Visit the Tannus tyres website and you’ll be greeted with quite a claim, “ Tannus Tyres are like no other bicycle tire on the planet. Being solid, Tannus Tyres can withstand everything that would normally stop you flat with a pneumatic tyre; nails, glass, sharp metal objects, and thorns are no longer your enemy. The patented Aither technology that makes up 100% of our solid tire is a scientifically engineered super material, that whilst being extremely resistant to wear and the environment, it still provides comfort, minimises rolling resistance, and provides unprecidented safety.”
So what’s the deal? If these new super tyres are so great, why isn’t everyone using them by now? Let’s find out.
Tannus Tyres are a Korean operation, but now have agents in 20 countries around the world, and luckily for me, my local bike shop stocks them too, so off I went in search of puncture free winter nirvana.
Supplied in common sizes such as 23c, 28c, 26×1.75, with different treads and hardness, as well as a choice of 12 colours, there should be something for most tastes and needs.
The tyres come well packaged with all the information you need to install them, which is handy as this is the first obstacle to overcome. Being a solid tyre, Tannus had to establish a safe and secure method of installing the tyre to the wheel, and they do this by using small clips that slide through the tyre and lock in place where your beaded traditional tyre would have done. To account for differing rim widths, Tannus supply two sizes of clip and a fitting tool to push securing clips into place along with comprehensive instructions on how to fit them. If further help is needed, the Tannus website shows clear and concise guides, images and spares should you need them. I fitted them myself and found it a fairly straightforward process, although some may find it a little challenging to get the clips to ‘click’ into place so take your time and be methodical. That said, most Tannus stockists offer a fitting service so the option is there to let someone else do the work for you.
Tannus website gives clear instructions to further simplify the simple fitting process.
As a roady I opted for the 23c tyre size in regular hardness and my initial test was conducted on some ‘non EU spec’ tarmac. The first thing I noticed was just how firm the tyres are, some call them hash but I would say more akin to a skinny tub at 120psi. Certainly after the first few hundred miles they seemed to soften a little but it could also be argued that I was just getting used to them. What was impressive though was that although very firm, these tyres do not feel like the solid tyres you’d find on a child trike, and small deviations and counter changes aren’t as pronounced as I had feared. Small lumps and bumps aside though, I was given a harsh reminder I was riding a solid tyre when I failed to spot a pothole, perhaps more so than I would have on pneumatic tyres but that is maybe to be expected and I’m certainly glad I fitted these to a good solid wheelset.
So they are a little firm, but so are my race wheels, especially when coupled to a stiff aero frame, so I rather doubt this will put too many people off especially when offset against the peace of mind of being puncture free. But what about performance? Tannus claim little by way of weight penalty when compared to average weights of tyres, tubes, and wheel tape, but it’s the rolling resistance that for me is potentially the achilles heel of this particular product. And that is depending on your expectations and what you use the tyres for.
On the road the tyres feel significantly slower than the air filled counterparts they had just replaced. When speaking to a Tannus Tyres rep I was quoted a speed penalty of 1kph over standard tyres. I feel it was nearer 2kph and distance to come to a stop also felt shorter. This initially led to big disappointment for me, and what had seemed to be the answer to my winter prayers had just fallen flat on its solid patented Aither face. A few more rides though, in foul weather and also some pretty remote parts of the world changed my mind. I had been looking at these tyres all wrong, they are not for racing, or going fast, they are for commuters, winter trainers, and tourers, the people for whom a flat tyre is more than 5 minutes stopped by the road, it’s an absolute nuisance. (Particularly if you own a Brompton and need several tools and a British Aerospace apprenticeship to take off the rear wheel, which incidentally, Tannus noted and led them to plan to introduce a Brompton specific tyre to the range.)@tannuseurope Tyres can withstand everything that would normally stop you flat with a pneumatic tyre Click To Tweet
Riding to work every day, along the miles and miles of city road or country lanes, you come across a plethora of thorns, flints, and broken glass all waiting to bury themselves deep into your tyres, so whilst going marginally slower, you can ride conscience free, bounce off a hole or through patch of glass and don’t look back. No panic filled looks down with the impending dread of a tyre change in the rain mid January whilst numb handed and fumbling with a tyre lever, and that is where the Tannus prove their worth. If you commute, or train through winter whatever the weather, then Tannus tyres are certainly worth consideration. I bought a pair myself and have put over 1500 miles on them now without any regrets, and most importantly, without any flats.