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Patent Battle May Loom Over 'Copenhagen Wheel' Electric Bike

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the kumbaya-my-lord-kumbaya dept.

Patents 152

curtwoodward writes "Nearly four years after the concept was introduced, MIT spinout Superpedestrian has started selling its $700 'Copenhagen wheel' kits that promise to turn any old bike into an electric-powered, smartphone-connected dynamo, simply by swapping out the back wheel. But they're not alone: a competing startup called FlyKly has already raised $700,000 worth of pre-orders for a similar device. Superpedestrian, which holds exclusive license to the MIT patents covering the Copenhagen wheel, clearly thinks there's some foul play going on. 'Their founder actually dropped by our lab at MIT a year and a half ago, saying he wants to collaborate, and spent quite some time with the Copenhagen wheel team. We'll leave it at that,' Superpedestrian founder Assaf Biderman said."

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152 comments

It figures... (3, Interesting)

mcguirez (524534) | about 4 months ago | (#45586583)

Every Facebook has its Winklevoss brothers....

just now in wheel form.

Re:It figures... (4, Funny)

paiute (550198) | about 4 months ago | (#45586809)

You mean that Winklevosses have to watch out for Zuckerbergers.

Does FlyKly work... (5, Funny)

Bartles (1198017) | about 4 months ago | (#45586631)

...on non-vintage bicycles pedaled by non-hipsters in rural areas too? Just checking because their kickstarter videos seem to imply you have to swallow your pride and look like a fashion concious douche to make it work.

Re:Does FlyKly work... (2, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#45586715)

The funny thing is you're the one that looks like the snob here, not the "hipster" you're having a go at.

Re:Does FlyKly work... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45586907)

Spoken like a true hipster.

Re:Does FlyKly work... (2)

xevioso (598654) | about 4 months ago | (#45587449)

Careful...hipster-hating is the new cool thing. And slavishly doing the new cool thing...makes you a hipster.

Re:Does FlyKly work... (1)

simonbp (412489) | about 4 months ago | (#45587927)

Careful...hipster-hating is the new cool thing. And slavishly doing the new cool thing...makes you a hipster.

Man, I was hating hipsters years before it was cool. These hipster-hating hipsters are ruining everything!

Re:Does FlyKly work... (2)

tgd (2822) | about 4 months ago | (#45587943)

Careful...hipster-hating is the new cool thing. And slavishly doing the new cool thing...makes you a hipster.

I was hating hipsters before they were a thing. You wouldn't understand.

Re:Does FlyKly work... (3, Funny)

nospam007 (722110) | about 4 months ago | (#45589095)

"I was hating hipsters before they were a thing. You wouldn't understand."

But were you hating them ironically?

Re:Does FlyKly work... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45589157)

speak for yourself, I like bikes with shocks and gears. Fixies don't do anything for me. Will these flywheels be compatible with street bikes and mountain bikes, or is it fixies only?

Re:Does FlyKly work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45586801)

...on non-vintage bicycles pedaled by non-hipsters in rural areas too? Just checking because their kickstarter videos seem to imply you have to swallow your pride and look like a fashion concious douche to make it work.

Hipsters are, by definition, ignorant of fashion trends.

Re:Does FlyKly work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45586863)

maybe many many years ago, now it is not much more than a fashion trend

Re:Does FlyKly work... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45586871)

Pardon? The definition of a hipster is someone who follows what's hip –they by definition absolutely *are not* ignorant of fashion trends.

Re:Does FlyKly work... (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 4 months ago | (#45587505)

Exactly.

Hipsters are the ones pretending / being delusional thinking that they are setting the trend. Meanwhile everyone else is laughing their asses off at them.

---
Big Bang^H^H^H^H Sham Theory Noun: popular Pseudo-Science-Fiction where no experimental results can be duplicated.

Re:Does FlyKly work... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 months ago | (#45587205)

Hipsters are, by definition, ignorant of fashion trends.

