Loop Wheels Curl Carbon Fiber Loops into Suspension Inside the Wheels

Loop Wheels carbon fiber spring suspension bicycle wheels prototype

Spotted at the Bespoked, UK’s handmade bicycle show, Loop Wheels should be getting things Kickstarter’d this week for their carbon fiber looped bike wheels. Details are pretty scant, but the obvious is the composite looped spokes that create  three sets of springs between the hub and wheel.

The design most likely requires a drum or disc brake since the rim’s position would likely change too much for rim brakes. We’re thinking this could be a fun design for commuter and city bikes where aerodynamics and weight are slightly trumped by comfort, particularly where the streets are a bit rough. More info as it comes online, and another pic after the break…

Loop Wheels carbon fiber spring suspension bicycle wheels prototype

Thanks to Jon C. for sending these pics in!

Comments

Androo - 04/14/13 - 1:57pm

Yeah, I think that’s definitely a neat idea. Depends on how well it works, though. And how much it weighs. And how much it costs.

If it offers a lot of suspension travel than it has potential, but if it’s only a little bit, then one has to wonder why they didn’t just upsize the tire and lower the pressure a bit.

stodr - 04/14/13 - 3:15pm

I don’t think it would affect the brake track. The wheel would flex on the bottom but would return to original shape and diameter when it rolled far enough to not be in contact with the ground. If it did not return to original shape or size after the flex the ride would be really crappy.

iperov - 04/14/13 - 3:40pm

shut up and take my money!

Ck - 04/14/13 - 3:46pm

I’m intrigued. Definitely needs a disc brake setup.

comrade - 04/14/13 - 4:14pm

how is the low / high speed compression and rebound damping?

seramik - 04/14/13 - 4:50pm

that reminds me Tioga Disk Drive Rear Wheel

MMyers - 04/14/13 - 5:39pm

I was gonna make a snarky remark about damping, but if that setup provides <1.5" or so of suspension on a commuter bike, it's probably a good thing.

Clever idea, at least.

Undamped Manitous were the sh!t, back in the day. Just sayin'

Max - 04/14/13 - 5:58pm

With every rotation the springs will bend and absorb a amount of energy. Normally this is called “damping”. Its pretty useful in some cases. But it’s pretty unusual to damp a rotation of wheels, because this will slow down the straight moving. For Bicycles (and all other vehicles) you should mount your springs in the direction where the impact is coming from plus a additional damper to stop the bouncing of the spring.

Anway, WHOOOO it’s fancy Stuff out of Carbon WANT!!!! Take my Money (and brain)!

David - 04/14/13 - 6:03pm

I would like the Lucite fork too, so then I can see when it breaks apart.

Hmmmm - 04/14/13 - 6:31pm

OK, so this would feel weird, as as the ‘suspension’ compresses, your pedalling torque curve would change due to the wheel changing shape….??

Ventruck - 04/14/13 - 7:30pm

literally attempting to reinvent the wheel. My word.

Dan - 04/14/13 - 7:58pm

Seconding how compression and rebound get adjusted… Also how will it handle/shed mud? looks like lots of nooks and cranies for mud and debris to hide and cling… I don’t even want to start thinking about what kind of aero properties these bad boys have, … High on my list to try, if I every had the opportunity (’cause dang I’m curious) but low on a buy until the applications for this type of wheel are nailed down.

Watchtower - 04/14/13 - 8:16pm

“I see you have constructed a new carbon fiber suspension wheel. Your skills are complete.”

Luker - 04/14/13 - 8:37pm

Lateral stiffness?

Brandon - 04/14/13 - 9:35pm

It had better not deform too much or the bead of the tire will blow off….

ChrisC - 04/14/13 - 10:37pm

Looks to me like it is a rigid rim and all the suspension takes place within the three loops of carbon inside. No worries about wheels changing shape or tires blowing off. The axle just moves off center during compression.

ChrisC - 04/14/13 - 10:39pm

Torque wind up might be a real issue though, so even dusc brakes might not work…

ChrisC - 04/14/13 - 10:40pm

*disc

jimmythefish - 04/14/13 - 11:00pm

This looks dodgy. As per above – lateral stiffness? You have what looks like three contact points spot welded to the rim. I like my rims to stay somewhat connected to the hubs. These look like they have potential for rather catastrophic failure.

Also – why run the valve stem right through one of these three contacts?

Bob McNaughton - 04/14/13 - 11:06pm

Can’t tell if trolling or legitimate product.

I don’t see how they could maintain torsional stiffness under braking… And that falls into the “bad” category.

Mindless - 04/15/13 - 12:58am

Worst idea ever.

Gillis - 04/15/13 - 1:41am

It looks like the hubs have internal drum brakes. They both have little black levers on the outside. And you can clearly see a cable running down to the rear hub.

The way the loop-ends overlap each other, it looks like that would give some lateral stability.

It is curious as to why they put the valve stem in the middle of a loop and not between.

Ham-planet - 04/15/13 - 3:06am

I used to think that URT suspension and suspended seatposts were the worst ways to implement suspension on a bicycle.

Thank you for opening my mind, Loopwheels!

gringo - 04/15/13 - 3:10am

looks like the idea could be refined a bit in the direction of this Military version with an airless tire…flat proof and comfortable commuter tire would be sick.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jYcX_D09ig

Daver - 04/15/13 - 5:45am

BOOOIINNGGGG! like riding a loaded catapult.

Luiggi - 04/15/13 - 7:21am

The rim won’t bend or suffer from any deformation. Just the hub will move relatively to it.

Ryan - 04/15/13 - 9:32am

Quite refreshing to see such a new solution.

Nash - 04/15/13 - 11:00am

Have fun on the corners at speed.

ant1 - 04/15/13 - 1:29pm

there is not way i’m putting a set of these on my P5.

g - 04/15/13 - 11:36pm

@Ryan – “new solution” to what problem?

i'd like to see some comparisons - 04/23/13 - 1:15pm

on flat ground due to the hub always being nearer the ground than the top of the wheel, all three “loops” have to flex and return for each revolution of the wheel, meaning it would be like going up a gentle hill all the time (work wise)? (unlike conventional suspension that will flex due to riders weight and stop regardless of revolutions.

This is just something i thought of the instant i saw these, they do look fun though but if indeed they do feel like your “going up hill” all the time they’d have to be VERY fun to be worth the extra effort. I guess for crazy obstacles??

i’d like to see side by side freewheel tests for riders, i think they might be radically less efficient than regular wheels (more comfy maybe :).

Ronnie - 08/22/13 - 8:04am

Wonder what it would do on an Experimental Mini Max airplane….???? Hmmmmmm

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