This an article I wrote a long time ago and for some reason did not publish on Oppo, so please excuse any outdated references. I decided to publish this one after Michelin announced that they are actually planning on producing tweels (!).
I love seeing the future of automobiles. Between racing and the limits of our fuel supply, the race to develop new faster, more powerful, and efficient cars is endless. Watching Christian von Koenigsegg explain their new camless engines or lighter rims makes me a happy person because I know that eventually that technology will trickle down to me. That's why I sat up and took notice when Matt Hardigree posted an article in Must Read about a Michelin employee who was allowed to run his 1955 Morris "Woodie" on tweels provided by his employer.
I know I'm a little late on this and most gearheads hear the word tweels and immediately reminisce on all of the vaporware they've heard about in the past, but just this one simple story was enough to convince me that it won't be long before I'm slapping some shiny new tweels on my daily ride (I also can't wait to see how they change rap music). The most interesting thing about the story was the pictures that showed how tweels have changed since they were first introduced. They had a whole different spoke pattern than anything I've seen before. It seems like Michelin and its competitors like Non-Pnuematic Tires (NPT) have been trying to use traditional spoke patterns that you would find on a conventional wheel, but the tweels on the Woodie were in a non-conventional spiral pattern that according to Zach Merrill, the owner of the Woodie, has eliminated the issues with noise and vibration at high speeds that rendered the tweels less than ideal for application in automobiles.
I would recommend taking Mr. Merrill's experiences at his word. If I were him, I wouldn't want to say anything less than stellar about a product that my entire company is hanging its hat on either; however, it is nice to see that tweels seem to be ready enough to allow an employee use them in the real world. It is even cooler that they seem to have modified their product with whitewalls and a period looking hubcap to fit Mr. Merrill's ride. All in all, the story really got me excited for the future of wheel technology and the future of Michelin.