Specialized is using Tannus's puncture-free airless tyres as standard on its new Alibi range.
South-Korean company Tannus’ history in airless tyres dates back to 2003, when the brand started testing the concept of airless road tyres. A definite prototype tyre was created a year later, the basic principles of which are still at the heart of the current range.
The brand has been supplying the Nimbus tyre to Specialized for the budget Alibi hybrid since mid-July 2016, when the company concluded that punctureless tyres were a logical solution for casual road users.
The solid, one-piece tyres are made from a micro-closed-cell polymer resin called Aither. The compound is similar to that used in the creation of running shoe soles.
The new 38mm tyres, which will ship as standard on the Alibi fitness bikes, are secured to a standard 21-milimeter rim with 40 plastic pins that penetrate the base of the tyre and fit underneath the inner lip of the rim.
The weight of the 700x38 tyre (the only size that Specialized is currently producing) is 900 grams, the same as a standard Nimbus Armadillo tyre and inner tube. The tyres are currently only being offered on the Alibi bicycles, and as warranty replacements.
Chad Price, director of core products at Specialized, initially planned to use the airless tyres on children’s bikes: “We thought this would be a great feature for kids and their parents. In our initial testing we had some issues with skid wear, so we decided to apply the technology to the Alibi.”