Vredestein showed a prototype of its Fortezza Flower Power at the Eurobike exhibition in Friedrichshafen in August. This innovative road tyre is made of rubber extracted from the roots of dandelions. The prototype is the result of a EU joint initiative in which Vredestein and Wageningen University & Research (WUR) take part, called DRIVE4EU.
The prototype is the first bicycle tyre in the world produced with natural rubber extracted from the roots of the Russian dandelion (Taraxacum koksaghyz). This particular series of prototype tyres were made with rubber extracted from plants grown and harvested in the Netherlands.
Vredestein has worked closely together with WUR to develop this special natural rubber, make production viable and test various compounds. Each improvement in the process of rubber extraction has also led to a direct enhancement of the quality of the rubber. As a result, the special compound now used as a test on the Fortezza Flower Power prototype, provides better grip than traditional compounds. This is directly related to the higher concentration of natural resin in this particular variant of natural rubber. Studies are currently exploring whether this tyre can be mass produced in the future.
Apollo Vredestein (the parent company of the Vredestein brand) is one of the industrial partners taking part in DRIVE4EU, a European research project which focuses on developing the production of natural rubber and inulin from Russian dandelion. The project is coordinated by Wageningen University & Research. The aim is to explore ways to make the European countries less dependent on imports of natural rubber in the near future, partly as a response to the looming worldwide shortage of rubber.