MILAN, Italy (Dec. 5)—Group Michelin has unveiled a scooter version of its Airless wheel, designed to give riders of the two-wheelers the convenience of nearly maintenance-free performance with radial-type comfort and handling.
Michelin displayed the prototype Airless scooter wheel at the EICMA International Motorcycle Exhibition in Milan recently. The Airless concept—a series of polymeric rings arranged radially around a wheel hub, to which is attached a reinforcing belt/tread package and a rubber tread—was unveiled originally in September 2004 at the Paris Auto Show.
The Airless scooter concept quite naturally has the more curved cross-section profile of a motorcycle tire, which enables the rider to negotiate corners properly.
Since the Airless does not rely on air pressure, it can never go flat, Michelin said, and it makes the vehicle "impervious to malicious vandalism."
Michelin said the scooter Airless is still years away from being commercially ready, but used the Milan show to gauge interest in the concept.
The concepts shown in Milan had a rubber cover only on the outer third to half of the toroid's structure. The reinforcing rings were visible from the wheel rim to the edge of the rubber cover and were colored to match or contrast the paint on the scooters.