I stumbled across Technabob.com when I saw a tubeless bicycle tire that looks promising. If you want to see the latest bicycle innovations, this is one place to go.
Tubeless tires already exist, and have for eons, but this one is designed after a new car tire that also eliminates the tube. These tubeless tires have holes in them (think honeycomb) that make the tire light and pliable.
I have no idea if the ERW airless tire will ever catch on, but I think the tube/tire combination is going away, eventually. Nobody likes flat tires. The big hurdle has been rolling resistance, weight and ease of mounting. Of course today’s rims probably won’t be compatible with any new tire technology, so there’s another hurdle.
Tom Ritchey of Ritchey USA has spoken about the challenges of overcoming inertia in the bike industry. He has an interesting seat and post design that eliminates the rails, but it’s incompatible with today’s seat posts. When a new disruptive technology comes along, it needs to be so compelling that people are willing to change the status quo. It’s not easy.
Technabob points out some other interesting inventions, like the folding helmet and a simple dynohub that charges cell phones. Most of these inventions will go nowhere because they’re not really doing a better job of solving a problem than what’s here, but with so many new building materials coming our way, a few will go mainstream.
I can’t wait.