three bikes with copenhagen wheel

Talk about upcycling! The Copenhagen Wheel turns your bike into a hybrid e-bike, giving you a major mobility boost right away.

Superpedestrian, a team of designers and robotics engineers, has licensed the Copenhagen Wheel. The company was founded by Assaf Biderman, co-inventor of the Copenhagen Wheel, which was developed at MIT. He works alongside people who are equally committed to developing new approaches to urban mobility. As cities sprawl ever larger, the quest for practical solutions for moving people around expands too — and with concerns about air pollution and burning fossil fuels front and center, a healthy, environmentally friendly answer is the holy grail.

smart bike wheel

copenhagen back wheel

So how does this red disc turn your humble bike into a mighty commuting machine? First, you just replace your current rear wheel with its Copenhagen cousin, no wires or extra gizmos required. That cousin is apparently from the brighter side of the family, as it’s packed with technical wizardry, from sensors and a motor to the battery and circuitry, all somehow contained in the wheel’s central hub. We’re talking a whopping 550 components!

Then, rather than taking over and powering the bicycle by itself, the Copenhagen Wheel partners with the rider, creating a symbiotic cycling experience. “The Copenhagen Wheel continuously synchronizes with your motion, amplifying your power,” says the tech team. “You capture your energy when you brake, and use it when you need an extra boost.”

Of course, these days it’s no surprise that there are high-tech bells and whistles involved as well. “There’s intelligent tuning for every move you make, together with self-diagnostics to keep the Wheel at peak performance,” the designers explain. The rider can access the diagnostic data by using the smartphone My Wheel app, which stores data that includes the length of your bike ride, your average speed and how much the Copenhagen Wheel helped you out with backup power. You can also use the app to adjust the levels of assist you get from the Wheel.

smart phone app

Another trick of the app: It also unlocks the Wheel. No doubt you’ll attract envious eyes as you power your way through town, so anti-theft security is a must! There’s no need to remember to lock up, either, as the bike will disable itself when your phone moves away from it and then reactivate when you come back. Clever, huh?

bike with copenhagen wheel

Now for the nitty-gritty. Here are the specs for the Copenhagen Wheel:

Maximum assisted speed: 20 mph (this is to meet the definition of “low-speed electric bicycle” under U.S. federal regulations or a “pedelec” in the EU)

Motor: 350W

Battery: 48 V – 279 Wh Lithium Ion

Range on 1 charge: Up to 31 miles

Charging time: 2 hours

Bike compatibility: Single-speed or 7/8/9/10-speed Shimano/SRAM-compatible drivetrain

Connectivity: Bluetooth Low Energy (4.0)

Hub weight: 16.8 pounds

Brake type: Rim brake and regenerative braking (backpedal and coasting)

The Superpedestrian website has detailed information on how you can determine if the Wheel will work with your bike and also how to custom-order. The tech team is currently only offering the Copenhagen Wheel in red and for 26-inch wheels, but there’s talk of more options down the road.