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Tannus Airless Tires - Thumbs up or thumbs down?

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Tannus Airless Tires - Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Old 03-21-20, 05:19 PM
  #1  
Fredo_Adagio
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Tannus Airless Tires - Thumbs up or thumbs down?

What is the consensus on Tannus airless tires < http://tannusamerica.com/pages/airless-tires >?

You can tell how bored I am this afternoon by the fact that I've been agonizing over a possible switch to Tannus airless tires. The following is based on the propaganda I've been reading on various websites and seeing on YouTube. [Official Disclaimer: I have no association with Tannus. I don't even know anyone who works in the bike industry other than the folks at three local bike shops that I give my business.]

Weight
There might be an actual weight savings if the weight of the tire change kit is included.

Weight for Tannus
700x25 Tires: 395 grams x 2 = 790 grams

Weight for Continental Gatorskins
700x2 Tires: 240 grams x 2 = 480 grams
Tire Tubes: 65 grams x 2 = 130 grams
Spare Tube: 65 grams
Rim Strips: 5 grams x 2 = 10 grams
CO2 Cartridge: 60 grams
CO2 Inflator Head: 30 grams
Tire Levers: 15 grams x 2 = 30 grams
Total: 805 grams

Ride Quality and Performance
The ride is described as being as harsh as Continental Gatorskins, but I'm already riding Gatorskins. Tannus actually offers three grades of stiffness for their road tires (Regular 100 psi, Hard 110 psi, & Soft 95 psi). The one performance distinction that I've seen noted on YouTube is less swerving due to a loss of fear of riding over broken glass and other road debris. Tannus claims that the rolling resistance of their tires is 2% to 8% more than conventional tires.

Installation
Installation is a battle and involves brute force and fitting a lot of little plastic pins, but this should be a once-in-the-life-of-the-wheel event.

Sizing
This is where it gets tricky. Sizing is a function of the clear distance between the beads on the inside of the rim. Based on what I've seen on manufacturers' websites, this is 4 mm or 5 mm less than the outside width of the rim.

My touring bike has rims that are 20 mm on the outside, which suggests 15 mm or 16 mm on the inside. If the inside width is 15 mm, my choices as specified on the Tannus website are 23 mm and 28 mm tires. If the inside width is 16 mm, my choices are 25 mm and 28 mm tires. The bike presently has 25 mm Continental Gatorskins.

My triathlon bike has deep-section HED wheels that are 25 mm on the outside and 21 mm on the inside. The only choice Tannus gives me are 40 mm tires, which is ridiculous. The bike presently has 23 mm Continental Gatorskins. My understanding is that the recent trend in bike wheels is to make the rim width larger so that the cross section of the rim-tire combination is more like an airfoil than a light bulb. The takeaway message is that Tannus tires aren't designed for the typical deep-section wheel.

Cost
Tannus tires are $80 each! That's about twice what I paid for the Gatorskins including the tubes. Tannus recommends having a bike shop install the tires, which could double the cost. Tannus offers the option of buying a set of Mavic wheels with Shimano 105 hubs and tires already installed for $375 < http://tannusamerica.com/collections...ic-wheel-combo >. That might be a good option for someone who wants a set of conventional tires for racing and airless tires for training.

Last edited by Fredo_Adagio; 03-21-20 at 06:48 PM.
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Old 03-21-20, 05:50 PM
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The weight difference is meaningless to be concerned over, as a performance difference it's very small compared with rolling resistance differences between tires. For most riders, to reduce climbing speed by 1% on a steep ascent requires somewhere in the ballpark of a 2lb bicycle weight increase. With a difference of 15g, you're talking about taking maybe half a second longer to summit an hour-long climb.

"2% to 8% higher rolling resistance than conventional tires" is a completely meaningless statement, as the rolling resistance of pneumatic tires varies over a much greater range than that: the slowest road tires have more than double the rolling resistance of the fastest ones.
If they mean that they'll make you 2% to 8% slower than pneumatic tires, that's a more plausible-sounding statement, but would also indicate a huge performance deficit. A 5% loss in speed on a two-hour ride is six minutes, which for many people is enough time to fix a flat.

What kind of flats are you running into? If it's pinhole punctures and your wheels are tubeless-compatible, I'd much sooner switch to tubeless.
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Old 03-21-20, 10:14 PM
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Airless tires on a TT bike
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Old 03-22-20, 01:18 AM
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One bonus of sorts, the Tannus has a conventional bicycle tire appearance compared to the typical airless tire.
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Old 03-22-20, 01:42 AM
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I have not used them, but I think this type of tire is the way of the future.

