Innovative Energy Engineering


Pneumatic (air) tires are the most common tires. Only some niche applications use non-air (e.g. rubber filled) tires. Tires are the only contact to the riding surface and their selection and quality are very important for comfort, safety and effort required. Tire profiles and components are selected for type of use. there is no tire that is very good on smooth pavement and off-road. Rolling resistance of off-road tires typically is high and the weight at the outer end of the wheel adds rotational mass. Lighter and smoother tires on the other hand may not be comfortable, grippy and are more prone to leaks.

Regardless of tire type, a good tire typically has a higher Thread-Per-Inch (TPI) count of typically 120. Cheaper tires with lower TPI typically have more rolling resistance and provide less comfort. But the actual profile design, thickness, compound mixture also play a role.

Older bicycles use an inner tube and a tire. Newer bicycles have tube-less ready rims and tires. This allows to not use an inner tube (like all modern cars), which saves weight and rolling resistance. In addition a liquid sealant can be injected that will seal small punctures (sealant needs to be re-filled every 6 months or so!). There are "ghetto tubeless"methods to convert non-tubeless rated tires and rims to work tubeless. But if you want best performance and reliability use proper rated tubeless equipment.

tire pressure is very important for riding comfort. After all, pneumatic tires made the bicycle enjoyable in the first place. There is the mis-conception that higher pressure provides less rolling resistance. thsi may be true for perfect smooth pavement, but for actual riding conditions lower pressure actually reduces rolling resistance and the ride is more comfortable. The reason is that hard tires move the bicycle and the rider up and down whent he pavement is less than ideal. this lifting of weight is wasted energy. Tests show that lower pressure reduces real world rollign resistance.

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