Harking back to the pre-bicycle days of the Dandy Horse, the Wheela scootbike places riders in a sitting position from which they propel themselves by kicking along the ground like a scooter. But unlike it's wooden-framed forebear, the Wheela uses modern materials, folds down for easy carrying, and offers the option of an electric motor.
The inventor of the Wheela is a professional sailor who came up with the idea after being frustrated by an inability to store a bike or something like it on board the limited confines of a boat. The result is a scooter that you sit on while you ride and can quickly be folded and easily carried on your shoulder or stored in a small space when you don't need it. The medium model folds from a size of 88 cm (34 in) high and 77 cm (30 in) wide, to a stick-like 92 cm (36 in) high and 20 cm (8 in) wide.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,500 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
The biggest difference between Wheela and bike-inspired scooters like the SmartPed by FlyKy is that the Wheela actually requires the user to sit while it's in motion. There's no platform to put your feet, and the small pegs upfront aren't there to support your weight.
The company puts the Wheela at about 6 lb (2.7 kg), with the electric version adding a couple of more pounds due to the 250 W electric motor. Depending on size and speed, the electric Wheela is said to be able to go for up to 40 minutes between charges. Whether you use your feet or the electric motor, the company does point out that the Wheela is best used on flat, dry surfaces.
Wheela buyers also have the choice of ordering either a version made of aluminum alloy or carbon. All models come with handlebars with grips, an anatomic seat, a strap-belt, and a front-wheel integrated brake for safety.
There are four different sizes available depending on your height, starting with the junior version for kids who are from 51 to 59 in (130 to 150 cm) tall, to the large for adults 6 ft (180 cm) or more. Maximum weight load is 240 lbs (110 kg).
The Wheela scootbike is made in Europe and the company is taking pre-orders on the first 1,000 units now with delivery expected by July of this year. The standard edition in all sizes is US$289, the carbon version is $444, and the electric boost model is $599.
The video below shows the Wheela in action.