Changing Bike Tire Treads Is as Easy as Zipping It

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Cycling is one way to get much-needed exercise. Several countries are promoting cycling for health and helping the environment. It is a good mode of transport, getting you from point A to point B faster without leaving a carbon footprint. Cycling prevents pollution and can ease traffic congestion.

A person who cycles occasionally typically has one bicycle that is suitable for mild terrain. But the more serious and professional cyclists normally use different bikes to handle specific riding conditions, which present varied road surfaces.

Changing bikes or changing tires

If you like cycling and want to use your bike for handling different terrains, you might feel excited about this new tire concept.

A Norwegian startup called reTyre developed a simple and versatile product that will allow a casual cyclist to change tire treads instead of changing bikes. The concept is simple, and many would think it’s crazy. However, their product works radically — with zip-on tire treads that are easier to carry.

The product works like you are attaching a detachable jacket hood with an open-end zipper.

Zip-on bike tire treads

The first thing to note is that you need the base tire so you can use the revolutionary product. reTyre created a bike tire with a zipper attached to the tire’s sidewall. With the open-end zipper, you can simply zip on a different tread if you are cycling over a different surface. The company claims that you can use reTyre on almost all sizes of standard bike rims.

It’s a fact that the bike’s tires receive the most abuse. And it is important that the tire is in good condition to ensure the cyclist’s safety.

The Norwegian company says the zip-on tire underwent two years of rigorous testing so they can perfect the product before they introduce it to the market.

Zip On reTyre
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How the zip-on tire works

You need to have the basic road tire, which the company calls reTyre ONE. The company says that the basic tire offers excellent surface grip, high puncture resistance, and low rolling resistance. reTyre ONE mounts on standard rims measuring from 26, 27.5, 28, and 29 inches. The reTyre bike treads are made from 90% natural rubber.

You can purchase any of the three tire skins (replacement treads) that correspond to different conditions. An all-terrain skin, which has a light tread pattern, is suitable for gravel, and other uneven, softer surfaces. For dirt roads, there is the Gravel Chaser. The skin with 156 carbide studs is recommended for urban winter conditions (Winter Traveler and Ice Racer). And for cyclists who like to test their strength and endurance with aggressive downhill mountain riding, they can get the deeper lugged Trail Rider skin.

To change the tire tread, you attach the new tread with the help of the self-locking zippers that run along the tire’s sidewalls. You can accomplish the process in under one minute.

Addressing some safety concerns

Similar to any new product, there were some biker safety concerns that product reviewers raised, such as the zipper teeth getting dirty, the slider getting tangled onto something, a bump close to where the tire tread ends meet, and a loose fit over the base tire. They have optimized the location of the zipper on the base tire. They also adjust the height for each production batch to adjust to the 15% variance due to the temperature during the production process. 

The issues have been addressed, according to reTyre COO Alexander G. Gjørven. The product is already in its third generation. He said they have addressed the loose fit of the second generation by moving the zipper on the base tire lower on the sidewall. The slight change in the location of the zipper makes the fit of a new tread tighter. They made sure that the tight fit is just right so as not to stress the zipper when it is closed or when doing up the zipper.

Further, they have added a retainer to prevent the zipper slider from being undone accidentally.

The COO said that the bump reviewers/users notice was due to an inconsistency in the skin ends’ tread pattern. By extending the existing tread pattern from end to end, the gap where the ends meet is no longer an issue. They also removed the plastic tongue that was previously installed to ensure the tread ends’ proper alignment.

Are you interested enough to try reTyre?