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This looks like a great idea

Old 12-15-13, 07:59 PM
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This looks like a great idea

I just encountered a video at random on something called The Loop Wheel. It looks like they only make them for folding bikes, but I wonder if we'll see bigger ones someday.
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Old 12-15-13, 08:59 PM
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That man's voice freaks me out.

This got posted up (the kickstarter vid, specifically) before, to the usual mixed results.

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Old 12-16-13, 09:06 AM
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Looks like a great idea for shock absorbing.

On the other hand, it appeared (to my eye at least) in some of the video shots that the wheel wasn't turning very true. Just looking at the design, I wonder if it is less rigid laterally, than a spoked wheel. And I wonder if that might play into why they're showing it, and using it, on a folder first- that is, in a small 12 or 16-inch wheel. If it is laterally more flexible, that's less of a problem in a smaller wheel -- Say it flexes 2 or 3 or 5 degrees laterally under "normal" riding conditions (however you choose to define that). That 2 or 3 or 5* is a smaller absolute distance of flex on a 16 inch diameter wheel, than it is on a 26 or 27 inch/700mm wheel.
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Old 12-16-13, 09:31 AM
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It may be a bit lighter than a suspension fork (but maybe not with that giant hub arrangement), but the wind resistance would be really bad in a larger wheel at faster speeds. Plus no lateral stability- only works on a 16" brompton wheel, and even then, marginally. The video shows a pretty severe flex as the funny-voiced dude went over a bump while turning.

Why do people keep trying to solve a problem that there's a nearly optimal solution for right now, like the spoked wheel?
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Old 12-16-13, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by cycle_maven View Post
Why do people keep trying to solve a problem that there's a nearly optimal solution for right now, like the spoked wheel?
Money.

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Old 12-16-13, 12:12 PM
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reinventing the wheel
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Old 12-16-13, 04:32 PM
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The opposite of aero spokes.
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Old 12-16-13, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by chris ss View Post
Looks like a great idea for shock absorbing.

On the other hand, it appeared (to my eye at least) in some of the video shots that the wheel wasn't turning very true. Just looking at the design, I wonder if it is less rigid laterally, than a spoked wheel. And I wonder if that might play into why they're showing it, and using it, on a folder first- that is, in a small 12 or 16-inch wheel. If it is laterally more flexible, that's less of a problem in a smaller wheel -- Say it flexes 2 or 3 or 5 degrees laterally under "normal" riding conditions (however you choose to define that). That 2 or 3 or 5* is a smaller absolute distance of flex on a 16 inch diameter wheel, than it is on a 26 or 27 inch/700mm wheel.
So they're in for an engineering challenge, but lets not write this thing off just yet. If they could make the wheel work at a larger size, and under more trying conditions, it could theoretically eliminate the need for suspension systems.

But you would want control over the stiffness of the wheel. Something really bouncy would be a liability for someone on a rough trail.
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Old 12-16-13, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by El Cid View Post
So they're in for an engineering challenge, but lets not write this thing off just yet. If they could make the wheel work at a larger size, and under more trying conditions, it could theoretically eliminate the need for suspension systems.
But you would want control over the stiffness of the wheel. Something really bouncy would be a liability for someone on a rough trail.
I wrote it off before I finished the video, sorry.
Even if they could make it work at a larger size, under more conditions, and could make it so you could control the stiffness, and even if it did eliminate the need for suspension systems (which, let's be honest, it won't), the wheel is incredibly inefficient because of all the flexing and stretching. I'll just leave it at that.
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Old 12-17-13, 11:48 AM
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All good thoughts. So maybe...
- it's a long shot for the mainstream roadie bikes. OK, ain't gonna happen any time soon.
- might not work for most mountain bikes
- might work for some so-called "city bikes," short-range commuters, folders, kids bikes + other small-wheel applications, beach cruisers, & ??? others

I can certainly see aspects that the designer might be able to turn into advantages in the marketplace- novelty + appearance, shock absorption. Also, it looks to me like it might end up being more resilient to real hard hits and abuse which might send a spoked wheel in for truing, or break spokes or bend a rim. Maybe lower maintenance for some of these bike sharing programs, especially if you downsized the bikes down onto like 24" wheels, which might have some other advantages (space savings).

