Three years in development, Munich-based designer & inventor Andrea Mocellin has just unveiled a new full-size 26″ Revolve folding wheel concept. Based on the idea that small wheeled folding bikes result in unnecessary performance compromises, Mocellin’s Revolve folds the wheel instead of the frame. From urban & travel bike mobility to a more compact & portable solution for wheelchair users, Revolve has a wide range of potential applications.
Revolve 26″ folding bike wheel & solid tire concept
The Revolve wheel wasn’t designed exclusively for bikes, but the full-sized folding wheel can provide the same benefits to many applications. Mocellin, who has worked for several years designing in the auto industry, has lived in big cities in Europe, Asia & the US and regularly travels with a compact folding bike. Getting through airports, commuting by public transport, and just riding roads & bike paths with a folding bike, he felt that the small wheel bikes lost something in regular handling and their ability to roll over small irregularities in the road. And he wasn’t happy with what he called the ugly look of current folding bikes.
So he developed something different.
While Mocellin doesn’t have a complete folding bike concept totally sorted out yet, he has dialed in this new folding wheel. And that means the next step for him is to delve into his own folding bicycle design, based on the Revolve wheel.
Tech details & how it works
The way it works is by dividing the wheel into six segments that lock together in place to form the complete wheel. Each of those six segments are joined together with six more connecting links. Those links then are connected with a rigid spoke to each separate end of the hub.
When magnetically locked together everything is completely stable. But just unlock & separate the hub ends, and the wheel collapses down to a claimed 40% of the original wheel size – just 27cm in diameter and 47cm deep (10.6″ x 18.5″).
For now it looks like all of the structural elements are made from aluminum, but Mocellin has also proposed the use of carbon fiber to make significant weight savings.
Of course on the outside of it all, the Revolve wheel rolls on an airless tire. Mocellin spent almost as much time optimizing the tire setup & composition, as with the rest of the wheel. A smooth connection & transition between the individual six segments is absolutely critical to making the wheel ride smoothly on the road. But Mocellin claims that recent advances in airless tires have made them both comfortable & practical, and can be developed with a full range of tread patterns for riding any surface.
All sorts of bikes for urban mobility of travel could benefit from the folding Revolve wheel concept.
So far Mocellin has put the Revolve functional prototype wheels to work in a fixed gear city bike (where braking concerns are moot.) But the hub system could be developed to incorporate a disc brake rotor mount or a hub-based coaster brake, before looking to brake directly on the 6 rim & 6 connecting link segments.
Obviously the patent pending Revolve folding wheel prototype remains a proof of concept rather than a commercial viable consumer cycling product. But Mocellin is clearly thinking outside of the box, and claims that the Revolve wheel is production-ready.
So if a cycling industry company with production capabilities picks this up, it could make for some cool alternative folding bike solutions down the road.