Hubless Wheel steering

I am looking for information on how a hubless wheel on a motorcycle steers. I have already been to osmos, and just about every other site I can imagine. Please help me find the specifications to build this particular steering system. Images arent helping any either, I was hoping to find some sort of blue print or something else.

Hubbed or not, the front wheel must work this same way for a “bike” to balance upright during forward motion and be steerable by leaning.

From your post, you probably need to get some basics on the steering dynamics of a “normal” hubbed front wheel. Start with Sharpe (1889) and an article by Rob Price in spring 1989 issue of Human Power.

You’ll quickly find out why no hubless two-wheeler has ever made it to rolling prototype, and why I tend to snicker to myself everytime I see a sketch of one. They look cool, but the design of a practical virtual hub would add so much vehicle weight that the overall efficiency would be compromised.

A motorcycle, would have to give up some horsepower…feasible but not marketable. With a bicycle, there’s only about 500 watts available power and the extra material would be a nightmare.


The project that I am working on has no limitations and is set for 2025, so the group that I am working with is just trying to build a working model, as close as we can possibly get. It really doesnt matter that horsepower will be lost because the bikes arent even going to have motors in them! I appreciate evrything though, if there is anything else, it all helps.

A working model. Hmmm…

Start by designing a working bike with a standard two-sided fork and central hub. Then keeping the steering rotation at the same axis, start removing things. If the steering pivots must be moved, make sure that an equivalent “fork” rotation is maintained, or the vehicle will quickly become unstable and/or unrideable.

That’s all there is to it. The biggest hurdle is keeping the virtual steering axis the same as a real steering axis. All the weight lost by removing the hub, spokes and fork are regained in the mechanisms to replicate the steering axis.

Good luck… maybe you will succeed where many others have not.


hey…just thought i’d share some sketches i did for a bike concept i’m working on. i was intrigued with the idea of a hubless steering concept as well. the hubless drive wheel is now a reality, but i’ve really yet to see any hubless steering prototypes or concepts in reality:

this concept::

:: is based off of how this concept would work:

when riding a wheelie, it is possible to modify your direction by shifing your weight. so this kind of how this concept would steer:

more exploratory ideas:

just some ideas to maybe help u in your pursuits.

good luck!

Check out Billy Lane, and his company Choppers Inc. He has made a name for himself using Hubless wheels and direct transfer drives(rear wheel powered directly through a power drive contacting the rubber of the tire, thus emphasizing the hubless rear wheel by eliminating chains/belts and pullies.) on many of his choppers. Most of his "For Sale’ choppers only have hubless rears, however I did hear rummors and seen some initial mock up photos at a couple of chopper shows that he was working and testing a dual hubless set up. Essentially the front works the same as a springer fork were the hubless rim and tire cantaleaver off the front slightly.
Check out for great refferences to springer forks.

BTW 2025 true hubless will probably have been on the mainstream choppers for about 10 yrs. After all the first hubless rim was pattented in the late 60’s withthe first "Bobber’ having on installed in the early 70’s. Billy makes reference to it in his Choppers Inc. book. Went looking but could not find photos, only have the knowlege second hand from some of the builders and fabricators I have contact with.

Also keep in mind the idea that you can control and steer a bike through simply leaning the bike is a complete myth and has been repeatedly proven false in tests. The most dramatic was one were a GP racer welded his front fork in place, and attempted to navigate a road coarse Laguna I believe, put the bike in the grass on the first turn. Also motions studies have shown that there are slight fork movements that combined with the lean create the turn. Hence why GM’s Lean Machine of the early 90’s had a mechanism to gradually turn the in this case rear wheels as the rider leans into the turns.

The longer the wheel base of the cycle the more that the fork actually need to turn as well.

As a former mountain bike racer, you have to use the bars to steer. It also keeps your balance… watch a track cyclist do a track stand sometime.

Also, poping a wheelie and leaning doesn’t make you move. You twist your hips and back similiar to a unicyclist.

BAM! Check it out! Some stuff I found via Dogpile:


Not the BL one I was refering to earlier, but hot bike any how. With the amount of Glassing on the body I would venture to say that definatly has a direct drive system…well that and the fact that there is no way that has a belt or chane dice as there looks to be 2" of rubber between road and rim.

That image from clubchopper is exactly what I was saying. The steering angle is still defined the by the pivot between the forks and the chassis. The Aprilia, just like the Mercedes, is another variation of some from the mid-40’s by a guy named Neumann.


the whole hubless thing is pretty easy to do unfortunately it has no real benefits in terms of performance and from an engineering standpoint requires more to get no real performance gain

bimota once did a hubless front stering bike that made it to production stage but never sold

wasn’t there some dude names Colani (Italian) that did some sick hubless stuff in the 80’s? sorry no web search results from me- I’m workin here!

I know this is hubless conversation, but there were designs for hubless tomahawks at early stages.

c-mon 0-60 in just 2.5 seconds!!!?

Cool machine. Half a million bucks… too rich for me!

But I have to disagree with it’s classification as hubless. The hub on that thing is the entire middle of the wheel. The steering axis is mounted inside the axle, which is the centre part that doesn’t spin. The bearing race sits between the rim and that large central section. Spoke-less maybe, but not hubless.


Like I said, I know the tomahawk is not hubless, but i believe there were hubless versions on paperbefore a real live dynamic prototype was built. just so happens the live one was not hubless.

I agree with purplepeople… the hubless thing is “neato” but makes me giggle or yawn every time I see it. I work in the bike industry…there is a reason you don’t see it on the market. At this point I don’t know why schools or companies even give out the “in the future’” projects. Anyone can do scifi…scifi is not design.
I would hate to be a curmugeon but you might be in a for a rude awakening in the future. when everyone realizes that the great lakes have dried up due to water bottling and gets refilled with trash -then we will all sit back and wonder why so many designers made a crap load of froofy designs who’s only benefit was “cool”.

you can do better dude!!!

hubless…is like shaft or belt drives. there is a reason they use chains