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2010年5月29日 (土)

BE Tires


As I mentioned in the previous English post, the world famous rim manufacturer Araya discontinued production of its BE (Beaded Edge) rims and consequently dropped them from their product line-up.  It may be hard to find Japanese produced BE rims now, but BE tires can still be found in limited sizes.  I have been unable to find the sizes at the far ends of the spectrum, ie 26x 1" 1/4 (used on high end sports models) and 26x2"or wider (used on heavy duty carrier cycles).

Luckily, the most common size 26x1" 3/8 (utility cycle) and 26x1" 3/4 (light carrier cycles) can still be obtained in Japan, though it doesn't necessarily mean they are "produced" in Japan. Sorry the links below are all Japanese sites.

1.BE Tires (1)
2.BE Tires (2)
3.BE Tires (3)
4.BE Tires (4)

BE tires were one of the first mass produced tire designs and rely on air pressure to hold the tire bead in place and remain on the rim; as opposed to WO (wired-on) tires which have a metal wire that keeps the bead in place.

Beaded Edge Tire (BE)
Note how the tire wraps completely around the tube and relies on air pressure to keep the tire bead seated in the rim.  Since the tube is totally encased in the tire a hole must be cut in the outer edge of both sides of the the tire for the valve stem.  This is done using a special tool.)

Wired-On Tire (W/O)
Note the bead of the tire is wired and keeps the bead seated.

Old tires are interesting in that the manufacturer's name is molded not only into the sidewalls but also into the tire tread. 
(Note the words THE MARUKA TYRE on the tread in photo below.)Img_9300_3

Below is a photo taken from a 1958 parts catalog. Each of the tires has the manufacturer's name molded into the tread.

Note the tire tread reads: "THE BULL DOG TYRE" in English and in Japanese along with the bull dog logo.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and the pneumatic bicycle tire is indeed a marvelous invention   In comparison to solid rubber tires, it not only provides superior shock absorption, but reduces weight.  Who invented the pneumatic bicycle tire?

John Boyd Dunlop (1841-1921)

John Boyd Dunlop (1841-1921) is often thought to be the inventor of the pneumatic bicycle tire. The "necessity" for Dunlop to invent the pneumatic bicycle tire was that his son suffered from headaches as a result of riding his tricyle.  Dunlop obtained a patent in 1888; however, the patent was later retracted as a fellow Scot Robert William Thomson (1822-1873) had patented a pneumatic tire nearly 40 years earlier! Thomson's design was quite clever consisting of several air filled tubes packed into a leather casing (tire). Unlike Dunlop's design where a single pucture renders a tire tube flat, with Thomson's design one could still carry on as each tube is independent.


Dunlop used to manufacture bicycle tires.  Below is an actual example of a BE tire with "THE DUNLOP TYRE" molded into the tread, and Mr. Dunlop's image on the sidewall.  Note the wide strips of rubber on the outer edges where, as previously mentioned, a hole needs to be cut to allow the valve stem to pass through the tire.   P1000432a



Here is a example with Mr Dunlop's image molded into the tread.Image143_3

I'm always amazed at old parts as they never fail to bear the manufacturer's name and or logo, often more than once on a single part.  BE tires are a good example, on both sidewalls and molded into the tread, sometimes in both Japanese and English.

Next week will be the Japanese version of this post. I'll be back soon with another English post, until then "stay trued and happy wheels".





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Hi Richard, this is an eye opener for me. I live in Los Angeles, and I have three Japanese roadster bikes, a San-A (AAA), a THR and a Bridgestone pony kid's bike. The first two have 24x1-3/8 wheels. I started restoring the San-A, which is the oldest and nicest bike, and I couldn't figure out why the new tires I got (from India, I think) didn't fit. Now I know. Thanks very much. Now I just have to figure out how to import a set of BE tires from Japan.

Quite a collection Grant.

Typically speaking, bicycles with BE rims are found predominantly in developing nations. I have tried to order rims /tires from China and India but they would only do so in large quantities.

If your back is up against the wall and need help getting those BE tires from Japan drop me an email and I will see how I can help you.


PS: Would love to see some photos of you bicycles.










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