At the present time they are too expensive. The Chinese will probably bring out a less expensive alternative.
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Old 03-22-20, 08:29 AM
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I use Schwalbe Marathon Plus with Mr. Tuffy. I get a flat every 20,000 miles or so. Exactly what benefit would I get from airless tires? When pneumatic tires were introduced in the early 20th century, all wheeled transport immediately switched to them, despite being very puncture prone. Why? Because the advantages in traction and ride completely outweighed that one disadvantage.
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Old 03-22-20, 08:46 AM
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Hard no...(pun intended). Pneumatic tires will not be replaced by a solid type until they can replicate some sort of softness to replicate the feeling of air tires. Have you ridden on the airless tires yet? I have at my LBS last fall during a demo. They had a hybrid set up and they were very unpleasant to ride. on a perfectly smooth tarmac they would roll fine and not beat you to death but man it was brutal on a city street. I think at lower speeds they were ok but when you got over say 10mph they became very VERY awful.

Seriously most riders who ride long distances on a regular basis will not be happy with them. I do think this tech can be better though. Time will tell.
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Old 03-22-20, 02:02 PM
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Here--again:

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_aa-l.html#airless

Tannus' Armour Inserts would be far better; they put a thick layer of material between the tire and tube, but still DO include the tube itself. Also, they can be installed without special equipment, which is needed for solid tires (I worked in a wheelchair shop and have seen a lot of those solid tires put on rims--it can't be done at all without a special tool, and even then it's exhausting work for a strong man). Also, with the inserts you can choose your own tire to go over them instead of being stuck with Tannus' choice of tread patterns.

As well, they claim only a 5000 mile life for the solid tires, which is okay for a wheelchair but not for a bicycle.

I suggest you leave all these things alone and just get a set of Marathons instead.
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Old 03-22-20, 02:18 PM
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I'm always going over glass shards with my green guards at 100psi and no punctures over the last few months.

I notice on this company website that the tires for 23C at least come in a replicated pressure range of 105, 115 and 95psi. Wider tires such as 32C come in at a replicated 80psi.

I've never ridden a set, but I'd probably just get a tire with a puncture resistant insert like the marathon green guards.

I wouldn't mind a set for my grocery trailer with 16 inch wheels, but still $60 each is a tough price to justify.
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Old 03-22-20, 02:39 PM
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Well YouTube videos look even worse than putting on rims than Continental or Schwalbe touring tires. After years of that the Tannus/ wheel combo sounds like a good deal to me.
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Old 03-23-20, 05:47 AM
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Thanks for the input. On a another forum (Slowtwitch), a gentleman in the bike industry stated that his business had tested Tannus tires and decided not to carry them for the following reasons.

1. Rolling resistance is far higher than conventional tires. I can understand this given that foam doesn't spring back immediately after being compressed, so the resistance due to tire compression at the forward side of the contact patch is not countered by a spring-back force at the rear side of the contact patch.
2. The outer surface is foam, not rubber, so traction when wet is unreliable.
3. The stiffness of the tires results in spokes taking a beating. You won't get a flat tire, but you might break a spoke.

I found the following website that gives rolling resistance data for a long list of road tires, but not Tannus. The top four tires are all tubeless. The best tube tire is Continental Grand Prix TT closely followed by Grand Prix 5000. My Gatorskins are seventh from the bottom.

https://www.bicyclerollingresistance...d-bike-reviews

I'll stick with conventional tube tires for now, but I may give tubeless another look.
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Old 03-23-20, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Fredo_Adagio View Post
Thanks for the input. On a another forum (Slowtwitch), a gentleman in the bike industry stated that his business had tested Tannus tires and decided not to carry them for the following reasons.

1. Rolling resistance is far higher than conventional tires. I can understand this given that foam doesn't spring back immediately after being compressed, so the resistance due to tire compression at the forward side of the contact patch is not countered by a spring-back force at the rear side of the contact patch.
2. The outer surface is foam, not rubber, so traction when wet is unreliable.
3. The stiffness of the tires results in spokes taking a beating. You won't get a flat tire, but you might break a spoke.

I found the following website that gives rolling resistance data for a long list of road tires, but not Tannus. The top four tires are all tubeless. The best tube tire is Continental Grand Prix TT closely followed by Grand Prix 5000. My Gatorskins are seventh from the bottom.

