Continental Patents their Vectran Breaker

Tires. Again. But, this time: materials.

I am happy to see the industry dedicating resources to innovation specifically for bicycle tires. Much of the IP for tires appears to be associated with the trucking industry. However, in US 9,016,341, issued April 28, 2015, Continental has described a tire construction having a higher puncture resistance and a lower weight.

Marketed as the Vectran Breaker, Continental has a protection layer (the yellow layer in image below) disposed under the tread of the tire out of Vectran, a liquid crystal polymer described by Continental as polyester/polyarylate co-polymer.

Continental Tire

Source: Continental

Vectran forms filaments spun from molten liquid-crystal polymer, and Vectran has the following structure:


Filaments are spun to a diameter of less than 40µm, 30 or more filaments are used to make a thread, and then the threads are arranged parallel to each other to make the fabric Vectran Breaker.

Continental provides test results for comparing a single layer of their Vectran Breaker to a double layer of the conventional nylon fabric. As shown below in Table 1, their Vectran Breaker had higher resistance to perforation, lower weight, and lower rolling resistance.

Test Results


Schwalbe’s ProCore System – Another take on Tubeless?

Admittedly, I think too often about tires. I was excited to talk to the guys from Schwalbe, at NAHBS 2015, about their ProCore System.

As seen below, the ProCore System an outer tire (like your normal tire), an inner tire (the blue, smaller tire inside the normal tire), a tube inside the inner tire, and a valve that can fill both the tube and the space between the inner tire and the outer tire.



An analogy is that the ProCore System would be like running a tubed, high pressure road tire inside your low pressure mountain tire.


The innovations that allow the ProCore System to come to market are described in US 20150090385, which published on April 2, 2015.  When the first systems were being talked about, they had 2 stems – one for each of the air chambers.  This would have required to users to drill a second valve stem hole in their rims or rim manufacturers to provide special rims for the system to work.  Schwalbe came up with a two-way valve stem that is capable of filling both the tube and the air chamber between the inner tire and the outer tire.

a two-way valve, wherein a first outlet of the two-way valve is in communication with the interior space of the tube, and a second outlet of the two-way valve in the mounted condition is in communication with the air duct between the rim and the tube, and between the tube and the inner tire up to the through opening in the inner tire

Another innovation provided to ensure that both air chambers are fillable is the ProCore Air Guide, which provides a path from the valve stem to the air chamber between the inner tire and the outer tire.

The inner tire and tube not only protect against pinch flats, they also help keep the beads of the low pressure outer tire in place to prevent burping.

Typically, the tube 233 of the tire assembly according to the invention is filled via the two-way valve 238 with a comparatively high pressure, for example, 6 to 8 bar. This is to ensure that the tire beads 230, 232 of the inner tire 228 are pressed outwards with high force, in FIG. 22 to the left hand side and the right hand side, respectively, and thereby, the tire beads 220, 222 of the wheel tire 214 are as well pressed outwards against the rim edges of the rim 210. This is to ensure that the tire beads 220, 222 of the wheel tire 214 do not disconnect from the rim edges of the rim 210. Such a preload force on the tire beads 222, 220 of the wheel tire 214 allows to fill the intermediate space 234 between the inner tire 228 and the wheel tire 214 with not more than a very low pressure, for example, in the range of 1 bar. Thereby, the wheel tire 214 can provide a very high traction without a risk that the tire beads 220, 222 disconnect from the rim 210 upon occurrence of the severe deformation to be expected of the wheel tire 214.

FIG. 1 of the application illustrates the basis of the technology, similar to the above graphic from

Schwalbe FIG. 1

I ride some pretty rocky trails out in western Maryland and could benefit greatly from this system even in cross country riding. Looking forward to this tech hitting the market!

Future of Road Tubeless from Mavic

Several years ago, coming from mtb, I didn’t really know what my friend was talking about when he said that he chose to go with clinchers instead of tubies. At the time, I was still running tubes, not knowing of other options. Today, I’m running tubeless on mtb, hoping to run tubular for cx, and still in tubes for road.

But I may not be hoping for tubulars for much longer. In US 2015/0028660, published on January  29, 2105, Mavic  discloses a new rim that “is as lightweight as a tubular tire wheel and as practical as an open pneumatic tire wheel.”

Mavic FIG. 2

As shown above in FIG. 2, the bead 6 of the tire 2 includes portions that fit into the hook 35 and stop 37 as shown below in FIGs. 6a-6g.

Mavic FIGs. 6

As shown below in FIG. 5, the balance of the forces on the hook 35 and the stop 37 allow the rim and tire combination to withstand pressures of up to 10 bar (~145 psi).

Mavic FIG. 5

Moreover, the design of the rim helps decrease pinch flatting. Shown below in FIG. 7, the base 36 of the rim helps to distribute the forces from impacts in more areas than just the flanges 32 of the sidewalls 33.

Mavic FIG. 7

These features are also intended to be applicable to mountain biking. I hope this technology comes fast so I don’t have to learn how to glue tubulars.

Clement’s LAS Tread Design Patent

In January, the UCI announced that CrossVegas will be the first Cyclocross World Cup race for the 2015-2016 series.

With a fast, dry course, Clement’s LAS tire will be a likely choice for many riders. The LAS, named after the airport code for Las Vegas and in honor of CrossVegas, has a fast, file tread center and shoulder knobs reminiscent of Clement’s other offerings.

Clement describes the design of the LAS:

It’s unique nail-file tread is short and fine at the center of the tire and gets progressively taller and coarser as it approaches the shoulder knobs.

Screen shot 2015-02-17 at 5.00.22 PM

Image Source: Clement

You can see the size of the file treads increases from the center to the shoulders.

US Design Patent D675,976 appears to be drawn to the tread pattern of the LAS.

Screen shot 2015-02-17 at 5.10.31 PM

Screen shot 2015-02-17 at 5.10.58 PM

The increasing size of the file tread leading up to the shoulder knobs should provide solid and predictable traction for corners and off-camber sections.

Application: US 29/401,315
Application Status: Issued on February 12, 2013, as US D675,976
Assignee: Donnelly Sports, LLC
Related Patents/Applications: N/A