Hey Dave – I heard that a company called Superpedestrian is offering The Copenhagen Wheel after Thanksgiving. I noticed it on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/copenhagenwheel
I really like the idea, BUT, I have two objections.
First, I'm no teenager, but I frequently go faster than 20 mph on my bicycle, WITHOUT a motor. Regulations or not, 20mph simply isn't fast enough.
Second, I live in a hilly area, and 250W is a non-starter. I'll consider buying when it hits an efficient 750W. 1000W is even better. Heck, I can already buy a 1000W Schwinn scooter that will POWER me up the hills without pedaling, for less money than this.
"and they are coming from multiple sources. A few years ago we saw the Copenhagen Wheel, and now a similar product is making its way to market – the FlyKly Smart Wheel."
REMARKABLY similar! Were these two products developed concurrently? They're just too close for mere chance alone.
Let's see who's first to market. In the mean time, I'm going to check out the roster of Dyson award winners and see if there aren't any products that ... ahem... inspire me.
To clarify the above:
I don't like to be overly critical, but I keep seeing bicycle "solutions" on Gizmag that cost $3000-$5000, when I can frequently find existing products that do the same or more for a fraction of the price.
I'm all for improving the electric bicycle scene, but some of these prices are simply unrealistic. Unless of course you're a rich person and simply want to indulge in a fad.
I am riding a recumbent trike and would not put motor to that. I would have a good excuse to do that but I rather exercise my feet which are not that strong, yet. I am actually an incomplete paraplegic who, despite doctors predictions, can walk and use a recumbent trike pedaling with my feet. The big hills just takes much longer.
So I wonder about electrification of a perfectly good and very efficient human powered machine like a bicycle! Defeats the purpose.
Henry Van Campa
Ah, the Green version of the late, unlamented BSA Winged Wheel...
How is the resistance to immersion? Will it tolerate being dunked in fresh water? Or brackish or salt water?
Don't know where you're getting your pricing information from, Anne - but if you can get a 1000w Scwhinn for less than the price of this (which will be around $600), I reckon we all want to know about it..!
When it comes to price, it is always "Suggested" Retail $ which is usually 2x than what is usually is...Hence, calm down. Nobody pays Suggested Retail price unless you are really desperate and want to be the 1st own one RIGHT NOW.
Keith, here's your under $600 Schwinn electric bike:
1) Bike = $158: http://www.ebay.com/itm/BRAND-NEW-26-SCHWINN-DELMAR-MENS-BEACH-CRUISER-BIKE-RED-Free-Shipping-/171153370973?pt=US_Bicycles_Frames&hash=item27d9892f5d
2) Motor Kit = $250: http://www.ebay.com/itm/26-Rear-Wheel-48V-1000W-Electric-Battery-Powered-Bicycle-Motor-Conversion-Kit-/111209713494?pt=Cycling_Parts_Accessories&hash=item19e49d8f56
3) Batteries = $95: http://www.ebay.com/itm/4-Pack-12V-12-Volt-12ah-SLA-Sealed-Lead-Acid-Batteries-for-Electric-Bike-Scooter-/400527509942?pt=US_UPS_Batteries_Components&hash=item5d414cc9b6
That's $503 total. For $600 you can have all that plus a good helmet, bell, headlight, front and rear flashing lights, speedometer, and a gel seat pad. So there!
Glad to see that the fine art of Missing The Point Entirely is alive and well on that side of the Atlantic...
Besides - that's no more a "1000w Schwinn" than a Beetle becomes a Porsche if I shoe-horn a 911 engine into it.
Gizmag is about emerging tech. What's here is often pre-market and often from smaller companies. There tends to be little economy of scale at that point. Thus, you see high prices. With the advent of crowd funding, one now has opportunity to see more attempts at bringing things to market, but also the high initial cost per item.
The price are not necessarily "unrealistic" or desired for well-made, functional devices made in small amounts. One make the case that consumers expectation for prices has been made unrealistic via mass production. It has been agreed, for instance, that we pay that too little for automobiles for the amount of technology they represent.
A small company isn't usually expecting to get every customer, but trying to find the right customer. The right customer for this isn't necessarily someone looking for a toy or trying to go the faster speed possible on a bicycle. It is a person with interest cycling, technology, ecology of urban transport.
