• May 16, 2006

It's been well over a year since Michelin unveiled its take on the future of the tire, the airless Tweel. The odd-looking invention pairs a replaceable outer rubber layer with a central alloy hub joined by polyurethane ribs. Judging by this video, it would appear that the tire manufacturer is continuing to develop its concept, testing it on a variety of vehicles in a number of different environments. Click on the link to get a glimpse of what might just be in your automotive future.

[Sources: FreshCreation.nl; Michelin]

(Appreciate the tip, Martijn)

 



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  • 13 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      The tires we use now were once considered unpleasant to look at by those used to looking at rubber on rim wheels.

      That said I imagine production versions would have a sidewall if not for looks to keep crudd out of the tweel.

      I'm glad to see someone re-inventing the wheel.

      --Noah
      • 8 Years Ago
      Today's cars are so reliable that tires seem to be the last weak spot. In today's high-tech world, I think all cars should have had run-flat tires or their equivalent by now.

      Yes, regular tires are much more durable than they were decades ago, but every time I see a car with a flat I think it's something that shouldn't be happening in this modern world.

      There should be no such thing as a flat tire breakdown in the 21st Century.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Don't the Mini Cooper wheels weight 25lbs (for a 7x17) and run flat tires weigh an additional 25lbs (205/45 17)

      There would still be an air space for fine tuning of ride/handling, it would look like a regular tire.


      What will the cops do when their StopSticks fail to stop cars?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Unless it gets a lot prettier, it won't fly no matter what the functional benefits. No manufacturer is going to uglify their car by putting these on it. But if they can shrink the size of the "sidewall" and even make said sidewalls appear like those of conventional tires, it might just work.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Seems to me based on the wheels i have seen that they show on the video it does appear like others.
      DRH
      • 8 Years Ago
      Snow, mud, and goo that got inside would likely be evenly distributed by centrifugal force and wouldn't cause an imbalance.

      The same forces might also throw off most of the stuff that entered. The rolling and flexing wouldn't allow much of anything to accumulate in the tire. A teflon or other coating could prevent sticky stuff (like tar) to adhere.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It seems like a good option for commercial and industrial applications at this point. I'd bet that many folks would adopt the tweel if Michelin could sell it as a hip alternative--put it in a hip-hop video with Kanye or Jay-Z, make a size for twenty-twos, and all the kids would buy 'em.
      Ron Wasmuth
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Tweel looks great. I'd buy them in a heartbeat to apply to my Camaro. I'd love to see if they could take the treatment I'd offer them.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Vehicle mules aren't all that pretty either. I'm sure they will pretty it up way before production. The sidewall question is a valid one though. Still, the current wafer-thin sidewall trend is little more than a fad anyway. I'm sure if tweels come to the market as the next "it" product accessory, no one will care about sidewall size anymore.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It's going to need a sidewall - what happens when you run in snow or mud, and it loads up inside? It would get heavy and out of balance. A sidewall would keep it from loading with foreign substance / goo.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Yeah, that doctored up video is supposed to convince me? Lets see it handle real road hazards like running one newly paved streets with 6 inch deep holes left for man hole cover access at 45 mph. Or construction areas where you have to run over metal plates at 55/65 mph or hit a step ups in an uneven road. At least in those situations you can count on 3 of the 4 tires making it instead of risking 2 or even all 4.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think this is the same video, and you can actually watch it on linux.
      http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2602309358284516882&q=tweel
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