From bike shares to newly redesigned electric bikes, there are more options than ever for biking in American cities. Bike companies are also working to change the industry, specifically through the use of “power-boosting technology.”
Pedal-addicts might remember when the prototype of the bright red Copenhagen Wheel was released by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lab in 2009. The company Superpedestrian—which launched in 2013—just debuted a new version of the product to consumers after years of intense anticipation and improvements.
Named after the city in Denmark that helped to co-sponsor its early development, the Copenhagen Wheel uses “human-enhancing technology” to amplify a rider’s pedaling power by up to 10 times. It’s all thanks to the drive system that is embedded in the sleek red hub, a technology that integrates regular pedaling with electric propulsion.
This isn’t any normal motor, however. The Copenhagen Wheel uses a semi-autonomous robot that adapts to each person’s biking style.
“People are smart and can adapt to technology, but good technology should be smart enough to adapt to people,” said Assaf Biderman, founder and CEO of Superpedestrian. “We set ourselves an ambitious goal: integrating with a rider’s body in a way that makes you feel naturally stronger. It took over three years of engineering, but I can finally say we made that dream a reality.”
The new wheel can be installed on almost any bike, will reach speeds up to 20 miles per hour, and the battery-powered motor comes with an array of high-tech sensors that make it easier for any rider to accelerate and maintain speed.
The advanced technology doesn’t stop at the hub. A Copenhagen app keeps track of your rides and acts as a lock—without the phone, your bike won’t work. There’s also a self-diagnostic system that monitors the health of your wheel and will notify you if Superpedestrian needs to fix it.
In total the product weighs 16.8 pounds and the Copenhagen Wheel can propel riders 30 miles between charges, with a charging time of four hours.
And lest hard-core cardio enthusiasts balk at something that might take the exercise out of biking, riders can choose how much boost they receive through different ride modes available on the app. Super-fast turbo makes pedaling easy, while the “exercise” function provides just that.
Interested bikers can now go online to buy a bike with the wheel pre-installed for $1,999 or buy just the wheel for $1,499, customized for their existing bike. Financing is also available.
As a company, Superpedestrian has raised more than $27 million in venture capital investment and hopes to develop future—unnamed—products.