As more cities are trying to support the growing bike commuting movement, new research has come out showing that electric bikes are a great way to get people to cycle longer and more frequently.
In an effort to help more people harness the power of electricity without having to buy a separate electric bike, a new Kickstarter campaign has designed a bike wheel that can turn any bicycle into an electric bike.
The innovative GeoOrbital was built by a team of scientists in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and designed to be easy to install on any bike model in under 60 seconds.
Instead of containing spokes or a hub, the GeoOrbital wheel rotates around a central motor mechanism that, when activated through a throttle on a bike’s handlebar, can push riders up to 20 miles per hour on flat surfaces. The battery on the bike will last about 20 miles if you don’t pedal or roughly 50 miles with pedaling.
“If your goal is to up-cycle your bike into an e-bike, there really aren’t too many options out there currently,” GeoOrbital’s co-founder Michael Burtov, told Fast CoExist. “Most existing options are kits, which come with the various separate pieces (motor, battery, controller, throttle) and need to be assembled onto a bike, typically taking an hour or two unless you’re well practiced, and requiring some mechanical skills. The new way is to build this into one neat package.”
That statement is not quite true: FlyKly launched the Smart Wheel in 2013, which can go 16 mph and has a range of 25-60 mph.
The GeoOrbital does stand apart for its solid-foam tire, which can’t go flat, and a USB outlet so you can charge any of your mobile devices from the wheel while you pedal.
The company’s Kickstarter campaign, which launched on Tuesday, has already raised more than $390,000 on its initial goal of $75,000 in just three days. There are still some pre-order specials available to save money on the expected $950 retail price. Orders are expected to ship in November.
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