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Folding Bike Wheel Invented Answered

Traveling with bikes can made easier with couplings and taking it apart, but the wheel has always been a solid item that has to be worked around. This might not be true in the future with this new folding wheel that is made up of six segments.

This design by Duncan Fitzsimmons is being looked at by major manufacturers, or so he says, but no matter what it will take a while to come to market and likely cost more than all of my bikes combined. I can only hope that these eventually do some out and the economy of scale makes them only mildly ridiculous in price.

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23 Replies

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incorrigible packrat (author)2008-02-11

The wheels on the Apollo program lunar rovers were collapsible. Mind you, they had less in the way of gravity to contend with.

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Patrik (author)2008-02-04

I invented a folding bike wheel once. Let's just say I stumbled upon it by accident. Didn't unfold though... ;-)

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Goodhart (author)Patrik2008-02-04

Aye, neither did mine :-) Gave me a headache and a nearly permanent scar on my shoulder though.

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waytooslow (author)2008-02-01

if the process was fully automated and was made of aluminum it would not be that expensive

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Goodhart (author)waytooslow2008-02-01

Looking at that design closely, aluminum may not have the tensile strength to hold up to bumps and turns, well.

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roughrider (author)Goodhart2008-02-03

Its probably made of uh... tita&$#%@*um.

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leebryuk (author)2008-02-04

I read their site and they product is made from carbon fiber.

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leebryuk (author)2008-02-04

Spokes of all designs (including low count) do not allow for much tensile stress beyond what is initially loaded during truing. While one set of spokes compresses a small amount (lets say the wheel closes to the ground) the opposite set opposes that compression. The adjacent spokes spread the load by vectors. As far as turns, you are speaking of torsional stress as well as lateral forces. Again, this is handled by the opposing forces of each spoke or blade on any wheel. I doubt that this wheel is made of aluminum. By the shape of the spokes/blades I would strongly guess that they are shaped composite blades (carbon fiber.) They are also road tires, and that being they made be optimized for those who travel extensively with their bikes. This would included triatheletes. I give them high marks. The only problem is overcoming the traditionally conservative cycling market. Good luck!

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leebryuk (author)2008-02-04

I am sure that they have tested this beyond sanity. Think about it. In our litigious society an unsafe product that is ridden by children would be sued out of existence very quickly. It's sad to say that the government won't look out for us, so we rely on the legal system to make up for government inaction. On the other hand, it is sort of a free market approach to regulation. *** As a frequent international playboy who sits in coach/economy class, I can attest to the cost of bicycle shipping. When the box is small enough, you say that you are taking bike parts with you. Then it counts as part of your main luggage. Big wheels make it impossible to do this as they are a dead give away. Folding bikes get the same pass as long as you say that they are bike parts. And your polite. Well done. Innovation and tech married together. +1

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toxonix (author)2008-02-03

FAIL Do not want. A folding wheel will probably fold exactly at the moment you want it not to.

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Weissensteinburg (author)toxonix2008-02-03

I'm pretty sure it'd be relatively easy to lock it in place.

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thinkahead (author)2008-02-03

Is that green thing the axle?

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roughrider (author)2008-02-03

If you put springs in there some place could you convert it into a folding suspension bike wheel?

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Gene Hacker (author)2008-02-03

DAMN! I had that idea. Except, I came up with a different design.

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chrisdp (author)2008-02-03

Excellent idea. Can't wait for the mountainbike version!

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Bran (author)2008-02-01

It's a nice invention, but it would suck if it collapsed whilst riding.

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Goodhart (author)Bran2008-02-01

Yes, that would not be fun. I remember when my one brother ran over my bike's front wheel and it folded in half...the bike halted immediately....I on the other hand, did not.

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Bran (author)Goodhart2008-02-01

Ouch! Have you read of my friend's bike ?

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bobulator (author)Goodhart2008-02-02

there's probably some sort of latch on it stopping it from closing. i like.

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Notbob (author)2008-02-01

I want one for my bicycle....

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