Hybrid Bike Wheel Goes On Sale

The Copenhagen Wheel, which lets riders transform their standard bikes into electric hybrids simply by swapping out the rear wheel, went on sale late last week.

The first 1000 wheels are being made by hand in Cambridge, Mass., and can be ordered for $699 ($100 less than retail price).

Software developers interested in creating apps for the wheel are eligible for the special $699 pricing, and will receive access to the company’s API, support, and a subscription to its developer’s newsletter. Shipping of the wheel begins spring 2014.

Originally developed by students at MIT’s SENSEable City Lab, the award-winning Copenhagen Wheel is being brought to market by start-up Superpedestrian.

The 26 inch wheel has a distinctive red hub containing a 350-watt motor, a removable 48-volt lithium battery pack and gear system, as well as environmental and location sensors that provide data for related mobile applications.

The wheel captures energy when a rider brakes or goes downhill and stores it in the integrated battery pack. It returns the stored energy in the form of a “push” when sensors detect that the rider is pedaling harder, like when cycling uphill. Riders looking for a workout can forgo the motor assist altogether. Weighing in at 13 pounds, the wheel provides a top speed of 20 mph and will go up to 31 miles on a charge.

Controlled by a smartphone (iOS or Android), the wheel will initially offer an app that enables riders to select a level of motor assistance, lock and unlock the wheel, choose from a variety of customizable rides, and track personal usage statistics including time, distance, calories burned and elevation climbed.

Through the Superpedestrian SDK, an open-source platform, the company hopes developers will create other practical and social apps for the wheel.

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A project by the MIT Senseable City Lab. Photo by Max Tomasinelli

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7 thoughts on “Hybrid Bike Wheel Goes On Sale”

  1. pburdick7 says:

    Giant and Currie have had hybrid bikes for years – this is not news.

  2. john white says:

    This is news? they are 5 yr late coming to market with there wheel, BMC, magic pie, and others have been making Elc wheels for yrs have all the bugs worked out

  3. doc zaphod says:

    I’d be interested to know if the location feature can be turned off. If not, I wouldn’t be inclined to buy one.

  4. ec says:

    Why does my bike wheel need a social app?

  5. Bikeshopguy. says:

    The battery must be impressive. 350 watts is a powerful motor, 13 lbs is a low weight, 48 is a lot of volts, and 31 miles is a decent range. So how does it add up?
    The author claims the battery is remove-able, which is good because, in the wheel is a terrible place for it. But I’m not sure all the claims are possible. Most Li-Ion batteries from other bikes weigh a lot more. Therefore, the range estimates are suspect.
    And the phone controller won’t be enough to make it safe. The motor needs to cut out often: when cornering, especially on loose surfaces, for example. Well how would the cut out signal be sent. On most ebikes, the brake lever has a switch, these don’t.

  6. Chris says:

    It’s great idea, and I like the fact that you can turn it off if you want a workout going uphill.

  7. Electric bikes also save loads of valuable time
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    So if that sounds good begin on the lookout for electric bicycles for sale today.

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