The first selling point given in the video is, "You can always dress for the destination, not the ride, and never worry about sweating". (at1:50 in the video)

Game. Set. Match.

Re:Does FlyKly work... (1)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 4 months ago | (#45586879)

It appears that the FlyKly and Copenhagen Wheel will only work with hipster fixed gears initially but there will be a more expensive version that works with actual bicycles later on.

Re:Does FlyKly work... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 months ago | (#45587163)

From the video it appears the first version will only work if you live in a wooden-floored loft and have to carry your bicycle up the stairs.

Maybe that's how they charge the battery.

Because... (1)

mitchell_pgh (536538) | about 4 months ago | (#45587467)

I think they made the video to look like it's for hipsters to mask that the system doesn't look great. I realize I'm burning a few Karma points here, but I'm really not interested in a bike with a big white (or red... or whatever) back wheel that screams "hey, over here... big lazy nerd coming through! "

I've been looking at buying an electric conversion kit for my bike for ~24 months. My requirements are:
- Be under $700 for the conversion kit
- Look like a normal-ish human would ride it on a regular basis (ie. inconspicuous)
- Have a battery that can be replaced/swapped

I've discovered that there are few options out there that meet my most basic requirements. I've been considering building my own electric bike from components. As for the battery, I plan on hiding it in an old-timey leather pannier that will also house a recharging unit that I can take off and recharge at work. I believe you would REALLY need to look at the bike to figure out that it's electric... and that's what I want.

Re:Because... (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 4 months ago | (#45589161)

1. Look like a normal-ish human would ride it on a regular basis
2. inconspicuous

Pick one.

It looks like a large white monster-cake inside your back wheel.

A 'normal' ebike has the battery the electronics and the motor in different parts of the bike.
This has all the stuff inside the monster-cake.

The weight too.

Re:Does FlyKly work... (0)

0racle (667029) | about 4 months ago | (#45587725)

Is this the new gay thing? It was you were gay if you were a man who in any way was interested in how you looked, is it now that you're a hipster?

I need to know so I know why I'm slovenly.

Why Bother? (2)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 4 months ago | (#45586667)

Why bother? My bike works fine without an electric wheel.

Re:Why Bother? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#45586703)

Oh, I don't know ... the odd boost up a hill or extending how far you can travel makes sense.

Not everyone needs this, but I can see it being very useful for some people.

For everyone who whines.... (1)

Radical Moderate (563286) | about 4 months ago | (#45586777)

that their commute is too hilly, or they don't want to get to work sweaty, this eliminates a couple reasons not to commute by bike. If my commute were longer I'd take a look at one of these.

Re:For everyone who whines.... (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 months ago | (#45587773)

I can see how it could aid a hilly ride, but unless it's running an air conditioner, the rider is still going to sweat.

Re:Why Bother? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45586785)

Some people bike just to get around, not for exercise.

Re:Why Bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45586787)

I think the point is they don't want to bother...pedalling. Shelling out money for another gimmick is another story.

Re:Why Bother? (5, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#45586791)

1. Plenty of people live in places with hills steep enough to make them need to get off and push. Battery assist can make the uncyclable hill cyclable

2. Even more people live in places where the gradients or distances are enough to break out in a sweat when cycling. Which is fine if it's a simple work-out. But not good if you are using the bike for transport to somewhere where there isn't a shower at the other end. Battery assist can help you arrive smelling sweeter.

3. Battery assist is good for people who are thinking of making a move to using a cycle rather than a car. They may feel they are not fit enough for it to be a pleasant prospect without a battery assist. Whilst cycle snobs might like to thumb their nose at them, the more people that switch to riding cycles the better.

Re:Why Bother? (3, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#45587039)

4. When sharing a road with other traffic, you are safer the closer you are in speed to that traffic. Electric assist can help an otherwise slow rider to be closer to the speed of other traffic.

It maxes out at 20mph (2)

Powercntrl (458442) | about 4 months ago | (#45588577)

4. When sharing a road with other traffic, you are safer the closer you are in speed to that traffic. Electric assist can help an otherwise slow rider to be closer to the speed of other traffic.

