Four years ago, researchers at MIT unveiled a self-contained electric bike conversion kit called the Copenhagen Wheel, which can turn almost any bicycle into an impressive e-bike. After four years, a spinoff company called Superpedestrian has licensed the technology is bringing the Copenhagen Wheel to market for $699.
Using a 350W motor and a 48 volt lithium-ion battery, the Copenhagen Wheel captures braking energy and then dolls it out based on need. At maximum output it can help propel a biker to speeds of up to 20 mph, though it is most useful when tackling a long or steep hill. A special app not only allows users to adjust when the wheel kicks in, but also locks the bike’s wheel in place until the user comes in range via a Bluetooth connection.
All the electronics and control systems are located within the rear wheel, making it easy to add onto almost any bicycle. In cities like New York and Los Angeles, where bicycles are an increasingly popular alternative to cars, the Copenhagen wheel could find a big following. At $699, it’s not so expensive considering the price we’ve seen on some of the funkier/cooler electric bikes.
Look for the Copenhagen Wheel in hip neighborhoods near you.