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Great Empty

Video: Great Empty
Video: The Great Empty 2023, February
Great Empty
Great Empty

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That is how much has passed since the invention of the wheel. Much has changed in it - materials, rim design, spokes, tires. But no one swung at its base - the hub. But then a type appeared by the name of Dominic Mott, a car fan and an avant-garde with an entrepreneurial spirit. Once he decided (and it was in the late 1980s) to invest the acquired from his oil business in some promising area of ​​technology. He began to refine the project of an unusual model of a sports car and came to the conclusion that … he once again invented the wheel, but already "empty". So the wheel without a hub (hubless wheel) was born, it is also called the orbital, and also the osmosis wheel. It took 10 years from the moment of its patent approval (received January 15, 1990 in France) for the project to receive worldwide recognition.

The very idea - to reduce the rotating part of the wheel to a minimum - is brilliantly simple, but it is quite difficult to implement it. And expensive! In fact, the osmosis wheel is a gigantic bearing (with a diameter of about 300 mm) with thin cages. A tire is put on the outer rotating cage, while the brake disc is fixed to the cage. The stationary part forms the inner race of the bearing, which is connected with the suspension elements.

The mere sight of "empty" wheels turns any vehicle, be it a bicycle or a sports car, into the transport of the future. But what gives the osmosis wheel, in addition to shock, when you see a defiant emptiness? Braking qualities are improved - due to the fact that braking forces are applied almost at the point of contact with the road. Since the suspension arm is located at the lower edge of the wheel, the lever arm is reduced, and hence the load on the wheel bearing. Reducing unsprung masses unloads suspension elements, increases comfort.

But perhaps the most valuable advantage of the design is that it allows you to create the perfect control system - with a variable overhang of the plug. At high speeds, the outreach is greater, which increases the stability of the device, but at small it is small and provides better maneuverability.

The essence of the idea is simple, but the practical embodiment is fraught with many "underwater" and "surface" stones. Therefore, each of the built motorcycles is original in its own way.

First of all, the technical tasks of performing the functions of the front and rear wheels are solved in different ways. Oddly enough, the front is simpler, although it is “weighed down” by the mechanism for turning.

The easiest option is if the motorcycle has a telescopic fork: it is enough to reliably connect the lower part of the feathers with the inner clip. However, the "telescope" is too commonplace for futuristic concepts - lever pendants give much more freedom for the flight of thought … And a headache when designing a site. Motta's head ached - he had already developed everything and received patents for the rotary assembly.

There is more trouble with the rear wheel - because it needs to be rotated. With an osmosis bike, it was much simpler: it was enough to mount an inconspicuous pinch roller on the tire to transmit a tiny (not much needed) torque. The "Chumacycle" and the motor should be appropriate, and without a powerful chain or belt can not do. And you have to cut an asterisk of commercial teeth under 250 or sculpt a pulley the size of a rim and bashfully hide this household under the shield. At the same time, also underestimate the gear ratio of the transmission - make an additional shaft or even a new gearbox.


The Italian designer and successful entrepreneur Franco Sbarro was the first to “peck” at the “empty” wheel. Not being the inventor of a stepless wheel, he, nevertheless, was the first to “light up” it to the general public at the Geneva Motor Show in 1989. Here Sbarro studio immediately exhibited three motorcycles with shocking wheels without hubs (they were immediately dubbed Magic Wheels - “Magic Wheels”), a project of a car of the future, a project of a car of the near future Osmos and even a mockup of a Formula 1 car. Exhibits made a splash! Without waiting for it to subside, together with Dominic Mott, SRO-FAG and Pirelli, our entrepreneurial Sbarro quickly founded the Roue Orbitale wheel manufacturer Sbarro Mottas Engineering in Lausanne. The invention can be used on roads, including railways, and even in space!..

However, entrepreneurs did not wait for orders. The reason is simple: a design that is too complex and expensive to manufacture is absolutely unacceptable in mass operation. The moo of the doubters drowned out the peppy advertisement.

Having failed with the wheel, Sbarro nevertheless managed to profit - he founded the company for the production of NET watches (Nouvelle Esthetique du Temps), made "based on" the wheels of Roue Orbitale.

The "cunning" mechanism, the use of gold, natural rubber and high-quality stainless steel - all this made the watch incredibly expensive - from 3500 euros. But they have become no less prestigious. They are produced in small batches, and collectors around the world are standing in line for them.

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