As bicycling for transportation gains momentum in cities, so does the quest for innovative designs that support urban mobility. An Italian designer has engineered a hubless folding bike (above) that compacts to the size of an umbrella. Imagine this one parked next to, or under, your desk.
The folding bicycles we’re accustomed to seeing on city streets typically come with small wheels and a hinged frame that yields a blocky profile when folded.
Gianluca Sada’s prototype folder re-imagines the form by giving riders a full-size bicycle, but with two key differences: The 26-inch wheels are spokeless and hubless, anchored to the frame with a unique mechanism, and the frame folds, with a tip forward of the seat, along a parallel line that yields the slim profile you see here. The folded frame plus wheels fit into a custom-designed bag that can be worn as a backpack or rolled into a home or office building, onto public transportation and through regular baggage check at airports.
See the bike in action here:
While the design is a stand-out – both modern and curiously retro in a Machine Age way — questions remain regarding those hubless, spokeless wheels. As one observer points out, “The design definitely seems to address the portability issue, but its performance still remains questionable…While traditional bikes get their strength from the tension created in the spokes, the Sada bike puts all the tension on the rims, which simply adds mass to the outside wheel.”
Still, creative design and engineering like Sada’s continue to push the boundaries of accessibility, ease and style in urban mobility. Sada is seeking funding to further advance his design.
So, what is your reaction? Would you ride this bicycle in the city?
Photos: Sada Bike