I am the President of Air Free Tires, Inc. and I would like to add to this disussion.
There are seven airless tire manufacturers who currently sell in North America. Some of them are over 30 years old and none of them are “hucksters”, rather legitimate businesses who try to provide a product to meet a need. To label a manufacturer of airless tires as a “huckster” is an incorrect use of the word.
The problem with posts like the preceeding from BradQ, is that invariably guys like me will come around and poke holes in it.
I’ll give an example; there are manufacturers of shoes who produce shoes that I will not wear becasue they hurt my feet. I assume there are other people who won’t use the shoes either but that doesn’t make the manufacturer a huckster as it may be possible for other people to use the shoes with out any problem at all. And of course I could go on and on….
I think the preceeding post by BradQ alludes to an article produced by Sheldon Brown where he dismisses an entire industry as con artists and that every few years, one of the manufacturers will come out of nowhere and try to foist an inferior product on an unsuspecting cycling population.
We sent Sheldon Brown a set of tires four years ago and the so called “expert” said he couldn’t find a set of wheels that the tires would fit. A bit outrageous considering he owns a bike shop. The truth is, he has a closed mind and people like BradQ carry this nonsense forward.
There are tens of thousands of people every year who take airless tires seriously and that includes the military, the disabled and yes, cyclists. The airless tire industry is thriving and millions of dollars are being spent on them. Our business has doubled in each of the last two years.
One manufacturer Nu-Teck was at Interbike in September and they did quit well and got a lot of orders. Were they the hit of the show? Probably not, but they were taken seriously by somebody and they certainly are not hucksters and they have been in business for over 10 years.
Could airless tires be better than they are? Yes
Are airless tires terribly hard things that will shake your bike to dust as you ride it? No
Will there one day be an airless tire as good as high quality racing tire?
Airless bicycle tires are perfectly acceptable to 99 out of 100 people who purchase from us and try them out. (Famous catalogs like Lands End and the Sharper Image have higher return rates than us.) We offer a 90 day money back just because we know there are posts like the preceeding one by BradQ on the internet and people read these posts and take them serious. That is why I regularly search the internet and try to set the record straight when I find these factual inaccuracies.
It is understandable that people would regurgitate what they have read in the past and make totally misleading statements with out really meaning to, but then it should also be understandable that business people like me will come along and try to set the record straight where possible.
I think the polite thing to do, is to actually know what you are talking about before writing something that will be read by thousands. Or another option is to not write anything at all.