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Michelin Reinvents the Tweel

Every once in a while a product comes along that catches your eye. The new Michelin Tweel is just such a product. Mounted on an Audi A4, demonstating its flexibility, is what Michelin North America Inc. has dubbed the Tweel. It is a tire and wheel combo that comes as an assembly, requires no air(the flexibilty comes from the spokes)and is retreadable. Can you imagine never having a flat again?

The Tweel uses a network of elastomeric polyurethane spokes to control the ride characteristics. These ride characteristics can be set independently of each other, for instance, verticle stiffness-which primarily affects ride comfort-and lateral stiffness-which affects handling and cornering-can both be optimized, pushing the comfort level and the performance envelope at the same time. This is something todays pneumatic tire just cant do.

The possibilities of the Tweel seem endless. For instance, since the Tweel requires no air, holes or channels could be designed in the tread that could channel water literaly through the tread, thus improving aquaplaning resistance considerably. In the looks department, the Tweel is extremely low profile. At speed, the spokes seem to disappear, giving the appearance the vehicle is floating on air, while also revealing the brakes and associated suspension hardware. If that werent enough, to add a little "Bling Bling" the spokes of the Tweel could be chromed or painted to any desired color for that ultra custom look.

As for maintance, there is very little. There is no air to check, no more mounting and balancing, and no more flats.

Now before you run out to get yourself a set, you must understand that Michelin says they are ten years away from having the Tweel in mass production. That said, as you can see they already have a fitment available to at least bolt on an Audi, and with the benefits being so great, can it really be that far off?

Richard A. Brink

Submitted by:

Richard A. Brink

Richard A. Brink is CEO of Internet Busines Realities. Richard writes articles for several sites in the IBR network including, AftermarketGoodies.com.


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