Re-Inventing The Wheel: The Gadget That Will Save Casual Cyclists

Meet the Copenhagen Wheel. It doesn't look like much, but inside that weird dome around your back wheel is technology originally used on F1 cars to make those long pedal journeys easier and faster.

The Copenhagen Wheel is a brand new wheel that you attach to the back of your bike. At the centre of the spokes is a big red oval module forming the hub. Inside this red hub is a rechargeable battery, a motor, a wireless module and a smart lock.

What the Copenhagen Wheel is designed to do is remarkable: it takes the energy dispersed from braking and converts it into energy, the same way a KERS system would work on a Formula 1 car, and uses said energy to power a small motor on your back wheel when it figures out you've hit a hill.

It connects to your phone with the wireless module inside the hub, and clever software starts to learn how you ride. It wants to learn how you ride so that it can trigger the motor automatically, rather than have to install a complex throttle linkage system on your handlebars. If it realises that you're slowing down because the incline is increasing, it can pump up the power to give you between three- and 10-times your original pedal power.

It was invented by a team of geniuses from MIT, in conjunction with the city of Copenhagen: one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, hence the name. They all came together to form the start-up, Superpedestrian.

The only flaw? It ain't cheap. Right now the Copenhagen Wheel is available for $US699, with an original price of $US799 when it goes on sale proper. You'd want to be a serious rider for this one.