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.
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.