https://www.bicyclerollingresistance...d-bike-reviews

I'll stick with conventional tube tires for now, but I may give tubeless another look.
Agree, I really want to try tubeless on my road bike but am terrified to do it!
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Old 03-23-20, 03:39 PM
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Not on my high performance road race bike! Already got tubeless on my gravel bike. Old mountain bike? Doubtful. But will continue to watch this product to get more user reviews.
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Old 03-23-20, 08:59 PM
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Oh, I forgot to mention: getting these off the rims requires a hacksaw.
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Old 03-24-20, 04:22 AM
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I thought about airless tires for either(or both) my cargo trike build, or the trailer. I think they might make either a bit unruly.
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Old 03-24-20, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by hillyman View Post
Well YouTube videos look even worse than putting on rims than Continental or Schwalbe touring tires. After years of that the Tannus/ wheel combo sounds like a good deal to me.
Continental tires install readily on tight rims without tools when you run two wraps of 1 mil Kapton tape totaling 0.005" versus .020" for Velox, start the second bead 180 degrees opposite of the valve stem, and correctly milk the slack around while keeping the bead in the rim depression.
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Old 03-24-20, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
Continental tires install readily on tight rims without tools when you run two wraps of 1 mil Kapton tape totaling 0.005" versus .020" for Velox, start the second bead 180 degrees opposite of the valve stem, and correctly milk the slack around while keeping the bead in the rim depression.
I left my micrometer tool in my other seat bag
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Old 03-24-20, 09:24 AM
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no experience and didn't read responses but, airless tires seem like an extreme action and would make for a rough ride
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Old 03-24-20, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Flip Flop Rider View Post
no experience and didn't read responses but, airless tires seem like an extreme action and would make for a rough ride
Robert William Thomson rolling in his grave.
youtube video reviews not too bad on ride. Maybe a future option for me
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Old 03-24-20, 09:52 AM
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One advantage is that you lessen your chance of getting the bug that's going around because you don't have to stop and use the public air hose at the gas station.
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Old 03-24-20, 02:02 PM
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I havenít used Tannus, but Iíve ridden extensively on Greentyre solid tires. Even to the point of modifying a pair for winter use by installing studs. I commute about 6000 miles/year, so Iíve got a fairly number of miles on solids. Mine were the hardest compound available. On good roads, I was quite content. A little squirrelly going over lane markers at a shallow angle, that was about it. On cobbles or dropping off a curb, they were harsh.
Assembly was a beast the first time around, then I figured out the trick. I used a carpenterís workbench with an integrated clamp at one end as a stretching rack. I put the tire on as far as it went, then secured the rim to the bench and the tire to the clamp. By opening the clamp I could stretch the tire onto the rim w/o undue cursing. If you donít have a bench like that, you can mimic the setup by hanging the wheel from a ceiling beam, then loop a strap through the last bit. Put your foot in the strap and put your weight on it to stretch it in place.
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Old 03-24-20, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by hillyman View Post
Robert William Thomson rolling in his grave.
youtube video reviews not too bad on ride. Maybe a future option for me
lol if you say so. For some reason I'm envisioning my push lawn mower tires which are also solid
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Old 03-26-20, 10:12 PM
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Airless tires are a wave of the past. They are great for not having to pump them but well that is really where it ends. Airless tires lead to a rougher ride that transfers every little imperfection to you the rider. They are certainly a huge improvement in comfort from solid iron tires but we haven't used those since the 1800s. It is hard to beat the comfort of a nice wide supple tire and with todays tubeless setups you don't really have to worry about flats as much. Weight can be a concern but not at the expense of ride quality.

I know there are plenty of evangelists for solid tires just like there are people who deny science or believe Justin Beeber is good music. I thank Mr. John Dunlop for bringing us pneumatic tires on bicycles and they were an excellent invention that has stood the test of time for well over 100 years.

You know thinking about it with the right compound they might make decent trainer tires for those using rear wheel trainers. Nice and smooth roller so no discomfort and the lack of pumping is quite handy because it is probably something many of us forget. They might also be handy for those in underdeveloped areas where a puncture could not easily be fixed. Beyond that I want the my slightly newer but still old school pneumatic tires.
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Old 04-10-20, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by rollagain View Post
Tannus' Armour Inserts would be far better; they put a thick layer of material between the tire and tube, but still DO include the tube itself. Also, they can be installed without special equipment, which is needed for solid tires (I worked in a wheelchair shop and have seen a lot of those solid tires put on rims--it can't be done at all without a special tool, and even then it's exhausting work for a strong man). Also, with the inserts you can choose your own tire to go over them instead of being stuck with Tannus' choice of tread patterns.
I'm seriously considering trying their Armour as I detest flats. The reviews I've found online so far are fairly encouraging. Riders say they don't give a rough ride. The only ting I don't like is the fairly high price of $40 each, which makes them a lot more expensive than liners like Mr. Tuffy or Rhinodillos. But they wouldn't have the problem that a lot of people experience with the ends of thin liners wearing into the tube and causing a puncture themselves. 15mm of foam may actually be enough to stop the dreaded goatheads that everybody hates and can't seem to defend against.
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Old 04-10-20, 10:03 PM
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A buddy uses tennis tires on his road bike. He loves em and swears they are just as fast as his old tires.
his old tires were gatorskins, which are just one step better than riding on frozen hoses.
I am convinced he doesn't understand what a quality tire that is fast actually feels like. I'm also convinced he, like many, have an odd fear of a flat tire. Its inconvenient, yes, but tennis seems like a nuclear option.
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