ReTyre’s concept is simple – everyday we wear different shoes based on where we go, so why do everyday bikes get tires that almost never change until worn out? The issue is the hassle, so their zip-on reTyre system makes it fast & easy to zip the perfect tread onto the bike for every ride – no need to even take the wheel off the bike.

reTyre quick change base tire & tread skins

This small Norwegian company has spent the past few years refining their modular base tire + zip-on skin concept. ReTyre has actually been available on their domestic market for more than a year, but now with the update to version 2.0, they’ve ironed out the kinks and are about to go international.

Their system starts with a basic hard surface/urban conditions semi-slick base tire called the ReTyre One that incorporates one side of a low-profile, durable zipper just above the bead on each sidewall of the tire. Then a series of tire Skins optimized for more specific conditions are available that can be quickly attached, simply zipped over the base tire. The Skins are effectively condition-specific tires with specialized tread patterns or features, but instead of bead, they get the second side of a zipper to mate with the base reTyre One tires.

Ride that base tire as conditions allow through the city or on bike paths, then zip on a knobby tread Skin for trail riding or a studded Skin for winter commuting.

Tech Details

The base ReTyre One comes in just 700c x42mm/28×1.75″ (or you can call it 29″) and in either standard wire bead or premium folding bead versions. The premium tire claims a light 568g weight including the zippers, which for this type of commuter tire should provide a decent ride feel. No tubeless base tire option yet, although ReTyre says one is in the works.

That integrated zipper is sewn and bonded onto the sidewall, with ReTyre saying it will last the life of the tire without problems. In fact, even though it was developed for harsh environmental exposure, the zipper is actually self-cleaning thanks to centrifugal forces.

Two add-on Skins will be available at launch for mixed-use off-road riding and for winter city commuting. The off-road All-Terrain Skin has a fast rolling knobbed profile, with tight block spacing, so is not designed for overly aggressive mountain biking. The Urban Winter Skin has a similar tread patter, but more importantly incorporates 156 studs for grip in icy, frozen conditions. Both Skins are said to add just a couple of mm on either side of the base tire, bringing it up to a 47mm width. But they will likely make the tire overall a good bit taller so be careful about frame clearance, especially with fenders.

ReTyre says the Skins zip onto their base ReTyre One tire without needing to even let air out of the tire. And the close rubber-to-rubber fit is said to not allow any movement between the two layers for safe & confident cornering & control at all speeds. Tire pressure itself also seems to be up to the individual user, though they suggest 50-65psi as a good starting point for most riders.

Adding a second layer of rubber (effectively a second tire) over top of a base tire is certainly going to a a considerable amount of weight, and will likely result in a stiff ride feel. ReTyre say they have balanced a special fiber construction for the Skins to keep weight down, but they do confirm that the extra Skin tire does also add more flat protection which signals a harsher ride.

But the application here is more about grip, and especially in adding something like the studded winter tire Skin, you’ll be more interested in control than weight or ride feel.

Pricing & Availability

The new base ReTyre One will sell for $36 for the wire bead version, and $70 for the lighter folding base tire. Skins vary in price depending on what options you are looking for, but the current knobby All-Terrain Skin sells for $55, and the studded Urban Winter Skin for $70.

This next generation of ReTyre system will be available later this month for pre-order directly from ReTyre, or through an upcoming Kickstarter campaign. By July, they are already expecting to have tires available in some brick and mortar shops in Europe.

What’s next for ReTyre?

ReTyre has pretty high aspirations for their concept too. After working out the details on their home market, they are pushing both for big OEM buy-in to the concept and for more innovative tire Skins. ReTyre is in talks with several big bike brands to spec their system on commuter/city/hybrid bikes in the very near future, with deals already inked with GT, plus Norwegian brands Hardrocx, Buddy, Gekko & XEED, and more in the works.

As for next gen Skins, they told us they are working on Skins that zip-on embedded electronics & LEDs, with inductive charging & wireless connectivity to a smartphone. They also have new materials coming to integrate textiles, recycled coconut fiber into the Skins,  and even a completely recyclable Skin project.

ReTyre.no

27 COMMENTS

  1. Solving a problem I didn’t know even existed, although I like the concept for the ability to quickly add and remove winter studs.

  2. This is a cool idea for areas with frequent snow/Ice, however, I really don’t see how much easier this would be than just a) swapping out tires for when it does snow (snow and Ice tend to hang around a while) or b) just buying a super cheap second wheel set to leave spikey tires on. Surely swapping a wheel would be quicker and easier than zipping up tires onto zipper teeth that have had miles of commuting crud and dirt on them.

    • Swapping wheels, swapping tires? Commuters ain’t got time for that.

      I can definitely see where it’s handy for winter commuters. You want studs for morning ice, not the rain/thaw that caused it yesterday.

      • You have changed my mind, totally get what you’re saying. I do wonder how smooth and easy this would be once, mud, dirt, ice, etc. gets into the zippers.

  3. While not for the masses, I could see myself giving these a go if they work. Have a 8.5 mile commute and I never know if I’ll get out before or after the sun sets in the winter. If it’s after there’s a high probability of patchy ice from melt on the road. I really only need studs 20 or so times a season so I hate running them when it’s dry and wearing them out. And it’s not really predictable as to when I need them. I’ll have to remember to check these out in the fall when it’s time.

  4. I can think of a dozen reasons why this is a bad idea, but I like the creative thinking.

    I think the only realistic application is a winter commuter bike. Having the studs sitting in your pannier just in case it gets icy would be nice, but probably pretty cold installing them!

  5. Ha, I love the video where the guy pops out of the woods then throws the muddy treads into his bag so he can go on the paved path with skinnys.

  6. 1. As a kid I used to ride on ice all the time, still do on occassion. Small patches of ice are not that bad and pretty easily seen at bike speed and out in the open (as opposed to in a car). Stay calm, don’t make any crazy movements. In the likelihood that a) you have a freak ice storm that makes everything an ice-rink, maybe rethink riding or b) it is consistently icy, get studded or at least winter tires.
    2. I’d love to meet the investors, if there are any, just to experience their personalities. Why? Because I am not sure of a product with a more niche market than this one. Aimed at the cyclist that will commute in horrible weather but is not serious enough to care about tire performance, won;t consider a second set of wheels and/or isn’t adept at changing tires.

      • Maybe aimed at the cyclist who likes to think he is ‘hard core’, but actually isn’t (Freds)? Lots of people buy toys that if they actually thought rationally they would realise they have no need for.

      • You just described the average Norwegian commuter…
        E-bikes have become all the rage here lately together with electric cars.
        And people use both.
        The weather is unpredictable here as we’re pretty much a single gigantic coastline.
        So hot moist air from the sea comes in during the winter and then freezes again and so one and so forth…
        It really is a mess.
        And yeah, having two tires etc just isn’t a option for most of us.
        Especially with some of the e-bikes where there’s just more hassle then it is worth to switch tires.
        This thing works great here.

  7. Can’t say I’ve ever seen anything like this. It’s zany, innovative, a little questionable, and exactly what makes the bike industry so cool. Freshest kickstarter we’ve seen here in a while.

  8. I want to see those zippers work after 15 seconds of the slush, salt, sand mix the roads are covered with here in the winter.

  9. I could see this for rare use for when it snows in my region, but how would those base layer zippers fare after months of daily commuting? They would get so trashed.

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