Ever wondered what’s going on inside your tyre? Worried whether it’s wearing out, at the wrong pressure, or drained of tubeless sealant? Fear not worrisome rider, Hutchinson will soon have your back.
How’s that? It's developed a neat-looking little product called Conec’tires, which sits in your rim and feeds back data on tyre pressure that’s then analysed by an app on your phone to give you a whole host of information for trouble-free tyres.
Pre-ride the app can suggest tyre pressures for you and update you on the state of the sealant in the tyre. While it’s primarily designed for tubeless systems, it’ll still work with tubes should you puncture mid-ride, for example.
The pressure sensors send data via Bluetooth to your phone or via ANT+ to any connectible device and have real-time information on pressure levels.
Hutchinson says that this instant data is handy for catching slow punctures before you hit the rim or after you’ve just smacked your rim into a rock, root or pot hole and want to make sure you’re still good to crack on.
This pressure data is also used for post-ride analysis: where and why did you lose pressure? Was it fast or slow? What rad moves were you pulling at the time, perhaps? Hutchinson reckons it’ll give you a more rounded knowledge of the state of your rim and tyre.
At first we wondered whether, along with pressure, there was some physical liquid sensor to detect pressure loss, but Hutchinson says that its software (when uploaded with your tyre information) works out the percentage of sealant loss via the slow loss of pressure over time.
This data is also used to give you information on the ideal amount of sealant to use in your tyres.
Through accelerometers, the device can measure distance travelled, and this info is used by the app to warn when the tyre is likely to be getting towards the end of its life.
The engineer we spoke to said that Hutchinson tyres have a projected lifetime, but we’re unsure as to how applicable this will be in the real world. On the road, differing road surfaces and rider weight (if you also ignore tyre pressure) impact on tyre wear, and this is even more variable on a mountain bike. We’ve seen tyres destroyed in a matter of days in some places.
The product is still very much under development and we’re unlikely to see it until spring/summer 2018. We don’t have any confirmed prices yet either.
Hutchinson says that it weighs 12g (so not exactly heavy), and the two small coin cell batteries will give a 2–3 year life. Compatibility shouldn’t be an issue as the device is relatively narrow, so will fit into rim beds easily, and any tubeless valve can be used with it.
Is this a step too far for electronic integration into your ride or will it prove a handy tool for tip-top trail (or road) performance? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below…