Sbarro - Orbital Wheel
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Sbarro D2-492-08-08
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

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Model : Orbital Wheel
Production : 1989 -
Category : (R) Street bike


Orbital Wheel Prototype – 1989

Reinventing the wheel

Franco Sbarro is well known for his unorthodox automobiles, but he has always had a fondness for the bikes of his birthplace in southern Italy. In 1989, he turned his childhood dreams into reality by designing one of the most original bikes ever built.

"Empty" Hub

The wheel is by definition a band revolving about an axis. The center of such a wheel is normally occupied by several elements hub, brake and suspension – which all add up to a considerable amount of unsprung weight. Following themes already envisioned by such well-known designers as Lepoix and Collani, Sbarro attempted to go further than mere sketches on paper in proving that his "empty wheel" was truly functional.

Hollow Hub Center

A wheel must revolve about an axis, but Sbarro changed the rules by employing a hollow hub of so great a diameter that it formed the inner edge of a gigantic (and phenomenally costly) roller bearing whose outer edge was tl1e wheel rim. The brake disk (of similar diameter) is fixed to this "peripheral axis." The second – and no less difficult – problem consists of linking this axis to the chassis and making it steer. After a number of attempts, Sbarro devised an oscillating arm which ended in a horizontal disk on which the wheel swiveled as a secondary, computer-controlled system varied the castor angle of the wheel relative to the bike's speed. A complex innovation, to be sure, but one that may reap hefty dividends some day.


Engine: Several options available

Suspension: single (front);

Brakes: large diameter disk (from and rear)

Wheels: "peripheral axis"

Sbarro 's revolutionary concept of two-wheeler design creates its own striking aesthetics.

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

  • Original cards on paper (in french)
  • High resolution scans or original documents presented and signed with my name.

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