Loopwheels: a smoother, more comfortable bicycle ride

Project launched April 16, 2013 From Nottingham, United Kingdom
Funding ended May 15, 2013 Financial goal £40,000

AUTHORS OF THE PROJECT

Sam Pearce and his wife Gemma have a small company called Jelly Products Ltd, which provides product design services.

Sam has always been good at making things. He did Mechanical Engineering as a first degree at the University of Leeds (1990), and then a Masters in Industrial Design for Engineers at the University of Teesside (1992). His first proper design job was with Surgical Innovations in Leeds, designing equipment for minimally invasive surgery. He then worked for Psion who made some of the world's first palmtop computers. In 2008 he designed a new folding mechanism for a child's stroller, which he patented and sold to the nursery products company Dorel Europe.

ABOUT THE PROJECT

Loopwheels are a brand-new bicycle wheel with integral suspension. A spring system between the hub and the rim of the wheel provides suspension, cushioning the rider from bumps and potholes in the road. Loopwheels have a conventional hub with a hub brake and hub gears. But the spokes are replaced by a spring system. This gives an amazingly smooth, comfortable ride compared with a conventional spoked wheel.

When riding a loopwheel users don’t experience the usual feeling of vibration up the arms, because loopwheels absorb and isolate riders from the “noise” of the road. This provides less wrist and shoulder ache on long rides. The pedalling cadence is slightly different when one rides loopwheels, because the springs release energy more evenly. This makes for a very smooth easy ride.


RISKS AND CHALLENGES

Firstly, there may be a delay in supply of components. Assuming the authors meet their funding target, the biggest risk is reliance on external suppliers. The risk here is that there are delays in production. A delay in the supply of one component will hold up the whole production of loopwheels. However, the authors are confident in their suppliers and have experience of working with them. They have also identified a back-up supplier for every component.

Secondly, the team has very little experience in managing a manufacturing facility. However, they are being helped by a good friend who has 15 years' production experience and is working with them part-time.

Finally, there is always a chance of unexpected untoward incidents.