Copenhagen Wheel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Copenhagen Wheel is a self-contained rear wheel electric bicycle system which transforms a traditional bicycle into a hybrid e-bike. The app-connected Wheel is equipped with an electric motor, battery, and suite of sensors that work together to seamlessly amplify a rider's pedal power by up to ten times. The Copenhagen Wheel was developed at MIT's Senseable City Lab in 2009 in partnership with the city of Copenhagen, and unveiled at the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference. In December 2012, Assaf Biderman, a co-inventor of the Wheel and Associate Director of the MIT Senseable City Lab, founded Superpedestrian Inc. with an exclusive license to commercialize the Wheel. After several years of engineering, testing, and validation, the Copenhagen Wheel officially launched in the U.S. in April 2017, and in Europe in October 2017[1]

Copenhagen Wheel with red hub

Physical components[edit]

The Copenhagen Wheel contains a custom brushless motor, advanced sensors, control systems, and a lithium-ion battery, all enclosed within the rear wheel hub.[2] The control system interfaces with a range of sensors measuring actual torque, power, cadence, pedal position, and acceleration to monitor a rider's effort when pedaling. The Wheel responds to a rider's inputs by providing the appropriate level of assistance at each moment. The wheel's battery is charged via an external cord that fits a standard wall outlet. Electronic Braking Assistance while riding will partially recharge the wheel when coasting or backpedaling. With a full charge, the wheel's reported range is up to 50 km (31 mi), with variations depending on assist mode and terrain. Extensions in range are possible when using low-power modes.[3]

App control[edit]

In order to gain assist, the Wheel must be connected to Superpedestrian's Wheel App, available for iOS and Android. The Wheel connects to the App via Bluetooth, and enables riders to personalize their cycling experience from their smartphone. The Wheel App tracks rides and calorie information, and allows riders to toggle between ride modes such as Turbo, Eco, and Exercise. A smartphone also acts as a digital key, activating the Wheel automatically when ready to ride, and communicating with the cloud in real time. A self-diagnostic safety system monitors components within the Wheel and proactively responds to events within milliseconds, protecting both rider and Wheel.

The wheel cannot be operated without an active connection to a smart phone with the Wheel app. It is not possible to limit personal data collection, including location information, while using the Wheel app.


Copenhagen Wheels are compatible with most traditional bicycle frames. They come in single-speed and multi-speed variants, and multiple rim sizes with a variety of tire styles. The associated app is compatible with iOS and Android devices with Bluetooth LE capability.


Superpedestrian has a network of authorized distributors across the United States who are able to provide basic maintenance on the Copenhagen Wheel. More involved repairs can be performed at Superpedestrian's facility in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Copenhagen Wheel comes with a limited warranty that covers repairs of defective or problematic parts for up to 3 years. The internal components are not user serviceable, and no paid maintenance service, spare parts, or service support is provided beyond the terms of the warranty.


The Copenhagen Wheel is under active development, as of 2019. Over-the-air firmware updates are occasionally pushed to existing wheels through the app. Future versions of the Copenhagen Wheel with updated features and wider compatibility are under development.


The Copenhagen Wheel has been covered in several dozen publications, including the New York Times,[4] Boston Globe,[5] and Fast Company.[6] It was featured on NPR's Here and Now,[7] and got a free advertising boost when it was shown in the seventh season of Showtime's Weeds.[8]


  • European Product Design Awards – Platinum – Urban Sustainable Design 2017[9]
  • European Product Design Awards – Gold – Bicycling and Bicycle Accessories 2017[10]
  • European Product Design Awards – Gold – Design for Sustainability 2017
  • European Product Design Awards – Silver – Robotics 2017[9]
  • CNBC – Top 25 Startup 2017[11]
  • TIME Magazine - Best Tech of 2017[12]
  • Red Dot: Design Concept Awards – Luminary 2014[13]
  • Red Dot: Design Concept Awards – “Best of the Best” 2014[13]
  • TIME Magazine – The 25 Best Inventions of 2014[14]
  • Deutscher Werkbund Label – Werkbund Label for design 2014[15]
  • Green Dot Awards – Winner 2011[16]
  • Living Labs Global Awards – Shortlisted 2011[17]
  • Index Award – Finalist 2011[18]
  • Edison Awards – Silver in Personal Transportation – 2011[19]
  • U.S. James Dyson Award – Winner – 2010[20]
  • World Technology Summit and Awards – Winner – 2011
  • The Grand Challenge Stories Award of the US National Academy of Engineers – Winner – 2010


  1. ^ "A startup born at MIT has created a wheel that can make any bike electric — and now it's coming to Europe". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  2. ^ "Support - Get to know your Copenhagen Wheel and how it works". Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  3. ^ "Support - What affects my range?". Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  4. ^ Bilton, Nick. "Start-Up Reinvents the Bicycle Wheel". Bits Blog. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  5. ^ "Made-in Mass. high-tech bike gear puts power behind the pedals - The Boston Globe". Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  6. ^ "This Elegant Upgrade Will Make Your Bike Smarter, Faster, And More Connected". Fast Company. 2013-12-19. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  7. ^ "Copenhagen Wheel Gives Bicycles A Boost". Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  8. ^ "How "Weeds" Became A Marketing High For MIT's Hybrid Bike Wheel". Fast Company. 2011-09-15. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  9. ^ a b "The Copenhagen Wheel". Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  10. ^ "The Copenhagen Wheel". Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  11. ^ staff, (2017-02-28). "7. Superpedestrian: High-efficiency bicycle wheels for urban commuters". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  12. ^ "These Are the Best New Gadgets of 2017 So Far". Time. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  13. ^ a b "Red Dot Design Award for Design Concepts". Red Dot Design Award. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  14. ^ "These Are the 25 Best Inventions of 2014". Time. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  15. ^ "The Copenhagen Wheel". The Copenhagen Wheel. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  16. ^ Awards, Green Dot. "Green Dot Awards | Environment Awards". Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  17. ^ "Farglory Nominates Five Technologies for its new Smart Communities in Taipei". PRWeb. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  18. ^ "The Copenhagen Wheel - INDEX: Design to Improve Life®". INDEX: Design to Improve Life®. 2011-05-25. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  19. ^ "Edison Awards™ - Honoring the Best in Innovation and Innovators". Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  20. ^ "2010 James Dyson Award Competition US Winner - Design Milk". Design Milk. 2010-08-16. Retrieved 2018-08-15.

External links[edit]