Osmos: The Orbital Wheel

By on November 18, 2004

How about something new in wheel technology? Dominique Mottas runs an outfit in France called Osmos, and has developed the Osmos Orbital Wheel.

Mottas basically moved the bearing surface from its traditional place at the hub to the inside of the rim, gaining all kinds of mechanical benefits in the process. Most notable is the potential for improvements in handling that can be achieved through active adjustments to the wheel’s roll angle and drift; to do that on today’s technology usually requires wrenches and an alignment rack.

Aside from that, just have a look at some of the designs that become possible when you eliminate the center part of the wheel. The only thing that leaves me wondering is what do you do if you get a flat tire? Maybe the design will require the use of run-flat tires so that you can drive it to a shop to have it worked on.

While I was looking at the Osmos site, a cube-mate mentioned that Billy Lane at Choppers Inc. (warning; exorbitant use of Flash!) built a Harley he calls the Hubless Knuckle that uses a wheel like this in the rear; no clue if Billy is working with Dominique on this, but it sure is a sharp looking bike. Aside from the advertised mechanical benefits, one thing a vehicle equipped with this sort of wheel is a look that screams “I’m Different!” With more and more cars looking more and more alike, this might be the kind of differentiation that some automakers will start using.



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