Review: Loopwheels First Ride

Review: Review: Loopwheels First Ride

So today I went over to Loopwheels HQ and had a good look at their new product.

It’s one thing to look at the video, but up close they really are a sight to behold – they literally challenge everything you think you know about a spoked bike wheel.

Image from http://www.headsetpress.co.uk
Image from http://www.headsetpress.co.uk

Speaking with Gemma and Sam, the brains behind Loopwheels it is clear that you are speaking to a pair of very passionate people.

From their initial musings over 4 years ago to the recent debut at Bespoked Bristol, Loopwheels has been a labour of love for them.

With scores of iterations, and hundreds of man-hours invested in the final product they are undeniably good-looking wheels, at first glance (and second glance, and then just staring at them) they wouldn’t appear out of place on a BMW concept car – but this isn’t pie-in-the-sky, these wheels are here and, thanks to their Kickstarter success, very much NOW!

Set in the Nottinghamshire countryside, Loopwheels HQ is surrounded by rutted fields, forests and coarse roads – nigh-on the perfect environment to test out suspension wheels!

I spent about 20 minutes out with Sam on the 20″ wheels, coupled up with the Dahon folding bike, and immediately there is something special about them.

Road buzz is eliminated. Eliminated I say.

Within 20 metres you notice how smooth the ride is, looking down and you see that its not fresh tarmac, rather it’s a country road, yet the ride gives no indication of the road surface, its just smooth – you are feeling the road rather than the grotty surface.

With any wheels there is always a little trepidation about hitting larger more inanimate objects but with Sam goading me on I started to aim for rocks, ruts and tree roots (did I mention we were riding off road!!!) and in every instance the wheels soaked up the impact, leaving me free to ride the bike without worry of knackered rims, aching arms or even getting up out of the saddle to soak up the impact – you can just let the wheels do the work.

Image from http://www.headsetpress.co.uk
Image from http://www.headsetpress.co.uk

With all the comfort that the Loopwheels provided I was concerned about the responsiveness of the bike – but my worries were for naught, as soon as power is applied through the pedals the bike skips forward without any noticeable lag (I’m smiling just writing this)

In the 20 minutes I was riding them, I had a blast. It really was as simple as that, they where a real hoot to ride.

From an aesthetics point of view they are gorgeous to look at, but from riding them it is obvious that Sam and Gemma have created something special. Riding 20″ slicks is not normally the most fun way to enjoy the farm tracks of the UK, but with the Loopwheels it suddenly changed, the rough buzz disappeared and you find yourself enjoying the ride rather than worrying about your wheels and the bike bouncing everywhere!

For the commuter, or indeed for the rider that values comfort rather than speed (but still wants to put in a lick of pace when needed) then this really does tick all the boxes.

Talking with Sam and Gemma it is clear that Loopwheels wont be stopping with just this one product, hints are dropped and you can see ideas formulating in their heads as they talk with you.

This could be the start of something very interesting indeed – stay tuned!

For more details about the design process and the inspiration behind Loopwheels go to their Kickstarter page – and coincidentally you will also be able to join the list of backers and buy yourself a piece of cycling history and be part of cycling’s future!

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