Self-inflating bike tires campaign for dollars

August 26, 2011 by Nancy Owano, weblog

( -- Bicycle owners are being offered a no-hassle solution to keeping their bicycle tires sidewalk and road-worthy. The solution is called the PumpTire, billed as the world’s first self-inflating bicycle tire. Thanks simply to the rolling motion of the tire, and inventor ingenuity, it can happen. Right now, it’s an advanced prototype, not something to yank off any shelf. PumpTire is promoting this off the Kickstarter project site. The PumpTire team hopes that, with enough donations, they can transform their prototype into products for cyclists everywhere.

PumpTire is the company and product name of a set of items that consist of a , a tube, and detachable valve. The inner tube clips into the tire to allow the air to pass from the tire to the tube. Once the desired pressure is reached, the pump stops. The valve senses the increase in pressure. and closes the air pathway so that no more air is pumped into the tire.

PumpTire developers have in mind two end products, one for casual cyclists and the other for cyclists who want high performance. For the latter, The City Pro has a max 100 psi, and the City Cruiser is a 26" x 1.5" tire with a maximum 65 psi.

In the video showing how it works, the founder of the project, Benjamin Krempel, hops on his bicycle and takes it for a ride. We see the pressure on the tire rising from 22 to 52 psi in over a mile. As for the higher-performance tire product, the user is allowed to set the pressure from 65 to 95 psi.

True to the Kickstarter project practice, Krempel and team are posting project details on the Kickstarter site, hoping backers will donate toward their goal, which is $250,000. They want to use that money to work with vendors and engineers to put in place the right materials and processes and to get tools and materials for assembly. The project will only be funded if at least $250,000 is pledged by October 5, according to the site. At the time of this writing, they have $3,619 with 43 backers. As offers to those who pledge, they give those who pledge $75 two Cruiser tires, two valves and two tubes at the expected retail value of $129.90. Those who pledge $45 get one Cruiser tire, (you guessed it). one valve and one tube at the expected retail price of $64.95. Pledges of one dollar or more get the team's warm thanks for doing a good deed.

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More information: … flating-bicycle-tire

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1 / 5 (3) Aug 26, 2011
A marketing solution in search of a problem. Some objective statistics on p*nct*r*s would be interesting.

Just weeks ago I rode 200 miles with a group of seniors (55, 62, 65, 68, 72, 75) on a mix of tire sizes and types. There were no p*nct*r*s. All avoid the trash lane, the curbed shoulder never cleaned of sharps.

This is a reason that bicycles belong in the travel lane, beyond being traffic too. Take the lane!

Like bicycle hell-mutts, PumpTires are a marketeering solution in search of a problem and customers with more money than good sense.
1 / 5 (2) Aug 26, 2011
I have been a cyclist all my life and have ridden many types of bikes and cycles for different purposes. Also, I don't believe that I have ever felt the need for a self inflating tyre. Most cyclists, as far as I can tell, are pretty utilitarian in their mindsets. In other words, only a tiny fringe of cyclists look for the best, flashiest, most expensive bicycle; The overwhelming majority want a bike that fits their purpose and aspirations best within their price range. For that reason, right now, it looks like there are going to be more than a few major oppositions to your projects: Lack of need and high shelf price, not to mention the fact that bike pumps weigh nothing and are extremely reliable and the fact that spare inner tubes cost pennies and can be fitted in minutes. also, it is very important that you think very hard about the kind of cyclists who might be interested in your product.
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 26, 2011
For my latest tour I invested in kevlar reinforced mantle - just to be on the safe side and because I wasn't sure what kind of terrain to expect on some stretches.

But I have never really had a problem with punctures (on or off road). For short rides I take the risk. For longer rids I have a micro repair kit and a very small pump (never had to use it, though). So no - I wouldn't buy this type of tire. Like Fabrice Arfi says: I have never felt the need for such a gadget.
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 26, 2011
I don't get why there isn't some semi-solid rubber like material out there which removes the need for air to be held in the tire.
5 / 5 (4) Aug 26, 2011
Full rubber tires are heavy and also do not povide much in the way of shock absorption.

