Lunartic is a compact urban bicycle concept exploring the unique combination of different wheel sizes, a toothed belt drive and hubless rear wheel.
The problem on a broad scale is breaking down barriers preventing people using their bikes as alternative transport. Lunartic creates a new possibility as opposed to answering a specific problem, placing itself in a niche between existing bicycle solutions.
The gyroscopic effect of a large wheel helps it travel faster and more contact with the road provides a stable and comfortable ride, whereas small wheels save space, weight and are more maneuverable. Belt drives are clean and maintenance free and a hubless wheel creates a whole new space, as well as an intriguing aesthetic.
The combination of these features is a new balance of ride quality, space saving, style and convenience. Moving the working parts back, inside the rear wheel shortens the wheel base but maintains large wheel performance and there is no sacrifice to conventional geometry.
Project: Early open minded research confirmed that few mechanisms could rival the efficiency of the bicycle as a form of personal transport. The desire to use a hubless wheel came from numerous internet concepts, but few if any physical examples. Looking at complex patents for ‘spokeless bicycles’, the challenge evolved to use a hubless wheel for more than just aesthetics, outweighing the documented disadvantages of cost and weight. The design progressed with simplicity, reasoning and differentiation in mind, hence the tagline; different for a reason.
Personal: I’m a cycling enthusiast and for my major project wanted to explore something I was passionate about and was excited by the challenge of manufacturing a unique working prototype.
As a designer I’m still trying to decide what I class as ‘good’ design, but since writing my dissertation on ‘design thinking’ and companies like IDEO, I do value the need to consider feasibility, desirability and viability to really make a design useful.
Lunartic developed rapidly in order allow production of the working prototype to begin in relation to a set of justified fundamental dimensions, with design of the mass manufactured product running in parallel.
To prevent the design becoming too conceptual the choice to cater for the use of some standard bicycle parts was made for more realistic pricing; the cost of the proposed injection moulded magnesium frame and hubless construction could be balanced out.
The prototype was good enough to prove the theory but is only the first stage of a project that requires more thought to reach its full potential. There is the possibility for more use of the hubless space, to house the front wheel if folded, as luggage storage or with an edited mechanism, complete housing of the whole drive system.