Speaking just for myself for a moment, the novelty/appearance thing isn't gonna change my own mind, if anything I tend to be a lil sceptical of things pitched for their looks. But nuf about me - out in the rest of the world, novelty / appearance is sure worth something in a wider marketplace, and often enuf, you can work it into being worth quite a bit.

Who knows --- hard to say --- interesting to see.

Last edited by chris ss; 12-17-13 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 12-17-13, 01:22 PM
  #11  
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Bertie Wooster there looked more juttery on the cobbles than I'd imagine he would have been on even an entry-level mountain bike.
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Old 12-17-13, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by chris ss View Post
it looks to me like it might end up being more resilient to real hard hits and abuse which might send a spoked wheel in for truing, or break spokes or bend a rim.
Might, but I bet it's not. Seeing as the whole rim flexes, any hit that would send an ordinary wheel in for truing will do the same, or worse (crack it?) to this. Not sure whether the rim is also made out of the same composite as the springs. I imagine so.
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Old 12-17-13, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by vanttila View Post
Might, but I bet it's not. Seeing as the whole rim flexes, any hit that would send an ordinary wheel in for truing will do the same, or worse (crack it?) to this. Not sure whether the rim is also made out of the same composite as the springs. I imagine so.
+1. People always seem to underestimate the strength of well-built wheels with plenty of spokes. You can crash into things with a good wheel and damage the frame before the wheel dies.
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Old 12-17-13, 04:16 PM
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It'd be helpful to see them cornering at high speed while hitting bumps, etc. One good wheel failure due to the design and the effort is bankrupted.
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Old 12-18-13, 04:09 PM
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I think it's neat and has a visual appeal to being different. Obvious flex in the wheel will require a hub based/ disc brake assembly, but I can see if painted or colored right to fit fine on beach cruisers and lower end/use bikes. I'm sure the springs can be stiff enough laterally to not move too much, BMX had those plastic 5 spoke wheels that did fair...the true test would be a 26" example that didn't flex too bad but even then, you put it on a wider frame. I don't see a lot of flexibility in retrofitting old bikes though.

Nothing high end though. It is a weird mix of tradition and innovation people mostly doubt that will kill it there.
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Old 12-18-13, 04:40 PM
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I like it, and I think it has potential, as noted above, especially by chris ss.
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Old 12-20-13, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by El Cid View Post
I just encountered a video at random on something called The Loop Wheel. It looks like they only make them for folding bikes, but I wonder if we'll see bigger ones someday.
El Cid; Thanks for the humorous diversion....and +5 on the comment about the creepy ad man....geez he could kill a good product by himself!

Would be great if some of the folks on Kickstarter binges would lead something about patent law, do a bit of historical research, do a bit of research on bikes, and what not before they sell off their houses to chase some new idea that just popped into their head... probably too much to hope for.

Anyway a similar wheel was invented in the 1908 timeframe and was seen installed in a Penny-Far-Thing bike. I read the article with pictures pictures back in the 1980's -- I think in was in the UK version of Bicycle Mag ...it is factually what is referred to as "prior art" for the legal beagles.

Although the loops were early springy steel in that early example, the bikes so equipped didn't make it in the market because there were weird looking, didn't look like what folks expected a bike to look like, and cost twice as much to make as a spoked bike. Kinda of the same issues this new version faces.

Maybe the inventors whould reinvent the cobble-stone road and get that popularized...and that could then drive sales of this thing. But I doubt it.

Thanks for the humorous diversion....and +5 on the comment about the creepy ad man....geez he could kill a good product by himself!

/K
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Old 12-21-13, 01:45 AM
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Old 12-21-13, 05:57 AM
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The loops should be shaped like Moebius strips and advertised as "laterally stiff, vertically complaint". A solid tire would help too, so you won't ever have a flat.
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Old 12-21-13, 08:01 AM
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I guess rim brakes are out.
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Old 12-22-13, 10:01 PM
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Possible niche applications, otherwise junk IMO.
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