AIRLESS TIRES & TUBES/INSERTS - TESTING AND REVIEWS

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AIRLESS TIRES & TUBES/INSERTS - TESTING AND REVIEWS

Post by eyebyesickle » Jun 14, 2017 1:10 am

Hi ES,

I know there have been several posts about airless tires over the years, but I thought I could shed a little light on the subject, and see for myself what the latest and the greatest is regarding these...as I hadn't tested the market since I found some that works for me. Now, with these type tires - all CONS aside... there are SOME SERIOUS PROS - ESPECIALLY FOR EBIKES!

Warning: I am CLEARLY PRO AIRLESS TIRE! That being said, some of them SERIOUSLY are a waste of time and money, and can even be dangerous. I am going to cover basically EVERYTHING on these airless/solid tires&tubes/inserts. I think it is about time someone sets everyone, and the record - straight on these. I have put the work in, let me tell you... messing with these for years. Let me take you back, it all started with MAGIC PIE. Way back when I first learned never to hand the lady an 'ON' ebike with a twist throttle! Quite a few lessons back then!
ebikefor2615tires.jpg
(... a little rear heavy? hahaha)

Ever since I blew a tire on my $100 Walmart bike with a 1000w kit cheapo kit going 30mph, I thought... I DON'T WANT TO DO THAT AGAIN! I am a ninja, and came out unscathed (other than tweaking back in midair so I could land on my feet), but wait, those parenthesis just made me a liar.

To make matters worse, it was like 10 times the pain to change the tire on the HEAVY, GIANT HUB with WIRES EVERYWHERE. If you have a mid drive, you are better off, but still, some mid drives require pretty extensive chain lines, that you just HATE to disturb by having to remove that rear wheel. I can talk it to death, but no one wants to change a flat.

So, I looked into solid tires, and I heard a lot of NAYSAYING. I get it, I get it, totally. I say the prices, saw the talk... saw the SPECIFIC rim fit, and all the problems, and was scared. I did what I figured was the safest bet. Buy something from Walmart, and I could always take it back. Haha! So, I grabbed a couple of "BELL - 26x1.75-1.95 solid inner tubes' for about $20 a piece. I threw some 1.95 on there, and quickly found out, they actually mean ONLY 1.75. =) Unless you want to REALLY ride a flat. None-the-less - I knew from right then and there - NO FLATS was the only way to go!
model for 195 and 200 old.jpg
( my sweet solid rim/airless tire setup... I fell in love with airless tires!yea, took it up the mountain! :D )

Ok, ok, I get it, the solid tires, too hard and heavy, or too soft... they roll like ****. Yeah, I heard it all. A couple of things are for sure - they are NOT RUBBER; they are NOT FILLED WITH AIR - but that does not automatically mean that they are no good ( unless you ask CHALO - OOOH!!! :roll: ).

About Airless Tires:

- If you are SET on rubber, they are starting to make more inserts for you to put inside your favorite tire (NOT MADE EQUALLY!)

- If you think they don't roll smooth enough - get some better suspension - OR THE RIGHT BRAND/SIZE! Actually, some of these roll VERY NICE, and I think a lot of problem with these, and the 'bad rep' is that they are not as versatile when it comes to fitting on a rim. Yes, they may 'fit' - but it needs to be 'JUST RIGHT' - IN THE GOLDILOCKS ZONE - for proper function/feel/ride/&rolling/resistance.

- They are more suitable for E-bikes than standard bicycles. E-bikes with their added weight tend to have a rougher ride given the same frame/wheelset otherwise, and also Ebikes provide additional power to 'muscle' through any slight 'softness' that may be noticed when manually pedaling on certain (mostly poorly manufactured/ill-fitted) airless tires.

- They do not always weigh more than air tube/tire combos. At least not much more, depending on the model, and many weigh less!

- They are NOT all created for the same market, OR equally. Different target rider weights, different materials: density, durability, weight, grip; different place of origin/manufacturing practices/standard/ethics. Its nice to be able to really get behind a company you use... I will say this. I have noticed some of these companies seem to pour more into advertising than their product actually being usable!

- Mostly for street, although now there are more acceptable off-road options!



