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Lunartic Cycle – Hubless Wheel

August 14th, 2010 [print] Go to comments

Designer Luke Douglas is showing off a concept bike he came up with as an entry for the James Dyson Awards.  The bike, which is still in the early prototype stage, uses a tiny front wheel for maneuverability (I’ll complain about this momentarily) and a much larger rear wheel for stability.  The rear wheel has a toothed drive, which sends power through the rear wheel rim, totally negating the use of spokes.  The overall design is a bit awkward compared to typical 700c bikes, but it looks like it might work over the long run.

Lunartic Cycle

Lunartic Cycle

Lunartic Cycle

Lunartic Cycle

Not to take anything away from the clever design, but I do see a few issues with it.  For one, I only see a front brake.  True, the front wheel does the majority of braking, but it’d like to see a final design with brakes on both wheels.  Also, that tiny front wheel rim is going to heat up very fast under high-speed braking–much faster than a larger rim with more surface area.  The production mock-up shows a disc brake, but I still don’t think that’s good enough.

Secondly, how difficult is it to get the rear wheel off for a tire change, or to patch a flat?

As for the tiny front wheel, sure it may aid in maneuverability, but it’s also going to throw the rider’s balance off when it hits even the smallest of potholes.  29er mountain bikes have gained popularity for a reason, and it’s because their larger wheels roll over bumps and dips more smoothly, and even then, we’re talking about a 3" difference in diameter over a 26" MTB wheel.  The front wheel on the Lunartic Cycle is maybe a 12"?  Even a small dip in the road surrounding a gas line is going to feel like falling off a curb, and that short wheelbase will only make it worse.

Still, the mock-up of a production version is beautiful, and I even love the look of it in prototype form.  Best of luck to Luke Douglas!

Via Gizmodo, Youtube

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