Thursday, December 05, 2013

Copenhagen Wheel

Gizmag reports: [edited]

Back in 2009, MIT's SENSEable City team unveiled its Copenhagen Wheel prototype. It's a self-contained electrically-powered rear bicycle wheel that can be installed on any 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.

The wheel's onboard electronics sense how hard the rider is pedalling, 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.

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, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, a range of approximately 30 miles and a top assisted speed of 20 mph. It weighs 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.

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.

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