In my lil' suburban neck of the woods, 20MPH won't even cut it driving through a residential neighborhood. People generally do 40MPH in the 30MPH zones and 45MPH means unless you're doing 50MPH, everyone and their cousin will pass you. In other words, whether you're puttering along at 20MPH or whatever speed you can manage under your own muscle power, you're still "that douchebag on a bicycle" who is holding up traffic.

Besides ending up all sweaty and being at the mercy of the weather, the major problem with commuting on a bicycle is constantly being mere inches away from a grisly steel death. At least if you're on a motorcycle, you're riding with traffic (and have ample horsepower in reserve to avoid an accident), rather than playing the odds that the driver of every single vehicle that passes you is paying enough attention not to hit you. Considering how many people screw with their smartphones while driving, you'd need a death wish to ride a bicycle on the road these days.

The issue most people have with riding a bicycle is that you're on a bicycle. This really isn't something the addition of a piddly little electric motor is going to fix. We already have mopeds, which are essentially just a bicycle with an extremely underpowered gasoline engine and they're still incredibly unpopular, because they're every bit as inconvenient and dangerous as a bicycle - you just don't have to pedal.

Re:Why Bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45587355)

2. Even more people live in places where the gradients or distances are enough to break out in a sweat when cycling. Which is fine if it's a simple work-out. But not good if you are using the bike for transport to somewhere where there isn't a shower at the other end. Battery assist can help you arrive smelling sweeter.

We like our Mike
and this is why:
Our Mike does all the work
when the hills get high.

Re:Why Bother? (3, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 4 months ago | (#45587565)

Plenty of people live in places with hills steep enough to make them need to get off and push. Battery assist can make the uncyclable hill cyclable

The only "uncyclable" hill is one where the bike tips over backwards. Otherwise, the real problem is that the gearing isn't low enough (or more likely, that the rider isn't strong enough or doesn't know how to shift properly).

Be reasonable... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45588119)

No, there are hills that are just reasonably uncycleable.

Here in San Francisco, you could be a Tour-de-France rider and not be able to make it up some of the streets, which are well over 30 degree gradients 300m or more in length. There's a couple of streets near my house that approach 40 degrees, and which make walking up them very difficult (they have stairs specifically for that purpose, but walking up the normal street is quite difficult). Maintaining balance at that angle-of-attack on a bike is really hard to do, and, even with extremely low gearing, there is a minimum amount of forward progress per pedal rotation that has to be done to keep the gyroscopic stability needed to keep from falling over sideways.

When it's really not possible for any human being to use any commonly-available bicycle to ride the hill, it's "uncycleable". A hill that can't be ridden by 99% of the public is de facto "uncyclable".

Re:Be reasonable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45589241)

sounds like those streets are almost undrivable as well. Better hope your parking brake is good and you are not needing to do precision maneuvering in parking. also on a bike pants shitting terrifying going downhill.

remind me never to attempt driving on the west coast.

Re:Be reasonable... (1)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 4 months ago | (#45589907)

Somehow I can't picture a fixed gear bicycle with a small motor getting up any hills that are steep enough to challenge even someone with no motor and a compact gearset.

Re:Why Bother? (3, Insightful)

cusco (717999) | about 4 months ago | (#45587739)

I live in Seattle. If the hill that my house is on were in the Midwest they'd put a ski resort on it. I finally had to give up biking to work because with my asthma I couldn't handle the damn hill home.

Re:Why Bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45589641)

you can buy a gas-powered scooter that can also be pedaled for $300. they made them back in the 70s. they purportedly get around 300mpg. i would imagine one of these oldies would use less carbon to manufacture and resulted in less pollutants in the ground, water, and air.

