“Reinventing the wheel, for a smoother ride.”
At GearLimits we always get excited when creative and inventive people take a swing at looking at products that we all know and are almost mundane, in a completely different way. Not too long ago we tested a crazy new product called the CrossBoard, a fusion of skate, snow and surfboard. Great fun that was. And now we came upon the wheel being reinvented. How cool is that!? GearLimits being based in the Netherlands, the country with the highest bike to inhabitant ratio in the world, we took an extra interest in this fascinating new product.
That reinventing has been done by English inventro Samual Pearce. Interestingly enough he was inspired by a lady in Eindhoven Airport in the Netherlands, banging the front wheel of her stroller and all but launching her kid across the airport tiles.
What he ended up with after that first burst of inspiration, and 70 iterations of the concept later, is a wheel with suspension integrated into it. A concept Pearce calls “tangential suspension”.
Loopwheel springs are made from a carbon composite material, carefully developed and tested to give optimum compression and lateral stability as well as strength and durability. Specially-designed connectors attach the springs to the hub and rim. There are three springs in each wheel, which work together as a self-correcting system. The spring configuration allows for the torque to be transferred smoothly between the hub and the rim. – www.loopwheels.com
The company has already produced 20″ version for folding bikes, 24″ and 25″ wheels for wheelchairs were added after a successful kickstarter campaign and according to this Wired article, mountainbikes could be next.
The Loopwheels are available only in England at the moment, and it’s no cheep buy. Then again, you are buying more than a wheel, you’r buying suspension as well. Hopefully the company will be able to get the prices down once they scale up production. I would love to see them come to the Netherlands. Our medieval city centers with cobble streets offer ample opportunity for the wheels to prove their worth. We can see ourselves cruising around Amsterdam quite easily.
At GearLimits we would love to test the LoopWheels in just this setting; so let us know if you have one available!