FlyKly electric bike wheel

Axle-pin-780x519Where I previously was interested in the Copenhagen wheel, the FlyKly, is available now.

FlyKly has been in the works for a while. Originally a Kickstarter project that raised $700,000 (its goal had been $100,000), the electric bike wheel project is now available to everyone.

Electric bicycles are nothing new. But FlyKly’s approach is different — use your own bike, the company says, and just buy our wheel. That’s an attractive proposition if you’ve got a bike you love but want a little electrical propellant to get you where you’re going without building up a sweat.

The FlyKly isn’t cheap. The hub alone — which contains the product’s motor, battery, electronics, sensors, and Bluetooth antenna — runs $1,000. If you want it on an actual wheel, it’s $1,100. And you can also buy a FlyKly-fitted bicycle from either MSC or Linus for $1,500. The wheel comes in a 20-inch, 26-inch, or 28-inch rim.

The company’s not the first to try the removable electric wheel, with a similar approach in the works with the Copenhagen Wheel. But FlyKly is first to market, Klansek said.

Lest you wonder, the FlyKly system is not meant to provide every bit of forward motion as you ride. That’s called a motorcycle. Rather, this is “pedal-assist,” Klansek said. That means that once you start pedaling, the motor turns on and boosts your acceleration, but you still have to, you know, pedal.

The obvious questions are about battery life and power boost. Klansek explained that a fully charged battery should deliver up to 60 miles on a single charge if you maximize the system’s settings (though the FlyKly app, naturally) and pedal backwards as you go, which both brakes and recharges the battery a bit. With no tinkering of the settings, and no backwards pedaling, you’d get about 30 miles, he said.

GreenWheel Turns Pedal Bike Into Electric Hog

GreenWheel
GreenWheel

Feb. 18, 2009 — The next time you change a bike tire, think about upgrading your power as well. Scientists at MIT are testing a new power generation, storage and propulsion system known as the GreenWheel that will turn any pedal bicycle into an electric hog.

“Just take the wheel off, put a GreenWheel equipped wheel on in its place, plug it in and it should work just fine,” said Ryan Chin, one of the GreenWheel designers. “The whole thing has been designed so all the parts except the throttle are enclosed in the wheel.”

From the outside, the GreenWheel has the radius of a small dinner plate and is about 2 inches thick. Inside the aluminum frame sits the three major GreenWheel components: an electric generator, batteries and an electric motor.

For now, installing GreenWheel on your own does require a moderate level of technical knowledge or a trip to a bike shop. The GreenWheel can be installed on any bike frame or wheel size, but the original spokes have to be replaced with shorter spokes. Michael Chia-Liang Lin, a master’s student at MIT developing the GreenWheel, called his parents in Taiwan, who own a bike shop, to figure out how to respoke the wheel.

Under its current configuration, a bike powered solely by a single GreenWheel (front, rear or both wheel can be equipped with a GreenWheel) has an estimated range of 25 miles. Pedaling the bike doubles the range under electric power, provided the rider isn’t traveling at the nearly top speed of 30 miles an hour. The bike can be charged by pedaling or by plugging it into the electric grid. Continue reading “GreenWheel Turns Pedal Bike Into Electric Hog”