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Air Free Bicycle Tires
 
12 inch  16 inch  20 inch  24 inch  26 inch  700c  27 inch
 
Tire Type
BMX
Childrens
Cruiser
Freestyle
Heavy Duty
Hybrid
MTB
Non Bike Uses
Off Road - Hard Pack
Off Road - Soft Pack
Racing
Recumbent
Road
Scooter
Street
Touring
Vintage
Winter
Width

0.75" - 1.00" (19-25mm)
1.00" - 1.25" (25-32mm)
1.25" - 1.50" (32-37mm)
1.50" - 1.75" (37-45mm)
1.75" - 2.00" (45-52mm)
2.00" - 2.25" (52-58mm)
2.25" - 2.50 (58-64mm)
2.50" - 2.75" (64-70mm)


Tread

Exterior
Inverted
Knobby
Slick

     
Airless Bicycle Tire Kits     16 inch    20 inch    24 inch    26 inch    27 inch    700c
Airless Wheel Systems     20 inch     24 inch     26 inch     700c Alternative Air Free     Tough Rubber Tires    Urethane Inserts
 

 
Questions & Answers

Why should I buy Air Free tires? What are some of the advantages?

The main advantage is that you won't ever get a flat. Never. That means you can ride without fear, knowing you'll never be stranded in areas that are unfamiliar to you. Air Free tires can't possibly go flat; they're made of the same material that is on the soles of your sneakers.



Do they last forever?

No, but nothing does, not even the soles of your sneakers. Air Free tires last a very long time. You'll still be riding on them 3,000 miles from now, and up to 6,000 miles is possible.



Do they come in the size I need for my bike?

Because we work with a number of different manufacturers, we have just about all the possible sizes covered. We can get you tires for all the popular-size rims, and we can even get some of the hard-to-find, rare, vintage sizes. We have between 30 and 40 different sizes of tires, and we have 70 different models, just for bikes! So the chances are, we have what you need.



How will I know what size to order?

That's the best part: we give you all the information, right on our web site, to find exactly the size you need. You'll have several options. First, we have both a rim database and a database that has more than 30,000 bicycles in it. If your rims or bike are listed in one of these, you'll be able to tell immediately which of our tires will fit. And if you can't find your rims or bike in one of the databases, we also explain three different ways you can measure your rims, including a method that you can use without taking off the tires. You can determine your rim size using the change in your pocket: just put a coin next to your rim, check the chart and you'll be able to tell.



What if I mistakenly order the wrong size?

Hey, we know everybody makes a mistake once in a while. If you order a tire that doesn't fit, rest assured that it comes with a no-hassle return policy. Send it back to us, and we won't charge you any restocking or handling fees. If we accidentally sent you a tire you didn't order, of course, we'll pay the return shipping. And if you have a hard time getting to the UPS store, for a couple of bucks, we can make arrangements to send the UPS man right to your door to pick up the tires.



How do you put one of these Air Free tires on the wheel?

They're pretty easy to install. Some styles are a bit easier than others. Because the air is already locked into an Air Free tire, in the form of billions of tiny bubbles, you won't need to inflate it. Installation involves gently stretching the tire over the rim until it snaps firmly into place.



Do I need a special tool for this?

A tool can make installation much easier. We provide the tool at a nominal cost; with some styles, we even provide the tool for free! We have two different tools available; each tire listing shows you which tool will work best.



I'm not very handy. What if I can't get the tire on?

If you have any difficulty installing the tire, just let us know and we'll help you with further instructions. We have been known to help walk people through the process over the phone. But most people are able to install their Air Free tires without any problem.



If they're so easy to get on the rim, will they just fall OFF the rim?

Nope. The foam material is stretchy enough for you to stretch it over the rim. That stretchiness also gives Air Free tires their bounce. But all our bicycle tires come with "safety cords" built in. These are nylon cords that can only stretch a certain amount. That amount is programmed in, and it's exactly the amount of stretch needed to get them installed. Once they've been stretched that amount, nothing can make them stretch any further. So engineering is one part of the equation. The other part has to do with physics. As you're going around a turn, natural forces try to pull the bottom of the tire away from the rim; but because the safety cords don't stretch, that same motion is pulling the cords tighter at the TOP of the rim.



So there's no way to get the Air Free tire back off, then?

The only way you can dislodge the tire is to wrestle it off the rim--or you can carefully and methodically use tools to unseat it and gradually work it loose. Occasionally, you might ride into conditions that duplicate the first method. If you get a wheel caught in sewer grate and wrench the handlebars all the way to one side, for example, that might pop a tire off. But it's not going to come off when you ride over a curb.



