The Copenhagen Wheel

I have been watching this product for a while with great interest. One of the things I enjoy most about riding is the physical exertion, so isn’t a bike with an engine a scooter? Although, there is something nice in the idea of being able to just flip on an extra 30watts in the last 20 meters of the State line sprint. Joking aside, I understand that this type of product is not aimed at me, and if it succeeds on getting more people out on bikes – then that is an excellent thing. Who knows where that could lead, and it does make a very good option for a daily commute in bike friendly cities. Potentially more interesting is the technology developed within the wheel hub itself, that if adopted could apply to us all. The hub design allows sensors to collect data as you ride. Not the usual stuff we all collect already (speed, distance, watts, elevation..) but data on your actual route like carbon monoxide, NOx, noise, ambient temperature and relative humidity. This in itself is not so interesting but when crowd sourced with other rider’s data you start to build up a very different view of the environment that you ride or train in. Or as the developers call it “fine-grained environmental information”. On a personal level I would love to know in New York summers where the lowest pollution levels are in a city, in real time as I ride. But on a planning level if it could impact city policy and planning on where the best place to put bike routes are, now that would be something. The hub functionality is controlled from the handlebars via Bluetooth and a smart phone and allows you to view the data in real time. It can also be used as an electronic shifter to change gears, and amazingly lock the bike. Genius. So now I am thinking of a product partnership between Apple, Powertap and Shimano to make a race version of this. Sign me up.

Categories: Design / Routes

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