Frameless Frame. This is how the new prototype developed by Goodyear to replace our conventional pneumatic tires is defined. Exclusively in France, journalists fromCar Magazine Several other media were able to try out this new concept during a session organized by the manufacturer. According to their first comments on the Luxembourg Circuit, airless tires have many flaws.
Originally designed to reduce production and maintenance costs, airless tires have the great advantage of being inherently puncture-resistant. Goodyear wasn’t the only one looking into it, France’s Michelin has also been developing its own prototypes since 2019. At Bridgestone, in Japan, the airless tire is currently limited to bikes. Her first kit was presented at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
At Goodyear, the first glimpse of the airless tire arrived last May — although the first patent was actually filed in 1982. It’s important to note that the technology doesn’t have a release date yet, and it’s not expected to see a commercial launch before. 2025. Comments from journalists in this article should therefore be incorporated in the context of their development.
Discomfort and lack of grip
The design of the airless frame is very simple and very technical. It is made up of thin slats made of composite materials, fairly rigid, and a flat tread. To replace the air, manufacturers must develop a sufficiently high rigidity with the slats to replace the air, and elastic enough to ensure a certain comfort and support the action of the shock absorbers.
On the ground, the design of the frame was felt from the first meters, as the journalist Christophe Konriggia lamentedCar Magazine. “The spurs act like many fairly solid wires, which send back more than they filter tread contact with the road.”, he wrote. The lack of a sidewall that provides rounding capability over conventional tires can also be a problem when cornering. If he compared the handling of a race car, he added above all that the tire ended up lacking grip in the curves, “To the point of giving the impression of driving in the rain”.
The lack of comfort is also reflected from an acoustic point of view, with very loud spinning noises as well as “strong vibrations”. At other manufacturers, such as Continental, the development of airless tires has stopped. It is suspicious, as stated in an article in Al-Ittihad, that an engineer said that “The airless tire poses problems in terms of suspension and noise. It is not a viable solution and I do not expect it to become one.”
But the biggest problem, especially with the arrival of electric cars, will be the extra weight of airless tires. In all, the wheel will be 50 percent heavier according to Goodyear engineers present at the event. To learn more, we advise you to read their full test, which also includes a reflection on other potential uses of these tires in the current state of things.