Bikes Energy & Sustainability
Spokeless bicycle

Nine enterprising seniors in Yale’s Mechanical Engineering program built this rad spokeless bicycle for their mechanical design class. Thinking about the off-axis forces that those bearings will have to endure makes my head hurt (and that has to be one strong frame!), however the effect is totally worth it. [via neatorama]

30 thoughts on “Spokeless bicycle

  1. Off axis forces aside… You’ve just made a bicycle that has a very small rear wheel.

    What does that mean? it needs to turn faster to achieve “Normal” bicycle speeds… and what does this trade off mean? less torque!

    Hmm High speed…. low torque….

    Sounds like the perfect electric conversion platform!

  2. I know this is out there, but how is one supposed to ride it on real streets? kinda pessimistic of me, but I don’t know if I’d want to ride it. I know it’s a prototype. Maybe they should have thought of a retrofitting Idea for implementing this.. Love the Idea, but you needed to cut the weight down, and refine it a bit.

    Keep working, and I’m happy to see it.

    1. Yeah, it’s a proof of concept project developed for a class. They mention that the brakes are only half working as well :-). It would be cool to see some of them take the project to completion and build a more roadworthy bike based on the design!

    1. you could mount it to rub against the interior gear on the wheel…

      It might require it’s own armature, but these things are important. Tradition!

    2. On the front wheel, of course!

      Now, as for the bike: how does it perform in winter? Why can’t anyone design a bike (including components!) that won’t rust, freeze up, or otherwise break down after a season of snow, salt and below-zero temperatures?

  3. Okay, obviously the article poster needs more education. After 17 years of experience as a mechanical engineer, I must point out the fact that there are spokes on the front wheel. Maybe it should have been touted as a spoke-less drive wheel. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of being able to do something just to show you can in your own way, but in this instance I hang my head and weep for the future. I guess no child left behind isn’t such a bad thing any more since it looks like they all got left behind – nobody stands out. I guess anybody can get into YALE these days. Nothing new invented here, looks very similar to a drive mechanism for a common tumbler. Try adding some gears boys.

    1. Hi, I appreciate you taking the time to comment, but please keep it constructive here (check out our community guidelines: ). Maybe you can share your experience with us by pointing out some tips that might help improve their design, or producing and documenting your own version of the product? Please let me know if you do and I will be happy to post it here.

  4. It would be really cool to see this on a chopper bike!

    There are some pics of a wood cruiser bike with a hubless front wheel here:

    Hubless wheels have been done on bikes before- a company named Wear and Tear made a hubless front wheel/fork combo called the Black Hole in the early 90’s. It was an interesting concept but it really never worked out in production. It was extremely flexy and had too much rolling resistance/friction. Using a hubless wheel as the drive wheel poses some real gearing problems. I also think it would be better to put the main bearing support for the rim at the bottom of the wheel- it would clean up the design quite a bit and make more sense structurally.

    As it sits now it’s a neat design exercise but from an engineering standpoint it doesn’t really solve any problems as it is heavier, more complex and has greater friction than a traditional design.

  5. I forgot to mention it also makes fixing a flat tire a real pain….

    All in all my hat’s still off to them for making it work. The timing belt as a drive gear is a brilliant use of using a found item instead of machining a custom gear.

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