Could Graphene be Used to Make Motorcycle Tyres Grip Better in Corners?

Graphene has been touted as the now wonder material for many years and we’re now seeing more and more use of it in consumer applications. One such new use has been introduced by Vittoria, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of bicycle tires. The new technique introduced will supposedly enable the creation of tyres that maximise all areas – speed, grip and durability. Think of it is a tyre that’s a jack of all trades, but master of them all too.

How much this is marketing jargon and how much is true remains to be seen – but if even half of what they’re saying is accurate it will start a revolution in bicycle tyres. According to Vittoria, their G+ tyres are lighter than comparable tyres, are stiffer when riding upright (and hence have lower rolling resistance) but when leaned over in turns or braking, become softer for better traction.



Could we see such a technology in motorcycle tyres? It would seem an obvious step in the evolution of performance tyres, plus with reduced rolling resistance fuel economy is improved as well. However, despite being fitted to two wheel machines, bike and motorcycle tyres require vastly different technologies, with motorcycle tyres undergoing far greater stresses than even the toughest competition bikes.

Nevertheless, a motorcycle tyre that effectively improves its grip levels when in the corners would be an amazing achievement and one that hopefully will come to fruition.

Source: Popular Mechanics


ChemChina Set To Buy Into Pirelli

The 143 year old Italian tire manufacturer Pirelli looks set to be taken over ChemChina in a deal reportedly worth €7.1. ChemChina, also known as the China National Chemical Corp is a state owned corporation that deals in agrochemicals, rubber products, chemical materials and specialty chemicals, industrial equipment, and petrochemical processing.

According to Reuters, the deal was agreed to by Pirelli’s top shareholders last week. The offer will be launched at 15 euros per share, valuing the Italian group at 7.1 billion euros excluding net debt of almost 1 billion euros at the end of 2014. The ChemChina unit also envisages taking Pirelli private.

The takeover by ChemChina would give it access to a host of technology related to premium tires, and it would also give Pirelli a huge advantage in the Chinese market where the likes of Michelin and Continental are also looking at expansion.

The deal isn’t a done thing, however. As at the close of trade last Friday, Pirelli shares were trading at €15.50, only 50 cents away from the offer ceiling of €16. That would mean ChemChina would need to increase its bid for shareholders to agree to the takeover. There’s also the possibility that other tire rivals may make a bid as well.

Pirelli is probably one of the better known tire manufacturers, being the current tire supplier for Formula 1 and has great reputation among motorcycle riders looking for tires that can be used both on and off the track.

ChemChina Set To Buy Into Pirelli


Goodyear Tires to Turn Heat Into Energy for Electric Vehicles

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has unveiled a new concept tire at the Geneva Auto Show that would provide electrical energy for battery powered vehicles. While still very much in the early stages of development, it’s the first time a tire manufacturer has looked at ways to harness electrical energy from heat caused by friction between tire rubber and road surface.

The tires in concept form use a layer of piezoelectric material placed beneath the contact patches of the tire. Electricity is generated by way of heat and vibrations from the tire as it travels along the road. The proposal even states that electricity could be produced from sunlight, which we assume is by way of heat generated from light absorbed by the black rubber.

It’s an interesting and novel idea but we wonder if the fact that out of all the world’s tire manufacturers, it’s only now someone has come up with this concept. There’s a definite case of diminishing returns when it comes to recovering waste energy – the smaller the gain the less cost effective it is. In the case of tires, both the cost to implement such a system and the effects on rolling resistance would be critical factors in the success or otherwise of such tires.

While Goodyear doesn’t produce motorcycle tires, it does own the Dunlop brand who produce some of the best motorcycle tires available. Regardless, such a technology, should it become a reality will be many, many years away.





Tire Pressure Basics Part One – Cold Inflation Pressure

Talk to any riding instructor or track coach and you’ll hear an alarming number of stories of riders who don’t know what their motorcycle’s tire pressures should be.  Perhaps just as alarming is of the riders who do at least know how much air to put into their tires, they fail to understand that this recommendation is based upon a cold inflation pressure.  That is, the manufacturer’s recommendation is based upon a pressure while the tire is cold and before you’ve ridden.  You can check out the video we’ve created below, or read on.

If you remember back to basic science at school you should know that when gas is heated it expands.  It just so happens that air is made up of a bunch of different gasses, so as your tires get warmer, the air inside them expands.  Because there’s nowhere for this air to escape from the tire, pressure increases.

A basic rule of thumb is that for every 10 degree change in temperature, air pressure changes by 1 pound per square inch. Now imagine that you only ever had to put air in your tires once – it never leaked over time.  If you filled your tires to 32 psi in the dead of winter, come summer your tire would magically have an extra 4 pound of air inside.

Similarly, if you put air in your tires before a ride your tires pressure will increase quite dramatically.  Even in winter it’s not hard for a tire to increase in temperature by around 90 °F just from normal street riding.  This can be even more dramatic in the heat of summer when roads are particularly hot or if you’re really punishing the tires at the track.

Cold Inflation Pressure Temperature and Pressure Change

Reading this, you may see a problem arise for a motorcycle rider and perhaps you’ve been in the same situation before.  You’re in the mountains and have been riding for a good few hours.  As you pull into the gas station to fill the tank, you decide you’d better check tire pressures because it’s been a few weeks since you last did it.  Connecting the pressure gauge, you’re surprised to see that it’s reading 45 psi in the rear tire, when you know it’s only should be 36.  You then deflate the tires down to 36 psi and continue your ride.

Once this rider has gotten home, his tires cool down.  If that rider then checks his tires before leaving the house for his next ride, he will find them to be grossly under inflated.  That’s because when he deflated his tires during a ride, it was at a hot inflation pressure.   His pressures when he checked at the gas station were actually correct – it was merely showing 46 psi because the original 36 pounds per square inch of air had expanded during the ride.

Letting pressure out meant he was actually riding under inflated tires.  It is for this reason it’s essential to check and adjust tire pressures before a ride – a cold inflation pressure.