It’s not everyday that you see such an elegant invention. One of our crowdfunding backers and students, Sam Pearce, has reinvented the wheel and he needs your help to turn his invention into a real life product.
We rode one of the prototypes late last year and were blown away by just how well it performed. I’m proud to say that we managed to pledge in time to get the very first set of loopwheels, so can’t wait to build a special bike just for them.
Take a moment to look at their Kickstarter campaign, then choose a pledge tier and support them, you won’t regret it!
People laugh if they hear of an engineer trying to reinvent the wheel. But Sam Pearce, of Nottinghamshire design company Jelly Products, has spent 4 years doing exactly that.
Loopwheels are brand-new ‘pat pending’ bicycle wheels that have integral suspension within the wheel. A spring system between the hub and the rim of the wheel provides suspension, cushioning the rider from bumps and potholes in the road. This gives amazing comfort compared with a conventional spoked wheel.
Loopwheels gives the rider a really smooth ride, and people find they can take bumps, kerbs and cobbles more easily on loopwheels. Sam has developed his loopwheel initially as a 20” wheel, which is a common size for folding bicycles. With the rising interest in cycling in the UK, folding bikes are becoming more and more popular with commuters. Most folding bikes do not have suspension because traditional suspension adds weight and bulk to the bicycle. That is particularly unwelcome in a bicycle that needs to fold down to a compact size. Loopwheels provide suspension in a bike which hasn’t got room for a traditional suspension system. They can also be used in addition to conventional suspension.
Sam explains: “I first had the idea of a wheel with suspension inside it when I was sitting at an airport waiting for a flight. I saw a mother pushing her child in a buggy. The front wheel hit a slight kerb and the child jolted forward because of the impact. It happened several times in the hour I was there and that’s what sparked my idea for better suspension, within the wheel itself. I love cycling, so I thought it would be awesome to ride a bike with in-wheel suspension. But it took many, many prototypes, designs and re-designs to get a wheel that really worked well. Then we had to put it through a lot of testing, to check strength, durability and performance, so it’s been over 4 years in development to get to the product you see today.”
Loopwheels are being launched at Bespoked Bristol where over 80 exhibitors will be showcasing handmade bikes from across the world. As interest in UK cycling has spiraled, so there has been a resurgence in UK bicycle-making.
The UK is admired for creative design and loopwheels are a typically quirky UK invention.