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Does anyone have long term experience of using these? Are they any good? What are their strengths and weaknesses?

 

Msny thanks

Phil Norfolk

26 comments

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hawkinspeter [3308 posts] 1 month ago
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Not really long-term experience, but I have tried them out (on a unicycle and a bike) and found them to have a very poor ride quality. To be fair, this was decades ago, so I'm sure that newer tyres are slightly better.

The major problem seems to be with how solid tyres absorb shocks. With a standard pneumatic tyre, a bump will cause deformation of the tyre around the bump and then the shock/pressure change gets distributed around the wheel via the air inside. With solid tyres, the bump doesn't get distributed as well and thus you need harsher rubber to keep from bumping the rim.

The other issue is that solid tyres are heavier and it feels as though they absorb energy on rough surfaces - higher rolling resistance.

Unless you have a specific reason to use solid tyres, I'd give them a miss.

(By the way, a solid tyre worked okay on a unicycle. It was specifically for playing unicycle hockey and I needed a non-marking tyre for use in church-halls etc.)

Edit: Just remembered that although you can't get punctures, I did notice that the solid tyres pick up quite a few nicks and cuts which doesn't help their ride quality at all.

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janusz0 [321 posts] 1 month ago
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In the beginning, all tyres were solid. Ask yourself why ~99.9% of us are now using pneumatic tyres? (Hint: it's nothing to do with comfort, although that's a nice side effect:)

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mike the bike [1186 posts] 1 month ago
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You have struck lucky sir, for I am the only cyclist I know who has used solid tyres for a lengthy spell of all-weather commuting.  Mind you, it was a long time ago and my memories grow rosier with every passing year, but, for what it's worth here goes .....

They were from Halfords, called something like Green Tyres but were boringly black in colour.  They were fairly expensive, as are modern solids, and pretty heavy too.  But they seated easily enough and I don't remember any unexpected skids or loss of control in the wet.

What I do recall is the first time I rode them they seemed hard and unyielding, but as the days passed that disappointment wore off and I soon settled into a reassuringly flat-free life.

I suppose if that's the extent of my recollection they must have been reasonably satisfactory.  I sold the bike about a year later, to a bloke who never asked me about them, and, although I would sometimes bump into him, he never once complained or commented.

Would I repeat the experiment?  No, once you reach a certain price point modern tyres are marvellous.  Using rubber like Michelin Pro4 Endurance, Conti 4000 or Pirelli Cinturato ensures I get an average one flat a year, and I ride 4000 miles over varying surfaces in most weathers.  (Of course, now I've boasted that fact I'm in for an uncomfortable series of blow-outs!)

Best of luck.

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ktache [1304 posts] 1 month ago
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I was a tad shocked, whilst driving me to a family funeral in London, that my brother told me that he used Tannus tyres on his single speed London commuter.  He seemed to get on with them, and of course no punctures.

 

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Joe Totale [141 posts] 1 month ago
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As I'm not a sadomasochist I've never used solid tires but I've heard that they can be difficult to get on and off rims. 

Personally I'd far rather chnage a puncture or two a year than put up daily with the alleged poor ride quality. 

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ktache [1304 posts] 1 month ago
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I think the Tannus has to be installed in the LBS.

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philtregear [135 posts] 1 month ago
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Thank you everyone for the constructive comments. Tannus sound like a way forward, although I have now found schwalbe are developing their own version, as yet unavailable.

Why am I interested you ask? I do a 20 mile commute along crap roads. To improve the journey I have taken to using  hub gears and brakes as derailluers get so mucked up in the winter. This is fine until the inevitable puncture. 

 

If a solid tyre was at least comparable in terms of comfort and handling then I would be very interested. speed is not an issue these days. i take as long as it takes. i avaerage no more than 15 mph ( and that is probably an exaggeration) and am quite happy witbh this.

 

in the summer i use a derailluer bike. my speed increases!

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philtregear [135 posts] 1 month ago
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Thank you everyone for the constructive comments. Tannus sound like a way forward, although I have now found schwalbe are developing their own version, as yet unavailable.

Why am I interested you ask? I do a 20 mile commute along crap roads. To improve the journey I have taken to using  hub gears and brakes as derailluers get so mucked up in the winter. This is fine until the inevitable puncture. 

