It’s not every day somebody actually makes an effort to reinvent the wheel. But the guys behind the Shark Wheel have done just that, and come up with a design for skateboards that might just make a lot more sense to use.
The Shark Wheel is essentially an odd mix of a cube and a sine wave. The “wheel” consists of three stacked pieces of material bent into a sine wave shape that are stacked in a cubic formation. You might be wondering if this is going to end up like the Square Wheels test on Mythbusters, but as you can see for yourself, they’re actually quite effective, at least on skateboards:
The wheels are interesting, to say the least. The design means there’s less contact between the ground and the wheel, allowing you to go faster. At the same time, though, the contact patch (where the rubber meets the road) is wider, but narrower, so you have better grip and slide less. Due to its construction, it can more easily handle soft terrain and is less likely to hydroplane. And the design allows for a wide variety of customization; you can change the hardness of each part of the stack, add custom graphics, and generally mess around to your heart’s content.
It’s an interesting design challenge not least because, well, it’s reinventing the wheel. Whether it has applications beyond skateboarding is an open question; for example, you probably wouldn’t want to be behind the wheel of a car that has these, not without a wider contact patch. But the technology is certainly interesting, and if you’re using a skateboard to get around or to make old people complain, these are worth looking into. Currently the Kickstarter is offering a set of four for $55.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.