Urban Velo

MIT’s Copenhagen Wheel

copenhagenwheels Today at the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change researchers from MIT are unveiling the Copenhagen Wheel, with a regenerative braking system and various electronics to not only boost cycling range but keep track of all sorts of data along the way. Through wireless connections to iPhones and other devices the wheel can track distance, power and take pollution measurements, with the regenerative braking system charging an electric motor when you slow down and providing a boost when needed on the next acceleration or uphill grade. The wheel even has a smart locking mechanism that upon tampering locks the wheel into maximum power generation mode (increasing resistance in the hub) and sending you a text message with the whereabouts of the bike. Interesting technology, all contained with the hub making it an easily adaptable system. Read more straight from the MIT press site, with other reporting following from the New York Times.


  1. Chris JensenDecember 15, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    brilliant! except the cost will probably be quite prohibitive

  2. yonatronDecember 15, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    I wouldn’t be as excited about it providing power to the drive train as much as powering front/rear lights and allowing for cellphone/iPod/etc. charging.

  3. uhhyeahdudeDecember 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    can I get an aero-spoke version, and in what color-ways will it be sold?

  4. EvanDecember 15, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Cool, but I agree with Chris, price point will most likely be an issue. ‘sighs’ i guess i’ll just have to pedal the old fashioned way.

  5. nateDecember 15, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    its such a great idea that hopefully with mass production it will have a lower price….hopefully. would be great for any bike.

  6. BikerooDecember 16, 2009 at 1:09 am

    They mayor of Toronto got a chance to ride it:

  7. gantxeDecember 16, 2009 at 3:51 am

    Great idea ! where is the facebook page, I am not able to find it… is already created ?

  8. loganDecember 17, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    The total power gain from a hub like that can’t be greater than the added power required to move the additional rotational weight, especially if the battery/capacitor is contained in the big red thingy, can it? Unless it can be charged via wall current in addition to brake resistance, which they don’t say anything about.

    The text message theft notification seems suspect too. Bluetooth is great and all, but wouldn’t it require your iphone to be near enough to be connected in order to transmit a text message? Either your iphone gets stolen with the bike or the phone will be out of range of the hub by the time it realizes its been stolen. Just as well since it would be sending a txt to itself anyway.

    Last negative nancy point: wouldn’t it work a lot better on the front wheel? More braking power, more electricity generated, and you wouldn’t be limited to a SS/FG drivetrain.

  9. Pete at Electric Bike ReportSeptember 12, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Hi all, just a quick update that the Copenhagen wheel looks like it will retail for about $600 (US) and be available June 2011. Check out their site for more info: http://senseable.mit.edu/copenhagenwheel/

    $600 seems pretty reasonable considering the price of other electric bike conversion kits on the market. I can’t wait to try one out and see how it goes!

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