Superpedestrian came out with the Copenhagen Wheel a few years ago and has continued to maintain and grow their wheel technology. The Copenhagen Wheel is an electric assist wheel that turns an acoustic bike into an electric bike. There is no throttle. The wheel feels the force of pedaling and kicks in based on the speed it’s been set to.
The Copenhagen Wheel is compatible with 26″ and 700c rim brake bikes, with either a single or 7/8/9/10-gear Shimano or SRAM geared hub. Installation is fairly simple. You remove the acoustic rear wheel and mount the electric wheel, the one task involved that may involve some help from a friend or a local shop is chain tension.
Once the wheel is mounted, you install the accompanying phone app. The Copenhagen Wheel then connects to your phone via Bluetooth and you set up an account. There are four different speed modes within the app; Eco, Standard, Turbo, and Off. The Turbo mode will allow a speed of up to 20 mph pretty easily and the Eco is best for saving battery power and providing just that little bit of extra oomph to get up hills.
The Copenhagen Wheel must have access to the phone app in order to operate. You turn a switch on the wheel itself, turn on your phone, open the app, log in and set your mode. The positive side of the wheel only being able to be used with the phone connection is it could be seen as an added security system. The wheel itself is about 16lbs and can prove difficult to ride if you’re not used to a sluggish rear end. The negative is if your phone dies, the wheel will not turn on. There is no emergency “on” switch on the wheel. Unfortunately, I found this hard truth out myself on one of my first rides. With half a phone battery charge remaining, I set off to the grocery store; the wheel and my obsessive digital couponing used the remainder of the battery. When I went out with an arm full of groceries and found my phone dead, it was a rough realization that I was going to be pedaling the grocery and wheel weight home. Live and learn, from then on I traveled with an emergency battery pack for my phone and I make sure my phone is fully charged before departure.
I had zero problems with the wheel battery itself. Sticking mostly to the Eco speed and utilizing the Copenhagen Wheel’s regenerative braking function which is activated by pedaling backward. This charges the battery as well as slows the bike down. I was not able to calculate how much additional battery charge it produced but I did use the method as a slowing down mechanism quite a bit.
I do have a few concerns with the Copenhagen Wheel. One is there is no quick-release to the rear wheel for easy removal to charge it. Not ideal if you live in a small space or have to carry a bike upstairs. The whole bike needs to be near the outlet like a standard e-bike. Another issue to point out is that the wheel calls for a specifically designed spoke that can be purchased through the website only. I never had an issue with a spoke, but it is something I would likely order to have on-hand rather than have to wait for shipping if something did happen.
In the end, the Copenhagen Wheel functioned really well. It was a smooth ride, simple installation, sleek design and the app was easy to use. The one bigger turn-off is the price of $1,499 for the wheel. I will say it was definitely nice to put the wheel on a bike I knew fit me, the mechanics are up to snuff and I was already comfortable with. But for not much more of an investment, you could purchase a complete e-bike. But hey, maybe your bike room is overflowing like mine and you really want an electric bike for commuting but don’t want to part with that older special bike; in that case, the Copenhagen Wheel is worthy of looking at as an option.
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