In the offroading world, onboard or central tire inflation systems are fairly common. But in the cycling world, where weight is a much bigger consideration, onboard tire inflation systems have struggled to catch on. That isn’t for lack of trying though. We’ve seen everything from self-inflating inner tube concepts, to White Crow’s functioning hub-based inflation system. Now, there’s a new challenger to try and make the concept stick – Gravaa.

Gravaa in hub integrated tire pressure management system
Photo via Gravaa Facebook

What does Gravaa hope to achieve here? Imagine that you could automatically inflate or deflate your tires while you were riding. Say, increase pressure for a long road section, and then decrease that pressure for increased traction off road without having to get off your bike? There’s also the possibility of completely eliminating flats short of large cuts in the tire. If you got a puncture that sealant couldn’t fix, the integrated pump could continually add small pressure increases to get you home – without a flat kit.

Designed in the Netherlands, and produced in Europe, Gravaa plans to offer complete wheel systems that will be compatible with existing gravel and mountain bikes. The wheels will focus on offering a lighter solution than previous efforts by other concepts including carbon rims. However, weight figures are currently unavailable. For reference though, White Crow currently lists their system as each hub having a 350g weight penalty compared to a standard hub with the addition of a 200g in-tire chamber. So roughly 550g per wheel. It will be interesting to see if Gravaa can improve on those numbers considering the White Crow is a fully mechanical system, where Gravaa seem to indicate that it will include electronic components.

Gravaa in hub integrated tire pressure management system in front hub Gravaa in hub integrated tire pressure management system in rear hub

Details are still slim, but Gravaa states that each hub “stores a miniature high-pressure pump, clutch unit, and electro-pneumatic control system.” That clutch means that the system will only engage when you need it – which is good, since it may increase drag. From the hub, a small hose makes its way to the valve on each wheel, where tire pressure adjustments are made.

The electro-pneumatic control system allows the hub to connect to your bike computer via ANT+. Theoretically, with the right head unit, you will be able to control your tire pressure on the fly and see the data in real time at your bars.

This could also make for some interesting tire and tire pressure testing as individual riders will be able to make small changes in pressure while riding and instantly feel the results.

Gravaa in hub integrated tire pressure management system in light weight wheels

Currently, there are no set dates for availability, but Gravaa states that they will begin accepting pre-orders “in a few months” once their web store is launched. If you want to keep up to date, they offer a newsletter subscription on their page to stay informed on their progress.

gravaa.com

9 COMMENTS

  1. I could really see the potential on a fat bike. If they could keep it to ~200g per wheel, I could leave the pump and CO2 at home, and therefore wouldn’t be much of a weight penally. Every FB ride involved a handful of stops in the first 30 minutes to fine-tune pressure, it would be great to be able to do this on the fly, plus being able to air-up for pavement.

    Might also work for e-Bikes and ride-share bikes, rather than for fine-tuning, could be used to simply maintain proper pressure in a context where people probably don’t know or often check tire pressure.

    I don’t see any XC oriented rider wanting the additional weight or complication of such a system. But maybe it would be of value to Enduro/DH type riders, if not to fine-tune pressures (I assume most serious gravity riders have this dialed), but as insurance from a pinch or puncture during a run?

  2. For fat bikes? I ride the beach and snow. Once I get on the boardwalk or pavement it hard to turn. I just bought a hand held Ryobie e pump. Pumps $20 but the batterie was $60. With a .60 adapter I can pump everyone’s tires up! Fits in the saddle bag and backpack.

  3. It seems like a solution in search of a problem. Adding weight, cost and complexity for something that you’ll use once in a blue moon doesn’t appeal to me at all.

  4. its is the best solution for beachraces in the Netherlands en Belgium. low pressure when the beach is soft and a higer pressure when the beach is rocksollid hard.

  5. This may sound crazy, but a real world use case is winter fat biking. Ride to trailhead on firm tires, drop to 3 psi on trail, then back home on firm 8-10psi. Necessary? No, absolutely not- I would never buy this. However, I can sort of see an appeal for a very (very) small audience? Nah, this is just crazy.

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