Electric bikes have always been a bit of an oddity; They’re heavy, a bit oddly shaped, and honestly, it kind of misses the point of jumping on a bike, doesn’t it? That’s why I wanted to share this cool alternative to the typical electric bike.
The Copenhagen Wheel is a replacement for your rear wheel, developed by some of the bright minds at MIT through a partnership with the city of Copenhagen. The partnership lead to the start-up Superpedestrian, located in Boston. The wheel doesn’t appear all that different to the typical bike wheel, with the exception of sporting a bright red disk in its center. Inside that disk, you will find an assortment of equipment including a small motor, some batteries, a torque sensor, and a wireless adapter allowing the wheel to connect to your smartphone.
The cool thing about the Copenhagen Wheel is how the design runs off of your own power. The wheel stores the kinetic energy built up by your own two legs and braking, and then uses it when the wheel senses you are exerting a little extra energy than usual. For example, if you’re heading up an incline and may be pedaling a little harder, the wheel kicks in and gives you a bit of a helping hand. Superpedestrian claims the wheel will help you get to a speed of at least 20 miles-per-hour on a flat trail, and will work on both fixed and multispeed bikes.
You don’t have to be one of the bright minds from MIT to see the potential behind this kind of product. For one, you don’t have to buy a brand new electric bike, something which can cost quite a bit. For all intents and purposes, it functions just like any other rear bike wheel while giving you the extra boost you may want.Further, the Copenhagen Wheel offers an SDK (software development kit) giving programmers a chance to develop their own apps which could be used alongside the bike. If you’re developing an app for bicyclists, such as a navigation program, this wheel might be the kind of hardware you need.