Air Free tires sound indestructible. Are they?

No, they're destructible. Sturdy, but not invincible. The same extreme forces that would blow out a rubber tire, like going over a cliff, probably would also damage airless tire. If you stuffed either a rubber tire or an Air Free tire full of cherry bombs and blew it to shreds, both would be damaged. But your Air Free tire won't go flat if you encounter some glass or a thorn. Air Free tires are not shields you can put in front of speeding bullets--but then again, a bullet wouldn't make it go flat. It would just have a hole in it.



Where are these tires made?

Most Air Free tires are made here in the U.S.. We have one partner, Greentyre, in the U.K. They use the same technology and methods as our American suppliers, and operate under the same high standards, so we've introduced a limited number of their tires to the American market. All Air Free tires are made by skilled workers who make good wages.



What are these tires made of?

Microcell urethane. That's the kind of material now used to make automobile dashboards, some seat cushions, and some vibration-dampening devices. We use a proprietary version of microcell urethane that's not typically available to other industries, and we make it up with a specific formula.



What puts the air bubbles in an Air Free tire?

It's a complicated and exacting process, like making really difficult bread. It requires several steps, and conditions have to be just right. You know how, even if humidity is wrong, bread won't rise right? The same kind of thing happens when you make microcell urethane. The bubbles are formed during an irreversible chemical reaction, which happens when you put the two components together. The first compound is isocyanate; the second one is proprietary, which means we can't tell you, but there could be many things in there: little bits of rubber, plastic, ball bearings. Mix the isocyanate with the secret stuff, and one of the byproducts is carbon dioxide. If you put the mixture in a mold, you'll trap a certain amount of the CO-2 in the foam.



So is an Air Free tire full of air, like a rubber tire? Or is it solid?

An Air Free tire has about 1/3 the air that would be in the same size tire if it were made out of rubber. So they're only 2/3 solid. They're full of little encapsulated bubbles. They're made of foam that is light and fluffy, like a soufflé. It's like the process of making a difficult bread, but you end up with a soufflé.




Are you offering any new sizes?


Yes, and we're excited about it. The Greentyre Blizzards we have in stock will fit a rim between 18-21 mm wide. That's a size we couldn't fit before. Blizzards fit a thin rim that would normally take a 26 X 1.75 tire. They're a little thinner, and they're very nice, well-made tires.

 
 
Do the Blizzards come in more than one density?

They come in two densities, regular and HP. The HPs that I ordered are heavy, extra density, and they will last a long time. Both densities are in stock right now as "quick ship" items. We can help you decide which density will work best for you.



How can you get British-made tires to your customers so quickly?

We made special arrangements to have some flown into the States, so they will ship the next day, distributed by Carefree.



Why do bicyclists need different tire densities?

Well, like seat cushions, bicycle tires can be softer or harder. The best density for your bike depends on the weight of the rider, what kind of riding you do, and what surfaces you ride on.



How do the manufacturers adjust the density on Air Free tires?

The easiest way to describe it is this: To make an Air Free tire, the manufacturer pours the urethane blend into a mold that's spinning at about 400 RPM. The centrifugal force created by the spinning slings the urethane out to the periphery or the mold, while it's still in a semi-liquid slushy state. The material is distributed and becomes perfectly balanced because of the spinning motion. Because this is a foam, the faster he spins the mold, the more it "collapses" the foam, which makes the air bubbles smaller. A faster-spinning mold takes more urethane to fill up, and therefore makes a denser tire. The higher-density tire is a bit heavier, but it can take more weight, roll better and last longer.



How can I decide what density I need?

We measure density in "PSI equivalency" – that is, the amount of foam it takes to give the tire the same feel as a rubber tire inflated to that number of pounds per square inch. You can determine the perfect PSI by starting with your weight. If you weigh 180 pounds or less, a PSI of about 90 is perfect. For every 20 pounds you are over 180, we recommend you add another 10 PSI. So if you weigh 200, you want a PSI of 100-110. If you weigh 250, you'd want to customize your Air Free tire to a PSI of about 120. If you ride for longer distances, you might want to add a little extra PSI as well. The more you weigh, the denser you want the tire to be.



So I can get an Air Free tire customized to ANY PSI I want?

No, we have a range. Adding PSI is like pumping more air into a rubber tire. The tire can only hold so much, and it can only help to a certain extent. If you weigh more than 400 pounds, we're not going to be able to make an Air Free tire dense enough to support you. We can make Air Free tires up to 175 PSI, which is pretty firm. We can make Air Free tires as squishy as a racket ball or as hard as a bowling ball.



