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Your Bike Tires May Be Able To Pump Themselves As You Ride

Your Bike Tires May Be Able To Pump Themselves As You Ride
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PumpTire uses the rhythmic compression of the rotating wheel to maintain pressure

Rachel Pincus
  • 25 april 2016

Despite the impressive array of innovative bikes we’ve covered recently, many economically minded people are cruising around on 20-year-old bikes that suit them just fine. If your bike is that old and has its original tires, chances are that one or both of them continually lose small amounts of air. This process is known as diffusion.

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But next time you finally decide to replace your tubes, you might not have to worry about overfilling them as a precaution anymore because an enterprising Swiss developer named Benjamin Krempel has developed a bike tube called PumpTire that uses the rhythmic compression of your tires to refill them to a set pressure, and keep them there.

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Here’s how it works: as your tires roll on the ground, a valve outside the tube draws air into a pumping device that is naturally powered by the motion of the bike’s wheels on the pavement. Once the preset desired pressure level is reached, this device shuts off, allowing you to maintain your constant ideal pressure.

The current design of PumpTire replaces a similar one from a few years back that had issues with durability and protection from the harsh conditions faced by the outer tire. Once the tire wore away to a certain extent, the pumping mechanism would stop working. However, now the tube incorporates an anti-puncture layer that offers additional protection against common hazards like nails, glass and thorns.

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The mass production of PumpTire will depend on the success of a Kickstarter campaign, which Krempel is venturing into cautiously. “We are completing the next prototype which is a pre-production design that removes much of the technology risk of the product,” he said. “It also allows us to give Kickstarter supporters more exact specifications about the final product and incorporate testimonials from industry experts that will have experience riding the new inner tube.” The crowdfunding campaign is slated for the end of this year.

When it does hit the market, the PumpTire is expected to retail for $30 to $55 for a kit, which will fit third-party 700c and 26-inch bicycle tires. It weighs about 100-150 grams more than a standard inner tube, but that’s a small price to pay for many.

PumpTire

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