Adaptrac | Fresh Produce

full suss

We first got wind of this on-the-fly tyre pressure adjustment system from Adaptrac at Sea Otter last year and like so many other crazy products that surface at the show each year we thought it was highly unlikely to ever make it into production. How wrong we were though as we just spotted that the Adaptrac system is now on sale.

kit

As we all know tyre pressure can make a huge difference to the way a bike rides. Normally we just pick a pressure that works for us and then get on with it. Sometimes, if we’re feeling particularly keen and are about to tackle a ride with one huge climb followed by an equally big descent we might even start off with a higher pressure to help cut down the rolling resistance on the climb and then let a bit out at the top to help with grip on the way down. Simple hey. Well Brandt Weibezahn, the inventor of this system, doesn’t think that we should all be compromising on such an important issue.

The thing is, as much as a large part of me thinks that he’s barking mad, there is another part of me that thinks that maybe he’s no more crazy than a lot of other people. I mean apart from brakes, gear shifters, and I have to admit a remote adjuster for a seatpost, I never really feel the need to have any other adjustments on offer when I’m riding. I’ve had forks and shocks with lockouts and the like, but I’ve never used them. It could be me who’s a bit weird though cos considering all the on-the-fly adjustments available these days there must be a whole load of people who do love to have them. That then leads me to question where you draw the line? I mean when I actually think about it you could argue that being able to constantly fine tune the air pressure in your tyres is just as important as being able to alter the compression damping on your rear shock. See, deciding where to stop isn’t quite so simple after all.

controls

So how does this system work then? Well you can see the control part of it above. Essentially you’ve just got two switches and two pressure gauges which give you real time information. Flick the switches one way and you drop pressure, and then flick them the other way and pressurised CO2 from the on-board canister inflates them. Each tyre can be altered independently, hence the two switches and gauges. Although this particular setup is arranged on the stem you can also mount it to your bars.

front wheel

Of course getting the pressurised CO2 into the tyres while you’re riding is never going to be simple. The key to Brandt’s system has been made possible by the introduction of hollow bolt-thru axles, and currently the system is designed to fit to any bike with a 15mm front hub and a 142x12mm rear. By modifying the axle and chucking a few seals in he’s managed to route the CO2 through the axle and hub, and then up to the valve via a more conventional hose.

rear wheel

The design is just the same on the rear wheel, and it has to be said that like the front wheel the area where the hose enters the axle looks more than a little prone to crash damage. There is also the issue of friction as you’re never going to be able to seal a gas within a rotating system without some sort of seal that causes friction. Brandt reckons he’s come up with a gem of a seal though that creates barely any friction whilst losing only about 1psi an hour. I’d be interested to see how low that friction really is. Oh, and aside from the pressure loss through the seals CO2 has a habit of escaping from tyres and tubes too, so if you left your bike for a day or two you’d come back to find some flat tyres…still you could pump it up quick again.

singlespeed

I had to include this photo as it’s the main one which features on the Adaptrac website and it made me chuckle to say the least. Why? Simply because it has to be one of the most perverse bike setups that I have ever seen. Singlespeed purists will be pulling their hair out. I mean can the ultra simplicity of a singlespeed bike be combined with something from completely the other end of the spectrum? Or was it that the rider fitted the Adaptrac to a more conventional bike but then found he (or she) had too many switches and levers to cope with so they decided to try and cut the number down a bit by getting rid of their gears?

Anyway, what other things might you want to know about this system? Well, it’ll set you back $1,470.50 for a full system (that includes a pair of 26 or 29″ wheels) and it’ll add up to almost 1Kg to the weight of your bike. I say up to because you can chose what size gas cylinder to carry and that weight is for the largest 12oz tank. Even with that lagest one though you only get to inflate a pair of 26×2.35″ tyres ten times from 20 to 50psi. As for speed, it takes about seven seconds to inflate from 20 to 50psi and about twenty to go back down again. Twenty seconds sounds like quite a while to me. What else? Oh yeah, you’ll probably need a cool box in your car if it’s a sunny day cos otherwise the CO2 could explode, and because CO2 doesn’t get on too well with tubeless sealants you can only use it with inner tubes. Apparently they’re working on that one…

So what do you lot reckon? Complete waste of time? Or do you reckon that in a few years time we’ll have this kind of system fully integrated into our bikes along with all the other bells and whistles? Will it become as essential to many riders as an adjustable seatpost? Would you buy it?

