The Official Hubless Wheel hater thread.

I don’t know, call me a curmudgeon, call me anti-innovation, drinking the hater-ade, whatever. :imp:

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.

You’re only anti-innovation if the hubless wheel is innovation.

I’m with you, looks cool but impractical. Most of the bicycle concepts with hubless wheels get lots of other things wrong- geometry, gearing, brakes, no cable runs etc.
Also the BMX you’ve posted and todays Core77 example, the ‘axel’ (where the wheel joins the frame and fork) are in stupid places- any stone on the road or curb would smash into the frame.

This is wheel innovation (rimshot):

53 seconds in- kaboom

I’m in. I hate them in all cases, especially bicycles. I don’t care how mechanically advanced they may be, there’s no good reason to do it.

That Michelin wheel is sweet. Integrated everything, no pneumatic failures possible. Similar to what NASA does for Mars crawlers, right?

Amen NURB - there’s no good reason to do it. People who assume they are going to improve on the wheel are most of the time smoking crack. The same people say that you can generate enough electricity from pedaling to plug into your home and keep the lights on.

The Core77 front page bike is a heck of a surfacing job, and great render, but little-to-no reality. Call it science fiction, put it on Caprica, and I won’t care as much.

Here’s another one from today:

To be on-topic, it isn’t hubless, but the designer says its a motorcycle that transfers power from axle to rear wheel by means of electrically conductive carbon, via that rear shaft. What??? :laughing:

And this gem, which won several design awards. The presentation is totally sweet, as you would expect from RCA. The ideas are from the mayor of Crackheadville. Folded bikes collecting wind energy by blowing in the breeze? Why not propose nuclear cold fusion, dude?

I’m a sucker for a good hubless wheel, I’ll admit it. If I could get some hubless wheels and transformer doors for my TT, I might… :wink:

Slippyfish: I know how you feel. I feel the same way when I see these concepts presented as such a breakthrough. When I get around to assembling my list of useless design concepts that get re-blogged yearly as breakthrough design, I will definitely add the hubless wheel bicycle to the list!

Ha! Make sure you blog about it!

I feel the same way about about hubless wheels; people seem to design with them because they are “cool”, not because they are practical.

On another note I always have wondered how the tweel tires work in mud or snow? Does stuff just get jammed into all of those crevices and throw the whole thing off balance? When I had my Audi and Subaru I used to spend a lot of hours sliding around in the snow and mud, and when I got up to highway speeds I would notice real quick if there was any in the wheels. I can only imaging it being much worse with the Tweel.

I have visited few south asian countries and you will find one thing in common that dogs and cats freely roam on the streets. Often they get killed by the vehicles, this spokeless wheel can be a saviour for them; when they can just go through the wheel. : :laughing:

Thank you for starting this thread.

Im not a hater of it. but every time I see it in a concept, it just screams lack of creativity and research.

Yea! My bike made it onto a hater thread.

I think hubless wheels look awesome in some applications but not all. To be honest, there’s just no benefit to it over a normal wheel right now. The concept itself is cool but I think there’s gotta be a better application for it.

Hubless wheels are great the first time you see one, for about 3 seconds until you try to justify a need for one.
It always looks like you’re trying way too hard.

How about mono-wheel bikes? Doesn’t this guy look like Wile E. Coyote? :laughing:

Someone had to do it, so ill be the one who post the SP equivalent :slight_smile:

I just don’t think were at the point in materials to make the wheel light enough to be efficient. The spoke laced bicycle wheel, aside from being beautiful, is an incredibly strong design while being incredibly light weight.

Hubless and mono-wheels, aren’t exactly “new” ideas… and seldom reach production status.

But then there’s the story of 18 year old Ben Gulak’s “Uno”…

Those are great old images! Ahh, the smell of optimism. And rubber. And burning flesh.

Don’t forget Johnny Knoxville standing in for the hub of the wheel, bouncing down a ski slope on Jackass.

Those are great old images!

I like the aerodynamic wheel spats on the second one…

Being a horse-drawn vehicle fan I especially like this one; note the outriggers … so I guess this is actually a tri-cycle.

There are a ton more, check out the link.


That hubless bmx could have peg mounded to it, but they would be like the super old school fold downs and flat land bikes with their little pedestals all over them. Thus ruining the minimalist thing they had going.