A JAPANESE bike brand fitted with Tannus Tyres is celebrating selling more than 160,000 cycles in just three years. Chacle shopper and commuter bikes, produced by Takeda, come fitted with the no-puncture airless tyres as standard and have become a feature of the Tokyo commuter scene.
The company marked the landmark with an advert pitching Tannus’s tyres against a Ninja warrior clad in black who tries but fails to derail a cyclist with tacks.
The bike is equipped with either 700x32C or 26’’x 1 3/8 Tannus tyres, which weigh just 660 grams.
Chacle’s use of the tyres predates Specialized Bikes, who it has been reported are using Tannus Tyres on it’s Alibi commuter bike, under its own Nimbus Airless brand.
Chacle shifted its 160,000th bike in a Tokyo store earlier this month.
It sells thousands through supermarkets including Aeon, Japan’s biggest chain, as well as traditional bike stores.
Young Ki Lee, Tannus chief executive, said: “They are incredibly popular in Japan. The feedback is there is no issue over weight – they are as light as pneumatics, they are perfectly comfortable and they are easy to pedal as they have low rolling resistance.”
Jazz Walia, European sales director for Tannus, said: “Momentum feels to be gathering at the moment. The Chacle bike distributed by Takeda has now sold 160,000 bikes.
“You don’t shift volumes like that without consumers being very happy about what they are buying and communicating that to their friends and family.
“So for us at Tannus we take it as a great compliment that the tyres are proving to be a big success and hopefully the first of many landmarks for Tannus as we move into 2017.”
A South Korean company believes it has invented a tyre that might just change the world. Jonny Cooper test rides the Tannus Aither solid bike tyre to test their theory.
Bicycle tyres are strange things. You rely on them every day to get you to and from work, yet largely forget they exist until – bang – one punctures at 7.43am on the wettest morning in December when you’re halfway between home and office. Cue 20 miserable minutes in the lashing rain spent changing your inner tube and slashing your fingers to pieces in the process.
Nothing can deflate the mood quite like a puncture – which is why various inventors have sought to produce solid tyres since the air-filled (or pneumatic) inner tube trundled onto the scene back in the mid 19th Century. The problems they have encountered have been numerous (too heavy, too weak, too vulnerable to heat), but the main sticking point has always been shared: solid tyres just don't ... roll.
Until now. Tannus, a family-run South Korean company with a background in the shoe industry, believes it has invented a solid tyre that performs just as well as its pneumatic counterpart. Quietly, and with all the humility that befits a firm more accustomed to making shoe soles than bike tyres, Tannus think they might just have changed the world.
The basis to their claim is a polymer called Aither. Named after the Greek deity who embodied the pure 'upper air' that gods were said to breathe, the material encases minuscule air bubbles (each is about 10 micrometers wide) in a robust mesh of protective walling.
How does that help? Think of the honeycomb in a beehive. You can take individual cells out of the hive to harvest honey, but it won't prevent the bees from functioning as normal. Tannus tyres are the same. Stick a pin into them and a handful of bubbles get burst, but the damage doesn't spread. Unlike a pneumatic tyre, where the air rushes to escape from all round the wheel with an audible 'whoosh', the rest of the Tannus tyre continues unaffected.
So this one polymer, which took ten years of development to come to fruition, offers an ingenious solution to a very fundamental problem. But one big question remains: Does it roll?