This will definitely change tire world.
Now, off-road vehicle specialist Polaris plans to debut a consumer version of an “airless” Non-Pneumatic Tire (NPT) by early next year.
Made from a proprietary plastic, the NPT replaces the conventional tire carcass with a flexible web.
The NPT was originally developed by a small Wisconsin-based startup called Resilient Technologies, which was acquired by Polaris last year.
Seeing it in operation is nothing short of astounding: the tire rolls over sharp rocks, poking tree branches, and harmful tree stumps without a problem. The NPT has three main components: the web structure, an outer rubber tread band, and a solid inner steel rim mounted to the axle. Polaris says the open design means dirt, tree branches, and gravel will shift and fall out as you ride, rather than getting stuck inside.
But preventing flats isn’t the NPTs only advantage over conventional rubber. For new riders, Polaris says the airless tire absorbs impacts without the typical jarring bounce of a pneumatic tire. That means a safer, more sure-footed ride even over tough, dangerous terrain and quicker response to steering inputs.
To make sure the NPT can withstand long-term abuse, it was put through military-grade testing. Engineers shot test tires with .50 caliber rounds and then subjected them to 5,000 hours of off-roading. On another outing that involved crossing a train tracks, a rail spike punctured the tread band of an NPT, but the rider kept going on it for more than 1,000 miles.
Pricing has not been announced, but Difuccia says the NPTs are all about buying the confidence that they won’t leave you stranded.