Crank up the stupid shit klaxxon, we’ve got a doozy right here. Meet the horribly-named Soft Creeper that is being proclaimed as “the tyre of the future”by its designers and pretty much nobody else.
What is it?
It’s a tyre, but it’s split into segments with shock absorbing spokes to “increase both the capability of damping and the traction in the tyre”. The idea being that as you go along and your wheel will deform to the shape of the ground, we guess a bit like a caterpillar track on a tank.
The spokes are based on the artificial limbs used by Paralympic athletes and are attached to a shock absorber at the hub. The tyres don’t need air but if for whatever reason you break one of the flexing, carbon fibre spokes (we can’t imagine why you would) then you can just replace one tyre segment not a whole rim.
It’s worth saying this is only a concept pulled together by the good folks at the Dalian Minzu University in China, but when you look at the bike they decided to attach it to, you feel maybe they don’t have the best grasp of modern mountain biking. Just take moment to inspect that rear brake cable routing and appreciate that’s a naked cable for a disc brake
As it’s only a concept, at least it means nobody’s trying to flog it to you but that’s about the only positive we could find here.
The design has actually won a Red Dot award but the jury probably needs to have a good hard look at itself, this is ridiculous – especially as we already have shock absorbing tyres that we like to call… tyres.