Bicycle tire startup reTyre faced an enviable problem in 2020 – its innovative changeable tires were far too popular. “We’ve been sold out of almost all our products. Our entire stock flew off the shelves and we ran out in October,” says reTyre COO Alexander Gjendem Gjørven.
Passenger cars account for 60 per cent of total carbon emissions from road transport in Europe. According to the OECD, local emissions from fossil fuel vehicles also lead to the death of 250 000 Europeans every year.
To encourage more people to use emission-free transport modes, more attractive alternatives are needed. reTyre has invented tires and skins for regular and electric bicycles (e-bikes), making it much easier to choose an environment-friendly option in a busy everyday life.
“Imagine you wake up to ice and snow, but don’t have winter tires on your bike. Just zip on a studded tire skin and you’re equipped for these conditions in an instant,” says Gjørven.
Every week, reTyre is contacted by companies from across the globe. Canada, Greenland and South Korea are all major markets in addition to the Nordic countries. reTyre’s average customers are e-bike owners who do not want to spend time changing tires. Last autumn, demand exploded.
“We ran out of our most popular products in October, which is very early in the season. Producing enough tires and skins has been a real challenge. Since then, we’ve taken greater control of production and logistics to increase capacity and make sure there are enough tires and skins available to our customers,” says Gjørven.
reTyre’s unique modular design consists of a base tire with a zipper that lets cyclists attach skins with a variety of treads, in a matter of seconds. reTyre has skins for all conditions and offers a similar system for wheelchairs.
reTyre represents a fundamental advance in bicycle tires, which may explain its massive appeal. “reTyre is the 2.0 version of the bicycle tire,” says Founder and CEO Paul Magne Amundsen.
reTyre recycles all of its products through a unique deposit scheme, where customers can return their used tires. This ensures that as much as 80 per cent of the tire’s rubber is reused to make new tires. But the environmental savings start much earlier, at the production stage.
“Our brand new production technology also produces tires much more efficiently than traditional tire production. We’ve eliminated many manual processes from the production line. reTyre is not only super easy to use, it’s also environmentally friendly and recyclable,” says COO Gjørven.
Furthermore, the skins make the tires virtually puncture free.
“We haven’t heard of anyone having a puncture when riding with our skins. reTyre keeps you safe in traffic. We get glowing feedback on our products, which customers feel is a huge time saver in their busy day,” says Gjørven.
reTyre’s brand ambassador, Olympic medallist and former professional cyclist Dag Otto Lauritzen, echoes Gjørven’s sentiments: “reTyre makes year-round cycling safer and easier, and you don’t need to have any knowledge about bikes in order to change these tires yourself.”
The market for these innovative tires is growing substantially around the world. The number of e-bikes in Norway is doubling every year, with growing demand in Denmark and Sweden as well. reTyre projects a 300 per cent increase in sales in 2021 and is gearing up production to meet that figure. The goal is then to increase production by another 200 per cent in 2022 to meet the demand for reTyre.
The company has recently entered into a production agreement with the German-Austrian industrial group KRAIBURG, which has over 2 400 employees and revenues of some EUR 540 million.
“KRAIBURG is a world leader in material development, material recycling and tire tread production. The match could not have been better for us, since we’re very focused on the sustainability of our products. Our order books are full and we’re really looking forward to the future,” says CEO Amundsen.