A few weeks ago, I upgraded my Brompton to the puncture proof, Tannus tyres. I’ve had a puncture twice now on my Bromptons – both times occurring when I didn’t have a puncture repair kit with me (once, as I was on a quick ride around Hatfield and the other when I was commuting home from work) so I’ve been forced to walk the bike home in both instances (in fairness, I tried to get a bus home with the Brompton the last time, but the local bus service in Welwyn threw that idea out the window – the time waiting for the next bus, I’d have actually got home).
Tannus tyres are puncture proof as they contain no air – they are made from a rubber foam type material that is solid and therefore can have pins and glass stuck in them without causing any flat tyres. The major benefit of this is that you don’t have to change flat tyres! This is extremely handy on the Brompton where changing tyres, especially the rear, can be a labour intensive process.
I’d read the reviews on the internet and on the Brompton club before getting them installed. There had been a number of good reviews on them so I thought that this was the time to get them installed. I needed to replace the tyres anyhow, so it made sense.
I’d looked into buying them myself and fitting them, however, the general consensus is that they’re fairly difficult to fit. NipNip, who I was going to buy them from, could fit them for £20 so I decided to go and do that.
I picked the Brompton up and cycled back to the office and first impressions weren’t good…
It’s only a 5Km route straight up Blackfriars/Farringdon Road but it felt longer. The tyres seemed to slow me down, it seemed to have greater drag on the road. That wasn’t a good sign. It was definitely the case when I started getting faster. I couldn’t really change into the upper gears.
There’s a few white lines along the route back up to the office such as zebra crossing and pelican crossings. Going over the pelican crossing zig zag lines, I could feel the rear end of the Brompton sliding under me. That wasn’t good. It wasn’t even wet. It felt like I was out mountain biking. The feeling was exacerbated by the fact that the tyres have give in them and it felt like they were moving under me. The closest sensation I can think of is riding a mountain bike with low pressure tyres.
Anyhow, after the initial trip, I gave them a chance. Few more trips out and about and a ride with the London Brompton Club. That was it. I decided that they weren’t for me. They felt like i was riding with a far greater rolling resistance than normal. I wasn’t impressed.
NipNip took them off for me and I replaced them with new tyres, rim tape and inner tubes. They were kind enough to replace them with tyres I bought elsewhere.
Getting on the Brompton again with them taken off was like a whole different bike. It felt back to normal. The Tannus tyres made me dislike the Brompton. I didn’t look forward to riding. And for that reason, they had to go. I ride the Brompton for pleasure and commuting – with the Tannus tyres on, both felt horrendous and I cut down my cycling for pleasure.
My policy for punctures now can revolve around getting public transport. Worse case, I ring a taxi and get taken somewhere but I think that’s the more sensible option if I can’t fix the puncture at the road side!
Overall, I can’t recommend the Tannus tyres. Some people in the Brompton club really like them, but me, they were a pricey mistake. Hopefully, I won’t be making the same mistake again.