Centreless wheel

A centreless wheel is a wheel that lacks a centre or hub, instead being supported and driven at the rim.

Orbis centreless wheel
GeoOrbital electric bicycle wheel
Volkswagen RESeT concept car with hubless wheels
Orbis Greenwheel with external covers over the wheels


Centreless wheels are toroidal in shape and have one or multiple bearings along the rim. Propulsion can be achieved in different ways, such as with gear teeth along the inner surface of the rim. They can be made lighter than solid and spoked wheels, resulting in better handling[1] and less rotational inertia.[citation needed] The lack of spokes or a traditional hub also allows for more space, which can be used to more easily package a hub motor.

While Franco Sbarro was the first to replace vehicles' conventional wheels with hubless wheels in 1989,[1] monowheels, which are similar in practice, predate Sbarro's hubless-wheel vehicles by more than 100 years.[2] The research and development of centreless wheels has not been pursued by any large company due to their complexity, with their use limited to small companies and scientific analyses.[3][4]


Tron: Legacy Light Cycle replicaEdit

One real-life example of hubless wheels are those used in the replica Tron: Legacy Light Cycle. The street-legal motorcycle was modelled after the vehicle from the film and sold through Hammacher Schlemmer. Its hubless wheels are made from former truck tires, and a chain-driven friction drum provides power and brake force.[5]

Designed "for casual cruising and slow ride-bys at shows", it consists of a 996 cc (60.8 cu in) fuel-injected Suzuki 4-stroke engine[6] in a steel frame covered by a fiberglass body with electroluminescent wire lighting.[7]


The Skatecycle is a device similar to a caster board, but with hubless wheels and a 2-axis twisting axle replacing the function of the casters. The central axle connects two standing platforms surrounded by 9" polyurethane hubless wheels, giving said wheels the appearance of stirrups. In order to move the unit, the rider rotates their feet inwards and outwards, creating a wave-like motion in the hinged frame and providing propulsion. In recognition of its novel design, the Skatecycle received the Bronze International Design Excellence Award in the transportation category in 2010.[8]

Zero BikeEdit

Another example of a vehicle with centreless wheels is the Zero Bike, a lightweight hubless bicycle whose non-functional prototype won an Industrial Design Excellence Award in 1991.[9] Designed by then-ArtCenter College of Design students Makota Makita and Hiroshi Tsuzaki, it is based on the principle of magnetic superconductivity, also used in high-speed maglev trains.

Ujet OneEdit

The Ujet One electric scooter, produced in Luxembourg since 2019,[10] features front and rear centreless wheels connected to its frame with torsion-sprung suspension, as well as an electric hub motor. Such a setup is communicated to benefit from minimal energy loss in transmission. In 2019, the One won both the iF Gold[11] and Red Dot[12] awards for its design.

Freedom Sprints motorcycleEdit

A working prototype of a centreless wheel, using ball bearings, was shown at India Bike Week 2014 in Goa. Attached to a customized Royal Enfield motorcycle, the prototype rear wheel was designed by a team by the name of Freedom Sprints, which included Abhishek Sharma, Ankur Tiwari, Sarvesh Khemka, Yashodeep Yadav, and Mohammed Ansar.[13] During testing, the bike was ridden from Ajmer to Jaipur.[14]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b McCosh, Dan (August 1989). "Automotive Newsfront". Popular Science. p. 15.
  2. ^ US 325548, Lose, John Otto, "One-wheeled vehicle", published 1885-09-01 
  3. ^ Pinto, Sheldon S.N.; Amarnath, Joshua M.; Nair, Jishnu S.; Rajkumar, E. "Design and Analysis of a Hubless Personal Vehicle". ResearchGate. Retrieved 2014-12-13.
  4. ^ "Design and Fabrication of Hubless Bike". studylib. Retrieved 2019-12-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ Chitwood, Adam (2012-02-27). "Geek Gifts: $55,000 Street-Legal TRON: LEGACY Light Cycle Replica". Collider. Retrieved 2022-08-09.
  6. ^ Welsh, Jonathan (2011-02-16). "For 'Tron' Fans: Your Very Own Light Cycle". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2022-08-09.
  7. ^ Edelstein, Stephen. "Functional 'Tron: Legacy' Light Cycle Replica Sells For $77,000 At Auction". Motor Authority. Retrieved 2022-08-09.
  8. ^ "Alon Karpman's TRON Inspired Skatecycle". Core77. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
  9. ^ Louie, Elaine (1991-08-29). "CURRENTS; A Bicycle Far Ahead Of the Pack (On Paper)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-08-09.
  10. ^ "Case Study — Ujet One". www.ujet.com. Retrieved 2022-08-09.
  11. ^ "iF - UJet - Electric Mobility Solutions". iF WORLD DESIGN GUIDE.
  12. ^ "Ujet electric scooter wins Red Dot Award 2019". menafn.com.
  13. ^ Choudhary, Neha (13 January 2014). "En Route to Goa: Having Modified the Royal Enfield 535cc, Bike Enthusiasts from Pink City Are Optimistic about Their Success in the Upcoming India Bike Week". DNA : Daily News & Analysis. Highbeam. Archived from the original on 11 June 2014. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  14. ^ Singh, Ajay (12 January 2014). "Now, a 'spooky' bike without spokes". The Times of India. Jaipur. Retrieved 21 March 2014.