At the heart of the Norwegian-designed system is a set of 568-gram smooth-tread base tires that mount on the rims in the usual way, and stay on the bike full-time – they're not tubeless, although a tubeless version is in the works. These can be used on their own, for commuting or touring.

There are also, however, a variety of rubber "skins" that can be zippered on over top of the tires, each skin featuring a different type of tread. These can reportedly be installed or removed within seconds, they won't slide back and forth against the underlying base tire, and the zipper's tab gets locked in place once it's done up, so you won't have anyone saying "Psst, buddy, your tire's undone."

It's still early in the game, with the skin choices currently consisting of a knobby all-terrain model, along with a carbide-studded model for winter riding. Down the road, there are plans for skins with embedded LEDs and electronics that communicate with the rider's smartphone, along with models made from special materials such as coconut fibers and 100-percent recyclable rubber.

The tires and skins are presently being made to fit 700c/29-inch rims, although 26-inch versions are also planned. Retail prices should range from US$36 for the standard version of the base tire to $70 for the premium, with the skins selling for $55 (all-terrain) and $70 (winter studded).

According to the makers, the system ought to be available in select European stores as of July, with a roll-out to the rest of Europe and North America planned for next year.