 

If a solid tyre was at least comparable in terms of comfort and handling then I would be very interested. speed is not an issue these days. i take as long as it takes. i avaerage no more than 15 mph ( and that is probably an exaggeration) and am quite happy witbh this.

 

in the summer i use a derailluer bike. my speed increases!

Avatar
philtregear [135 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Thank you everyone for the constructive comments. Tannus sound like a way forward, although I have now found schwalbe are developing their own version, as yet unavailable.

Why am I interested you ask? I do a 20 mile commute along crap roads. To improve the journey I have taken to using  hub gears and brakes as derailluers get so mucked up in the winter. This is fine until the inevitable puncture. 

 

If a solid tyre was at least comparable in terms of comfort and handling then I would be very interested. speed is not an issue these days. i take as long as it takes. i avaerage no more than 15 mph ( and that is probably an exaggeration) and am quite happy witbh this.

 

in the summer i use a derailluer bike. my speed increases!

Avatar
philtregear [135 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Thank you everyone for the constructive comments. Tannus sound like a way forward, although I have now found schwalbe are developing their own version, as yet unavailable.

Why am I interested you ask? I do a 20 mile commute along crap roads. To improve the journey I have taken to using  hub gears and brakes as derailluers get so mucked up in the winter. This is fine until the inevitable puncture. 

 

If a solid tyre was at least comparable in terms of comfort and handling then I would be very interested. speed is not an issue these days. i take as long as it takes. i avaerage no more than 15 mph ( and that is probably an exaggeration) and am quite happy witbh this.

 

in the summer i use a derailluer bike. my speed increases!

Avatar
philtregear [135 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Thank you everyone for the constructive comments. Tannus sound like a way forward, although I have now found schwalbe are developing their own version, as yet unavailable.

Why am I interested you ask? I do a 20 mile commute along crap roads. To improve the journey I have taken to using  hub gears and brakes as derailluers get so mucked up in the winter. This is fine until the inevitable puncture. 

 

If a solid tyre was at least comparable in terms of comfort and handling then I would be very interested. speed is not an issue these days. i take as long as it takes. i avaerage no more than 15 mph ( and that is probably an exaggeration) and am quite happy witbh this.

 

in the summer i use a derailluer bike. my speed increases!

Avatar
ktache [1304 posts] 1 month ago
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For my new rohloff build I will eventually go for tubeless, somewhat to minimise the puncture thing, as removing the wheel is meant to be a faff.  But mainly for low pressure, feel and comfort.  

27.5 x 3 inch, because I can.  

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hawkinspeter [3308 posts] 1 month ago
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As to getting them on and off rims - I fitted mine myself and fitting isn't easy, but similar in difficulty to a really tight fitting tyre. Getting them off again involved cutting the tyre with a knife, so not recommended on carbon fibre rims (unlikely combination, though).

The one I fitted on a unicycle was a nice yellow colour and the disadvantages (heavier, slower, bumpier) weren't noticeable for that kind of riding.

For serious puncture protection I'd probably go for one of the heavier commuter tyres (Schwalbe Marathon Plus?) or run tubeless, though tubeless won't help so much if you're getting really big cuts on your tyres (and is more expensive and a bit more faff).

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stomec [66 posts] 1 month ago
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philtregear wrote:

Thank you everyone for the constructive comments. Tannus sound like a way forward, although I have now found schwalbe are developing their own version, as yet unavailable.

Why am I interested you ask? I do a 20 mile commute along crap roads. To improve the journey I have taken to using  hub gears and brakes as derailluers get so mucked up in the winter. This is fine until the inevitable puncture. 

 

If a solid tyre was at least comparable in terms of comfort and handling then I would be very interested. speed is not an issue these days. i take as long as it takes. i avaerage no more than 15 mph ( and that is probably an exaggeration) and am quite happy witbh this.

 

in the summer i use a derailluer bike. my speed increases!

Out of interest, what tyres are you using at the moment?  I share your hatred of changing tubes on a hub gear wheel, and so after my first flat on my Brompton swapped to Schwalbe Ultramarathons. I now do my winter commute on a cross bike, but put ultras on that too despite the fact that it has conventional derailleurs.

Yes, they weigh a lot, but would probably still ride better and faster than a complete solid (based on my limited experience of the now defunct Ofo bikes withdrawn from Sheffield!). 

