How Mountain Bike Tires Are Made How Its Made

Narrator: MOUNTAIN BIKE TIRES ARE TRUE TRAILBLAZERS, SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED FOR OFF-ROAD RIDING. WIDER THAN REGULAR ROAD TIRES, MOUNTAIN BIKE TIRES HAVE RAISED KNOBS OR LUGS THAT ADD STABILITY ON UNEVEN TERRAIN. BUILT TO WITHSTAND THE TRAIL, THESE TIRES CAN HANDLE IT ALL. WHEN THE RUBBER HITS THE DIRT, IT'S ALL ABOUT CONTROL. MOUNTAIN BIKE TIRES ARE DESIGNED TO GRIP THE GROUND AND PROVIDE TRACTION OFF-ROAD. FIRST, DESIGNERS USE A COMPUTER MODEL OF A TIRE TO SIMULATE THE EFFECTS OF DIFFERENT RUBBER COMPOUNDS. CONSTRUCTION BEGINS WITH RUBBER COMPOUNDS BEING MIXED TOGETHER TO CREATE PARTS OF THE TIRE. INGREDIENTS INCLUDE SYNTHETIC AND NATURAL RUBBERS, SULFUR, AND OTHER CHEMICALS. ROTATING SPIRAL BLADES BREAK DOWN THE MATERIALS. FRICTION FROM THE MIXING HEATS AND SOFTENS THEM. THIS TRANSFORMS THE INGREDIENTS INTO A DOUGH-LIKE RUBBER COMPOUND. POWERFUL ROLLERS SQUEEZE THE COMPOUND INTO THICK LONG SHEETS, AND BLADES CUT THE ROLLED RUBBER INTO NARROW STRIPS. THEN, THE RUBBER TRAVELS THROUGH MORE ROLLERS THAT SQUEEZE IT DOWN TO THE DESIRED THICKNESS. THE RUBBER SHEETS LAND ON A CART, READY FOR USE. ♪♪ TECHNICIANS INCASE STEEL BEAD WIRE WITH ONE OF THESE COMPOUNDS. THE BEAD WIRE IS THE PART OF THE TIRE THAT CONNECTS TO THE WHEEL'S RIM. AS STEEL WIRE TRAVELS THROUGH AN APERTURE, THE RUBBER IS EXTRUDED TO FORM THE CASING. THE MACHINE DELIVERS THE BEAD WIRE TO A SPINNING DISK. THE DISK WINDS THE BEAD WIRE, SHAPING IT INTO RINGS, WHICH FIT TO A WHEEL RIM. ♪♪ TO MAINTAIN THE DIAMETER OF THE WIRE, THE TECHNICIAN TAPES THE ENDS TOGETHER, HOLDING THE SHAPE UNTIL THE NEXT STAGE OF PRODUCTION. NEXT, RUBBER SHEETS WITH VARYING CHARACTERISTICS ENTER AN EXTRUDER. USING HEAT AND PRESSURE, THE EXTRUDER FORCES THE RUBBER THROUGH DIES. THIS PROCESS MERGES THEIR CHARACTERISTICS INTO A SINGLE SHEET. THE SHEET WILL BE USED TO MAKE THE BICYCLE'S TREAD. THE TREAD RUBBER TRAVELS THROUGH A CHANNEL OF COOL WATER. MEANWHILE, ROLLERS COAT FABRIC WITH RUBBER TO MAKE PLIES FOR THE TIRE CASING. A MOVING BLADE CUTS IT INTO STRIPS. THIS RUBBER IS NATURALLY TACKY, SO THE PIECES CAN BE EASILY SPLICED. THE SYSTEM FEEDS THE STRIPS TO TIRE-BUILDING MACHINE. A SKILLED ASSEMBLER WRAPS THE STRIPS TO THE MACHINE DRUM TO FORM THE TIRE CASING, AND SPLICES THE RUBBER WHERE THE ENDS MEET. NEXT, ROBOTS SLIDE TWO WIRE BEADS AROUND THE CASING. THE ENDS OF THE DRUM FOLD THE SIDES OF THE CASING OVER THE BEAD WIRES. THE TECHNICIAN APPLIES RUBBER-COATED FABRIC TO THE BEAD WIRES, STRENGTHENING THE AREA. THE TREAD RUBBER IS PLACED IN THE CENTER. A ROLLER APPLIES PRESSURE AS THE DRUM SPINS TO WIND THE TREAD AROUND THE CASING. THEN, THE ENDS ARE PRESSED TOGETHER MANUALLY. AND ONE MORE TURN OF THE DRUM SECURES THE TREAD RUBBER TO THE CASING. ONCE VENT HOLES HAVE BEEN CUT IN THE RUBBER, IT'S OVER TO AN EXPANDING MOLD, WHERE THE TIRE TAKES SHAPE. THE TECHNICIAN INSERTS A RUBBER CURING BLADDER TO MAINTAIN THE SHAPE OF THE TIRE. THEN, HE PLACES THE MOUNTAIN BIKE TIRES IN CURING MOLDS. THESE INDIVIDUAL MOLDS WILL STEAM-COOK THE TIRES UNDER PRESSURE TO FURTHER SHAPE THEM. THIS PROCESS FORMS KNOBS AND OTHER PROTRUSIONS ON THE TIRE SURFACE THAT ARE DESIGNED TO GRIP A RUGGED TERRAIN. LIKE A BIG WAFFLE IRON, THIS MOLD HAS COOKED, AND FORMED THE MOUNTAIN BIKE TIRE. THE TIRE IS THEN PLACED ON A RACK TO COOL. NEXT, THE BIKE TIRE UNDERGOES A DURABILITY TEST WHILE A COMPUTER MEASURES ROLLING RESISTANCE. THAT'S THE ENERGY LOST WHEN THE TIRE ROTATES, AND AN INDICATION OF HOW EASILY THE TIRE WILL ROLL. THIS MOUNTAIN BIKE TIRE IS NOW CLEARED TO TRAVEL OFF THE BEATEN PATH. ♪♪

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