You know Goodyear; maybe as “the official tire of NASCAR,” or maybe you recognize it from the rubber that propels your vehicle. The yellow block letters and winged boot appear ubiquitous in signage on every main drag and advertisements on auto body garage walls in nearly every town in America. Still can’t recall the iconic insignia? Look up — it’s splashed across the side of a 246-foot long blimp.
Goodyear was founded in 1898 in Akron, Ohio, and since then it has become a pillar of the American auto industry, a name that recalls the smell of rubber and oil and the sounds of engines and squeal of tires on asphalt. But while Goodyear’s legacy exists within the auto industry — its founder, Frank Seiberling, gave Henry Ford his first racing tires in 1901 and outfitted the first Model Ts — its first product wasn’t built for a car; it was a bike tire.
It was in 1898 — still within the same century that the railroads were constructed, and the automobile was still just a fanciful notion — that the Goodyear name first appeared on a bicycle tire. Since then, Goodyear has shod the wheels of cars, buses, motorcycles, airplanes, Zambonis — even a lunar rover — and now, 120 years later, it turns back to that first tire with the launch of Goodyear Bicycle Tires.
With over a century’s worth of experience, it’s safe to say that Goodyear knows rubber. Technologies developed for high-octane NASCAR races trickle down into consumer tires, and now those learnings will advance to the bicycle. Rubber compounds formulated scientifically for grip, speed and roll are kept under heavy lock and key, and while most tire companies shop that job out to suppliers, Goodyear creates its formulas in-house.
“For Goodyear, this entrance to the bike market is about the world’s evolving transit needs,” says Logan VonBokel, spokesperson for Goodyear Bicycle. Goodyear is addressing that evolution with its Transit Range of tires, which is built for everyday use with all-weather traction, extra durability and reflective accents. “The bicycle is becoming a crucial tool in the transportation equation,” says VonBokel.
But the brand isn’t just testing the waters; it’s executing a blimp-sized cannonball and producing a tire for every type of riding. In addition to its Transit Range commuter tires, Goodyear is launching collections for road cycling, gravel and cross country, and mountain biking. It’s not just a matter of new molds either; each cycling collection and the various tires within it will be equipped with different compounds, treads, casings and protections. Each tire is unique.
“We’re still taking our time in the development process,” says VonBokel. “What’s most important is that every Goodyear tire offers the perfect balance of performance and reliability for its intended rider.”
If you’re looking to get into road cycling, this is the place to start. You don’t have to spend two full paychecks in order to get a taste of what it’s like to ride on skinny tires. Read the Story