The Tweel Lives On
Meet the future.
Way back in 2012 your ATV Connection editors were already telling you about the potential of the tweel. If you don’t recall, it is basically an airless tire and wheel combination Polaris was touting as being exceptional for off-road applications.
Here it is 5 years later and while the tweel has yet to begin arriving on OEM quads and UTVs, we notice tire magnate Michelin has been messing around with the potential of the concept in some really fascinating ways.
Their “Vision” concept as it’s being called differs in that it is composed entirely of recycled fibers (cardboard, tin cans, old metals, plastic and e-waste, bamboo and paper, tire chips, natural rubber, to mention a few) and constructed using 3D printing. Because the manufacturer would have complete control of the distribution of materials within, the idea here would be to create a “wheel” that was most rigid but would gradually soften as it neared the tread section for optimal traction.
Maybe the coolest concept of them all? The tread itself could be recharged! No need for new wheels when the miles start adding up. You could simply get these bad boys on the 3D printer for a redraw of the tread to good-as-new status. Or (and here’s where we off-roader types come into play), they could create new tread patterns for the conditions! Knobbies anyone?
They released a video of the concept that depicts a tread recharge for a trip into the mountains on the go. While no official production plans have been announced, it’s very clear that the future in wheel and tire technology will be doing away with corrosive rims wrapped in costly and fragile rubber.