You can never be surprised at the endless possibilities of material innovation and disruptive technologies. At first glance, I immediately thought this bike was just another sculpture, but it is actually functional! Who would have thought? Designers are always creating projects that have no functionality but create an eye-catching affect.
Ron Arad designed this “Soft-Ride Bike” using a unique method to construct the wheels instead of the classic metal rims and spokes with rubber tires. Each wheel uses 18 strips of steel bolted at different tension points. The design of the wheel gives it flexibility and a little bit of cushion. The bike was constructed in less than two weeks and worked the first try. Oddly enough, the bike testers claimed that the ride is actually smooth and it progressively gets smoother the faster you ride.
Design and material innovation is always finding ways to push the limits of different materials and see how much strength something can hold with the smallest amount of material possible. This idea is win-win scenario, the less material needed means the cheaper the cost of construction. Many times the strength increases with a percentage of less material using different structural systems in the material manufacturing. In Ron Arad’s case, the lack of the material used in the wheel construction allowed for the slight cushion and the bike to work in a practical way.