The Dailymail headline by Mark Prigg reads, “The British engineer who really reinvented the wheel: Loopwheel system abandons spokes for springs to give a smoother ride.”
Sam Pearce’s invention sprang from the desire for a tire with it’s own built in suspension, according to this article:
44 year old Nottingham mechanical engineer Sam Pearce told MailOnline he came up with idea while watching a mother try and push a child in a buggy up a kerb.
‘In 2007 I was sitting in an airport in Holland, and I noticed when a mother pushed a pushchair against a kerb, the baby was pushed forward.
I suddenly wondered why the wheel couldn’t have its own suspension, and quickly drew the idea down – and then did nothing about it for two years.
‘Then I had a spare afternoon and remembered the idea, so decided to make a model with springs made from plastic guttering I bought from B&Q and a pencil as a hub – and it worked perfectly’.
The loopwheels inventor has launched a popular Kickstarter campaign in order to mass produce the smooth riding tire.
‘We’re at preproduction – we’ve made wheels, but we’re now hoping to get funding for tooling so we can mass product them, and we are planning to spend the next two months getting production ready.’
A Kickstarter project has already raised £48,000, exceeding the £40,000 target needed to get production started, and Mr Pearce, who is developing the wheel with his wife Gemma, admitted he was stunned by the response.
‘We were very surprised by the response, 4 weeks ago nobody knew about them.’
Mr Pearce said riding the wheels is a unique experience.
‘When you first sit on the bike, it feels normal.
‘But as soon as you ride,on a gravel road, it feels like velvet – there is no noise from the road, and it is exactly like riding a normal bike.
Once the 20inch wheel is in production, there are plans for a larger version for mountain bikes and even the possibility of a car version in the future.
‘There is no reason it couldn’t work in a car – although there are some big technical issues to solve.
‘The biggest problem we’ve found so far is that you tend to ride through bumps quickly, slowing down for corners becomes a problem and you end up riding so fast.