• MSN Innovation in partnership with Nissan
07/05/2014 06:00 | By Rob Clymo, editor, MSN Innovation

Sadabike: the folding cycle with no spokes

Could this unorthodox Italian design revolutionise the bicycle industry with its radical styling?


Bicycles are frequent visitors to the Innovation channel and over the course of the last few months we’ve seen them wheeled past in a variety of different designs. Although the general concept of the bike is to have two wheels inside a frame, there are plenty of designers out there who reckon they can come up with a new take on this age-old concept.

Witness the latest example, the Sadabike, which is a decidedly odd-looking contraption that has spokeless wheels and no hubs. It looks like a mistake that happened on the drawing board, but at the same time it’s also fascinating. Adding to the appeal is the neat way that it can fold down to just the width of an umbrella. That could attract a lot of interest from frustrated commuters who aren’t allowed to take their normal-sized bikes on public transport during rush hour.

Sadabike (© Sadabike)

The Sadabike can fold up to around the size of an umbrella

Smart bike

The other bonus with the Sadabike, aside from its slightly less attractive name, is that it folds out into a full size bike. That’s a real plus point if you’ve only ever been used to pedalling around town on one of those titchy folding bikes with tiny wheels. With the Sadabike, you can trundle around your neighbourhood or going to and from work or the shops astride a machine that has 26-inch wheels.

It’s an idea that was inspired by many of those bikes that are currently on the market which lack the feel of a proper bike. In short, they’re too small, too unwieldy and certainly no fun to ride.

Sadabike (© Sadabike)

Once unfolded it sports traditional wheels that provide a better ride than small folding bikes

Behind the bike

The Sadabike is the brainchild of Gianluca Sada and was, he says, the result of being endless frustrated with current folding bicycle designs. Sada reckons these bikes have little in the way of creature comforts, offer poor stability and aren’t really very portable either.

In fact, they’re the last thing you really want to be carting with you on the way to work every day. So, the Sadabike could perhaps be the most viable alternative we’ve seen.

Sadabike (© Sadabike)

The Sadabike needs some fine-tuning but the hubless design is proving popular

How it works

There’s no doubt that the Sadabike is unusual although Gianluca is also confident that the design works in much the same way as a regular bicycle. It can be unfolded from what resembles a backpack package and built into a ready-to-go-bike in mere minutes. Meanwhile, those quirky rims are anchored into the frame using small wheels, which means that the frame also seems to float on the tyres.

If nothing else, the design is very likely to turn heads when you roll on down the road, although the inventor also reckons that it provides a decent riding experience too. The main frame is constructed from aluminium alloy, meaning that it means the bike should be easy to handle, particularly in those difficult inner city roads that many of us have to navigate on the way to and from work.

Sadabike (© Sadabike)

The bike boasts a design that doesn't look out of place in an art gallery

Practical solution?

Although the Sadabike has attracted criticism by some for being a pointless twist on the traditional cycle theme, Gianluca remains confident that the concept can be turned into an everyday item. And, he says, with a design that uses the smaller wheels held by a small frame, the bike is much easier to fold up, while also delivering an experience that’s more akin to riding a traditional cycle with the full-size spoked wheels.

There are some issues to iron out, however, with the most notable downside being that the rims have to be strengthened to compensate for the lack of spokes. Although this leads to an extremely eye-catching design, it also makes the wheels heavier. So, that could end up being one of the biggest issues with the Sadabike, although its creator reckons that this can be ironed out once he secures more funding for the project.

Sadabike (© Sadabike)

The Sadabike will certainly turn heads wherever you take it

Help him out

After producing numerous variants on the Sadabike, the inventor has finally got to the point where he has a prototype that he thinks can work in the mainstream marketplace. Currently, Gianluca is attempting to find interested parties who are willing to invest in the two-wheeled wonder bike. Pitched as ‘Elegantly simple, simply innovative’ the Sadabike could end up being turned into a full-on production bike if Gianluca can get the cash he’s after.

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Would you buy a spokeless bike?

Thanks for being one of the first people to vote. Results will be available soon. Check for results

  1. 87 %
    Yes, it's a great idea
    2,337 votes
    13 %
    No, it's ridiculous
    355 votes

Total Responses: 2,692
Not scientifically valid. Results are updated every minute.

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