This Dutch mountain bike wheelset promises to deliver perfect tyre pressure all the time.
Tyres are probably the single most important feature on your mountain bike.
From casings sizes, to tread patterns and compounds, your choice of tyre makes an enormous influence to how your bike rides.
Although swapping out tyres for each change in terrain and trail type would be a misery of labour and cost, you can alter tyre pressure, which makes a tremendous difference to ride comfort and traction.
For most mountain bikes, it remains an annoying exercise, to stop and deflate or inflate tyre pressure, according to changes in terrain. But some technically astute Dutch engineers, have now found a way of doing it all electronically.
The dream of adjustable tyre pressure on the fly is something that mountain bikers have been desiring for decades. Tractors and heavy-duty off-road lorries can deflate and inflate tyres on the move, but for those vehicles, weight is never an issue.
Leave the mini-pump and CO2 cannisters at home
Dutch engineering consultancy, Gravaa, believes that it has now solved the issue of integrating a viable autonomous tyre inflation system into a mountain bike wheelset. The potential advance that Gravaa’s inflation system offers, is enormous.
A tiny but potent electro-pneumatic pump is built into each hub of the Gravaa wheelset. It uses your rotational momentum when riding, to drive the pump’s internals and generate inflation or the purging of air pressure, for deflation. Gravaa’s hub inflation unit is connected to the rim with a tube.
Compatible with ANT+ signalling, you can set the tyre pressure requirements from your ride computer or device. This allows a rider to choose a fixed pressure, which the system will then keep consistent, or select different pressures as terrain changes.
Perfect pressure – everywhere
The benefits are obvious: you could use a higher pressure for rolling along on fast open country roads and then rapidly drop a few psi, as you enter a technical descent, where lower tyre pressure will deliver better traction.
Another advantage is managing slow punctures. With the Gravaa system effectively guaranteeing perpetual pressure inflation, whilst you remain on the move, you could suffer an air leak which the system will detect and keep inflating, getting you home safely.
Bike shops or set-up specialists could also use the wheelset, with a specific brand of tyre, to help riders find their ideal tyre pressure in specific trail conditions.
Gravaa has not yet priced its automatic inflation wheelset or indicated how much it will weigh. But the concept appears to have been meticulously executed. The company is scheduled to open its pre-orders for the wheelset, later this year.