Two new hubless wheel bike designs have surfaced on the web recently. One, a BMX bike by graphic designer Nikolay Boltachev, is just a concept rendering that features both front and rear hubless wheels. The second design, by a group of nine mechanical engineering students at Yale, is a rideable prototype that has been getting a lot of exposure on the various design and technology blogs. I mentioned that I was skeptical about hubless wheels in a past post, and I still feel pretty much the same way. Mark Sanders, who knows a thing or two about non-traditional bicycle designs, shared his opinion on the subject in a recent Twitter post:
“Fundamental issue for hubless wheels etc. is losses are proportional to friction x radius squared…bearings @ large radius”
For more on this recent hubless wheel project by Yale engineering students, be sure to read Ron’s post on the subject at Cozy Beehive. As he points out, we see these designs pop up from time to time, and the justification is usually just that they look cool. I am not sold on the idea for bikes, but I do agree with Ron that “perhaps spokeless wheels would be better for wheelchairs because that way an operator’s hand wouldn’t be at risk of going in between spokes.”
The Firefly, a student design by James Morton, is a rear flashing light that is on the shortlist for a 2010 Australian Design Award -James Dyson Award. According to the description, “The Firefly light uses a Passive Infrared sensor in order to detect traffic approaching from behind the rider. Upon detection LEDs flash onto the back of the rider with varying intensity depending on the proximity of the traffic.” Pretty interesting idea…read a little more about it at Bike Rumor. Also, while you are on the Australian Design Award site, be sure to check out some of the other bike related design concepts, including the CORE Mountain Bike Body Armor and the Regenerative Helmet.
Now on to a few really quick links:
Several blogs have recently mentioned BikeCAD, which you can play with for free online.
Mirror.co.uk thinks Trek’s Soho is the cleanest bike in the world.