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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Soft-Ride Bike Has Steel Tires, And You Can Ride It Now



For W Hotels' "WOW Bikes," Ron Arad designs a bespoke bicycle that reimagines the wheel using nothing but curved sprung steel. And anyone who stays at the hotel can ride it.

Twenty-five years after his Well-Tempered Chair, Ron Arad has used a similar process--in which the naturally sprung properties of tempered steel, bolted in tension, gives a natural yield or “softness”--to build a bike with wheels made of sprung steel.

To account for the added flexibility in the materials, Arad’s sprung wheels of steel are in fact a little bit larger than the average bike wheel, says Marcus Hearst, director of the design department at Arad’s studio. But it’s this yield that gives the wheels a slight cushion and makes the wheels work in a practical way. Hearst said it’s a surprisingly comfortable ride, and, ironically, the faster you go, the smoother it is.

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