With regard to your speed argument, most bicycling in the world is likely done under 20mph. Athletic/exercising road cyclists can average 20mph on flatter roads with few cross intersections. Increasing speed also increases power demands which leads one down the road of needing increased storage and more space/weight. Even without those concerns, many places require licensing for vehicles capable of higher speeds.
Commuting cyclists are generally only going to see 20mph on downhill sections and spending most of their time closer to 10-15mph. The lower average speed will also increase range, but the average commuter is not likely to be doing more than 30 miles in day.
If one wanted high speed or range, both are possible already and even for less money in many regards, but those kids require more time, effort and perhaps skill to install. Part of what one gets in this instance is elegance - a hybrid bicycle conversion contained wholly in a back wheel.
There has been a desire for a system like this for some time and initial costs for them have, in fact, dropped. Given the price of most cycling equipment and the ability to use this to retrofit older bike (or cheaper new one ) $600 isn't a massive amount at all. Once Giant, Bell, Specialized or some other massive products company comes across one of these done right, that number will likely do further.
In the meantime, pull out that 30 year old steel drop-bar 12 speed and pound it with your glorious Clydesdale unto you can make it stay at 1mph for each of its years of existence without the aid of gravity or external motive force.
C. Walker Walker
I'd like to point out to Anne that your 4 pack of Lead Acid Batteries will weigh considerably more than the in wheel (Lithium?) batteries so will really affect your handling as they will have to be mounted on your frame or rack. The life & number of re-charges of your Lead Acid batteries will likely not be as good as the Lithiums either. Some times you get what you pay for & in this case your $100. saving will end up costing you more with less performance & features.
my 2 cents. i have been interested in e-bikes for about 6 yrs. it took me about 1 yr to gather up the funds ( $695 for the kit and 75 for used diamondback. ) so i have had it assembled now for about 5 yrs. in that time i have gone through 3 sets of 4 SLA batts. (48v crystallyte) at first they work great once they settle in damage begins to occur fairly quickly. i could go on and on about how much you will love it at first and how much you will hate it a short while later... even in the best conditions you would be lucky to recharge ( dead-full ) 250x. the weight of my batts is easily 40+ lbs. and cost me upwards of $200 also each time ( i prefer good quality batts B+B, interstate etc.. ) and these stats i am listing are from my experience with those brands. IF you choose the SLA/AGM/GEL route you will most likely need a bike that is made from high 10 steel ( such as mine ) they are not so easily found either im my experience. most bikes today are aluminum and you would bend that frame pretty easily me thinks. take also into consideration a kick stand ( $30 ) similar to the ones on the old mopeds ( bi-stand ) now take into consideration all the time you will waste swapping things out ( batts/bags) and that is $ as well. do yourself a favor and get a decent brand to... because even with a good quality brand i still ended up with problems in the stators. i am no pro but not exactly lame either. now the bike is easily 100 lbs or so and a pain to maneuver and even with the proper kick stand all that weight STILL will not cooperate. so my advice would be first get a motor/bike that can be fitted with disc brakes if not already included. your wallet and your life will not regret it. ( after changing brake pads for the 3rd time +. ) i had to lose the bag that came with the kit and had to swap to a basket system. ( 2 broken racks later and they were quality also.. ) so its going to cost you some $, time, and aggravation. my only question is is this your hobby or do you need this for real transportation ? my bike at the current time only will travel about 4-5 miles before the stators over heat and i am walking/pushing 100 lbs back home not to mention the other issues i have mentioned... i am going to do this again believe me because my love for this is just that great and it IS even more fun then you could imagine BUT my advice to you would be do it right the first time and save yourself becoming experienced like i have although i dont mind so much i am NOT a rich person. my ideal setup would be the copenhagen front tire with quick release and i would be more then happy to take it with me wherever i go. the problem tho now ? i am used to cruising at 25 mph. the lipo packs i was looking at back then were far more expensive then either of these whole kits. i wish they would get realistic and fill the need in the market for this great technology which ppl will simply love love love love ! hehe when i started this stuff these 2 contained wheels were a mere pipe dream and look at now close to reality. also i recommend to you all to relax a little sometimes and do some trail riding i really enjoy that a lot more then any thing i ever experienced on the street.