Ok, so, I have rounded up a good amount of tires... I have used almost all of these over the years, but there are a couple new/missed ones I have got my hands on. A lot of these companies (like Nu-Teck) came ahead of their time, or with sub-standard product, and did not make it in the long run. A short internet history search will show plenty of problems, especially regarding a website airlesstires that was involved with many BBB complaints, part of why Nu-Teck fell under, I believe, who were the actual manufacturers.

I have spent time looking into the materials used to make these tires, the process, cost of molds, tools, re-tooling, amount of tires that can be made in life of molds.... density, in comparison to PSI ~ equivalence, etc... I have also spent a good deal of time discussing aspects with some of the people in the industry. Very interesting stuff.

I am going to list " ALL " the airless tire companies In the 2nd Post, a brief bio, my experiences with them, their product, and anything related.

I am going to list "ALL" the Tires/Tubes/Inserts I test in the 3rd Post.

Up for testing first is it is 26", and 700C... I will also include 24" very soon. The largest tires I have are 2.125 wide, and I think that up to 2.5" solid would be awesome, but after that, you may just want to go MOTO tire... which are plenty reliable. So I think after 2.5" wide (which no one even makes in the market, yet) there is no reason for this style, but from around (maybe even 1.25)1.5-2.5, they are ideal.


I am going to go ahead and 'RESERVE' the 2nd and 3rd posts for the ACTION - but let me also run the category rough draft by you guys. Feel free to comment etc... I am going ahead and posting this, so I can get some feedback, and take it into consideration before the full write-up!


PROPOSED TIRE/TUBE/INSERT REVIEW CATEGORIES:

1) Price/Value/Packaging (speaks for itself, but also value is not same as price, to be clear, I will discuss how extra hype and advertising likely only increases end price, not quality)

2) Origin (place of manufacture, is the process green friendly? workers paid fair?

3) Availability (easy to get? otherwise what's the point?)

4) Material - DENSITY/WATER RETENTION/GENERAL INFO (these tire materials VARY, trust me)

5) Durability - intended use? impact dispersion? tread life

6) Handling (in water, in general, ‘compared to rubber’)

7) Weight/Uniformity (uniformity in size/weight matters bigtime, and speaks volumes for manufacturing and quality control practices, also, overall weight, and relation to durability will be analyzed)

8) Mounting/Locking System/Actual Secureness of Fit (tire/rim size/fit is probably the part that goes wrong here most. also, I will see how these locking systems that some companies use actually look and feel! – this isn’t only about a locking system, this is about IF the locking system works, and the pros/cons… Is it a gimmick? Does it affect the ride with the plastic pieces? Do they make noise?)

9) Instructions/Manual/Video ( most have something, not all equal. and are they accurate? - as far as recommended rim/size goes!)

10) Variety/Max Width (this goes into individual company details as well, how many models they offer, and what is the max width - as many only go 1.5 or 1.75)

11) OPEN TO SUGGESTIONS - OTHERWISE - "OVERALL SECTION"



Ok, I am not going to list 'company' categories, but I did brief what I will address regarding them above.

I will leave you all with some preview photos - I am keeping the good ones secret for a surprise ending! HAHAHA =)

SPOILER ALERT: it seems the best marketed are also the poorest performance!
overheadmiddle.jpg
overheadmiddle.jpg (225.48 KiB) Viewed 2414 times
overheadright.jpg
overheadright.jpg (174.74 KiB) Viewed 2414 times
tread.jpg
tread.jpg (136.18 KiB) Viewed 2414 times
Last edited by eyebyesickle on Jun 14, 2017 1:20 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: AIRLESS TIRES, INSERTS & EBIKES - TESTING AND REVIEW

Post by eyebyesickle » Jun 14, 2017 1:10 am

RESERVED FOR COMPANY LISTINGS
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Re: AIRLESS TIRES, INSERTS & EBIKES - TESTING AND REVIEW

Post by eyebyesickle » Jun 14, 2017 1:11 am

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Re: AIRLESS TIRES, INSERTS & EBIKES - TESTING AND REVIEW

Post by eyebyesickle » Jun 14, 2017 1:19 am

Please feel free to add your input, ask a question, etc... That is why I did the intro now, and will do the rest as we go along, because I want to see what people want to know. Also, I would redo the list anyway after someone thought of something I hadn't so I figure I can make sure I am well-rounded going into this thing, than afterwords! (I have already tested a bunch of these, just not written the full reviews!)
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Re: AIRLESS TIRES & TUBES/INSERTS - TESTING AND REVIEWS

Post by rumme » Jun 14, 2017 12:55 pm

My 1sty ebike was GIANT brand hybrid I got for $200 used...it was a 700c tire and I went with AMERITYRE solid/airfree tires. I LOVED THEM ...they lasted me over 2 years and you NEVER have to worry about a flat.

