Bicycles

Self-contained powered Copenhagen Wheel hits the market – at last

Self-contained powered Copenha...
The Copenhagen Wheel turns any bike electric
The Copenhagen Wheel turns any bike electric
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The Copenhagen Wheel – stylish Cinelli not included
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The Copenhagen Wheel – stylish Cinelli not included
The wheel's onboard electronics sense how hard the rider is pedaling, and trigger the motor to pitch in with its own assistance, as needed
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The wheel's onboard electronics sense how hard the rider is pedaling, and trigger the motor to pitch in with its own assistance, as needed
The Copenhagen Wheel turns any bike electric
3/3
The Copenhagen Wheel turns any bike electric

Back in 2009, MIT's SENSEable City team unveiled its Copenhagen Wheel prototype. In a nutshell, it's a self-contained electrically-powered rear bicycle wheel that can be installed on any regular bike, instantly turning it into an e-bike. Today, it was announced that a commercial version of the Copenhagen Wheel is now available to consumers.

Development of the original wheel was sponsored by the Mayor of Copenhagen, hence its name. The production version is being manufactured by Superpedestrian, a Massachusetts-based company consisting of SENSEable City team members who licensed the technology from MIT.

The wheel's onboard electronics sense how hard the rider is pedaling, and trigger the motor to pitch in with its own assistance, as needed. This means that if the rider is going uphill, for instance, the motor will contribute more. If they're cruising along comfortably, on the other hand, it might not run at all.

The Copenhagen Wheel – stylish Cinelli not included
The Copenhagen Wheel – stylish Cinelli not included

Exactly how much assistance it provides can be predetermined by the rider, using an app on their smartphone. That app also allows them to track their riding stats, including distance traveled, calories burned and elevation gain. Additionally, when the paired phone (and its user) move out of Bluetooth range of the parked bike, the wheel will automatically lock until the phone returns.

It features either a 250-watt or 350-watt hub motor (buyer's choice), a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, a range of approximately 30 miles (48 km) and a top assisted speed of 20 mph (32 km/h). It weighs 12 lb (5.5 kg), and is available in 26-inch, 27-inch and 700C sizes.

Battery life is extended via a regenerative braking system. When recharging is required, the battery can be removed from the wheel.

Some readers might recall our recent report on the FlyKly wheel, which very much resembles the Copenhagen Wheel. A representative from Superpedestrian agrees that the FlyKly is "strikingly similar," but tells us that there is no official relationship between the two products.

The Copenhagen Wheel is available now for pre-order, at a price of US$699. Shipping is expected to begin at the end of the first quarter of next year.

More information is available in the video below.

Source: Superpedestrian

The Copenhagen Wheel official product release

23 comments
Stradric
It's brilliant, but it costs more than my bike. And with that kind of expensive, easily-sold-on-ebay accessory I'd be nervous locking my bike up on the street. It seems to already have a g-sensor. It also needs a GPS and some kind of mobile data/text-only plan in order to provide insurance against theft. Otherwise, very cool. I'd like to see these guys succeed.
Richard Guy
It's a very good price if this is really $699 and includes the battery and charger... most motors of this kind come in at twice that or more. No information on range and I am guessing, for a battery of this size that range will be relatively short, even with regenerative breaking. I await the product reviews with interest
Edgar Castelo
Brilliant. Now, to see if FlyKly is cheaper... ;)
BeWalt
Not expensive for what it does. I've used electric bikes for six years and eaten my way through some of the cheaper setups that are out there and I have to say you totally get what you pay for. Buy a $399 Malwart e-bike and see what that gets you and how usable it is after two years commuter use. Good luck! Sure enough this is a new product but as an enclosed unit it has far higher odds to be durable than anything with wires and separate outside bits. We shell out cash for transit, and/or cars, car repairs, insurance, parking and more all the time, wasting thousands of dollars a year, but when an appliance comes along that is a one-time-investment that will incur monthly costs that are essentially imperceivable, there's still muttering about the price. However, I do agree on concerns about stealing. Unlike other e-bikes, this setup can be stolen with just some basic tools, and "all-enclosed" has its advantages for thieves, too. No wiring or controller left behind! Built-in alarm? Via Bluetooth? Good ideas, and can be done with a few more lines of code.
Keith Reeder
One of these at the front AND at the back would be interesting - and still cheaper than a typical commercial e-bike. This thing matches my current bike's colour perfectly, too..!
DonGateley
I _don't_ want my smartphone on my handlebars for all the obvious reasons. I hope this thing is simple enough that you can set it up and put your phone in your pocket where it belongs. Voice control would be very cool though. @Keith: Front and back is a great idea! I've been following FlyKly on KS and don't think anyone there came up with it.
The Skud
Yet another idea using an "app" to control via iPhone or smartphone! It might frighten people, but there are those of us who do not want the life intrusion of a smartphone, twittish, facepalm, or the other stuff. It might keep the costs down a little but what is wrong with a small bespoke controller hidden in, or screwed to, the handlebars? Let's face it, if thieves want it, it will get stolen and 'hacked' anyway, making it controlled by a smartphone will not change that.
Vincent Bevort
I like the concept with this and FlyKly's in-wheel design but don't like the idea of using smart phones to manage it. To many things are being managed by phones nowadays. It is more and more important to lock your phone and keep it under restricted control not to loos access to your bank account including the locks of your house, bike and loads of other stuff. Also all navigators want not to manage the device during the ride and now the biker shall start to do this when they rather often don't have a clue on how to behave on the open road? Phona and Bike together is a no-no for me
mrhuckfin
I like this set up quite a bit but I don't own a smart phone and have no plans to do so, can I use it with out one?
Xtreme Phil
Interesting product, and a nice collaboration. I would be interested to hear about gearing and how that works. Everyone in the video was peddling with a relatively fast cadence… I'm interested to know whether you can actually change gear, and whether it can provide a natural feel with climbs and descents. I guess that's why your smart phone needs to be on the handlebars… To allow the user to change the assistance ration that the hub provides, as you ride, therefore emulating gear changes.