Over my four years riding a bike competitively, I’ve learned how to change flat tires. That doesn’t mean I don’t still find it a nuisance. When the distributor of Tannus solid tires offered to let me try his product out, of course I said yes!
In the early days of cycling, riders used iron bands on wooden wheels on “velocipedes” — the first bicycles. Solid rubber tires were then used on “penny-farthings”. The pneumatic, or air-filled, tire came into vogue as a means to soften the harsh rides. These kinds of tires were much lighter and could allow cyclists to go much faster, which is why they’re now nearly ubiquitous on all racing bikes. (Geek out further on bicycle tire history with this Wikipedia entry.)
The main disadvantage of pneumatic tires is their tendency for punctures, and the need to fill them with air before use. Several tire companies have tried to engineer solid tires that were light enough for racing but hardy enough to withstand conditions that would puncture regular tires. Tannus, a Korean company, manufactures its tires with a polymer resin they call “Aither”. (more…)