SoftWheel, a Potential Future of Self-Sprung Wheels

SoftWheel 8 photos
Photo: SoftWheel
SoftWheel is a new invention from Israel, and it brings a fresh re-interpretation for the wheel-suspension combo. In fact, the SoftWheel embeds suspension in its very design, also helping solving one of the biggest problems in transportation, the unsprung mass.
The principle behind the SoftWheel is simple, and it relies on replacing the solid spokes with suspension elements, namely, special, adjustable telescopic elements. This links the hub to the rim, but keeps the hub mobile, so it will not always reside in the center of the rim.

Suspension elements become active only when needed, SoftWheel’s COO Amichay Gross says, providing the same experience as a solid wheel design on smooth surfaces. However, when the wheel encounters an obstacle, the telescopic spokes move the hub accordingly, absorbing much more of the impact energy, and smoothing out the ride.

This compact suspension solution also works for multi-directional shocks and has enhanced versatility as it can be retro-fitted in almost any wheeled frame. Gross also believes that SoftWheel will test this design with light motorcycles and electric bikes, as it could save up both space and weight, while actually providing a better road stance. Currently used in two designs, a wheelchair and a folding bicycle, the SoftWheel is still being refined and developed.

The impact force threshold can be adjusted according to each application, and this makes the response and feel of the SoftWheel easy to adapt to a wide range of scenarios. Now, looking at the SoftWheel and adding carbon fiber and special-design Öhlins shocks to the equation leads us into dream land, with some really nifty and futuristic trail bikes in mind…

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