Who wants a tire as squishy as a racket ball?

We actually do sell some Air Free tires at 35 PSI, but not for regular bicycles. Those tires are only available from Nu-Teck, and we are the only place in the world who can get them. You know that circus stunt where a bike rider rides around inside a big wooden barrel? Those tires need to be as squishy as possible, to make a large "footprint" and stick to the barrel. Some amusement park rides use very soft Air Free tires. If you had a cart you used to transport explosives from one shed to another, you'd want very soft tires.



What are the stock PSI's, then?

Our manufacturers have produced tires in standard PSIs that we think are in the range most people would want for the kind of riding they'd do with that kind of tire. Our 700 X 35 tire comes in a standard 90 PSI, because that's the PSI most people would want for the way a 700 X 35 tire is used. All the manufacturers offer what they feel would be the most popular and useful standard PSI. But if you have a very specialized purpose, like stunt-riding or explosives transporting, you'll want a specialized tire.



How can I get the tires to my door? Does shipping cost a lot?

We can get you two tires and an installation tool delivered to most U.S. locations for about $14.95. It costs a bit more to send them to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico or Canada.



Do the tires cost a lot?

We try to keep Air Free tires comparable in price to good rubber tires. Our tires start at under $25. Of course, some rubber tires are extra cheap, down to about $3. But you get what you pay for in terms of quality.



Do Air Free tires last longer than rubber tires?

Based on my own experience and listening to our customers, my guess is that a pneumatic (rubber) tire and an Air Free tire of equivalent price would last about the same number of miles. But this is an important point: the rider with a rubber tire might have 6-12 flats in that time, depending on what kind of terrain they're riding on. Some riders with rubber tires have a flat every 700-800 miles. The same rider, using Air Free tires, would have NO flats.



Are there different tread styles for different types of riding?

Yes indeed. We follow same design philosophy as the rubber tire manufacturers when it comes to treads, so we offer multiple tread patterns for each of the tire sizes we have. There's a 16-inch knobby Air Free, a 16-inch street Air Free, and a 16-inch slick. It's the same with our popular 26-inch tires. We have all the popular treads for the kinds of bicycling most people do. We have the perfect Air Frees for a Sunday afternoon light trail run, or for the commuter who likes to ride fast over smooth concrete.



What if I do extreme riding?

If you're planning to go down a black diamond, you'll need a very specialized piece of equipment—not Air Free. Air Free tires are not designed for extreme riding. To ride a bike offroad, you need a tire with a dynamic (changeable) footprint, one that can get dramatically larger or smaller, depending on surface conditions. Since an Air Free tire only has 1/3 the air in it that a rubber tire has, it isn't free to move as dynamically as a rubber tire. If you sit on a bike with rubber tires, the tire footprint—the part where the rubber meets the road—will expand. If you sit on a bike with Air Free tires, the tire footprint doesn't change significantly. So there's a noticeable performance difference with Air Free tires offroad. But we're able to successfully imitate the performance of a rubber tire on the street.
 


What's new in the world of Air Free tires?

We're always working on something new: new urethanes, new designs, new philosophy. The growing airless tire industry is controlled by a relatively small group of manufacturers. There's been a power shift recently that has really opened things up for new research and development. We're researching improved designs and other new possibilities. It's exciting.
 


Are Air Free tires a good idea for kids?

They're a great idea for some kids. If you have a responsible child who uses his bike for transportation, Air Free tires are perfect. Parents can rest easy, knowing that child will never be stranded with a flat tire. But if your kid uses his bike for extreme adventuring, and is very destructive to rubber tires, then he'll probably destroy the Air Free tires as well. Whatever forces are making your kid get repeated flat rubber tires will probably have a bad effect on Air Frees. In our experience with child riders, it's not the glass in the street that gets the tires: it's jumping the bike like a stunt rider. If your child is blowing out rubber tires by skidding his bike along the concrete, the same skidding will create flat spots on his Air Free tires.



Who are you, Air Free Tires? How long have you been around?

I started selling Air Free tires online in 1999. Since then, we've shipped Air Free tires all over the world, from the mountains to the prairies to the oceans white with foam. We've got troops in the armed forces riding on Air Frees in the Middle East. We have a great number of loyal, repeat customers. We're also at the front cutting edge for airless tire research and development. We're constantly reinventing the wheel, or at least the tire it rides on.

 
 
 
 
 

 

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