One of the bugaboos of riding off-road is getting a puncture (flat).  Taking the wheel, tire, and tube off of motorcycles in the field can be a real hassle.  Some manufacturers have tried to make tire maintenance easy by introducing tubeless tires with specially designed spoked wheels.

These types of tires permit a much faster puncture repair.   The wheel and tire do not need to be removed and can be fixed with a simple plug.  Still, you have to reinflate the tire either with a pump or an inflation cartridge.

No punctures?

But what if you didn’t have to deal with punctures at all?  Well if Bridgestone and Michelin have their way, you won’t have to.  Both manufacturers are testing airless tires.  Michelin says that they have been working with GM to introduce their “Uptis” airless system in passenger vehicles by 2024.

Michelin Uptis airless tire

Michelin’s Uptis passenger vehicle tire. Photo credit: Michelin

Bridgestone looks to be leading the charge, however.  They will show off their airless bicycle tire at the coming Tokyo Olympics this summer.  The tire maker will be outfitting an entire fleet of publically available bicycles with its new airless tires.

Bridgestone airless tires

Bridgestone will have a fleet of airless tire bicycles available at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

If you are thinking, that’s great, bicycles don’t weigh much, airless tires can’t handle much more weight, you’d be wrong.  Bridgestone says it is testing a tractor-trailer truck version of the tires that can carry a load of up to 4,987 pounds (2,267kg).

Bridgestone airless tires

A side view of a Bridgestone airless passenger vehicle tire.

Motorcycles tires experience different forces than bicycles, cars, and trucks.  And, neither tire company has said that they are working on a motorcycle tire.  But if they did, would you be interested in riding on them?  Let us know in the comments below.


All photo credit: Bridgestone except as otherwise noted.

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