When you think about it, tires haven’t changed a great deal in the past 100 years.
Sure, there have been advancements in the construction of the tire’s carcass, and the grip properties of rubber continue to advance, but the overall package has remained virtually unchanged throughout all this development.
Thinking of how vehicles, especially motorcycles, will travel in the future, we have seen several attempts to redesign the tire. Goodyear has an intriguing concept with its spherical tire design that mimic brain coral for its tread.
Bridgestone is innovating in this space as well, working on its “airless” tire design, which uses a self-supporting tire architecture.
Bridgestone first debuted its non-pneumatic tire design in 2013, at the Tokyo Motor Show, and now the Japanese company says that is will bring the technology to the two-wheeled space by 2019. Don’t get too excited though, Bridgestone is targeting bicycles, not motorcycles, for this launch.
While there are plenty of reasons why the AirFree concept makes more sense on bicycles first, one has to believe that motorcycles won’t be far behind in terms of development, after all the first motorcycles were just bicycles with engines grafted onto their frame.
Non-pneumatic have the benefit of requiring less maintenance (checking tire pressure) and they are immune to being punctured, as the body of the airless tire supports itself, like a spoke.
It will be interesting to see if this technology makes headway in the bicycling space, and whether we see Bridgestone pushing the boundaries for cars and motorcycles in the coming years.