First Look: Tannus Aither 1.1 Solid Tyres

Earlier this week I met with Sean Hayhow from Tannus Tyres to find out more about their latest product, the Tannus Aither 1.1 solid tyre. A press release from Tannus caught my attention late last year so when Wheelsuckers asked if I’d like to test a pair, they didn’t have to ask me twice!

Why solid tyres you may ask? The obvious benefit is that you will never puncture! There’s no inner tube so you can ride over broken glass, rusty nails and thorn strewn roads without ever experiencing that demoralising deflation. In addition, this latest version is billed as being more forgiving and slightly faster than their previous models.

First glance

Out of the packaging I was surprised to find that the tyre is much more flexible that I had imagined. It can be twisted up into loops for postage and springs right back into shape once you let go.

According the Sean, the Aither 1.1 has 50% more air space within the polymer compound, giving the tyre a more forgiving ride and extra suppleness. The tyre itself feels very hard, much like a clincher pumped to 120psi feels when you squeeze it. Each tyre came supplied with an instruction sheet, a mounting tool and three different sized plastic clips (more on these later).

Installing the tyres

This is where the fun starts. Mounting these tyres is not as easy as a regular clincher. Sean recommended setting aside a free hour and just taking your time. Firstly you need to match the inner width of your rim to the correct size of colour coded clip. The right size is a few millimetres wider than your rims.

Once you’ve determined the correct size of clip, you will need to push each of the clips into slots around the inner circumference of the tyre taking care to ensure they’re the correct way up. This is started by hand and finished off with the supplied tool. While we’re on the subject of the tool, it can only be described as a “prison shank” comprising of a sharp plastic chisel with a flat handle on the other end!

Once all the clips are in place it’s time to get the tyre onto the rim. This was the most difficult part. It took two of us working in co-operation to persuade the tyre onto the rim, but I’m assured it can be done single-handedly (probably by someone with more upper body strength than myself).

The final step is to use the prison shank to push each of the plastic clips under the lip of the rim, this firmly secures the tyre in place. Like the rest of the process it takes a bit of effort, but if you get the technique nailed it’s actually quite simple. Once I’d been shown, I managed it without any problems. Each clip “clicks” into place under the lip. Here's a short video of me demonstrating the technique:

Installing the Tannus 1.1 Road Tyre on Vimeo

With the two of us (mostly Sean) between lots of talk we got both tyres completed in around 45 minutes. Not bad considering it’s a job you only ever have to do once.

A question of weight

There’s no denying it, these are not featherweight tyres. With all the clips installed my 23mm Aither 1.1 weighed 410 grams. Now before you tune out that’s not as heavy as it first seems. Remember you don’t need an inner tube or any spares. Let’s compare that to a pair of Continental GP 4-Seasons plus the bare minimum spares:

Two Conti 4-Seasons: 450g
Two inner tubes: 200g
Spare inner tube: 100g
Tyre levers: 40g
CO2 canister plus inflator: 85g

You’re looking at 810 grams for the Tannus tyres compared to 875 grams for a pair of Continentals plus your puncture repair spares!

Parting thoughts

My first impressions have been highly positive. I was dubious at first, but seeing the tyres in the flesh, installing one myself and chatting to Sean about the science has increased my confidence in the product. The theory is there and it feels like a high quality product.

Of course the real proof will be in how they perform out on the road. As you all know I love my speed so they’re going to need to perform well in order to convert me. Once I’ve put a decent amount of testing miles on the pair I’ll be posting a more in-depth ride review.

Stay tuned, it could be exciting times in the world of performance tyres!

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Comment by Lee Thompson on February 19, 2015 at 21:04

These tyres for me would mean I can get rid of my commuter bike and go back to just having my two pure road bikes again and use my winter bike for commuting all year round. I currently use a cyclocross bike for commuting due to the roads to work being a bit rough and the risk of punctures quite high, but these tyres would solve the puncture risk problem so I could drop back to two bikes again.

Comment by Terry Hayward on February 8, 2015 at 15:26
Nice review Mr and good to see it well balanced with all the pros and cons. I guess the pain of fitting them in the first place will be more than compensated for if they ride well and save you 2-3 punctures a year. The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating so I'm waiting and watching out for your ride review!! One point, I think that's a pretty reasonable price if they go well.
Comment by whobiggs on February 7, 2015 at 19:13

Good point about replacing spokes too

Comment by whobiggs on February 7, 2015 at 19:11

It will be interesting to see how they ride.

Comment by Middle Ringer on February 6, 2015 at 17:30

Removal and re-fitting is one aspect I hope to cover in my future review. Tannus have promised me that it is possible to remove the tyre and use it again, but it's obviously not quite as straight forward as a clincher!

(it's one reason I didn't put the tyre on my PowerTap wheel like I would have preferred to, as I think a few of the spokes are close to failure)

Comment by Pete McGettigan on February 6, 2015 at 9:31

Their website says £59 each, so not cheap. Rotating weight is also more significant than static, so although the weight equation balances I'm really looking forward to the ride review to find out what they are really like. One down side I can see is that it looks like installation is a one way ticket so if you break a spoke there may not be an option to remove the tyre and then refit. The website alludes to this by telling you to "make sure your wheel is trued, in proper working order, with all spokes properly tensioned and, if necessary repair the wheel before fitting".

Comment by Leon Hopkins on February 5, 2015 at 22:19

Tried a pair of solid tyres on my road bike some years ago, singularly the most lifeless tyres I have ever ridden. Another re-heated bad idea doing the rounds, think I'll risk the occasional puncture.

Comment by Tim Burley on February 5, 2015 at 17:55
Any idea on cost? If they work as well as promised I'm in!
Comment by Wheelsuckers on February 3, 2015 at 12:09

If you are heading to The London Bike Show next week, that runs at the ExCeL from 12th–15 February, then be sure to visit Tannus Tyres on stand LB133A.

Comment by Dave Nash on February 3, 2015 at 10:09

Intrigued to see how they perform MR. I guess the fact they take a bit of getting on is reassurance that they are not going to fly of the rims! Interesting point about the weight differential with the Contis - one forgets the added weight of all the accessories needed for changing a tyre so good to point that out. 

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