Archives: November 2014

Letting the air out – User centred design and the development of better tyres

After suffering a couple of punctures on my bike in as many weeks, I began thinking that there must be a better way. Of course, I’m not the only one thinking this every time I am stuck on the side of the road struggling with tyre levers at the point of breaking down – luckily there are some people developing ways to get you moving easier and more quickly.

One such product I came across was the patchnride – a small handheld device aimed at making the whole process simpler for any type of tyre. The main benefit of this is that it removes the main problem when 

fixing a flat – removing the tyre. This uses a system whereby a glue is injected into the tyre acting like a patch over the source of the leak. This shows the benefit of a user centred approach, tackling the main problems and designing them out completely.

Another approach is to take a further step back and remove the source of the problem – air. The non-pneumatic tyre design race is gathering speed and could trickle down to the mainstream in a few years. Britek is the first to use this approach in a bike tyre, creating a wheel from

rubber held by composite rods, simulating the ‘cushioning’ found in standard tyres . A similar system is already being used on off road vehicles, originally designed for the military but finally hitting the consumer market. Hopefully these developments trickle down into the mainstream soon and the days of struggling with tyres and innertubes by the roadside will be a thing of the past.

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