You'd be trading less (no) punctures for an increase in bicycle rim failures. Fixing a tire is a lot easier than fixing a broken rim while on tour.
not rated yet Aug 26, 2011
Notice the video stops when 52 psi is reached, but it should have kept going to support the claim that it doesn't overpressure the tire.
3.5 / 5 (2) Aug 26, 2011
3 / 5 (1) Aug 26, 2011
54 years of riding and one tire failure; due to a nail. Bicycle tires don't lose air at a significant rate. Checking them once a month is all it takes.

This gadget would be a sizable off-center weight. That would weaken the area where it is attached and introduce an unnecessary element in how the tire rolls.
4 / 5 (1) Aug 26, 2011
I think this is a great idea! Its amazing that its been brought this far. I definitely feel that my tires deflate over the course of several weeks from passive diffusion. My main concern is the cost.

Unlike other posters I get a lot of punctures. Maybe its because I live in a college town, and there are broken beer bottles everywhere.
3 / 5 (1) Aug 26, 2011
This adds weight where a pedal bicycle needs it least, value zero. However, on a car, where it can replace those tire pressure sensors it would be an excellent idea.
4 / 5 (1) Aug 26, 2011
Combine with self-sealing tire and it's a killer idea. Cornering, stability, wear and weight are some of the design concerns. Polymer science can help with that. Consider university of Akron for help with materials and tire design.

With respect to the nay sayers, you have to think outside of the box and don't be afraid of creativity.

Best regards
3.5 / 5 (2) Aug 26, 2011
I don't plan on leaving my bicycle pump at home, so this adds dead weight for zero gain.
Re: earlier post by Doug_Huffman referencing "hell-mutts": I've seen more than one cracked "hell-mutt" in E.R, where a head would be cracked instead, and some cracked skulls where a "hell-mutt" would have spared injury, so I'm not sure what you're saying here.
1 / 5 (3) Aug 27, 2011
Funny how Americans are complaining about deadweight but think nothing of causing lung cancers and incinerating irreplaceable petrol as they wander uselessly around town in their one ton iron cages. I've never seen a country with as much dead weight.

Anything that makes biking more accessible to the masses is a good thing. The purists and traditionalists can go the way of the big wheel bicycle.
1.8 / 5 (4) Aug 27, 2011
Always wear a helmet- anyone who says otherwise has a death or vegetable wish. It's in that one second (that can't be reversed) where all the brain damage occurs. Numerous testimonials of "if it wasn't for my helmet" have convinced me that helmets are as essential as the air with which you breathe and inflate your tires.
Now, the auto-inflating tires, I'll get them after I install the OnStar system on my bike. "Hello, this is OnStar, we've received a distress signal that your air pressure is low..."
4 / 5 (1) Aug 28, 2011
I agree that this is a solution in search of a problem for bicycle riders - keeping bicycle tires pumped up is not much of an issue for riders. BUT - this technology could have a major impact for motor vehicles, underinflated tires cost the US an extra 1.24 billion gallons of gasoline a year. Not to mention the cost of premature tire wear.
4 / 5 (1) Aug 28, 2011
Mark,you beat me to the punch-we all see cars with half inflated tires every day.As far as bike tires are concerned,I agree with most of the posters that it is just a gimmick.What happens when that inflation tube gets worn from riding? Do you buy a whole new tire,even though a conventional tire would still have plenty of remaining tread life?
But back to cars-would this thing also result in premature replacement of tires,this time at considerable expense merely because the inflation tube was badly worn?
3.5 / 5 (2) Aug 28, 2011
I think this has real applicability to auto tires, not so much for bike tires. You rarely see someone riding a bike with poorly inflated tires, but frequently see motorists with almost flat tires.
not rated yet Aug 30, 2011
This adds weight where a pedal bicycle needs it least, value zero. However, on a car, where it can replace those tire pressure sensors it would be an excellent idea.

What's wrong with tyre pressure sensors/monitors?

Having a self-inflator like this on a car wheel would cause all sorts of balance issues at high wheel rpm rates.
not rated yet Aug 30, 2011
I think this has real applicability to auto tires

You'd be continually compressing air in a small tube for nothing - this takes energy which has to come from somewhere - i.e. increased fuel comsumption

And it will only help you once in a blue moon when you actually do have a drop in pressure, but only if that drop isn't due to a real puncture. In that case the system won't prevent a flat.

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