Tweels – Michelin, The Ranch & The Future of Tires!

Tweels – Michelin, The Ranch & The Future of Tires!

hi I’m Mike ever heard the saying don’t
reinvent the wheel well it turns out that might have been the worst advice
ever given as today we do just that and look at the future of the tire and
reinvent how we roll on our wyoming life this is our Wyoming life my family and I
came to the ranch few years ago to help my father-in-law and his failing health
since he passed away we’ve been running it learning as we go and sharing with
you as we explore the ranch life and escape the ordinary the world is fast
paced things are constantly changing we really have no control over analyze
technology moves around us and sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed that is one
of the things that draws people to the ranch life it seems easygoing
things never change and some things don’t each and every year we deal with
the same large milestones calving branding paying market harvests and
eventually the selling of calves and winter feeding for the herd those are
the things that I hope never change on the ranch there are benchmarks and each
season we finish gives you a sense of accomplishment and pride in your work
but just like any other business there are many support structures that
make sure that those milestones are able to be completed we don’t have a staff
here on the ranch so those departments are paid up by Aaron and myself we’re
our own Secretary’s assistants and payroll departments HR consists of me
complaining to a cow who really doesn’t care much of any way and the R&D
department on the ranch is only what we can invent and produce on our own and in
our own shop while technology on the ranch may seem at a standstill it’s the
little things that have changed how we do our job
in the 1940s ranches saw their first non horse-drawn implements as tractors move
in to take their place in fact by the 70s horses were no longer used on the
ranch at all when Gilbert discovered three and four wheelers and although it
was the end of an era a romantic notion on the ranch it enabled us to work more
efficiently faster and with less downtime especially when you’re running
the place on your own now it’s been a while since we’ve seen a big innovation
like that one on the ranch something that’s changed how we do things and made
things easier and saved us money in the long run
one of the biggest expenses on the ranch is travel since we replace the horses
with tractors and other motorized vehicles that expense can literally be
traced to where the rubber meets the road on the ranch between all of our
tractors Baylor’s ATVs trucks and trailers and anything else with a wheel
we have over 80 tires that need constant upkeep tire pressures wear and tear and
sometimes even just rot from the lack of use can cause a serious hiccup in our
operation so it makes sense that over the past year I’ve gotten to our friends
at Michelin a tire manufacturer whose us offices are based in Greenville South
Carolina if you looked at our budget on the ranch tires and their maintenance is
a huge part of it we’re constantly repairing and replacing tires over the
life of the Gator for example we’ve went through five set of tires and that’s
just for a little bit over 14,000 miles but now changes are coming to the tire
industry and how farms and ranches can deal with tires their upkeep and their
replacement for the past 20 years Michelin has been working to innovate
not only how many things can be done here on the ranch but how the entire
world looks at tires this right here is at wheel tire now it’s unlike any tire
ever I’ve ever seen recently I got a chance to visit the Taweel factory in
Greenville and see exactly how these tires are built what the heck what the heck is what the
heck is this oh there we go okay this is a this is a nondisclosure agreement and
yeah I signed it before I went in the factory so I can’t actually show you how
they’re made but luckily we have a set of tools right here in the shop and in
all reality you don’t have to know how a tire is put together you just have to
know it’s gonna work I’ve been out doing chores this morning in the Bobcat
cleaning barns we’re moving a retaining wall and working at cleaning up the dump
all of these work sites are dangerous in the barns you can easily get stuck while
landscaping you can run over a piece of concrete breaking down the side walls of
your tires and the dump well it’s a minefield of nails and sharp materials
all waiting for soft rubber of a tire to puncture and ruin your day the Bobcat
wall a very useful tool on the ranch is the most prone to tire problems because
of the work it does downtime is inevitable and downtime costs money a
single Bobcat tire can cost up to $300 and when you build a tire budget that
can cover almost a hundred tires on the ranch we begin looking at cost per hour
on some tires our calculations I ran to figure that for every 1,000 hours we’re
gonna have to replace the tires on the skid steer we budget about two thousand
dollars for that or two dollars per tire our cost that’s pretty high but we want
to make sure we have ourselves covered but what if there were a way to cut that
$2 per hour cost in half or maybe even a third
that’s where the Tweel’s come into play and michelin has been letting us try
these Tweel SSL’s on our bobcat man I wish it was that easy
Tweedles way around 250 pounds of piece and while the old Bob count tires are
air filled and easy to move around these things are a bit more labor-intensive
but wheels also stand about an inch higher than my stock tires that
shouldn’t cause too much of an issue but we’ll see all the tires on we can get a look at
how these Tweel’s work the tires are attached to the machine
with an inner hub that hub is attached to the actual treads with a number of
ribs but folks these spokes are what support the weight of the machine but
not in the way you may think they do or at least at least I didn’t think for me
it’s almost upside down the machine actually hangs from the spokes you can
see that on these spokes the spokes on the bottom of the tire they’re bending
they’re giving way to the weight of the Machine and tappable the spokes on the
top of the tire they’re stretched tight with an incredible amount of tension on
them that in turn gives you a bit of suspension unless of course you’re
working in the frigid cold right now with the temperature below freezing
these tyres have no give as the ride is almost excruciating over frozen cow pies
but if you take it slow it gets better then I can tell you when I come back I
will be avoiding this field of landmines back at the cow barn we can compare
those air filled tires that we ran earlier to the Newt wheels air filled
tires do allow a little bit more traction in this situation the ground is
frozen and very slippery inside the barn where it’s thawed were not able to get
the same push into the barn with wheels this is probably also due to the weather
and the freezing temperatures the rubber on the Tweel’s is extremely hard which
means it’s gonna last but it’s also not as pliable in this weather leading to
some slipping outside the barn I can’t really see or feel much difference
between the Tweel’s and the air-filled tires each hold their own just fine
although Tweel’s seem to have a bit more traction here and they are controlling
any sign slip better than the pneumatic tires keeping me on the side of the hill
a little bit better our other chores are repeated also as we
take more out of the retaining wall around the farmhouse which will feather
out and actually replace with more slope law in this spring the blocks popped
free with the same amount of effort as before but again the tires do seem to
give less not squashing down from the weight of the work and while driving
over obstacles the twills still are not flexing that much in the cold even after
driving for about an hour there are certain advantages to the Tweel’s which
are obvious and maybe the most obvious that might be seen at the dump where we
continue to move material around to pile up and be removed the dump on most
ranches is an area where few love to work with machinery because the danger
of losing tires but now with the Tweel’s we can concentrate on cleaning this area
up once and for all and for that I’m extremely happy all in all I’m pretty impressed with the
Taweel tires and not only because they’re available for skid steers but
also they can be fitted to a number of zero turn mowers side-by-sides and even
ATVs tires like these may just be the future of tires and someday you might
even see them rolling down the highway the price tag is what’s going to limit
you seeing them everywhere at least for a little while as they’re pretty
expensive to manufacture I said that I couldn’t tell you anything about what I
saw in the factory but I’ll tell you this as long as you don’t tell too many
people right now it takes days to make one of these tires and they can cost you
anywhere from three to four times the price of a traditional tire of course
they last a lot longer and if you’re in a situation like we are with a skid
steer where we’re going to be going through tires rate of up to four a year
it might be worthwhile to take a look and see how Tweel’s can eventually save
you money in the long run I am looking extremely looking forward to continuing
to test these tires on our skin steer the weather’s gonna warm up and I’m sure
just like the airfield tears these will perform differently and that is really
something to look forward to I of course want to thank Michelin for allowing us
to test these tires they aren’t paying us anything to do so in fact I’m really
impressed that they told me too that they expect me to be honest and unbiased
so that’s what they’re gonna get good or bad the tires they do turn heads I saw
that people going down the highway they look cool and so far they’re getting the
job done our goal this year it sounds bad but it’s to break them so subscribe
and help me as we explore the ranch life and really escape the ordinary have a
great week and thanks for joining me in our wyoming

