Michelin and the Bicycle

From the first removable tyre, to the most demanding mountain bike tyres of today, Michelin’s commitment to the development of cycling and sustainable mobility is unquestionable.

It was in 1891 that a traveler showed up with a flat at the Michelin factory. Edouard Michelin witnessed, and was not happy with the three hour repair duration and overnight drying period before the traveler could continue on his journey. Edouard decided the invention needed to be perfected and that repairing a flat tyre should not be so difficult or take so long. So Michelin launched the detachable tyre which was bolted on to the wheel rim, instead of glued. With his invention, it only took 15 minutes to repair a puncture. An important milestone had been reached.

Soon, Michelin hit a challenge; to promote the major advantages of detachable tyres. To boost the invention, Michelin equipped Charles Terront’s bicycle for the Paris-Brest-Paris race. He won the race by an 8 hour gap to the second competitor. It was Michelin’s first racing victory. A few months after Charles Terront’s victory, Michelin further narrowed the tyre change duration by reducing the number of nuts and bolts that needed to be removed for repairs.

Michelin says it has, over the years, improved the quality of their products to provide the best riding experience for cyclists all over the world. Every aspect is carefully examined to keep improving performances in all user conditions – including the most extreme.

Keeping fit while tackling the current health crises has seen a spike in demand for bicycles. Cycling has become a means of social distancing, not only in sports but even when commuting. E-bicycles have made cycling more accessible to new consumers, commuter to mountain bicycles. Michelin offers the e-Wild tyre, specially designed for electric mountain bikes, which demand a lot from the tyres. For urban bicycles, Michelin has a safe and robust range: the Protek and Protek Max.

Today, Michelin bicycle tyres are not available in the Kenyan market, however, car tyres are available at selected distributors across the country.

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