Hutchinson’s new flatproof Serenity tire kit is now available for purchase in the United States.
Hutchinson USA sales manager Levi Olsen showed me their new Serenity airless tire, fresh off the airplane from France.
According to Hutchinson, the Serenity flat free tire was developed specifically for the Velib bike share program in Paris to reduce maintenance expense and downtime. Hutchinson claims the tires are lightweight, strong and durable, with the inner “tube” designed to last the lifetime of the bicycle. Hutchinson claims an “ingenious shock absorbing system” results in a good balance between performance and comfort for this urban utility tire.
The problem with your run-of-the-mill foam rubber airless tires is that road bumps are absorbed only by the foam between the road and the rim; with a pneumatic tire, the bumps are distributed through the entire volume of the tire. I’ve tried foam rubber bike tires before, but the Hutchinson Serenity feels more like a pneumatic tire than a solid tire does. It’s not the nice ride you’ll get from a fat commuter tire, but it’s not unreasonably harsh and they’ve done an excellent job creating an airless tire with a decent feel and good rolling resistance.
The Serenity system is a matched set of tire and airless “tube” insert. When the tread on the tire wears out, you just replace this outside casing and keep the long lasting insert. The combo is fairly heavy at 800 grams for the 26″ tire and insert, but it’s designed for utility city riding, not fast performance rides.
Serenity retails for about $85 per wheel and a special tool is required to pop the tire and tube into place on a wheel. This seems a pricey, but it might be worthwhile to reduce maintenance costs on bicycle fleets. While Serenity doesn’t appear yet in distributor catalogs, this tire is now available in the United States. If you want this, you’ll need to bug your dealer to bug their Hutchinson distributor to special order this tire and (likely) the required install tool.