Re:Why Bother? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 4 months ago | (#45586855)

The problem is that some people are not in shape to begin with, so cycling is actually quite hard on them. The problem with electric bikes is that it doesn't fix the root problem, which is, that the person is out of shape. After a few months of biking regularly without assistance, you'll be in pretty good shape, and you'll wonder why anybody would need an electric bike. That being said, the biggest gripe I have with electric bikes, is that in most places, the law dictates that they can't assist over some specified speed, usually around 30 km/h. That's way to slow for my tastes. It's pretty easy to maintain that speed on a decent bike without electrical assistance. On my bike, with walking effort, I can easily maintain 22-25 km/h on the flats.

Re:Why Bother? (5, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#45586977)

The problem with electric bikes is that it doesn't fix the root problem, which is, that the person is out of shape.

Electric bikes with throttles won't. But electric assist does require some effort, and thus will help the unfit to get fitter.

It's all very well saying that an unassisted bike will get a person fit, but that will never happen if the person feels they are too unfit to get started. And whilst you might say they can start with short distances, most people want to cycle to commute, and that is a fixed distance.

And don't forget that many people will live in terrain that's hillier than where you live.

Re:Why Bother? (4, Interesting)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 4 months ago | (#45586989)

Your response illuminates one benefit called out in the article. With a wheel like this, instead of violating the law on descents, you can regeneratively brake, and then use that energy to stay close to the speed limit on ascents as well.

I bike for fitness, and I fully intend to get something like this one day. I may be looking for an all-electronic drive train, where my cadence and effort are coupled to speed and torque only as a long-term average -- I decide how hard I want to work and what pace I want to maintain, and the power system manages everything else, letting me know if my configuration will either draw my battery down too far or exceed its charging capacity. No more finicky derailleurs, no more chain cleaning, no more chewed-up cuffs or shoelaces. And if the regenerative braking is good, it doesn't really matter that the bike is heavier -- you reclaim energy when coming to a stop, and then tap that energy to accelerate back to your pace.

But who am I kidding? I'm riding a 30-year-old touring bike. I've put 10K miles on it over the last four years, and I'm still on the original chain, never mind groups and such. I'm not going to be pushing the leading edge (except perhaps with obscenely bright headlights).

Flats? Luxury. (2)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#45587021)

After a few months of biking regularly without assistance

And then repeat at least some of those few months every cycling season. I typically start cycling once freezing weather has left for the year, typically in March, but don't feel up to peak form until the end of April.

On my bike, with walking effort, I can easily maintain 22-25 km/h on the flats.

Perhaps the real problem is that flats are a luxury. After a long day at work, an uphill ride home isn't very fun.

Re:Why Bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45589519)

>The problem with electric bikes is that it doesn't fix the root problem, which is, that the person is out of shape. After a few months of biking regularly without assistance, you'll be in pretty good shape, and you'll wonder why anybody would need an electric bike.

Let me put this in computer terms:

If you want your grandma to start using computers, do you give her a MacBook or do you give her a box of parts with a copy of OpenBSD?

Re:Why Bother? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#45587169)

This is for the waifs that can barely carry a 15" laptop. You expect them to actually pedal their bikes as well?

Re:Why Bother? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 months ago | (#45587681)

Why bother? My bike works fine without an electric wheel.

Not everybody sees cycling as a macho endurance event.

Some people have to wear suits to work, not spandex.

Re:Why Bother? (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 4 months ago | (#45588923)

I don't see it as a macho endurance event. My bike is cheap and has flat handlebars and 5 gears. I use it to go places. I am far from fit.

Not getting sweaty is achievable by adding a motor, or pedaling less hard. It seems to me that the latter is cheaper and more convenient.

Re:Why Bother? (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 4 months ago | (#45589379)

Pedaling less hard comes with the disadvantages of not getting where you were planning on going in the time-frame you may have imagined. It could also come with the disadvantage of slowing to a stop and rolling backwards when you come to a hill. I get that no everyone needs every new gadget that comes out, but why is it such a big deal for people around here to brag about how unnecessary technology is to them.

Re:Why Bother? (1)

DutchUncle (826473) | about 4 months ago | (#45587803)

So does mine. But I couldn't ride it to work without getting all sweated up. And my wife, with the repaired ankle (kevlar != tendon), can't ride like she used to.

