The PumpTire team – HQ-ed in San Francisco, but said to have members across the US – has placed a request for $250,000 worth of multiple small investments on Kickstarter.com.
Benjamin Krempel, founder of PumpTire, said: "Imagine taking your bicycle out of the garage and never having to fill up the tyres or even check the pressure. Or imagine yourself being able to change your tyre pressure on-the-fly with a simple adjustment from the handlebars. PumpTire is developing both of these systems."
The self-inflating, self-adjusting technology is incorporated directly into the tyre and is compatible with current rims, said the PumpTire crew on PumpTire.com.
The pitch continues: "Bicycle tyres lose pressure due to air molecules diffusing through the rubber sidewalls. This requires cyclists to fill their tyres on a fairly regular basis due to the high operating pressures (up to 120 psi) and thin sidewalls of most bicycle tyres. PumpTire solves this problem by incorporating a pumping mechanism directly into the tyre. And this means … fewer pinch flats, no more pumping, hands stay clean, less time getting ready and more time on the saddle."
The PumpTire kit incorporates a proprietary tyre, a very much larger than normal valve and a proprietary inner tube.
The innovation is not an end to flats: "[The inner tube] is mostly prone to the same injury as other typical bicycle tyres (nails, glass, sharp rocks, thorns, etc….If the lumen is punctured…it will most likely lose some or all ability to pump."
When the pump is working, air moves through the valve and into the lumen surrounding the outside of the tyre. From there the air is pushed into the tube. Once the desired pressure is reached, the valve senses the increase in pressure and closes the air pathway so no more air is pumped into the tyre.
"We are looking to raise $250,000 to make PumpTire a reality," said Krempel on Kickstarter, a US website for the micro-funding of business ideas.
PumpTire said the money would be for "completing the engineering design. This will require us to work with vendors and engineering firms to find the right materials and processes to make the product robust and lightweight. Although we have various working prototypes, we’ll need money to make sure each part of the system works properly."
Part of the $250,000 would also be for testing and for purchasing tooling, and then materials.