Gridskin tires use a textile mesh for lightweight puncture resistance
While cyclists certainly don't like getting flats, puncture-resistant tires are typically heavier than others. According to French manufacturer Hutchinson, however, its new Gridskin tires combine durability with light weight – along with less production waste.
At the heart of the Gridskin tires is a knitted mesh consisting of tiny individual hexagons. Made of an unspecified material, this mesh lies beneath the tire's conventional rubber tread. It extends all the way across the width of the tire, going from the bead on one side to the bead on the other.
The company states that the mesh keeps sharp objects from penetrating too far into the tire casing, plus it isolates any small cuts that do occur, keeping them from getting larger. It's also said to improve grip and ride comfort, while still allowing the Gridskins to be up to 8 percent lighter than Hutchinson's existing Hardskin reinforced tires.
Additionally, while the manufacturing process of the company's regular reinforced tires involves four separate steps, production of the Gridskins involves just one – this reportedly means that less electricity is required, and fewer carbon emissions are produced. The process also uses less rubber, and further reduces waste by not adding any labels or other graphics to the tires' sidewalls.
Hutchinson is offering the Gridskin technology on limited-edition runs of its 700 x 28C Fusion 5 Performance road tire and its 700 x 40C Touareg tubeless gravel tire, which tip the scales at 276 and 473 grams, respectively. Pricing has not been officially announced.