October 18, 2013
FlyKly Creates Smart Bicycle Wheel
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
In recent years the electric bicycle (or e-bike) market has seen significant growth, especially among urban riders looking for the freedom of personal transportation without the need for a car. The problem has been that many e-bikes carry a sticker price that still exceeds several thousand dollars, limiting the market for the two-wheel transport.
While bike sharing programs have provided riders with rentable e-bikes, several companies have explored options that allow riders to add a pedal assist to existing bikes. This enables riders to get to work without working up a sweat.
This week FlyKly launched a crowdfunded Kickstarter campaign to get the Smart Wheel rolling.
This lightweight yet highly efficient wheel is designed to fit practically any bicycle yet likely won’t even require a trip to the bike shop. The Smart Wheel features an electric-powered pedal assist that is built into the rear wheel’s hub.
The FlyKly Smart Wheel in essence replaces the standard gears on a bike with an app-controlled motor system, and it is powered by an internal rechargeable 36 volt battery.
“We’re currently developing the wheels with diameters of 26-inch and 29-inch, which seem to be the most common among cyclists worldwide,” Andraz Jeric, director of PR and marketing at FlyKly, told RedOrbit. “It’s not recommended to customize the hub onto a new rim by yourself but it can technically be done.”
The FlyKly Smart Wheel is designed so that riders can use the bike to its maximum efficiency, such as times when the bike is about transportation more than exercise.
Users can operate the Smart Wheel via an Android or iOS compatible devices or even the Pebble smartwatch. When a rider starts pedaling, the pedal assist motor kicks in, thus making the pedaling easier by doing much of the work. However, this isn’t meant to be a full-blown electric-driven bike – so riders do need to keep pedaling.
Unlike other electric pedal-assisted bikes, this system doesn’t add substantially to the bike, which means riders who opt not to use the assist won’t have to do a lot of extra work.
With this motor running riders can expect to travel comfortably at up to 20 miles per hour for around 30 miles, so this is really more for the urban dweller who has a 10 mile or so daily commute. Depending on the terrain the system may even get some juice from the journey.
“The run time for the Smart Wheel is up to 30 miles at the top speed of 25 miles per hour,” add Jeric. “It partially recharges when the user is pedaling by himself or riding downhill, otherwise you simply recharge it in two to three hours by plugging it into a wall.”
In addition to helping riders get to work, the Smart Wheel might also be able to help riders find their bike if it is stolen, as the wheel’s app features GPS connectivity that will display its location.
As noted above, FlyKly has launched a Kickstarter campaign and at press time has exceeded its pledged goal of $100,000. Apparently many riders are looking for a Smart Wheel to ease their journey to work.