Be afraid: Someday you, too, may age.

wheel sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45586705)

that people behave this way... :(

Re:wheel sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45589025)

We call such people whores. ... :( Maybe you can identify with them being a karma whore. xD

A few minutes googling for patents... (3)

queazocotal (915608) | about 4 months ago | (#45586731)

I've not found anything.
Can anyone point to the actual patents involved?
This seems to be a standard regenerative electric drive 'on a bike wheel', with nothing startlingly new.

Re:A few minutes googling for patents... (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#45586895)

Personally, I haven't seen one with the batteries built into the hub before.

I haven't seen one where you set a speed target, such that the cycle helps below that speed, and regenerates when going over that speed.

I certainly haven't seen one that integrates with GPS terrain data (via a smartphone) in order to know where the hills, flats and downhills are. Though it remains to be seen how much benefit that adds. It's not obvious to me where the benefit is over simply sensing pedal torque. But maybe they've found a big benefit that's non-obvious.

Re:A few minutes googling for patents... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45587331)

Personally, I haven't seen one with the batteries built into the hub before.

Kind of like adding: "on a computer" to an existing idea to create a bright shiny patentable idea. If putting batteries in the hub poses some particular challenge that they invented a particular solution for, then yeah, that solution should be patentable. But by itself "putting the batteries in the hub" should be a poster child for not-patentable.

I haven't seen one where you set a speed target, such that the cycle helps below that speed, and regenerates when going over that speed.

Again, all obvious ideas. If there is some amazing tech that enables these things then sure, patent that. But not the "invention" of cruise control for bicycles.

Re:A few minutes googling for patents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45587371)

Quick snatch the "on a mobile device" before apple sues!

This is the Published Application, not patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45588221)

Here's the published application

US20110133542

Doesn't look like it granted yet. A quick trip to USPTO PAIR system will tell you everything you need to know.

Re:This is the Published Application, not patent (3, Informative)

queazocotal (915608) | about 4 months ago | (#45588649)

http://www.google.com/patents/US20110133542 [google.com]

While interesting, and some things might seem novel to the casual uninterested reader, I can see nothing truly novel - as in would not be thought of in a few days by an engineer skilled in the field facing the same problems.
Aspects of this patent I've got prototype code somewhere (if I haven't thrown out the disk) around optimising fuel use of a hybrid car.

Re:A few minutes googling for patents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45588797)

The USPTO will accept anything because of possible economic advantages to the US Economy -- simply from an Economics p.o.v. that might make sense; on a strategic analysis it becomes clear this is shooting one's own foot... but they don't seem to look very ahead in time...

All those things are extremely obvious, as already pointed out. They way things are going, the world will get electric vehicles and the US will be stuck on some ancient technology -- just like in the units area.

patent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45586763)

after something like 10000 years since the wheel was invented you would think that patent was expired

Improvements to an invention (2)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#45587041)

Novel and non-obvious improvements to an invention are still inventions, eligible for their own patent. For example, even though the wheel itself is public domain, a wheel with a particular method of regenerative braking might not be.

Re:Improvements to an invention (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45587359)

if they do regenerative braking using magic when going too slow up hill it would be novel and non-obvious

Re:Improvements to an invention (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#45587611)

In case that wasn't sarcastic: I was referring to regen when you hit the brakes so that the wheel can fill its battery for assist up a later hill.

Re:Improvements to an invention (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45589213)

but regen that uses the motor as a generator to charge the batteries when you want to slow down wouldn't be novel or non-obvious

Re:patent? (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 4 months ago | (#45587947)

after something like 10000 years since the wheel was invented you would think that patent was expired

But THIS wheel has rounded corners. Two sets of rounded corners.

I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45586769)

With 3D printing so commonplace and very powerful and capable, anyone can now 3D print a complete electric bike at home. I print mine out fully charged and just take off on it while it's still warm from the cradle.

Only Luddites worry about things like "patents" and "manufacturing".

