Friday, October 14, 2011

New Bicycle Wheel Design Not So New

Fast Company Magazine recently featured an interesting new bicycle wheel design by Ron Arad. It utilizes 18 individual strips of steel bent in such a way that shock is absorbed, providing a smooth ride:

It's an interesting design, to be sure. And it sure seemed familiar to me. But I couldn't quite remember what bicycle company had explored the idea previously.

Then it occurred to wasn't a bicycle company that pioneered the use of bent strips of metal as a shock-absorbing wheel technology at all. It was an aircraft parts manufacturer in the 1910s and 1920s. Here is their design:

The Atlas Wheel design never took off. Whether it was due to technical shortcomings or business circumstances is beyond me. But it's interesting to see such an old design philosophy resurrected today. I wish Ron the best of luck with his bicycle application.

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