Whether you cycle to work or just for pleasure, there are no doubt times when a little help wouldn't go amiss. The Evelo Omni Wheel can provide just that assistance, replacing the front wheel of most bikes to give an electrified power boost.

The Omni Wheel is one of a number of recently announced powered wheels for non-electric bicycles, but Evelo co-founder Boris Mordkovich believes it could be the first to market.

"Since we do not rely on crowdsourcing to fund the development and production, we are able to better control our timelines and meet the delivery commitments," Mordkovich tells Gizmag. "Although other companies have been working on an all-in-one wheel design for some time, at this point, we may be the first ones to actually ship the product to customers in March."

Those competitors include the FlyKly Smart Wheel and the Copenhagen Wheel. On paper, the entry-level Omni Wheel appears to outperform the comparable FlyKly version. It is more powerful, with a 350 W motor compared to a 250 W motor, and can go faster, at up to 20 mph (32 km/h) compared to 16 mph (25 km/h). The two have a similar range of 25 mi (40 km).

The Copenhagen Wheel, meanwhile, has the same motor power and top speed as the Omni Wheel, but a battery that offers a longer range of 31 mi (50 km). It also comes in a little cheaper than its competitors at US$949. The Omni Wheel is available to pre-order for $999 and the FlyKly for $1,099 (although there is also a FlyKly hub that can be attached to an existing wheel available to pre-order for $999).

The Omni Wheel's battery size can be increased from 8.7 Ah to 14.5 Ah though, giving an increased range of up to 40 mi (64 km). The batteries take up to four and nine hours to charge respectively and the larger of the two can push the price to $1,499 (currently $1,299 on pre-order) depending on the battery and wheel size (26-in or 28-in) that is required.

Unlike the FlyKly and the Copenhagen Wheel, the Omni Wheel does not have an accompanying smartphone app. Instead, it comes with its own wireless control unit that is attached to the user's handlebars. From here it's possible to control the five levels of pedal-assist via buttons on the unit and keep an eye on speed, battery-life and other information about the wheel on an LCD display.

Evelo says it takes about 30 minutes to install and provides an instructional video for its installation.

The Omni Wheel is available to pre-order now, with shipping expected to begin in March 2015.

The video below provides an introduction to the Omni Wheel.

View gallery - 9 images