The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

The Cadilac of wheel barrows

The cadilac of wheel barrows

We finally got around to upgrading the ramshackled wheel barrow with this state of the art Kobalt, six cubic foot beauty.

The handles are steel and the tire is a new type of technolgy made from some sort of solid material that never goes flat yet feels just as easy to push as our old air filled version. These two features boosted the price by 20 dollars, which I figure will be worth it in time saved from future flats.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Good going! That's the first one I've seen outside the packing/shipping department. It should last a long time. I've seen those tires tested with hundreds of lbs. of weight and they ran for a very long time before failure. The QC guy just checked on them a couple times a day until they finally failed. I used to complain because he took many of my 50 lb. bags of steel shot to use as the test weight.
Comment by vester Mon Jan 17 17:23:26 2011
I was a bit dubious about whether we should buy a new wheelbarrow at first when we have a perfectly serviceable big wheelbarrow and a small backup, but after fixing a couple of flats on the old wheelbarrow in 2010, I realized that this wheelbarrow will pay for itself within a year or two. I think that the old wheelbarrow's ramshackleness makes the wheel wiggle too much, thus all of the extra flats. Or at least that's how I'm sopping my conscience over the purchase. This sure is a sexy wheelbarrow!
Comment by anna Mon Jan 17 17:25:16 2011

It would not surprise me if the tire was molded polyurethane foam. Because of the nature of that material and the foaming process, you'd get a foam core with a more or less solid skin. (But it could also be a standard outer tire with a foamed rubber inner tire.)

Some years ago solid bicycle tires from that material started appearing here. But they never caught on here, because of the higher rolling resistance compared to a regular air-filled tire. I suspect this will not be as much of an issue with a wheelbarrow. :-)

Another thing about those solid tires was that replacing them was a nightmare, because it was very hard to get them off and on the rim (imagine trying to put an inflated bicycle tire on a rim and you get the idea :-( ).

Comment by Roland_Smith Mon Jan 17 17:34:32 2011

Vester --- I'm glad this model gets your seal of approval! We spent quite a bit of time poking around, looking at the options, and this did seem to be the sturdiest one. Since I manage to break wheelbarrows a lot, I figured sturdy was important.

Roland --- I had tried to ride a bicycle once with wheels like this, and hated it, so I wasn't sold on the idea for a wheelbarrow. But when we tried the one in the store (and then tried this one out when we got it home), the solid wheel didn't seem to impede my movement at all. Hopefully we'll never have to replace it!

Comment by anna Mon Jan 17 19:19:06 2011

Did you try it with the wheelbarrow loaded? Without a significant load, you won't feel much of a difference. In the foto above the tire doesn't look deformed at all.

OTOH, If you don't keep the air pressure topped-up in an air-filled tire, it will deflate over time, and the rolling resistance will increase. That is why I check and top up my bicycle tires every other week, and why I check my car's tires before longer rides. This will of course not be much on an issue with the "solid" foam tire.

Depending on the chemistry and physical state of the material and the blowing agent used for the foam tire, the foam tire could become harder or softer over time, though.

Comment by Roland_Smith Tue Jan 18 13:23:44 2011

We filled the wheelbarrow up to wheel it home since the truck is stuck, and it did very well! I was impressed at how well it went over uneven terrain despite being loaded down (though I wouldn't have wanted to make that trip with it once the ground thaws into mud.)

I'll have to take a look at the tire next time it's loaded up and see how it looks.

Comment by anna Tue Jan 18 16:54:05 2011

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