I don’t know, call me a curmudgeon, call me anti-innovation, drinking the hater-ade, whatever.
I’ve seen so many concept bicycles (and even some concept motos) with hubless wheels lately. Yes, it looks cool. Yes, it could be the future. Yes, it opens up possibilities for doing something with all that space in the middle of the wheel.
No, it doesn’t work. And by “work”, I mean, makes a safer, lighter, smoother, easier to make, cheaper, and better bicycle. It sure isn’t a novel concept, Specialized was making sweet 3D models of hubless wheel TANDEMS back in 1989.
The traditional cranks, chain, sprocket design is something like 98% efficient. Any other configuration adds weight, drag, and problems. Why muck up a nearly perfect thing? How many hubless wheel concepts have Campagnolo, Shimano, and SRAM presented, ever? I remember a guy had a hubless front wheel on his Ironman Kona bike. He made it 20 miles before the crosswinds blew him and his fat front hubless ‘fork’ right into the lava field.
In addition to the one on the home page for Core77 today, here are a few of the recent ones:
I give these kids from Yale props, they actually built it “because they thought it would look cool”, not be better:
A ‘classic’, from ACCD:
Maybe I’m too close to the bike industry to see the merit in these concepts, as anything but styling masturbation and willful ignorance of how bicycles work.
Here’s the only constructive part of this rant: I wouldn’t recommend that designers applying for bike design jobs put too much stake in hubless wheel concepts when presenting to bike companies.