Small, foldable bikes have become a staple of city commutes for all those of us cycling to catch trains or zooming across town to work. Unfortunately, for all the convenience of folding up nice and neat, those mini road-beasts tend not to pack any suspension to soften the pothole-blows to your behind.
Enter the Loopwheel. Designed by Nottinghamshire's Sam Pearce, the Loopwheel replaces traditional spokes with three natty carbon fibre springs, providing you with the smoothest 20-incher you're ever likely to ride. The springs allow the wheel hub to 'float' inside of the rim, providing 360 degrees of internal (tangential) suspension. Loopwheels weigh a mere 300g more than their spoked counterparts too, while providing reduced vibration and suspension over bumps, kerbs and cobbles.
The Loopwheel has been through nearly four years of R&D and testing, and is now being offered through a Kickstarter project in order to bring it into production. They'll only be available as 20-inchers for now, with a front and rear version both fitted with a hub and brakes (and 3 gears for the rear wheel). While that limits this innovative technology to small foldable bikes, in an interview with BikeRadar, Sam indicated that both a 26" and 29" model were in the works. [Kickstarter via BikeRadar]