Today we continue with the 3rd installation of the mini series. For newer backers, this mini-series will walk through the design, development process, and functionality of each customized bike component.
- Mini Series #1 – Biometric Access Module
- Mini Series #2 – Removable Battery
- Mini Series #3 – Airless Tires
Please also note that we will be locking your orders in BackerKit by 12AM EST, 6th February 2021. More details can be found at the end of this update.
Motivation and functionality
Reevo was initially designed with standard tube tires in mind. Along the way, we realized that a futuristic bike should also come with advanced tires. The nature of standard tube tires mean that there will be an air valve protruding off the tire sidewall, which we think affects the bike aesthetics. Furthermore, we hate punctures, flats, and blowouts with all our souls. This was why we decided to develop special airless tires for the bike.
Did you know that every year 200 million tires, or around 20% are scrapped around the world due to punctures, wear, and tear? Airless tires overcome this problem as they are puncture-proof and are generally more robust compared to standard tires. This means less hassle and more savings on bike maintenance. However, a common complaint is that airless tires are relatively stiff, leading to a harsher ride, especially when riden over poorly maintained roads. Off-the-shelf airless tires also commonly lack traction/grip. We quickly realised that standard off-the-shelf airless tires were not going to cut it.
Design process and challenges
To overcome this, we decided to partner with an experienced aireless tire manufacturer (name withheld for legal reasons) to develop unique airless tires for Reevo. Our development goal was to create tires that behave just like pneumatic tires but without the associated drawbacks. This means that the tires needed to be:
- Long-lasting, robust
- Able to absorb impacts well
- Behaves well under hard cornering
- Stays engaged to the rims at all times
- Provides good traction under all conditions
Analyzing tire behaviour under hard cornering and its ability to stay engaged to the rims
To achieve this, we worked together with our aforementioned partner to go through multiple CAE rounds to simulate how different designs behave under different real life riding conditions for Reevo’s shape and weight. Different designs and materials were evaluated based on these simulations and then fine tuned to our specifications. For example, the video below shows one of the later simulations analyzing impact absorption properties when the tires hit a curb at typical riding conditions.
Purchasing off-the-shelf airless tires was always going to be the easier and more cost-effective option for us, but we decided to go ahead with commisioning an airless tire mold ($41k) as we believe that customizing the airless tires to Reevo brings about obvious benefits to the rider, such as improved comfort, better traction, and improved shock absorption capabilities.
The customized airless tire mold with the Beno and Reevo logos (inverted)