Biking is one of the best ways to get around any city. You can avoid traffic, take the scenic route, and save time—all while reducing your carbon footprint. The only downside? The hills.
But now, thanks to technology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology-based Superpedestrian, any bike can easily be turned into an electric one that conquers hills and saves you effort. Meet the Copenhagen Wheel: Invented at M.I.T and in partnership with the bike-happy city of Copenhagen, its red hub contains a phone-operated, battery-powered motor that will propel you uphill and beyond, as if you have super-human strength. The Copenhagen Wheel multiplies your own pedaling power by ten. But be warned: It’ll cost you.
Superpedestrian Copenhagen Wheel Review
Price and Where to Buy or Try the Copenhagen Wheel: Purchasing your own Copenhagen Wheel from Superpedestrian will run you $1,500 dollars (or $1,999 pre-installed). But, renting a ready-to-ride test bike with the wheel and an app-enabled smartphone is only $15 for the day from their Cambridge headquarters. You can also test out a Copenhagen Wheel bike for cheap, or free at dozens of Superpedestrian’s partner locations, like local bike shops across the U.S. (and some in Canada). Make an appointment with a location to take one out for a spin and see a destination without breaking a sweat, or invest in your own to reach new corners of your own city.
How the Copenhagen Wheel rates:
Usefulness: 10/10. Forget sweat. One of the biggest deterrents of biking for many people is the exhaustion of hills on a long ride, especially in places like San Francisco and Boston (I tested the wheel in historic-yet-hilly Beacon Hill). With the Copenhagen Wheel, you’ll be propelled uphill and around town, depending on the app-controlled settings, and can reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour to save effort and travel time. The turbo setting is a blast—in both senses of the word.
Value: 8/10. Yes, it’s a lot of money to buy your own, but this is the Cadillac of battery-powered bike motors. Contained to a single red hub that’s controlled via a smartphone, the Copenhagen Wheel has no wires, whirring, or bells and whistles, and features an easy-to-read power gauge so you can decide when it’s ok to use full power on ‘turbo’ mode, and when you should conserve battery by using the ‘eco’ or ‘standard’ settings.
Portability: 9/10. The entire riding experience is transformed by this compact wheel hub, and it packs a punch. E-bike rentals can be heavy or clunky, and sometimes are only available for rent with an organized tour. But the Copenhagen Wheel fits on even the lightest of bikes, so you can put it on your own, or try one of the super-lightweight Marin ones I tested via Superpedestrian’s Cambridge headquarters. The hub itself does add a lot of weight if it’s turned off or out of battery: It’s about 17 pounds. But, as long as you’re using it to aid your ride, it doesn’t pose a problem.
Durability: 10/10. You get what you pay for. The Copenhagen Wheel self-diagnoses problems like temperature, battery use, speed, and calibrations for a safe ride and reliable performance. The M.I.T. mechanical and software technology is the best of its kind, and is always being tested and improved upon by Superpedestrian. The app was easy to use and reassured me that I had control over the bike’s push at all times. You can switch from turbo on a hill to standard at the bottom with the swipe of a finger.
Cool Factor: 10/10. No more back sweat on your commute while opting for sustainable electric power is a win-win. Try one out in Boston or another city to take your sightseeing to new speeds.
Final Verdict: You might not need a Copenhagen wheel of your own, but there’s no drawback to testing one out if Superpedestrian offers rentals in your next vacation spot.
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Editor’s Note: Reviews are based on usefulness, portability, durability, value, and “cool factor.” Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product. If you have any questions or comments concerning our reviews, or would like to suggest a product for review, please email us at email@example.com.