The bicycle wheel – new and improved

I’m intrigued by a brand-new design of bicycle wheel, one that looks likely to revolutionize the comfort and safety of this time-tested transport.  BikeRadar reports:

Loopwheels do away with conventional spokes in favour of three carbon fibre springs or limbs. The idea is that this wheel offers integral suspension and in-turn additional comfort to the rider by flexing in a way that a conventional wheel never could.

The design allows the wheel to absorb impacts in a unique way. Take for example hitting a kerb head on – the outer rim of the wheel resists flex like any ordinary rim yet the carbon fibre sections will deform in a way that would bring the hub closer to the rim. It’s not only a slight bit of give either – the wheel can offer a full 45mm of travel.

This new-found shock absorption is also said to allow riders to fit narrower and more efficient rubber. This is due to the suspension value of large volume tyres becomes less important when twinned with a Loopwheel.

. . .

The design allows for compatibility with nearly all hubs through interchangable connective components between the rim and hub. A loopwheel can also be built to a wide variety of offsets just like a regular spoked wheel, as a result both derailleurs and disc brakes are also compatible. The only real restrictions are that loopwheels don’t support rim brakes and they also require adequate clearance between the top of the tyre and the fork crown to make way for their own deformation. This is not usually a problem with a lot of fat-tyred bikes, however, as users can normally scale down the tyres accordingly.

There’s more at the link.  In a later report, BikeRadar informs us that a Kickstarter has raised the necessary funds to put the Loopwheel into production.  Here’s the video produced as part of the Kickstarter appeal.

BikeRadar also tested Loopwheels offroad, and found them very comfortable.  Full marks to the inventors for their ingenuity.  I’m going to have to try these, when they become available.



  1. That looks pretty awesome. I'm curious about durability and how they perform in the cold but it looks like a fantastic bit of ingenuity.

  2. I think the whole point of spokes was to maintain the roundness of the rim against all the forces, along with keeping it strictly in-line with the axle.

    Now that we have materials that can maintian sufficeient roundness all by themselves, but still equal-or-better the low weight of a rim/spoke wheel, if we have other materials that can resist the side-to-side flex while allowing some spring perpindicular to the axle, all will be good. It's that second bit I'm more concerned about…

  3. Interesting for sure…but it appears to add around $1000-1200 to the cost of the bike. I think I'll wait a bit…

  4. I wonder if these loop-wheels would have made a difference if Lance armstrong would have used them?

  5. I would bet that those "sprung" wheels will absorb much of the force of your pedaling, making you actually have to expend more energy than a regular spoked wheel. I wonder if those wheels will oscillate/bounce at certain speeds?


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