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45586997)

you need more buzz word like urban, vintage, handmade, upcycle, maybe make some of it from reclaimed pallet wood

Sounds stupid to me... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45586797)

Seams like it's just batteries and few sensors mounted to the wheel and not the frame. Can't see it really changing anything since a conventional electric bicycle can be bought with more batteries for less money. Haven't looked at buying one. but I'm sure they have ones you can peddle on too. Regenerative braking is just looking online for circuits or hire an expert. Also, the fancy sensors could be added if desired along with a custom app. Give me $500,000 and a month; and I'll have 80-100% of their features (minus being on a wheel) on some prototype bikes. Give me some more money and another month or two; and I'll have the assemble line in China shipping them. Can't see it coming in over $150-500 retail depending on quality and features of the bike like suspension, steel or aluminum etc.

Re:Sounds stupid to me... (0)

jo_ham (604554) | about 4 months ago | (#45587343)

Seams like it's just batteries and few sensors mounted to the wheel and not the frame. Can't see it really changing anything since a conventional electric bicycle can be bought with more batteries for less money. Haven't looked at buying one. but I'm sure they have ones you can peddle on too. Regenerative braking is just looking online for circuits or hire an expert. Also, the fancy sensors could be added if desired along with a custom app. Give me $500,000 and a month; and I'll have 80-100% of their features (minus being on a wheel) on some prototype bikes. Give me some more money and another month or two; and I'll have the assemble line in China shipping them. Can't see it coming in over $150-500 retail depending on quality and features of the bike like suspension, steel or aluminum etc.

ahahahahahaha. Oh wait, you were serious? Let me laugh even harder.

Hey man. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45586803)

Dude. You can't like own an idea, man. FREE THE WHEELS!!!!!!!!!

More Cloud Bullshit (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 4 months ago | (#45586807)

From the article:

Superpedestrianâ(TM)s products: those red-disc equipped rear bike wheels, housing a sophisticated battery-powered drive system built with U.S.-made parts that can connect to the Internet to learn about its ownerâ(TM)s riding habits.

Fuck no.

Re:More Cloud Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45587365)

Come on, don't you think it would be fun if they knew about you suddenly slowing down to avoid getting killed by the JImmy Johns delivery guy?
And then flipping him off, which was captured and "seeded" in the cloud via omniscient video surveillance...
Get with the program!

Re:More Cloud Bullshit (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 4 months ago | (#45587729)

Allegedly:

"This is a limited edition, handmade unit by us for the first 1,000" early adopters, says Assaf Biderman, Superpedestrian's founder. "And we're doing this because we want to have an absolute understanding of how each and every unit that comes out of here rides."

Not that I believe they'd actually take that function out of the subsequent models, of course.

Heavy Wheel - 12 _lbs._ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45586817)

Sheesh 12 lbs for a wheel. Might as well be dragging a boat anchor up that hill.

My entire triathlon bike comes in at less than 25 lbs., and most of that is the frame and components. If I had the cash, I'd be drooling over the sub-20 models.

Re:Heavy Wheel - 12 _lbs._ (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 4 months ago | (#45588045)

Give me a nice enough power assist, and I'll drag that boat anchor up that hill faster than your hard-trained legs can haul even the state-of-the-art carbon-fiber wisp of your dreams.

Seriously, what difference does 12 extra pounds make? If you've got power assist to accelerate it and lug it up hills, and regenerative braking to stop or descend with it, it's more or less a wash in terms of energy use. Sure, there are losses, but it's nothing like just hauling the extra weight with your muscles. I guess you'd lose a little stopping power, but with the weight centered at the rear axle, you'd gain some traction as well.

And, of course, nobody's proposing to allow this in competitions.

What is the fucking innovation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45586851)

Putting the batteries inside the wheel? Are you kidding me?

Re:What is the fucking innovation? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about 4 months ago | (#45587157)

Putting the batteries inside the wheel? Are you kidding me?

Yes, that's clearly *all* it does.

