We’re pretty sure there’s no need to reinvent the bicycle wheel. That, of course, won’t stop anyone from trying to and the Loopwheels definitely seem like a nice upgrade.
Designed by Jelly Products, it’s an erstwhile standard 20-inch bicycle wheel with a twist: it comes with a suspension system built into the wheel itself. Switch them in place of your bike’s standard wheels and enjoy the most stable ride you can imagine. Or, better yet, use them for your folding bike (which, usually, skips the suspension forks to save on weight and bulk) to give it a full-fledged suspension without adding much in terms of size.
Loopwheels use an off-the-shelf bicycle wheel but removes the spokes in place of a spring system between the hub and the rim for integral suspension. That suspension is made up of three carbon composite springs that act as shock absorbers with 45mm of travel, cushioning the rider for a smooth and comfortable ride. Unlike standard bike suspension systems, it provides tangential suspension, allowing your ride to absorb shocks from all directions — even from the front and rear.
The added components don’t make the wheels all that much heavier, too, as each Loopwheel only weighs 300 grams more than a similar spoked equivalent. Because they use hubs and rims similar to standard wheels, they can be installed on any bicycle designed to take 20-inch wheels. Other sizes may come soon, although that will likely depend on how well the current size sells.
Currently, Loopwheels is collecting pledges on Kickstarter to raise funding. Available pledges to reserve a wheel starts at £195.