If you'd like the ease of an electric bicycle but don't want to give up your perfectly good "manual" bike, there is something you can do – you can replace your bike's existing rear wheel with the electrically-powered Copenhagen Wheel or FlyKly, or replace its front wheel with the Omni Wheel. Those three products may soon have to make room for another competitor, however, as the Centinel Wheel enters the marketplace.
Like the Copenhagen Wheel and the FlyKly, the Centinel is swapped with a regular bike's back wheel – plans call for it to first be made in a 26-inch wheel size, with other sizes to follow.
The Centinel contains a microcontroller, two 180-watt motors (for a total of 360 watts) that can be removed for upgrading, and a 24-volt 13-amp lithium-ion battery that can also be taken out for charging.
It also has a Bluetooth 4.0 module, allowing it to communicate with an app on the user's iOS or Android smartphone. That app allows them to select the amount of electrical assistance provided and view the battery charge level, among other functions. Additionally, the Centinel is able to monitor the user's cadence, automatically providing more assistance as needed in order to maintain that pace.
According to Hycore, the Seoul-based designer of the product, the Centinel has an electronically-limited top speed of 16 mph (26 km/h) and a range of approximately 30 miles (48 km). By comparison, both the Copenhagen Wheel and the FlyKly can go up to 20 mph and have a range of about 30 miles.
If you're interested in getting one, the Centinel Wheel is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. Pledges start at US$899, with shipping scheduled for next April if all goes according to plans. That price is actually less than that of the $949 Copenhagen Wheel or the $1,099 FlyKly.
A prototype can be seen in action, in the pitch video below.