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A disruptive innovation removing the need for tyre change on bicycles

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - A reinvented wheel (A disruptive innovation removing the need for tyre change on bicycles)

Reporting period: 2016-07-01 to 2016-10-31

reTyre Urban Winter is launching this winter and is first product in our coming reTyre product range. It is a detachable spiked winter surface that can easily be mounted on any summer tyre. It makes winter biking easier and more affordable for the user, and uses zipper for quick and intuitive attachment. The SME-1-project has successfully verified the patented technology, and the entrepreneurial opportunity of reTyre.

The problem:
Changing a tyre is so labor intensive that most cyclists use the same tyre for every purpose, and under any road and weather condition, resulting in a significantly reduced cycling experience. Understanding that only the tread pattern and rubber composition is significant in defining the tyre characteristics, we have developed a tyre system which can change its tread in seconds while still mounted on the bicycle. Thus completely eliminating the need for changing the tyre, and making the process as easy as changing shoes.

Our patented technology solves the following;
Environmental problem: It is mainly the tread surface that define the tyre characteristic and it is unnecessary, both economically and environmentally, to dispose of an entire tyre when only the tread surface needs to be changed. Our invention allows for the tread surface to be easily replaced when it is worn out, drastically reducing the rubber waste and improving the product life cycle.

Industrial problem: The use of carcass, support material, and puncture resistant materials in tyres result in a highly manual and labor intensive manufacturing process. The fact that every single bicycle tyre is manually made result in a high cost for the end customer and low scaling opportunities for the manufacturer. Our tread surfaces do not use such materials since they are only part of the base tyre. Because of this we can have automated production with lower cost and higher efficient, resulting in a lower cost for the end costumer.

Social problem: Bicycle tyres are inherently difficult to change, and most cyclists will therefor avoid this. Reduced grip, increased rolling resistance, and reduced user experience are three common results from using a wrong type of tyre. This results in a higher barrier towards cycling, having an adverse effect on both the environment and public health. The reTyre system will allow easy and fast customization of the tyre, giving improved user experience and adaptability towards changing weather conditions, road conditions and area of use.

Our overall objectives:

Verify technology
reTyre use state of the art materials and mechanisms to achieve a bicycle tyre with a separate, and fully detachable, thread surface. The technology is tested in both lab and field, and with pilot customers. It is proven to be durable and functional, as well as achieve the expected goals.

Prepare for commercialization
During the project period, the commercial opportunity of the reTyre product range has been evaluated and tested in Norway and for the European market. Multiple large, multinational, sports retail chains have ordered our Urban Winter model and expressed a strong interest for our coming product line.

Finalize customer agreements
During the project period, we have achieved pre-orders of almost 6000 units.

Prepare for production
During the project period a trial production of 10 000 units has begun.
Work performed during project:

Production and testing of prototypes
23 prototypes have been made through in-house casting of two-component rubbers, assembly with zippers, and 3D-printing of TPE rim strips. Thorough testing has been undertaken, and prototypes have been tested both in lab conditions (in-house material- and stress testing) and in real environment (over 800 km in total). Data from all tests have been used to improve the prototypes. The improvements have been significant, and testing was found necessary in order to proceed to trial production.

Achieved pre-order sales to major retail customers
B2B pre-order sales has been completed with multiple businesses in Norway, as well as multinational sports retail chains as XXL and Sport1. Online webshop has been established, and are currently obtaining pre-orders from end users.

Initiated trial production
Trial production of reTyre has been established with the manufacturer Jiangyin Yonghao Machinery Co. Molds, jigs and production tooling has been purchased in accordance with the project objective goal.

Improved business plan and performed initial feasibility study
Feasibility study for European/North American market has been undertaken and is delivered in this project report in accordance with the grant agreement. Business plan for Technium/reTyre has been refined for the European market.

Major achievements:
Technium has during the project period successfully transitioned from concept stage to commercialization stage for our product reTyre Urban Winter. The technology is patent pending, and proven to be of high interest from both retail customers and end users. The project has resulted in increased investments and realism for the product, and proved that there are large business opportunities in the European market. Technium has obtained pre-orders of more than 6 000 reTyre Urban Winter tyre skins, and initiated trial production of 20 000 tyre skins.
As a result of the granted SME Instrument Phase 1 project we expect to sell 10 000 reTyre Urban Winter tyre skins during the winter season 2016/2017 as part of the first trial run. This will verify the reTyre technology and market opportunity, as well as make further development of our patented reTyre technology financially possible. We expect to launch our special reTyre bicycle tyre system in 2017/2018, which already has achieved strong interest from large international chains.

The result of a successful launch and further growth of reTyre is expected to contribute to the increased use of bicycles in European cities, and a decreased use of petroleum based rubber. The technology is disruptive in both an industrial, social and environmental way, and will for the first time make it possible for cyclists to have an active and positive relation to their tyres, in much the same way as we all have with our shoes.