Sam Pearce’s Loopwheel: Tangential Suspension for Bikes

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Six years ago, industrial designer Sam Pearce was sitting in an airport when “I saw a mother pushing her child in a buggy,” he writes. “The front wheel hit a slight kerb [sic] and the child jolted forward because of the impact. It happened several times in the time I was waiting there.” He then did what many ID’ers do, which is to find the nearest piece of paper and sketch out a potential solution. What he drew in his notebook was this:

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A simple idea for a wheel with built-in suspension.

Two years later, while off-road cycling, he remembered the sketch and began thinking if a suspension system like that could be built into a bike wheel. Now, many years of tinkering later, what Pearce has come up with is this:

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It’s called the Loopwheel, and its system of “tangential suspension”—essentially leaf springs folded back in on themselves—are not only workable, but they provide a gentler ride over sharp obstacles due to physics:

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For now, Pearce is focusing on developing Loopwheels for smaller bikes, because the design “[allows] suspension where suspension can’t normally fit,” as with a folding bike design.

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Last month Pearce debuted his creation at the UK’s Bespoked Bicycle show. Response was tremendous, and he’s now seeking Kickstarter funding to get the Loopwheel into proper production; up until now he’s been making them as one-offs in his shop.

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