Again at the risk of tempting the God of Punctures, in 5+ years of commuting I've never had a flat... 

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dazzlin_darryl [4 posts] 1 month ago
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Never used solid tyres myself but my mate I cycle with fitted Tannus tyres on his bike (yes you can fit them yourself). That was 4 months ago. He is just in the process of removing them and fitting clincher tyres with tubes. Reason being he finds the solid tyre very slow compared to "normal" tyres. I did have a try on his bike and tend to agree with him in as much that it does require more effort to maintain same road speed.

Other that that, I think in terms of usability he found them ok.

Don't think I'll be changing anytime soon as don't tend to get many punctures anyway (1 in 3 years)

 

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Duncann [1491 posts] 1 month ago
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Another thing to think about on "crap roads" is the protection of your wheels. As hawkinspeter mentioned, pneumatic tyres spread impact around the entire wheel, whereas with solid tyres it'll be concentrated at the point of impact.

He later mentions Marathon Plus, which I'd suggest might be a better compromise: almost puncture proof but better for your wheels. I suspect the time/cost taken to repair maybe one puncture a year would be less than having to true your wheels more often!

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madcarew [994 posts] 1 month ago
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janusz0 wrote:

In the beginning, all tyres were solid. Ask yourself why ~99.9% of us are now using pneumatic tyres? (Hint: it's nothing to do with comfort, although that's a nice side effect:)

In the beginning the first 'automatic' transmission was a rubber band CVT design (developed in the late 1800's). Ask yourself why for 100 years 99.9% of us drove cars with heavy, inefficient hydraulic automatic transmission? Because materials required to make good use of the far better design weren't developed until the 60's, and didn't reach consumer potential until the '90's. And that thing called 'vested interest'.

The first tyres may have been solid, but the fact that most tyres now are pneumatic in no way reflects on the suitability of solid tyres for the purpose.

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madcarew [994 posts] 1 month ago
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My experience of trying various iterations of solid tyres over the last 30 years (not extensively) is that they are noticeably heavier, noticeably less comfortable, and harder on the wheels. I had a 'commuting bike' with alloy wheels that I put solid tyres on in the mid 80's. My regular riding was over some rough roads, and for some time I'd ridden my bike with 'pnue's over it with no problem, but with the solid tyres on, as the force wasn't distributed as well when you hit a large lump, it broke spokes and buckled wheels a LOT! to be fair both wheel and spoke technology has moved on, but it was a real problem.

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Nick T [1256 posts] 1 month ago
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If you want a puncture proof and really shit ride, yet still better than solid tyres, just double up the tyre on your rim. Inner tube, 23mm tyre used as a boot, then a 28 or whatever over the lot. 

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janusz0 [321 posts] 1 month ago
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madcarew wrote:
janusz0 wrote:

In the beginning, all tyres were solid. Ask yourself why ~99.9% of us are now using pneumatic tyres? (Hint: it's nothing to do with comfort, although that's a nice side effect:)

In the beginning the first 'automatic' transmission was a rubber band CVT design (developed in the late 1800's). Ask yourself why for 100 years 99.9% of us drove cars with heavy, inefficient hydraulic automatic transmission? Because materials required to make good use of the far better design weren't developed until the 60's, and didn't reach consumer potential until the '90's. And that thing called 'vested interest'.

The first tyres may have been solid, but the fact that most tyres now are pneumatic in no way reflects on the suitability of solid tyres for the purpose.

Although car transmission systems may seem irrelevant, there is a similarity. In both cases, involving lubrication and power loss.
The advantage that pneumatic tyres have over solid tyres is the reduction of internal friction, resulting in far less heat generation within the tyre. That heat generation is felt by the rider as power loss and cumulatively damages the structure of the tyre. As a side benefit, the gas in the tyre also distributes trimhe force on the tyre's contact patch around the entire rim. Of course a liquid would do that even better, but you wouldn't want the extra mass.
Aside: if they could afford it, and weight wasn't a consideration, would madcarew ride a bike with a Nuvinci CVT?