*eyeroll*

Re:What is the fucking innovation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45587925)

Putting the batteries inside the wheel? Are you kidding me?

Yes, that's clearly *all* it does.

*eyeroll*

Yeah, it's also "on the internet" and "with a GPS attached"

Comparing the 2 (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 4 months ago | (#45587043)

The FlyKly claims that it's product weighs less, goes faster and farther than the Superpedestrian. Colour me skeptical, but that smells more like marketing than engineering to me.

Re:Comparing the 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45587137)

Or they engineered a better product?

As Seen On TV (3, Interesting)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about 4 months ago | (#45587101)

On the TV show Weeds, Andy became sales agent/importer of a bicycle propulsion device that seems to fit the description in this thread. Is it the same device?

Re:As Seen On TV (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45587481)

On the show they did call it the "Copenhagen Wheel" and Andy brought it back from Denmark, so yes it the same device.

Wondering... (1)

parkinglot777 (2563877) | about 4 months ago | (#45587559)

I am just wondering when this type of technology is caught in 'Tour de France'... It is not easy to design this thing to be small enough in order to fit in regular wheel, but I don't think it is impossible?

Unlike integrated ciruits... (2)

Radical Moderate (563286) | about 4 months ago | (#45588249)

motors and batteries require size and mass to be effective. Shrinking them to be small enough to fit in a standard hub would render them pointless. Also, one side of the hub doesn't rotate (the motor needs something to push against), so it would be simple to detect

Re:Unlike integrated ciruits... (1)

parkinglot777 (2563877) | about 4 months ago | (#45589013)

I understand your point. :) However, I am not talking about let the motor do the work, but rather have the motor ease the strength needed in pushing the bike (similar to gear). Would that still be possible?

Re:Unlike integrated ciruits... (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 4 months ago | (#45589637)

That's exactly what this motor does! You set it to a speed, then it kicks in to help you get to that speed and stay there. It charges itself up either from you peddling faster than the set speed, or going downhill fast. If it ever got to the point where this was seen as a serious threat to the Tour De France, or other professional bicycle races they'd just make you surrender the bike for inspection as soon as you crossed the finish line. They'll x-ray it if they have to.

what if you live where it's flat (1)

Danathar (267989) | about 4 months ago | (#45587745)

So if I live in flat Florida this bike would not be as effective?

Re:what if you live where it's flat (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 4 months ago | (#45589647)

Not really, no, unless you like to bust out sprints every now and then to charge up the battery, then take it easy for a little while when the motor kicks in.

Where's the story? (4, Insightful)

Krazy Kanuck (1612777) | about 4 months ago | (#45587749)

So we have a link to a story about Company A who has exclusive license to use BigShot school's patents to make a fancy wheel and at the end of the article the reporter asks Company A whats they think about Company B's simliar product. The CEO says "Company B CEO came by 18 months ago wanted to co-lab, hung out and left, but I haven't looked at his patents" and we're slashdotting "impending legal doom", yet neither side has said boo to that nature or is there any other relevant link to anything remotely newsworthy. Where's the story?

Mr. Tony Says (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45588813)

If you're out after midnight, do wear white!

reinventing the wheel (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about 4 months ago | (#45589033)

Reinventing the wheel all over again and then fighting over who made it round.... This will end up as one of those brilliant ideas nobody will ever use because it's too expensive and people buy new (used) bikes every few years anyway, or they only have one for show and they don't actually ride it. What's the business case for spending $800 on a wheel to still ride an old bike if you can buy an all new shiny electric bike for less.

MIT 1970 (2)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about 4 months ago | (#45589077)

43 years ago there was a student at MIT who put a car battery and a starter motor on his bicycle. Now it's a big deal?

Prior art (2)

ickleberry (864871) | about 4 months ago | (#45589233)

These have been available for years. I bought a no-brand Chinese one for my bike not too long ago, of course without the fancy batteries, sleek plastic cover on the hub and iPhone app.

If that's not good enough then here's a petrol version petrol version [wikipedia.org] (engine inside the wheel! from 1901)
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