I have since gotten rid of that ebike and went to a fat bike GRAVITY { $999 ,BIKE} with rockshox front suspension . I am not aware of any company making a solid air free fatbike tire, so I struggled with flat tires for a while, and came up with a great idea. I bought 4" wide nylon straps that were 30 ft long, off ebay . These are used for towing heavy objects and I think I paid $29 for it. I cut them to fit the inside of my fatbike tire, then used clear silicone to attach them to the inside of the tire. I then put the tube in..and I haven't had a flat since then. The nylon strapping is TOUGH, but flexible and lightweight.

The ebikes I build, have all cost under $2000,. but if I ever decide to upgrade to a expensive ebike , it will have to have solid air free tires. If I'm gonna spend over $2000 on a ebike, then I DONT want to have to deal with any flat tires..AT ALL.

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Re: AIRLESS TIRES & TUBES/INSERTS - TESTING AND REVIEWS

Post by rumme » Jun 14, 2017 12:56 pm

On another note, theres a good shot, CHALO will chime in, and once again declare that air free tires are useless on ebikes. Luckily we know to ignore most of what he says. :D

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Re: AIRLESS TIRES & TUBES/INSERTS - TESTING AND REVIEWS

Post by E-geezer » Jun 14, 2017 2:24 pm

How are they in slippery conditions? Rain/ice/snow
The older I get, the faster I was

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Re: AIRLESS TIRES & TUBES/INSERTS - TESTING AND REVIEWS

Post by eyebyesickle » Jun 15, 2017 6:04 pm

E-geezer wrote:How are they in slippery conditions? Rain/ice/snow
Different ones do better, nothing like a fat tire for snow or ice though...

For ice/snow I reccomend 2.125 inserts in 2.0. Or 2.125 rubber tires which will be slightly soft. Otherwise that brand insert is not recomended (will address brand etc in review). Alot of this is about choosing the right airless tire for the right application.

Rain, the good ones are completely acceptable, but you have inserts if you want rubber, too.

I guess "feel" should be a category, but that will be clear in my formal report. The traction will be discussed fully under "handling".

By the way, your signature is great! hahahaha. I'm almost to that point where it will be mine. If I could just get this leg straightened out! I'll be back up to speed
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Re: AIRLESS TIRES & TUBES/INSERTS - TESTING AND REVIEWS

Post by eyebyesickle » Jun 22, 2017 4:43 pm

I am still working on this.

- For the record, a little ways in, I totally see why people HATE these things. Let me tell you, I must have good instinct or have been lucky with my first purchases way back... because if I got some of these first, NO WAY would I want to try again.

- Seriously, I don't even know if I want to sell off on ebay the extra CRAP new tires I have. HAHAHAHA just kidding (kind of).

- I am still waiting on Green tyre, who I do have high expectations for... with everything I know now and their info etc... can't wait to see

- I have already hurt myself trying to force one of these on when it wouldn't go. Fitting IS the most important aspect outside of actual tire choice. You would think that is common sense... but no one wants to go pick a rim for a tire... No one = ME, obviously.

Ok... I have to say I am SUPER glad I did this even though I wasted A BUNCH of money ON CRAP TIRES!!!!

SOME WERE BETTER THAN EVER YAAAAAY hahahaha.

Looking to do most of the writeup this weekend I hope, although I do have a road trip sunday... and the Greentyres will probably be a while... they have missed this round... I had an email in my junk folder for a while, and never got around to calling them on my list, just been to busy and overlooked.

Ok, update SOON!
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Re: AIRLESS TIRES & TUBES/INSERTS - TESTING AND REVIEWS

Post by Bob K » Jul 29, 2017 6:17 pm

Wow, what a lot of work and expense!
I so look forward to your next write-up.
Thank you for sharing.

