The Future of Cycling is Hubless and Spokeless

The Cyclotron promises to “revolutionize” bicycling, 200 years into its evolution.

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Cyclotron

Photo: Cyclotron, Kickstarter.

“Ummmm, look at this bike.”

That’s how I was greeted this morning as I strolled into the office, a dramatic melody pumping out of my coworker’s computer. Flashing across his screen was the Kickstarter video for the Cyclotron, a hyper-futuristic bicycle inspired in both name and aesthetic by the 1982 science-fiction film Tron. Taking a page from the Light Cycle’s design books, the Cyclotron features illuminated, spokeless wheels an an ultra-modern aerodynamic body.

But unlike the Light Cycle, the Cyclotron is a real, functional prototype, and if their over-funded Kickstarter campaign is any indication, it will be whizzing down city streets as early as June, 2017.

Dubbed “The Future of Cycling,” the Cyclotron is packed with an insane array of high-tech features and game-changing design that makes it quite unlike any other bike on the market. Most obviously, the wheels are hubless and spokeless, instead featuring LED-illuminated wheel wells that automatically turn themselves on in low light conditions, with the option to also project a red laser beam bike lane behind you for good measure. They also have space for what the manufacturers call “utility slots” which enable riders to slide cargo baskets into the wheel. The tires are solid polymer – apparently good for up to 6,000 miles – which means you’ll never have to change a flat again, but may feel the bumps and lumps of the road a little more than on a traditional tire.

cyclotron

Foldable and detachable cargo baskets for your 6 pack of, uh, waters. Photo: Cyclotron, Kickstarter.

While the base model Cyclotron offers a 12-speed manual transmission and mechanical caliper brakes, a top-of-the-line model offers an integrated 18-speed electronic gearbox and hydraulic halo brakes, with an option to enable an automatic mode and let the bike do the shifting for you. The drivetrain is encapsulated in the frame, which itself is constructed of a “space grade” carbon fiber composite.

And because it’s 2016, the Cyclotron is obviously packed full of digital sensors and integrated with a proprietary smartphone app. Bluetooth Low Energy sensors in the frame track real-time data on everything we’ve come to expect from Strava – speed, distance, elevation, heart rate, calories burned, even coaching – and GPS functionality offers in-app navigation, anti-theft tracking, and an autonomous crash reporting service should the rider become unresponsive.

Every component, including a self charging battery estimated to last 8 hours, is encapsulated in the frame to preserve the bike’s clean lines. Even with all that technology, the Cyclotron still manages to weigh in at an impressively low 26 lb maximum for the 18-speed model. Even more impressive is the relatively low price. Early bird bidders on the campaign managed to snag a base model for £899, ranging up to £2,699 for the regularly priced 18-speed.

As said, the Cyclotron is still in its crowdfunding phase, but the working prototype and the successfully funded campaign hint at this futuristic vision becoming a reality very soon.

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5 Comments

  • Tom Montalbano

    Man, I totally agree with all the comments below. Why do we keep trying to change something that’s already perfect?

  • Nick Weiland

    yeah, in the future, we’ll all be transporting pellegrino in a super aggressive racing position on a bike that is an excessive complication of a simple idea. the future sucks.

  • A “smart” bicycle. I guess that means a dumb human can ride it. They don’t show any way of attaching a rack and panniers to it, which for me would be the No. 1 thing I would want. But I guess that’s a dumb feature, not a smart feature. Probably will cost as much as my car did.

    Paul Harris
    Duncan, BC

    • Colin Bryant

      Paul, the article and photo show an optional large storage area, in the rear wheel. That said, I’m more of a believer in the KISS principal and would also be afraid to have it stolen from in front of a store.

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