If you want to find out any more about the system check out www.adaptrac.com

  1. rick

    srsly?

  2. Seth

    the main question i have, is will it fit on a unicycle.

    1. Ed

      I’m sure it would!

  3. one of the matt's

    I’ll test this for you if you send it my way….

  4. Ed

    I’d just like to point out now that I have been criticised by some in the past for not giving a balanced view of products and letting my own tastes rule my opinions, so in this case I have tried to be a bit more balanced and not so negative. I know how i really feel about this, but how about you lot?

    1. one of the matt's

      No joke, I will do a serious and balanced test of this *insert appropriate phrase* product. Being incredibly bored and open minded, I think I may do a plausible job of testing it well. Or something like that…

      1. Ali

        Get on with your education Matt! University doesn’t drink itself away…

      2. one of the matt's

        It’s fine, I have at least 16 hours till my next exam…

    2. Eoin

      The overall idea of variable tyre pressures is cool, but as soon as you realise the need to route a gas into the rotating valve on your rims is when you should give up. For the price of a nice hardtail, you get slightly better uphill power transmission, negated by a significant weight increase and even if you dont crack the hose (instant irreparable puncture right?), you need to reinflate your tyres during every long ride and replace the CO2 bottle once a week…

    3. WAKi

      a mix of bad Ed and open minded Ed would be good. Just as it is good to have a mix of things like that and Oh this is going to change MTB forever! The clutch in rear mech!

    4. Scott

      Hey Ed

      Mate I read the Mag and website BECAUSE you have an opinion. I think everyone should be intelligent enough to know that when you read a review it will always be coloured by the bias of the reviewer. Christ I would hate to see Steve Jones walk a namby pamby fence sitting line when he writes his bike reviews. The only bias you need to steer clear of is one that would give good reviews to companies that advertise in your mag. Ed please pay out on what you do not like and sing the praises of what you do. I can agree or disagree and when it comes to the crunch I will make up my own mind anyways.

  5. Adam Hicks

    Honestly, I’ve always felt something like this could be of use, for example on a track like PMB but haven’t seen how a viable solution could be made. I feel this kind of backs me up.

    I would have thought It would be of most use to XC riders but the extra weight would more than negate the benefits, same goes for DH. Don’t mind the principle though I just think it would need a lot more integration. As in: CO2 would need to be stored within the frame, then have some internal hose routing to the hub and then maybe a hollow spoke delivering air to the tube.

    I’m amazed they are trying to sell it in the current form as it looks like a complete prototype. And whether we admit it or not the majority of us are bike tarts and this looks so lame!

    1. Ed

      Yeah it would be interesting to see how much difference a system like this would make on a track like PMB. And for DH use you could cut the weight right down by only using a really small canister which is enough to increase pressure for just one big pedal section. Or could it go fully crazy and be computer controlled so that if the tyre pressure drops below a certain pressure due to a puncture the system automatically kicks in to maintain the tyre pressure, allowing you to finish your run…or…for less weight you could run thick tubes!

      1. heynaes

        perhaps adaptrac should join together with the company on kickstarter and make it happen !?!

        http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/670926116/btps-bike-tire-pressure-system-because-pressure-ma

  6. james

    needs a flux capacitor so we can go to april 1st

  7. Kieran

    You might find it easier getting up and down hills without an extra kilogram of crap strapped to your bike too…

  8. scriz

    I’d rather have a bike that could transform into an assault rifle.

  9. Chris Keeble-Smith

    If what kept me awake at night was the never ending pursuit of traction, i would not ride a hardtail. i definitely cant see it being beneficial in its current state.

    1. Jerome

      In the pursuit of traction, I have a Demo with dual compound tires. works just fine for me!

  10. Jus

    What a load of bollocks. The only pressure adjustment we need for tyres is the autonomous pressure maintanance gizmo valve thing to combat a flat in a race run that michelin(?) riders had for a fleeting moment in the early 2000′s(?). Every man and his dog would buy that. Oh and Ed, why is everything co2 and not o2?

    1. Derek

      Because o2 is explosive???

