The wheel is a pretty great invention, one of the best. One reason it’s great is that it’s simple. A tire on a rim bound to a hub with spokes is a worthy modificiation and also dead simple. Been around for centuries.
For some bicycle designers – who apparently don’t ride very much – love to tinker with the wheel and in their visions, all future wheels are hubless like the motorcycles in Akira. What’s wrong with the hub and spokes? My new wheels are fairly light but more importantly they are very strong (I’m not a 65kg sack of gristle and blood) and can be trued or have bearings replaced by just about any mechanic anywhere. There is beauty in their refined execution of simple idea, like one of the amazing single cylinder diesel engines you see on utility vehicles in Yunnan, handcranked and cooled by a small bucket of water that sits on the cylinder head and uses gravity, which is pretty foolproof, as the pump.
Here’s a new bike with a hubless wheel. Sure, it’s a rough prototype, but it lacks grace, and looks complicated and incredibly heavy. And just how the hell do you even change a tire?
Please, just go to your CAAD systems and dream up a drive system that offers stepless gearing equivalent to the range of a mountain bike that I can use on my roadbike so when I go back to ride in Borneo and hit that switchback that goes from steep to Ratso Rizzo (I’m walking here) I can ride it. That would be useful.