Innovative wheel gives riders a boost on the hills

The Copenhagen Wheel isn\'t new - it was seen in the TV show \'\'Weeds.\'\' (Via senseable.mit.edu)

WASHINGTON – Riding a bike is pretty simple – but those hills still need to be tackled.

But even those nasty hills could get a whole lot easier thanks to something called the Copenhagen Wheel.

Billing itself as “smart, responsive and elegant,” the bright red hub on the back tire turns the garden-variety bike into an e-bike that gives riders a pedal-assisted boost when they hit the hills.

Fans of the show “Weeds” have seen the contraption before. It was featured in the Showtime series and many people thought it was just a cool plot convention. But now the Boston-area business Superpedestrian announced it has the financing to bring the Copenhagen Wheel to the average cyclist.

The company’s website explains the Copenhagen Wheel is the product of a research project developed at MIT’s SENSEable City Lab. The New York Times reports shipping could start in the new year.

Washington-area bike shops have tried selling e-bikes before, but Philip Colon, pit boss at Revolution Bikes in Georgetown said they got mixed results: The conventional e-bike can be heavy and bulky, and while it might give its rider a break while climbing hills, it was a chore to take up apartment or townhouse steps. Colon says the Copenhagen Wheel, with its plug and play design, could be a game-changer.

“It looks pretty sleek, it’s self contained, people like that, especially mechanics. I think it does have a future,” he says.

Check out the website for more information or watch the video below.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report.

Follow @KateRyanWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.


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