One of the reasons we like tubeless mountain bike tires at Engearment is the inherent flat-proofing that comes with it. With some liquid sealant inside, the tire will self-seal most thorns or cactus needle punctures. Road tubeless is coming along as well, but has some engineering issues that come with the much higher pressures and forces of road biking that manufacturers are still working to overcome. In the meantime, the Tannus Tire Aither 1.1 fills in a gap.
The Aither 1.1 is not a normal road tire. It has a solid, polymer body instead of an air-filled tube. That makes it 100% puncture-proof. It’s also comparable in weight to a normal tire and tube setup – the Aither starts at 380g for a 700x23c model. Unless you’re on ultralight (and fragile!) race tires and tubes, you’ll have somewhere between 250-400g of rubber on each wheel of your road bike.
The polymer is durable too – Tannus guarantees 6000 miles of use without losing more than 1.5mm in tread depth. That may seem like a lot, but remember that they’re solid all the way through. The Aither can be attached to any normal clincher rim. And, Tannus makes solid tires in a wide variety of colors. The 700x23c will be available in all of them. Tannus will also release a 700x28c, 700x32c, and 26×1.75″ version that will only be available in black.
Why doesn’t everyone ride these? Well, there’s a downside to all this durability. Even though the tires compress like a 100psi-inflated road tire, testing shows that they absorb enough power to make you 1 kph (.62mph) slower. That’s a dealbreaker for some. Others won’t care as long as they don’t have to break out the patch kit and pump.
The Aither will come as a slick or with slight tread and will cost $185 for a pair.