New design promises to eliminate road-based damage to tires and rims.
A new technology, developed by Michelin and Maxion Wheels for the passenger car wheel market, incorporates two flexible rubber flanges mounted on a special wheel body to create a flexible wheel that improves the ride and comfort and also absorbs impacts from potholes and curbs.
The new wheel is compatible with all tires on the market and comprises an alloy rim – which is narrower than normal, two rubber flanges and an optional cosmetic insert to protect the alloy wheel.
“Car wheels have been getting bigger and bigger, as they contribute to making cars look more premium, and large shiny alloys are an integral part of all modern car designs,” said Florent Menegaux, Michelin’s Chief Operating Officer. “However, the resulting low profile tires with short sidewalls are much more susceptible to damage on today’s deteriorating roads with myriad potholes.”
Pieter Klinkers, Maxion Wheels CEO said: “This is a game changer for wheels; a standard wheel driven through a pothole can damage the tire and potentially crack the alloy rim, putting the safety of driver and passengers at risk. When the Maxion Flexible Wheel hits a pothole, the MICHELIN ACORUS Technology flange flexes and protects the tire and the wheel.”
In tests with a 285/30R21 tire driven through a pothole, the standard rim version punctured the tire at 28kph whereas the Flexible Wheel with the MICHELIN ACORUS Technology did not puncture, or sustain damage at any speed.
The Maxion Flexible Wheel with MICHELIN ACORUS Technology, launched at the Frankfurt IAA, will initially be sold in 19-inch and above sizes to the OE premium automakers.