Sbarro Orbital Wheel or Hubless wheel, 1989


Franco Sbarro reinvente the wheel



The idea

In 1989, Franco Sbarro has surprised everyone by presenting his most amazing invention: the orbital wheel or the hubless wheel. The idea is very simple: the constraints that occur on a wheel are at ground level, on the outer periphery. A wheel without axis enables to support the vehicle at the lowest point. The center of gravity is lowered for better grip.


The orbital wheel comprises two components :

- A rotating part including the tyre, a centre-free rim and a brake ring;

- A fixed part lies around the inner ring of the bearing to which are set linking triangles, steering rod and brake gripper.

From theory to practice

To achieve this orbital wheel, it needed a very large-diameter wheel bearing. Franco Sbarro asked a Swedish company specializing in bearings, SKF. Then, with Dominique Motta, Franco Sbarro founded the Sbarro Mottas Engineering will set up the program Osmos (Original Sbarro Mottas Orbital System) which will result in the presentation of the coupé Osmos and three spectacular motorcycles.

The "orbitales" motorbikes

More than the coupé Osmos, it was the motorbikes equipped with orbital wheel that made sensation. It must be said that the lack of a hub is more "visible" on two wheels than on a car.

- The first motorbike, white, is probably the most pure. On right profile, nothing suggests any connection between the bike and its wheels;

- The second motorbike, red, has a link arms visible on the front that hides the bottom of the wheel. At the rear, there is a classic wheel with a hub and chain;

- The third motorcycle rather serves as a teaching tool. The body is suggested with metal wire, allowing a clear view of the whole link arm of the orbital wheel.


Notet that another surprising vehicle was equipped later with orbital wheels : the Aero. This side-car, launched in 2000 to promote the watch inspired by the orbital wheel, made his reappearance in the Mondial de l'Automobile, Paris and in Essen in 2008.


What has happened since 1989?

First in 1991 Franco Sbarro sold all his shares to Dominica Motta who tried to continue the development of the orbital wheel. Without success it seems. Hence the lack of orbital wheel at Sbaro thereafter. Today the holder of the patents, Motta Vistaholding, has concluded an agreement with Sbarro. The development of the orbital wheel could be revived. A visit to the site Osmos Wheel gives an idea of the potential of the orbital wheel which, for now, unable to prove its worth.


text Philippe Calvet, automatic translation (so be indulgent !)




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