      1. Johann

        O2 is explosive? Then you better keep your mouth shut! Air contains about 18% of it I think.

        Why CO2 instead: probably cause the molecules are a little bit bigger and it may leak a little less? I guess simple compressed air wouldn’t make a huge difference though, that’s what we pump in our tubes after all.

  11. Edd Grant

    hmm… seems a bit bonkers an impractical to me, having said that I wonder if you could actually save weight (effectively speaking) by using helium rather than CO2?

    1. Dan

      Mmmn, Helium assisted manuals….

    2. Fish Monkey

      Helium would leak even more!

  12. Hancock

    I want something like that, rigged up to suspension for instant lazy bunny hops.

  13. james

    ejector seat?

  14. Betsie

    PMSL

  15. olive

    Utterly ridiculous. Stop trying to make riding bikes as boring as formula one.
    Its stupid, unnecessary, unnecessary, stupid and unnecessary, heavy, stupid and unnecessary, and for that reason, I’m out..

  16. Bretto

    Does it make coffee too?

  17. Big J

    Where do I put my waterbottle now? Or does that system come in a camelback too??

  18. Gor

    I’m pretty sure that it wouldn’t take significantly longer to just use one of these little CO2 emergency pumps that all these XC riders carry around with them. For the price of that system you could buy a truck load of those CO2 cartridges and carry them around.

  19. Slimfordy

    The designer must be desperate to get a foot in the “industry” however possibly the worst looking and unessarily delicate thing to appear strapped to a mountain bike

  20. martin

    you can not be serious! this will never pick up what waste of time joke product.

  21. David Winter-Nipples Hodgson

    Smells like shite

  22. Darren

    Look at all those bastard pipes, what a bastard mess

  23. RabtheDug

    look at those 90 degree push fits protruding from the hubs. if they didn’t get ripped of in normal bike use/ throwing in the van then they will definitely get obliterated on the trail. Instantly flat tire and a flapy hose discharging the only hope of filing it back up again.This is nonsense, bordering on piss take.

  24. Deon

    Anus flavoured lollipop springs to mind

  25. jonesdirt

    As the girl on Utopia said last night in a deep welsh accect…” are you fackin kiddin me” or as Brian Moore tweeted on a train near Stirling at around about the same time f*** f*** s***

  26. Si Paton

    It’s great to see new technology coming into cycling and I’m all for it. Is this for me? No apologies not. If you want to ride better then get out and ride your bike more and spend that $1k dollars on uplifts, coaching and dirty weekends.

  27. richard hill

    Si Paton…or spend that 1K t on entering/racing the bds series i guess?

  28. one_T

    If the guy who came up with this put his mind to something that’s actually needed/wanted/not making folk piss themselves then who knows?

  29. Nojzilla

    142mm rear hub?? no 150mm?? oh darn wont be getting one on my bike then….. oh well shaaaaaaaaaaaaame

  30. jimbo

    Hang on…. So tyres hold air nowadays? Might get rid of my timber wheels now.

  31. roger

    this is amazing! where can i get one? I also want a rocket assisted bike forever!

  32. nozes

    What a waste of time/money/engineering.

    When I see things like this,I wonder what goes through the minds of these inventors,and how the hell they get to finance those projects.
    Serioulsy guys,it’s not the 90′s anymore!

  33. Siress

    I give this article 5-stars for the earnest attempt at objective reporting comment; I call it deadpanning. Great for a laugh.

  34. Jack

    Shameful
    Hidious
    Invention
    That won’t catch on

  35. Craig

    what if you get a puncture?

  36. audric

    efficient…?
    i just think it’s stupid…
    do u want an ABS and ESP too…??
    bullsh*t!

  37. Gaz

    I really hope this fella either got paid for designing it or it was done for a school project because as the posts above show, there’s sure as sh!t going to be no-one that buys it.

    What a total waste of effort.

  38. Messy

    What about wheel balancing? We all know that an imbalanced wheel that hasn’t been built correctly will completely screw up the ride character and make it wobble in the air… so what happens when you have a whopping great hose and valve spinning around one side of your wheel? I can’t see any counter weighting either.

  39. ricky allen

    That’s the biggest waste of time EVER ! Why

  40. moonwalker12

    Really, really cool for us winter fat tire bikers!

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