Three years in development, Munich-based designer & inventor Andrea Mocellin has just unveiled a new full-size 26″ Revolve folding wheel concept. Based on the idea that small wheeled folding bikes result in unnecessary performance compromises, Mocellin’s Revolve folds the wheel instead of the frame. From urban & travel bike mobility to a more compact & portable solution for wheelchair users, Revolve has a wide range of potential applications.

Revolve 26″ folding bike wheel & solid tire concept

The Revolve wheel wasn’t designed exclusively for bikes, but the full-sized folding wheel can provide the same benefits to many applications. Mocellin, who has worked for several years designing in the auto industry, has lived in big cities in Europe, Asia & the US and regularly travels with a compact folding bike. Getting through airports, commuting by public transport, and just riding roads & bike paths with a folding bike, he felt that the small wheel bikes lost something in regular handling and their ability to roll over small irregularities in the road. And he wasn’t happy with what he called the ugly look of current folding bikes.

So he developed something different.

While Mocellin doesn’t have a complete folding bike concept totally sorted out yet, he has dialed in this new folding wheel. And that means the next step for him is to delve into his own folding bicycle design, based on the Revolve wheel.

Tech details & how it works

The way it works is by dividing the wheel into six segments that lock together in place to form the complete wheel. Each of those six segments are joined together with six more connecting links. Those links then are connected with a rigid spoke to each separate end of the hub.

When magnetically locked together everything is completely stable. But just unlock & separate the hub ends, and the wheel collapses down to a claimed 40% of the original wheel size – just 27cm in diameter and 47cm deep (10.6″ x 18.5″).

For now it looks like all of the structural elements are made from aluminum, but Mocellin has also proposed the use of carbon fiber to make significant weight savings.

Of course on the outside of it all, the Revolve wheel rolls on an airless tire. Mocellin spent almost as much time optimizing the tire setup & composition, as with the rest of the wheel. A smooth connection & transition between the individual six segments is absolutely critical to making the wheel ride smoothly on the road. But Mocellin claims that recent advances in airless tires have made them both comfortable & practical, and can be developed with a full range of tread patterns for riding any surface.

All sorts of bikes for urban mobility of travel could benefit from the folding Revolve wheel concept.

So far Mocellin has put the Revolve functional prototype wheels to work in a fixed gear city bike (where braking concerns are moot.) But the hub system could be developed to incorporate a disc brake rotor mount or a hub-based coaster brake, before looking to brake directly on the 6 rim & 6 connecting link segments.

Obviously the patent pending Revolve folding wheel prototype remains a proof of concept rather than a commercial viable consumer cycling product. But Mocellin is clearly thinking outside of the box, and claims that the Revolve wheel is production-ready.

So if a cycling industry company with production capabilities picks this up, it could make for some cool alternative folding bike solutions down the road.

Revolve-wheel.com

31 COMMENTS

  1. So, the question is: What is the benefit of folding a wheel up into this format? Is it easier to fold down a whole bike with football shaped folded down wheels, or is it easier to leave the wheels round and fold the frame? This guy really needs to develop a complete concept and not just a folding wheel. The image of the guy on the escalator holding a lone wheel says it all. This was designed as a wheel, not as a system. What is someone going to do with ONE wheel?
    Of course, there must be some interesting possibilities for this system and I look forward to seeing what comes of it.

    • I think this is just the first step. That wheel looks to be pretty heavily engineered (and still needs refinement I’m sure). But it all costs time and money. By putting it out there for others to see maybe he can gain some traction (see what I did there 😉 with a manufacturer or investor. I to would like to see a fully resolved complete folding bike that makes use of the size and shape of these wheels for maximum pack-ability or transport.

    • Agreed, the wheel is way wider in the folded position, so it either needs to be removed (way less convenient), or the bike needs to be single sided (significantly complicates the rear end) or the frame/fork needs to break/hinge somewhere (inelegant and or bulky). So definitely needs work.

      Also doesn’t he know that 26″ is already a small inferior wheel size? Ha. Anyway, fun engineering exercise, but maybe lacking in practical application.

    • Quote; “While Mocellin doesn’t have a complete folding bike concept totally sorted out yet, he has dialed in this new folding wheel. And that means the next step for him is to delve into his own folding bicycle design, based on the Revolve wheel.”
      He has to start somewhere, and in this case it was the wheels.

