There’s never a good time for a flat tire, but there are some times that are much worse than others. A sudden flat when you’re far off in the boonies on unstable, rocky, or swampy ground can be dangerous and nasty, especially if you’re alone with no one to lend a hand.
The latest flat tire solution for rugged road utility vehicles (UTVs) literally can’t get a flat from the loss of air. Michelin‘s new Tweel for UTVs doesn’t have any air to lose. When you ride on Tweels you can forget about air pressure, spare tires, tools, pumps, and tire repair kits.
The 26-inch Michelin X Tweel UTV 26 x 9 x 14 airless radial tire bolts directly to a standard UTV 4-bolt hub. Instead of tires, wheels, and valve assemblies, Tweel is built to do the job for go-anywhere operation with no concerns about flat tires.
Michelin Tweel Technologies originally developed the Tweel for light-tactical vehicles used by military special operations. Now the company’s Greenville, South Carolina plant is manufacturing the X Tweel UTV for farmers, construction workers, emergency service responders, hunters, and just about anyone you can think of who drives on inhospitable surfaces on a regular basis, whether for work or play.
“UTV users operate these machines in arduous environments and extreme conditions where vehicles are exposed to rugged roads, jagged terrain and other hostile elements,” said Olivier Brauen, vice president of Michelin Tweel Technologies. “The Michelin X Tweel UTV airless radial tire is a solution that will provide unmatched traction and uninterrupted vehicle mobility during long journeys or in remote areas where a flat tire can be problematic.”
One place you won’t see vehicles with Tweels, at least not the current design, is on the highway. While the X Tweel UTVs are rated for a 2,860-pound maximum gross vehicle weight, they are rated for a top speed of just 37 miles per hour.
Michelin says the Tweel is designed for operator comfort, but don’t think for a John Deere minute it will ride like anyone’s Buick. The tire’s lateral stiffness helps with cornering and side-hill stability, but that doesn’t mean desert racing, either.
If your idea of a good time or your daily work involves driving over fallen trees, jagged rocks, or any debris-laden ground, the Tweel was designed for you.
The X Tweel UTV is available in three standard hub configurations that fit 4 x 137 and 4 x 156 bolt patterns on BRP Can-Am Defenders, Kawasaki Mules, and Polaris Rangers. Later this year Michelin plans to release hub configurations for John Deere, Honda, Kubota, and Argo UTVs.