Michelin would be less reliant on natural rubber, which currently dominates the tyre industry.

Michelin, famed for the star ratings it gives upmarket restaurants, will also present its "Active Wheel" concept tyre at the auto show, which opens to the press on Thursday and the public on Saturday.

This tyre would react better to road conditions and to turning corners, and would be able to operate via a cleaner electric fuel-cell engine, said Miraton.

22nd September 2004, 17:47
so tyres have come full circle then? next we'll be seeing the rubberless discs like blimmin chariots!

Fluffy Cat
22nd September 2004, 17:56
yeah i think i read this about ten years ago but using balls inside the tyre my question is how heavy would these tyres be?

Ghost Lemur
22nd September 2004, 19:12
I'll believe it when I see it. Heard this all before. Some one with a better memory than me will be able to correct me on the details. IIRC Mercedes came out in conjunction with a punctureless tire, and they were going to be releasing them mass market, yada yada, never to be heard from again.

Lets face it, the tech has been available for decades to make more resilient tires, but where's the money in it for the tire manufacturer. So instead every so often they pop up with this carrot of hope just to disappear as quickly, never to be heard of again... until the next time.

*Damn I'm getting cynical in my middle age.*

22nd September 2004, 19:22
Goodyear do a run flat tyre, it has steel belts in the side wall.

Angry Puppy
22nd September 2004, 20:42
Hopefully, any radical changes in tyres will also be more environmentally friendly.


Drunken Monkey
23rd September 2004, 11:15
IIRC Mercedes came out in conjunction with a punctureless tire, and they were going to be releasing them mass market, yada yada, never to be heard from again.

There are a range of 'run-flat' tyres available, and are becoming more and more available, especially in Europe and the USA.
This 'airless' tyre doesn't appear to be the same thing.

19th January 2005, 03:17
Michelin has showcased an integrated tyre and wheel combination operating entirely without air.

The company unveiled the revolutionary ‘Tweel’system at the Detroit motor show. At the heart of ‘Tweel’ is a simple looking hub and spoke design that replaces the need for air pressure. The flexible spokes are fused with a flexible wheel that deforms to absorb shock and rebound.

Michelin has also found that it can tune Tweel performances independently of each other, which is a significant change from conventional tyres. This means that vertical stiffness (which primarily affects ride comfort) and lateral stiffness (which affects handling and cornering) can both be optimised.


"Major revolutions in mobility may come along only once in a hundred years," said Terry Gettys, president of Michelin Americas Research and Development Center in Greenville, S.C. "But a new century has dawned and Tweel has proven its potential to transform mobility. Tweel enables us to reach levels of performance that quite simply aren't possible with today's conventional pneumatic technology."

"The Tweel automotive application, as demonstrated (on an Audi A4), is definitely a concept, a stretch application with strong future potential," said Gettys. "Our concentration is to enter the market with lower-speed, lower-weight Tweel applications. What we learn from our early successes will be applied to Tweel fitments for passenger cars and beyond."

19th January 2005, 07:06
Now where is my ''Revolutionary New Tyre'' file - it must be around here somewhere...ah,there it is...I was using it to get the TV up to viewing height from the floor.I have to use a hand truck to move it around.

White trash
19th January 2005, 07:13
Fuck that's ugly.

19th January 2005, 07:13
Give me a bucket, I think I'm gonna be sick.

19th January 2005, 07:39
See, that's what makes true entreprenuers. Ever sat round thinking to yourself, there must be something they haven't invented yet, or at least something they haven't revolutionised.

I'd never have thought of wrapping the innards from a mattress around a hub and calling it "the new tyre revolution!". hehehe. revolution. geddit? :sick:

Somebody get my meds....

19th January 2005, 07:55
They actually chose those mag wheels specifically as they match up with those ugly spokes, Their attempt to make their invention look less ugly failed miserably.

26th January 2005, 03:13
Some how I doubt if it will be going on my cage or bike...

5th January 2006, 18:05
This is being muted again by Michelin. Seems to be lots of talk, but where are the tyres!? The free CycleTorque (Aus) has a bit about it, but not online. It has pics of a bike tyre as well. Here is some more:

5th January 2006, 18:47
The implications for this type of technology when applied to a motorcycle could be revolutionary, little imagination is needed to see how we could be riding with far greater rubber contact particularly when cornering.....hope they hurry it along!

5th January 2006, 18:50
Plus no punctures to worry about and apparently very little wear!

27th November 2007, 20:00
Check diss out hOmeZ

Mr. Peanut
27th November 2007, 20:02
Cost effectiveness?? Nil.

Engineers with too much time.

27th November 2007, 20:07
Ah what?! wheels are to buckle everytime when drivin over a bump??

27th November 2007, 22:11
They can't make air obsolete! What will we breathe?:mad:

Disco Dan
27th November 2007, 22:17
Bloody waste of money buying that puncture repair kit... gah!

...ermm first tree branch you run over... yoink...

...ermm first gravel road = tires filled with frickin rocks. The suspension will just love you for that.

Flipping stupid idea.

Oh and next time I get a flat tire I cant use my "aww all the air went to the top" joke.

The world gone topsy turvy. :cry:

28th November 2007, 00:20
They can't do this to me!! What will happen to the white wall tyres???

28th November 2007, 00:29
yes the future . wheel and tyre . tweel . it will save money and more green . because most of the tyres now are a waste .onece you wear the out :spanking:

28th November 2007, 02:31
LOL, I remember seeing this on "Beyond 2000" in about 1992. Evidently the future is still a work in progress.

29th November 2007, 08:37
Wait .. the next big thing will be the "Sqeel" ... Square tyres :rolleyes:

29th November 2007, 09:09
Ah what?! wheels are to buckle everytime when drivin over a bump??

Take a look at the diagram, it's flexible, so presumably provides the same kind of shock absorption as the air inside our current tyres.

As for working on bikes...making the 'tyre' structure such that it can handle the vertical braking and acceleration loads and also being braced adequately to support high loads at 50 degrees from straight up would be quite a trick, while keeping within standard tyre dimensions.

The bump absorption qualities would be something else to consider.

Weight would be another issue for sports applications, since any increase in unsprung weight would not be desirable.

Quite a few things to cock up really, but let them bring it in to MotoGP and see how it goes (maybe Rossi did know something else that we didn't?)