Airless tyres were once the derided ugly stepsister of the cycling world. They were like that really thick sweater Aunt Gladys knitted for you, sure it kept you warm but it was too scratchy to wear. But they missed the point that the best airless tire for a bicycle could be a blessing.
Airless tyres used to— key words here– used to cause a lot of problems by basically wrecking the rim of the tyres and being completely non shock absorbent, plus they slowed you down.
But it’s the 2020’s now baby!
Sure, 2020 was full of coronavirus, murder hornets, riots and injustice etc, but it also ushered in a new era for biking.
You will never have to deal with a puncture again. You don’t even have to sacrifice weight, handling or tyre rims for that pleasure.
Airless tyres of today are a very different breed to their ancient counterparts. Airless tyres of made special foam called advanced particle foam, the same material used in athlete’s footwear.
Now that we’ve convinced you that the downsides have diminished, here’s why you should use airless tyres; never deal with a puncture again.
Ok, now let’s look at a quick buying guide before we delve into our top picks.
Check out this article to know about the best fixed-gear bike brands.
Airless tyres buying guide
You can’t have speed, control and light weight tyres that are also impervious to punctures. Each airless tyres is formulated for a different ride so choose your tyres carefully, having weighed up how you ride, where you ride and what tyres will suit you best. This article helps you to choose the Best Airless Tire for a Bicycle.
If your typical routes are gravel backgrounds or those pesky, coarse inner-city roads, look for control and grip. For smoother surfaces, go for speed. Whether or not tread makes a difference is a long debate that we don’t have time for today.
However a softer tread is more grippy but won’t last as long, a harder tread offers more wear and more speed. The harder the tyre, the longer it will last but the slower you will go but with more grip.
So a tyre with a hardness of 60 will last a long time but slow you down whereas a 42 compound harness will only last 6 months but offer better speed and better braking power.
The best airless tyres
Tannus are industry leaders, however, like most airless tyres, they are a right pain to install, having them installed for you in the shop by a mechanic is the best option. Tannus tyres are smooth easy to ride, they last for 6,000 miles making the installation a distant memory.
The skid is impressive, braking control is awe-inspiring, they handle beautifully and are very durable. You will be slowed down slightly because of the vertical movement that is padded out in a pneumatic tyre. Tannus have a range of tyres available for commuting, long rides, speed or durability so take your pick.
Schwalbe hope to start a revolution, they have a, well we won’t say easy, but not the most difficult, messy, installation that you can do at home. Their tyres are built for speed, handle beautifully and don’t make the sacrifices that old solid tyres did.
They have foam and beads and host of technological wizardry to help make a smooth, durable tyre that rides like a dream and is never in danger of a puncture. They handles corners and skids without a problem. They are every cyclists dream. If your bike doesn’t support tubeless tyres, they do offer a handy conversion kit.
3# Hutchinson Intensive
You have two main options with Hutchinsons. You can go for the fast, slick tyres that give you speed without fear of a puncture. They brake and skid fantastically and offer plenty of grip and fly like the wind. They’re not so durable, but the same is true of every pneumatic tyre that’s built for speed as well.
Then Hutchinsons offers a hard, durable tubeless tyre. It is definitely durable, very hard wearing and nothing will stop you, not 1,000 nails and not a fire breathing dragon (ok, maybe a fire breathing dragon, but you’ll have bigger problems than your tyres at that point).
However, they are a little heavy to handle at that point. So it’s a choice between durability and speed. Still, it’s worth noting that this is a choice every pneumatic biker must make, and at least this time punctures don’t enter the picture.
To sum it all up, airless tyres are the future of the cycling industry. They’re ready to show the world what they have and those who try them won’t go back despite the fact that a lot of bike shops are very wary.
You will have to choose between speed and durability with most of the options but that’s a choice that everyone has had to make. And this time there are no punctures involved. Ride free, ride safe, ride fast.