I like things that are out of the ordinary, and this bicycle certainly fits that description. Make Magazine says, “Lunartic is a capstone project from Loughborough Design School [Leicestershire, UK] student Luke Douglas.”
Nothing new about hubless wheels, of course. Any quick Google search will reveal a number of motorcycle applications along with use in the occasional car or V-8-powered monowheel.
What makes Lunartic, a belt-driven bicycle, interesting is the position of the cranks. The bottom bracket, the horizontal axis that connects the crankarms, is inside the circumference of the rear wheel.
This is, of course, impossible with a normal bicycle wheel, though 1890s pacing multicycles were made with the rear-most bottom bracket doubling as the rear axle.
Moving the Lunartic’s bottom bracket inside the wheel makes for a more compact wheelbase, especially compared to this monster built by students from Yale, which uses a chainring behind a chainring to get a big enough gear to drive the rear wheel.
It’s hard to justify a hubless design for a standard diamond-frame bicycle. The added cost, complexity and weight wouldn’t seem to have an offsetting benefit. However, if a future variant of the Lunartic came with a folding frame allowing the front wheel to be stored inside the rear, something like the electric-powered YikeBike does in reverse, well, that would be something to see.
Plug “Lunartic” into YouTube to see it in action.