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madcarew [994 posts] 1 month ago
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janusz0 wrote:
madcarew wrote:
janusz0 wrote:

In the beginning, all tyres were solid. Ask yourself why ~99.9% of us are now using pneumatic tyres? (Hint: it's nothing to do with comfort, although that's a nice side effect:)

In the beginning the first 'automatic' transmission was a rubber band CVT design (developed in the late 1800's). Ask yourself why for 100 years 99.9% of us drove cars with heavy, inefficient hydraulic automatic transmission? Because materials required to make good use of the far better design weren't developed until the 60's, and didn't reach consumer potential until the '90's. And that thing called 'vested interest'.

The first tyres may have been solid, but the fact that most tyres now are pneumatic in no way reflects on the suitability of solid tyres for the purpose.

Although car transmission systems may seem irrelevant, there is a similarity. In both cases, involving lubrication and power loss. The advantage  One advantage that pneumatic tyres have over solid tyres is the reduction of internal friction, resulting in far less heat generation within the tyre. That heat generation is felt by the rider as power loss and cumulatively damages the structure of the tyre. As a side benefit, the gas in the tyre also distributes trimhe force on the tyre's contact patch around the entire rim. Of course a liquid would do that even better, but you wouldn't want the extra mass. Aside: if they could afford it, and weight wasn't a consideration, would madcarew ride a bike with a Nuvinci CVT?

The example was just given to show that an 'old' technology when applied with new materials / technological advances may perform in some facets at least on a par with the better adopted technologies.

I wouldnt argue with you for a second over the internal friction advantages of pheumtic tyres, and that they generally have more performance advantages, but horses for courses, and for the person uniterested in speed, willing to sacrifice some wattage and comfort for the benefit of reduced maintenance especially punctures, then the new 'old' technology may be better.

 

And, I am a bit of a traditionalist, so I rather the derailleur / chain system, but as I also race, if there was a performance advantage in the nuvinci cvt I would be interested in trying it.

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Mr Pennington [36 posts] 1 month ago
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LOL Fred Flintstone tyres.

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DaveS [2 posts] 1 month ago
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I have used Tanus solid tires extensively, and, provided they are not taken out of context, they have been excellent. I used them because I didn't want any punctures or hassle with inflation, and in that context I had no problems of course. I fitted them myself, and it was tough going, but I have had worse times with some tubeless set ups.
BUT. Bear in mind they do seem to have a higher rolling resistance and a harsh ride.
Here are my thoughts: with regard to the hard ride, I think the problem might be solved by using softer wheels. Back in the day we used to have our wheels 'tuned'by a decent builder to give the ride quality we wanted. Maybe that could be done here. The problem seems to relate to the foam used needing to be durable, which means it can't be too soft. Another solution might be to create horizontal holes thru the tyres at set distances to create some give. This seems an obvious and probably simple fix, but I am not sure the market is quite ready for it lol.
As long as one does not expect race level performance though, they certainly do the job.
Ultimately I switched to tubeless though, and have been happier overall with them.

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DaveS [2 posts] 1 month ago
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I have used Tanus solid tires extensively, and, provided they are not taken out of context, they have been excellent. I used them because I didn't want any punctures or hassle with inflation, and in that context I had no problems of course. I fitted them myself, and it was tough going, but I have had worse times with some tubeless set ups.
BUT. Bear in mind they do seem to have a higher rolling resistance and a harsh ride.
Here are my thoughts: with regard to the hard ride, I think the problem might be solved by using softer wheels. Back in the day we used to have our wheels 'tuned'by a decent builder to give the ride quality we wanted. Maybe that could be done here. The problem seems to relate to the foam used needing to be durable, which means it can't be too soft. Another solution might be to create horizontal holes thru the tyres at set distances to create some give. This seems an obvious and probably simple fix, but I am not sure the market is quite ready for it lol.
As long as one does not expect race level performance though, they certainly do the job.
Ultimately I switched to tubeless though, and have been happier overall with them.

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red_nick [2 posts] 1 month ago
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Just get Schwalbe Marathon Plus or similar (and go wide). They're hard to puncture even if you're deliberately running through all the glass...

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Jack Sexty [114 posts] 1 month ago
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I reviewed the Tannus road tyres a while back... https://road.cc/content/review/230211-tannus-aither-11

I really wanted to like them but ride quality was harsh at best and the speed losses were too much for me to justify having them on my road bike, is the long and short of it. 

For folders or a city bike you're just using to hack around town on though they're definitely worth it, they last for thousands of miles too. Unless you want a really tough workout or really don't care about speed I reckon they have a long way to go before they're good for road riding though.