Leverkusen, Germany – Taiwanese tire manufacture Air Fom is using polyurethane materials from Covestro AG to produce airless bicycle tires which are claimed to address the drawbacks of conventional products.
Based on an expanded thermoplastic polyurethane (eTPU), the tires offer ‘light driving feel’ compared to their rubber-based air-filled counterparts, while being recyclable and maintenance-free, said Covestro in a 2 July statement.
As part of the process, Air Fom employs a “special technology” using particle foam casting to manufacture the multiple layer foam insert.
Here, expanded TPU is moulded into the specified shape and exhibits “precisely the desired properties on the rim,” said the statement.
The tire insert, according to Covestro, is “just as lightweight and elastic” as an air-filled tire, while the material can be recycled unlike butyl rubber tubes used in conventional tires.
The patented tire has been confirmed by the independent ACT Lab LLC to meet the latest safety requirements for bicycles and won the 2020 Edison Award in the transportation/personal mobility category.