Company Introduces First 3-D Printed Flexible, Airless Bicycle Tires

May 3, 2018


This is a video of industrial 3D printer manufacturer BigRep creating the the world's first 3-D printed airless bicycle tires with their new PRO FLEX TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) based flexible filament. They do seem to hold a bike up, although I doubt they get any grip on the pavement and probably drift like plastic Big Wheels tires when you try to stop. Still, add an outer rubber tread and you might be onto something. Now -- I want you to get into something. "What are you saying?" I want you to ride in my bicycle basket. "Um, don't you remember what happened the last time somebody rode in your bicycle basket?" Of course, Toto and I went to Oz and had the time of our lives. "No, the LAST last time." Oh shit -- E.T.! I almost forgot about that little creeper. You know he was just phoning sex-chat lines, right?

Keep going for the video.

Thanks to Sandro, who agrees airless is the future because soon there won't be any more good air.

  • GeneralDisorder

    I despise everything about airless tires for bicycles. Get a god damned air pump. Go tubeless. Get kevlar tires. Honestly, I don't think the airless advantages will ever (in my lifetime, that is) outweigh the drawbacks.

  • Lee Sullivan

    You would have to think outside of your own privileged world to see how beneficial these would be to the worlds poor. Bikes are their only source of transportation and tires and inner tubes are expensive to them.

  • GeneralDisorder

    So how is this better than a solid rubber tire? Once all the holes are filled with sand and mud this design would end up heavier than solid rubber.

    Do you seriously think people who can't buy inner tubes are gonna have a spare 3d printer lying around? And if they do, what are the odds they have the right filament? Even reliable electricity to finish a print job like this?

    In the US an inner tube is about $2 to $10 depending on size. No word on what this rigid shit costs to manufacture. I know 3d printing is still very slow and inefficient compared to the kind of manufacturing techniques that actually do scale up. Whatever the manufacture cost is, add 40% for profit margin, shipping, r&d.

    Since the compound they're using to make this is new we can safely say we don't know how long it'll last. If it won't last as long as an inner tube which is definitely multiple years in pretty rough conditions then the logistics of shipping wheels sized airless tires is gonna be more challenging than the logistics of shipping tubes and tires that do fold. It would end up being a net loss for the poor folk who get suckered into buying this.

  • Jenness

    Tell us how you really feel.

  • GeneralDisorder

    I'm good. I got it all out of my system.

  • Bling Nye

    This seems wheelie cool, but when I spoke with them, I realized the concept is tired; basically nothing but a rim job they're peddling.

  • WhiteEagle2

    I wanted to add to your chain of bike puns. However, I realized I'd never spin up as many as you. So i'm going to backpedal and inflate your ego instead, assuming you're not already pumped up.

  • Bling Nye

    Sometimes I have to shift gears, but I manage to catch a brake every once in a while. So the cycle continues.

  • GeneralDisorder

    Your puns left me quite deflated.

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