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. See if you can get a set of Michelin Bibsteel radial skid steer tires to try. They ride much better than regular tires and last much longer too.

  2. I wonder what the spoke memory will be for heavy equipment that sits for a time. Would be interesting to see this in a F800 application but are they street legal yet? Awesome vid OWL

  3. I have tweels on m Zturn mower. I have no complaints the hold hills like no other. As far as the ride quality I would say their pretty close to the regular air tire.

  4. Tweels have been available for years, and their technology is old enough to walk. Unfortunately it’s cost and performance have not aged well or improved much.

  5. Really enjoy your posts. It's about as close to farming as I get nowadays. We'll stop in for some good Wyoming beef and pork This coming summer. BTW I really like those tires.
    Ron in Minnesota

  6. How did you and Michelin connect with each other? Doubtful you just bumped into the local repre at the coffee shop. I hope these work out for the range.

  7. Thank you for everything you do for America 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

  8. Awesome. Liked the way you ended it with "really escape the ordinary". I would be curious to see how long the tred lasts actually. Just because of how thin they are, once your out of tred your buying more. Hummm

  9. Why not add 1 inch or an inch and a half of softer rubber on top of a hard rubber tread that will give you more grip more flex and when it wears through to the harder tread well you’re back to the heart of tread which will last and unlimited amount of time not riding on asphalt it should last forever?

  10. If I recall correctly, I think Tweels on a John Deere Zero Turn mower is a $900 upgrade option. It is probably worth it for a professional landscaper.

  11. Here is a video on putting a recap on a skid steer Tweel. Don't try this at home.
    "Retreading the Tweel Airless Skid Steer Tire and Wheel"

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