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Re: AIRLESS TIRES & TUBES/INSERTS - TESTING AND REVIEWS

Post by LewTwo » Jul 30, 2017 1:36 pm

I had an airless tire two weeks ago but it did not leave home that way :evil:
The more I learn the more obvious the immensity of my ignorance becomes.
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Re: AIRLESS TIRES & TUBES/INSERTS - TESTING AND REVIEWS

Post by Toorbough ULL-Zeveigh » Aug 13, 2017 12:04 pm

eyebyesickle wrote:So, I looked into solid tires, and I heard a lot of NAYSAYING.
is that a chinese brand?
googling naysyang didn't come up with anything. :pancake:
Kick down the barricades Listen what the kids say.
From time to time people change their minds But the Frock is here to stay.
I've seen it all from the bottom to the top Everywhere I go the kids wanna Frock.
Around the world or around the block Everywhere I go the kids wanna Frock.

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Re: AIRLESS TIRES & TUBES/INSERTS - TESTING AND REVIEWS

Post by eyebyesickle » Aug 13, 2017 1:50 pm

Toorbough ULL-Zeveigh wrote:
eyebyesickle wrote:So, I looked into solid tires, and I heard a lot of NAYSAYING.
is that a chinese brand?
googling naysyang didn't come up with anything. :pancake:
Guys, I am about to write this thing up, I have really just been trying to get the last tires in which were delayed and delayed, so I am just going to write up the review anyway.

I don't know what the pancake thing means. Is that a rabbit and a pancake? I am going to have to google THAT =P

NAY-SAYING as in people saying NO about something, (perhaps without even giving it a fair chance, if you want to get merriam Webster about it)
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Re: AIRLESS TIRES & TUBES/INSERTS - TESTING AND REVIEWS

Post by stoney » Sep 29, 2017 12:34 pm

Waiting for your review.... lots of “typing” no content ???

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Re: AIRLESS TIRES & TUBES/INSERTS - TESTING AND REVIEWS

Post by eyebyesickle » Sep 29, 2017 1:18 pm

i know right, I had been busy, but here is the deal - I worked on this forever, and I had a bunch of pics/video on my other phone from testing - and that phone went down 2 stages. First was broke, then second was MIA before I could recover DATA! ugh. I am going to go comprehensive, honestly this is at the top of my list, because this is something I've been after for a while. So I'm coming back to it..

Let me write a mess of a ramble, but there will be good info in it as well! haha

Cliff notes - inserts with real outside tires for under 200lb load, solid tires for over 200lb load, are available and decent from certain brands. the max tire width readily available that is quality is 2". Not recommended in winter use, although the yellow 2.125 inserts are spongy and feels like low PSI for traction...while riding on soft inserts/solid tires is possible, if not easy to power through with the right ebike - keep in mind, this greatly increases chances of damaged rims, compared to with standard air tires...

Long story short - if you are preferably under 175lb, but even under 200lbs, you can use inserts, and you can get (with whats available) from 26x1.5" up to 26x1.85" real outside tires with a good feel rolling

If you are over 200lbs There are some good solid tires out there as well right now (reeally up to 2"), but note they are slightly inferior in terms of grip in wet conditions. Not horrible by any means, but the difference is there.... now, if you are running a UTILITY/DELIVERY bike - in my mind - some of these solid tires are the only way to go! And the grip is fine, especially for a utility bike, no hard cornering etc anyway, its so long.

Most companies/tires were GARBAGE if not DANGEROUS. I had one pop off on me cornering from NEXO/TANNUS and MORE - pins are BS. You need rim specific, is what you need, not universal.

AmeriTyre (US), and GreenTyre (UK) - they are good. different companies, I dont even know I have the spelling right, you just totally called me out and its been forever! hahaa so here I type type type.

AmeriTyre is who I talk to, as they are in US, and best quality for price I have found, but they need more models. He has a nice 1.5" insert, with shock absorbing design, but we need a 2.5" for the market, IMO. Maybe a 3", but after that, we are getting too heavy...

The inserts from BELL (at walmart, haha) are acceptable with the right size rim/tire combo ONLY.

Rubber tires have slightly better grip, so I like inserts with real tires outside, but the solid tires are more eco friendly though... the whole process...

I am still all for the solid tires, just make sure you get the right type for your load/application! and the most popular companies, spent their money on ADVERTISING BS - not into R&D and usage - IMO (at the very least) !

There ya go! :mrgreen:
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