These are tires that bend but don’t break

The phrase “reinventing the wheel” is a popular way of describing the method of duplicating an idea that already exists. It’s generally used in negative terms - “don’t reinvent the wheel when it’s not needed” - but not in the case of Michelin. The French tire maker takes pride in actually trying to reinvent the wheel in literal terms. In that sense, it may have done just that with the introduction of the Maxion Flexible Wheel with ACORUS Technology.

In simple terms, the Maxion Flexible Wheel with ACORUS Technology is a wheel that was designed specifically to withstand the toughest road conditions for large diameter, low-profile tires. Part of what makes this wheel unique is its ability to literally deform in certain road conditions to protect the tire and wheel body. Two flexible rubber flanges mounted on opposite sides of the wheel body take center stage in that regard. These flanges help absorb impact from potholes and curbs, deforms accordingly, and reverts back to its original shape once the tires are back on smooth road surfaces. This development not only protects the tires from puncturing, but they also protect the alloy rims from cracking or suffering sidewall damage. Michelin’s new wheel also helps improve comfort and noise levels, a common shortcoming among low profile tires with short sidewalls.

The Maxion Flexible Wheel with ACORUS Technology is compatible with any type and brand of tire, including low rolling resistance tires. It’s not as ambitious as Michelin’s other tire concepts, including Visionary 3D-printed Concept, but it is already available in the market, specifically in 19-inch-and-above sizes to premium automakers. There’s no word yet on when the tire will be available to the public, but expect an announcement on that end sooner than later.

References

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