By Ben Coxworth.14:06 April 17, 2012
ADAPTRAC is a frame-mounted compressed air system that allows mountain bikers to change the air pressure in their tires, as they're riding
Like a lot of other factors involved in mountain biking, setting the air pressure of the tires is a matter of compromise. Keep them too soft, and you can’t go as fast as you’d like on smooth stretches of the trail – keep them too hard, and they’ll just bounce off of roots and rocks instead of gripping them. As it stands, most bikers go for a “Jack of all trades, master of none” setting, that allows for some traction and some speed. The folks at ADAPTRAC, however, apparently think that such a compromise shouldn’t have to be made. Their new system allows riders to inflate or deflate their tires as conditions dictate, while they’re riding.
The ADAPTRAC control unit and pressure gauges
A mountain bike with the full ADAPTRAC system
That air travels through one of two frame-mounted hoses, to either the front or rear ADAPTRAC wheel hub. The hose/hub couplings incorporate “special, extremely low friction rotary seals,” to keep air from leaking out while allowing the wheel to spin freely. From the hub, the air goes through another hose, that leads out to the tire’s valve stem.When softer tires are needed, presumably air is just released from them into the atmosphere. The current air pressure of the tires is displayed on two bar-mounted analogue gauges.
ADAPTRAC's Paul Skilbeck tells us that the product is still in the late prototype stage, and that a price will be announced shortly after the system is presented this week at the Sea Otter Classic Expo in Monterey, California. He added that the total system weight is about 690 grams (1.5 lbs) with an empty 9-ounce (266 ml) CO2 tank – keep in mind that the custom hubs would replace those presently on the bike.
Adaptrac - Adjustable Traction Control for Mountain Bikes
As mountain bike technology evolves, year after year huge sums are spent on incremental improvements in frame design, suspension and shock technology. Most would agree however, that the most important variable in mountain bike performance is tire pressure. This is your only contact with the trail and thus determines the quality and flow of the ride. Until now riders have been forced to compromise, averaging the best overall tire pressure for the terrain. Unfortunately, one tire pressure for all conditions diminishes the benefits of other technological improvements. ADAPTRAC changes everything! Now riders are able to control this variable and adapt tire pressure to ever-changing traction requirements.
WHAT IS ADAPTRAC?
ADAPTRAC is a multi-component system comprised of special patent pending hubs, a dual control valve and a C02 power pack/regulator. Tire pressure can be raised or lowered while riding with a quick press of the finger on the handlebar control toggles. Actual tire pressure is displayed on analog gauges mounted on the handlebars. The system utilizes 12x142mm rear and 15mm front axle standards – wheels can be removed as you would normally. ADAPTRAC uses readily available, rechargeable C02 tanks ranging from 4 to 20 ounces so you can carry only what you need. You can now tune your tire pressure to the trail – in seconds!
WILL ADAPTRAC WORK ON MY BIKE?
The ADAPTRAC system is compatible with bike frames utilizing the newer 12x142mm axle (rear wheel) and 15mm axle (front wheel). Included in the system are replacement axles specific to your bike brand and model. All components can be installed by anyone reasonably handy with simple tools in less than half an hour. Refer to the instruction section of this website for download in PDF format. Alternatively, any bike shop can easily handle the install.
THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING!
Adaptrac - Adjustable Traction Control System for Mountain Bikes