No, this isn’t a tubeless mountain bike tire. It’s an “airless” tire, really a rubber rand supported by a strut system that works (its inventor says) like a 360-degree spring to return rolling energy into forward momentum, which is why it’s called the Energy Return Wheel. It’s way cool in theory, because never having to hassle with tubes, or tubeless, would be ridiculously awesome. And just think of all the tires that get toasted by a thorn or baby head that go straight into the landfill.
But…I have my doubts.
First, eyeballing the video below, there’s no such thing as a sidewall. Lay the bike over in a turn and what happens when you’re no longer rolling on rubber? More critically, there doesn’t seem to be a heck of a lot of deformation happening. That’s supposed to be an advantage (energy return means the spring-loading effect is pushing you along), but one of the reasons tubeless tires rock is that they do deform to put more rubber on the ground for traction. Supposedly the ERW has adjustable carbon struts; softer struts give more cushion. But you don’t want cushion; you want adhesion, grip, stickiness. And if you think of the micro adjustments you can easily make with just plain old air…well that’s not going to happen here. Then there are other factors: cost and weight being way up there. Anything with carbon is costly, and carbon out there at that really vulnerable end of your bike after a sweet huck…to flat…oops.
I’m not saying it’s not interesting. I’m just sayin’.