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Urban Planet: With the switch of a wheel, FlyKly converts bicycles into e-bikes

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Most any bicycle can be converted into an e-bike with the FlyKly Smart Wheel, a prototype currently the basis of a Kickstarter campaign.

To get rolling, you just need to set your desired speed on the FlyKly smartphone app. Then, once you start pedaling, the battery-powered Smart Wheel kicks in as a pedal assist, keeping the bike moving at the set speed. However, unlike with a conventional e-bike, you actually have to pedal (albeit with relative ease) for the device to work. When coasting downhill, the wheel automatically recharges.

Installing the Smart Wheel is no different than installing any other bicycle wheel – there are no wires to connect.

Once installed, the device can help cyclists hit speeds of 25 km/h for a maximum distance of 50 kilometres. Recharging the battery only takes two to three hours when it’s plugged into a wall socket.

And the device isn’t only intended for fair-weather use; it’s both waterproof and salt-resistant, so riding in rain and snow isn’t a problem.

FlyKly has also created the Smart Light, which serves as a handlebar-mounted phone holder and charger (powered by a dynamo generator), for use with the device.

As an anti-theft measure, the wheel can be locked via the FlyKly app. But if a particularly tenacious thief still tries to make off with the bike, the location of the wheel is tracked with GPS and the info is relayed to the owner’s smartphone.

If it hits the retail market – which seems likely as the project has already surpassed its crowd funding goal – the wheel would come in a variety of colours and sizes to fit nearly any bicycle.

photo courtesy FlyKly

Urban Planet is a roundup of blogs from around the world dealing specifically with urban environments. We’ll be on the lookout for websites outside the country that approach themes related to urban experiences and issues.

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One comment

  1. How much does it weigh?

    This can be useful for some of us as we age (I’m a boomer). I most definitely do NOT want to ride the kind of scooters or “bicycles” also known as “fatmobiiles” on which cyclists are not pedalling or exerting themselves at all. Cycling keeps us healthy by being gentle, moderate exercise for all ages.

    But there are times when my arthritis acts up and I really find it painful to climb hills – and it isn’t necessarily good for me to strain my joints. This kind of VERY LIMITED assist could be a good thing.

    Perhaps people with medical certificates should get some kind of tax or other relief to help in buying this device. I’m not very favourable to the generalised use of e-bikes.