Superpedestrian, Inc.’s iDevice Copenhagen Wheel is a self-contained unit that snaps easily onto the back of any ordinary bicycle and turns it into an electric hybrid with extra power at the riders’ feet, regenerative braking and advanced control systems. The wheel promotes cycling so that long distances or steep up-hills are no longer a barrier to a comfortable ride.
The Copenhagen Wheel bicycle conversion was initially developed at MIT’s SENSEable City Lab as a research project sponsored by the Mayor of Copenhagen. The Cambridge, Massachusetts based firm—founded in 2012 by Assaf Biderman, Associate Director at MIT’s SENSEable City Lab—seeks to provide new forms of human-powered mobility for cities. With an exclusive license from MIT, Superpedestrian is offering the Copenhagen Wheel for pre-order of a limited edition, hand-crafted unit that’s only available for the first 1,000 buyers. Shipping begins in spring 2014 on a first-come, first-served basis.
The wheel is retrofitable to most bikes with 26-inch or 700C wheels (not compatible with disc brakes), although Superpedestrian is planning to add additional wheel sizes in future releases.
With the Copenhagen Wheel, bike riders are given a boost as they pedal by measuring their effort with a torque sensor, instead of using a throttle. This preserves the normal biking experience while enabling riders to bike faster, farther, and easier. The benefit of a torque sensor is the ability to detect the pedalling behavior of the user, and assist in accordance with his/her pedalling input. It’s the best way to implement a smooth and seamless assistance. The Copenhagen Wheel is fully compatible with multi-speed bikes. You will be able to use it with 9 speed and 10 speed cassettes at first release. Superpedestrian is planning to have more choices in future releases.
The Copenhagen Wheel is designed to operate in all weather conditions, including rain or snow. The Wheel is ridden like a normal bicycle; users pedal and the motor phases in and out automatically. The Wheel learns about the rider and intuitively recognizes how hard he or she pedals and uses the topography ahead to determine how much support the rider may need. There aren’t any additional throttles, wires or buttons, maintaining the pure simplicity of cycling. The Wheel also features an intelligent locking system that locks the bike when the rider walks away, then unlocks it upon return. Its rechargeable battery allows riders to easily remove the battery pack and carry it with them wherever they go.
As you bike, the wheel is also able to capture energy when braking or going down hill that it stores in the integrated lithium battery pack. The Copenhagen Wheel allows you to regenerate by simulating a coaster brake electronically or when you are riding downhill.
Also, the additional energy from exercise mode is captured to regenerate energy.
All actuation of the wheel happens automatically via the pedals through sensing and control algorithms. When the rider pedals harder, such as when going uphill, the wheel pushes with increasing power. Using your smartphone with the Superpedestrian app, you can vary the level of powered assist.
The Copenhagen Wheel is clean and attractive, being completely wireless, compact and simple; all designed for your everyday commute. Twist two nuts, install the wheel, download the iOS app and you’re ready to go.
The mobile app connects via Bluetooth 4.0. While you can use the Copenhagen Wheel without the complementary mobile app, it helps you get more from your Wheel by allowing you to lock/unlock it, choose from a menu of customizable rides, and track personal usage statistics including time, distance, calories burned, elevation climbed and more, all of which can be compared and shared with friends. Both iOS and Android devices are supported.
The most convenient experience is to work with a smartphone, but it is also possible to connect using tablets. “Effectively, the Copenhagen Wheel puts your bike online—at the center of your personal Internet of Things,” said Carlo Ratti, co-inventor of the Copenhagen Wheel and director of the MIT Senseable City Lab.
The Copenhagen Wheel supports the following iOS devices:
- iPod Touch 5
- iPad 3 and later
- iPad mini (all versions)
- iOS 6 and up
Several Android devices are supported for now, provide they have Bluetooth 4.0 and run Android 4.3 or higher. Some Samsung devices support earlier versions of Android.
The Superpedestrian, Inc. Website cites the late Steve Jobs saying, “I read a study that measured the efficiency of locomotion for various species on the planet. The condor used the least energy to move a kilometer. Humans came in with a rather unimpressive showing about a third of the way down the list. That didn’t look so good, but then someone at Scientific American had the insight to test the efficiency of locomotion for a man on a bicycle and a man on a bicycle blew the condor away.”
“Can we make bikes a competitive alternative to cars, buses and subways for people who live in or commute to work in cities? That is our mission,” said Superpedestrian founder and associate director of the MIT SENSEable City Laboratory Assaf Biderman. “For the millions of city residents who are tired of sitting in traffic jams or long waits for the bus or train, the Copenhagen Wheel provides an easier, more environmentally friendly way to get around using the bike that’s already sitting in their garage or front hall.”
You will be able to purchase an extra battery and replacement battery packs from Superpedestrian beginning spring 2014. After about 1,000 charge/discharge cycles, the battery is still usable, though capacity could be reduced to as low as 70%. The Copenhagen Wheel can be charged in two ways: you can connect the charger directly to the wheel or remove the battery from the Wheel casing for charging in a more convenient location.
- MOTOR US: 350W / EU: 250W SIZE 26″ or 700c rim
- BATTERY Removable 48Volt Lithium
- CONNECTIVITY Bluetooth 4.0
- BATTERY LIFE 1000 cycles
- SMARTPHONE OS iOS, Android
- CHARGE TIME 4 hours
- COMPATIBILITY Single Speed or 9/10 Speed Free Hub
- TOP SPEED US: 20 mph
- EU: 25 km/h
- BRAKE TYPE Rim brake and regenerative braking (downhill and back-pedal)
- RANGE Up to 50 km / 31 mi
- WEIGHT 5.9 kg / 13 lbs
- DROPOUT 120 mm (single speed)
- 135 mm (single speed and multi-speed)
A minimum 1 year warranty covers the wheel and battery. Warranty period may vary by state and country requirements. The Copenhagen Wheel’s pre-order limited edition price is $699, After the limited edition quantities are sold, the price will be $799. When you buy a Copenhagen Wheel for someone, snap a picture of their bike and Superpedestrian Inc. will prepare a gift card featuring the Copenhagen Wheel installed. You are permitted to cancel your pre-order up until 7 days prior to shipping.
For more information, or to pre-order, visit www.superpedestrian.com.