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Dual-chamber mountain bike tire takes on the snake bites and the burps

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February 11, 2014

A prototype of the system, with its wacky two valve stems

A prototype of the system, with its wacky two valve stems

So, you've upgraded your mountain bike's clincher tires to tubeless, and now you figure you're all up-to-date and on the cutting edge, right? Well, perhaps not for much longer. German tire-maker Schwalbe and bike parts manufacturer Syntace have developed a tubeless dual-chamber tire and wheel system, that they claim should offer better performance than your current old-school single-chamber tires.

First of all, for people unfamiliar with the advantages of conventional tubeless mountain bike tires, here are a few of the main ones – they're light, as no inner tube is required; they provide better handling, since there isn't an outer tire and an inner tube sliding against one another; they're self-sealing, if sealant is being used; and, because there's no tube to protect, they can be run at lower pressure for increased traction.

As far as that last point goes, however, even tubeless tires can still get "snake bite" pinch flats if the air pressure is too low. They can also pop off the rim when taking big hits, in a process known as "burping." That's where the new Schwalbe/Syntace system comes in.

It incorporates a higher-pressure inner air chamber, and a lower-pressure outer chamber. The inner one provides a firm cushion that helps stop the tire from striking the rim, lessening the likelihood of snake bite flats, plus it secures the tire bead more securely on the rim, making burps less likely. This means that the outer chamber can be run at pressures as low as 14 psi (1 bar) for much better traction – most conventional tubeless tires shouldn't be run lower than about 20 psi, depending on the weight of the rider.

As an added side benefit, if the outer chamber is punctured and won't seal, the air in the inner chamber will allow the bike to temporarily still be rideable.

Schwalbe and Syntace were initially working independently on separate projects, but decided to pool their resources when they discovered their common interest. The commercial version of the system should reportedly weigh under 200 grams (7 oz) and be compatible with existing rims and tires – although a second valve stem hole will presumably have to be drilled in the rim.

It's scheduled to be unveiled in August at the Eurobike trade show.

Source: Schwalbe via BikeRadar

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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5 Comments

Finally I can get away from pesky inner tubes by buying a tubeless tire that has a ... built in inner tube.

SamB
11th February, 2014 @ 02:52 pm PST

I drilled an extra hole in my mountain bike rims (opposite the original hole) so that I can use Presta or Schrader valves in a pinch, in case I get stuck with double flats on a long ride and have to borrow someone's extra tube. I thought about having two tubes in at once, one inflated and one deflated. Then, if you get a flat with one tube, don't even bother fixing the first one, just inflate the second tube. If your tires are fat enough, the wobble of one tube wrapping around the other may get taken up by the bulk of the tire itself. Probably wouldn't work with skinny tires...

Mike Moran
11th February, 2014 @ 02:57 pm PST

A company called Nuetech has a product called tubliss http://nuetech.com/ which works in a very similar manner, except these were designed to take a tubed motorbike wheel and convert it to tubeless, automatically including the same advantages as this system. Been around since ± 2008? I've ridden it and it makes a HUGE difference in puncture resistance, reseal-ability (tubeless plugging is really quick and easy) handling (because you don't need the high pressures, as long as not too low) and grip for same reason, so I wouldn't hesitate doing it on a mountain bike too. Include slime of some sort and you are near unstoppable (plus that stuff seems to cool down a wheel somewhat - good for lower pressures - albeit slightly heavier).

Leon Van Rensburg
12th February, 2014 @ 01:30 am PST

NASCAR has used a system like this for decades.

Gregg Eshelman
12th February, 2014 @ 10:36 pm PST

its a good news for mtb.lovers.

Pradip Shrestha
15th September, 2014 @ 04:01 am PDT
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