Bicycles without spokes – types and features

A bicycle without spokes is an unconventional solution to improve the appearance of a familiar bike. Breaking stereotypes and creating something new is the motto of the engineers of the 21st century. Modern technology has not passed by the bicycle. The changes have affected not only the technical characteristics, but also the appearance: handlebars, wheels, seats and other elements.

Riding a bicycle is one of the most popular ways of transportation. Such walks are economical and environmentally friendly, and most importantly – healthy. Every year there are more and more bicycle enthusiasts. Therefore, the demand for bikes is growing, and new ideas are proposed by the owners themselves.

But what can replace the bicycle spokes in the wheel and how is it possible? We will find out in more detail in the article.

History of the spokeless bicycle


The first bicycle was invented over 200 years ago. In the 1820s, the first models were made entirely of wood, including the wheels and wooden sticks instead of spokes.

The function of the spokes is to connect the center hub of the wheel to the rim. If they were taken out, the wheel would simply not be fixed, and it would be impossible to move. Therefore, it is difficult to imagine a bicycle whose model functions without spokes, and there is nothing in the wheels.

The first bicycle with wheels without spokes was designed by Italian designer Franco Sbarro. Subsequently, spokeless wheels began to appear on motorcycles and automobiles.

Now there are several manufacturing companies, specializing in the production of original models of bicycles without spokes. Therefore, finding such a bike is not a problem.

Variety of spokeless bicycle wheels

Engineers have found three ways to replace spokes:

  1. Cast discs.
  2. Elliptical bands.
  3. Nulla.

Each option has its pros and cons. They differ from each other in the elements that creatively replace conventional spokes. Let’s look at each one separately.

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On cast discs.

Cast-iron wheels are the most common option. The appearance of a bicycle wheels with cast rims instead of spokes resemble car wheels. They look solid and attract attention. The design does not go unnoticed.

Design features:

  • Instead of spokes – blades of different shapes;
  • the number of blades – from 3 to 6 per disc;
  • wheels are not demountable;
  • bikes are equipped with disc brakes or V-brakes;
  • disc material – carbon and aluminum alloys.

Cast rims were originally made for racing bike models. Because they offer the least amount of air resistance and allow the rider to reach maximum speed when riding. Alloy rims are made for those who like to race.

In addition to manufacturing wheels for bicycles, many well-known brands also use cast wheels in the manufacture of cars. For example: BMW, Ferrari, Land Rover.

On elliptical bands.

The elliptical band bicycle wheel is otherwise known as the “loop wheel. The mechanism was invented by British engineer Sam Pearce. The edges of the ribbons connect in the center and the middle of the ribbons connect to the rim of the wheel. Thus, the load is distributed evenly.

Design features:

  • elliptic bands instead of spokes;
  • number of ribbons – 3 pieces per rim;
  • the central part is made in the form of a triangle, where the hub is installed;
  • Material of elliptic ribbons is carbon fiber.

The shape of the hinges is achieved by installing the straps in the center section parallel rather than overlapping. The design perfectly cushions the bike on uneven roads and a variety of obstacles.



The Italian model of the bicycle Nulla is striking in its design and design features. When you see photos or videos of the bike, you might think it is the transport of the future. It is hard to imagine that it can safely ride through the streets of the city.

In translation from the Italian “nulla” means “emptiness.” This name suits the bike perfectly, because the wheel of the bicycle has a void instead of spokes.

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Design features:

  • There are no centers of rotation and the front fork;
  • the rear wheel is an inner gear, next to which is an outer hub gear;
  • the front wheel is mounted to the handlebar thanks to rollers.

Nulla is in development, so it is not mass-produced. It can be purchased from manufacturers for a high price as a custom order.

Two options for transmitting force:

  1. Drive belt. The rim of the rear wheel is the inner pinion and the hub is the outer pinion. Thus, the assembly is located near the pedals, so maximum torque efficiency is achieved.
  2. Chain transmission. The torque force from the drive sprocket is transmitted to an intermediate axle, the ends of which have a large and a small sprocket. The large sprocket uses the chain to transmit the force to the hub sprocket. The hub is set in motion and engages with the teeth of the rear wheel rim, which begins to unwind.

As mentioned above, the Nulla model is not yet mass-produced. It is only available to manufacturers and those who are willing to pay incredibly large sums for exclusivity.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Bicycles without Spokes

Each type of bicycle without spokes in the wheel has its pros and cons. Consider each of the varieties listed above.

Alloy wheels

alloy wheels


  1. It is possible to develop the maximumspeed due to the minimum resistance to oncoming air.
  2. High rigidity due to a single design.
  3. Easy to accelerate and does not spring.


  1. No disc repairs possible.
  2. Increased weight of the bicycle by 1-1.5 kg.
  3. Suitable for level roads only.

Elliptical Bands


  1. High cushioning.
  2. Suitable for riding on both flat and uneven roads.
  3. Does not add weight and is highly durable.


  1. Slow acceleration.
  2. Difficulty climbing uphill.
  3. Unable to perform stunts.



  1. Lightweight frame.
  2. Ability to implement electronic applications.
  3. Wheel hollow spaces available for luggage storage.

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  1. The model is not yet fully developed.
  2. It is possible to buy parts or make repairs only from the manufacturer.

Among the general advantages can safely include appearance, definitely the attention of others will be attracted to the wheels of your bike.

A common disadvantage is the high cost, as well as the difficulty of acquiring and repairing.

Popular models of bicycles without spokes


Spokeless bicycles with elliptical rims and Nulla bicycles have no specific models to date. As for the alloy rim bicycles, three main favorites are worth noting among them:

  1. BMW X3;
  2. Porsche;
  3. NOVABIKE NRG 27.5.

The cost of the considered models on cast rims ranges from 20 to 35 thousand rubles. As mentioned earlier, bicycles with such discs have a large mass, as well as the ability to pick up high speed thanks to the aerodynamic design.


A bicycle without spokes in the wheels is an engineering marvel, on the basis of which designers and constructors will design and invent the next novelties. With this bike, you will become the center of attention of all passersby and feel like a cyclist from the future.

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Comments: 3
  1. Cristina Schultz (автор)

    I haven’t seen bikes like this on the streets of the city. Very unusual appearance, the main thing is that it does not affect the quality of movement. But the fact that the repair of the disk is not possible is a significant disadvantage.

  2. London Fitzgerald (автор)

    It looks very unusual and futuristic. It is a pity that it is not yet very widespread and not brought to the mass consumer – I mean the issue of repair and acquisition of parts. Well, we’ll see what happens next.

  3. Dustin Rivera (автор)

    High speed? Acceleration? Aerodynamics? For 30k RUR? Do not be ridiculous! There was a thought to put these – until I touched them. Appearance, yes, attracts attention. But not maintainable (disposable), can not adjust the “eight”, HIGH (!). To accelerate, it is necessary to work well, similarly, to brake quickly will not work. That’s why, and also because of the big side sailing, they are in demand only among children (a la cool!).

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