  2. Well at least this guy can say he reinvented the wheel. Success is up for debate though. Oddly if this idea was applied to what he is avoiding (20″ or smaller tires) he could make a smaller folding bike.

    • Eerrh, rearranging items by removing empty space to get a smaller volume is exactly what “compact” means.
      If you do the math you’ll se that it does take up less space.
      Working with wholesale of bikeparts, I know how much space rims and wheels use, and it’s massive.
      In example; a pallet can hold around 20 wheels, but mathematically a pallet could easily hold 30 folding wheels taking up ame space.

  3. They even have a handle so you can carry one in each hand while you drag your unwieldy bike frame by its filthy chain. Convenient!

  4. It really is amazing how much time and effort was spent on making the wheel fold up but then he forgets about the rest of the bike. The video implies that there are people who walk around with just one wheel and that people in wheelchairs need to be able to swap wheels to their fixie. (How many people use wheelchairs and ride bikes?) He even forgets about the inconvenient fact that bikes have two wheels and the back one is usually chain driven.

    There are a lot of unanswered questions for how this would make a more convenient folding bike. The first one that comes to mind is that you have to remove both wheels That leaves you with 3 different things to carry instead of just one. If it’s chain driven, that leaves a messy chain flapping around. Belt drives like to be kept tight, so that would be difficult. Maybe an inefficient and heavy shaft drive? I could go on, but you get the point.

  5. I for one think this is innovative and creative. I think Andrea deserves a lot of credit for not only thinking outside the box, but also building his idea into a working prototype. Definitively this deserves an applause.

    The critique / comments that Andrea should have incorporated his innovatibe wheel into a “system” is probably right, but for now, starting with the wheel, he is off to a great start. If Andrea is able to reinvent (redesign) a wheel, imagine what he can do to a bike frame!

    Good work Andrea, very innovative and creative! Respect.

  6. This could work on a commuter with a lefty type fork on the front and a lefty type rear. Then you could potentially fold the bike. Though I’m not sure how the rear wheel will collapse without removal or affecting the drivetrain.

  7. Wheelchairs actually make a lot of sense. Folding the wheels and the chair I bet you could get it in the trunk of a small car.

  8. There are more hilarious comments posted here than a Seinfield episode. I’m gonna come back later on and re read the comments section for another laugh.

  9. Neat idea, by the way. It is unclear what are the downsides to this design (there must be some), but kudos for thinking outside the box.

    And to those, who wants complete concept of folding bike with folding wheels: from commercial standpoint it is smarter NOT to release whole concept at once. The idea is already pretty radical and needs some real-world feedback (definitely not all these snarky comments) by mere cyclists as you and me for shaping the product and making it better. Once all the bugs are remedied, then go ahead and make a folding bike. Making it all at once is a recipe for disaster.

    • Thanks for answering to all the other comments with a post I agree with! Starting from the wheel for more efficent vehicles! do it all in once is not possibile yet! especially if you are not part of a big OEM but a small indipendent designer looking for a little bit of more magic in our everyday life!

  10. Now, the ad looks great and all but he is carrying ONE wheel. Lets redo the add where he is carrying TWO wheels and the rest of a bike. Then, I think, you will see the novelty of the idea starts to wear thin.

  11. I fail to see the point of this. It’s cool being able to fold up your front wheel, although it doesn’t appear that much easier to transport. Plus, it won’t work for the rear wheel, unless you have a single speed (not even sure then, because there is no demonstration of that working). This appears to be an idea without a market. Based on how he attempts to roll the bike in the video, I’m not even sure this wheel is that stable, especially if you factor in side load forces from a sprocket.

  12. 20”wheels work well with folding bikes. You don’t need a bigger wheel, especially one that is not pneumatic.
    The real issue with smaller wheels is
    that they resemble the wheels on children’s bikes. It’s all about how it looks. Most people can’t get past that.

    • Indeed, I have been using my folding bicycle with 20″ (451 mm) wheels extensively the past year and have been amazed at how well they perform in an urban environment. Wheels on children’s bicycles and cars are about the same size, so all the infrastructure for bicycles and cars is just as accessible with 20″ wheels as it is with larger wheel sizes. Only going up curbs where you are not supposed to can be tricky, but on a BMX you can do that to, so wheel size is not even the issue.

What do you think?