PHOTO CAPTION: Evelo Omni Wheel is latest entrant in the all-in-one eBike motor arena.

All-In-One E-Bike Motors For An Environmental Commute

Beth Kelly catalogs a growing list of 'All-In-One' electric-assist motors for bicycles from the groundbreaking Copenhagen Wheel to the latest entrant, the Evelo Omni Wheel.

Published: 16-Jan-2015

Speedy, cheap, and green, the bicycle is the perfect mode of transportation. Now what if anyone could ride a bike, regardless of physical fitness or terrain? Electric bikes hope to provide transportation for commuters and city riders, as well as any type of biking enthusiast. While the United States has yet to embrace bicycles with open arms, electric bikes are already becoming popular in countries with an established culture of cycling.

For many Americans, rising energy costs are of great concern. E-Bikes provide an opportunity not only to reduce one’s carbon footprint, but cut down on gas expenditures and other automobile-associated costs. While other alternative energy projects may be pricey and involve extensive home repair know-how, E-Bikes are a great way to bring innovative green technology home. If you’re ready to switch from cars to a zero emission E-Bike on your daily route to work, here are five worth taking a closer look at:

Evelo Omni Wheel - If you’re not prepared to commit to a fully electric bicycle just yet, the Evelo Omni Wheel offers a compromise. By replacing the front wheel of your bike with the Evelo Omni, you can turn any bicycle into an electric one. Using its front fork-mounted wheel riders can travel up to 25 miles on a single charge. An upgraded battery system takes the range up to 40 miles. Once you’ve pre-charged the device, you will be able to cruise along at speeds of up to 20 mph. As the E-Bike boom picks up speed, this is one wheel to watch.   

The Copenhagen Wheel - Before the Omni Wheel, a company called Superpedestrian was at work on the “Copenhagen Wheel”, a similar innovation for the back wheel of your bicycle. A smartphone app programs the device, ultimately learning “how you pedal” to optimize its performance. The wheel also tracks everything from speed and pollution to GPS location, even remembering certain nasty potholes. Sensing your desired speed from the force you apply to the pedals, the wheel can travel for 30 miles before running out of charge at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. The project has received funding from several notable parties, including actor Jared Leto, as it attempts to crown itself king of the E-Bike market.  

The FlyKly Smart Wheel - The New York-based FlyKly initially emerged as a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2013, only to emerge at this year’s CES as the first “smart” bicycle wheel to be available to customers. An efficient E-Bike conversion kit, this “pedal assist” system only kicks in once you’ve started riding and have reached the speed you’ve pre-entered in the corresponding app. Using the FlyKly app riders can customize the experience they have with the device. Tracking “riding style” as well as trip durations and speeds, the app enables users to share any of their information with fellow riders as well. Designed in Italy, the FlyKly is small and light, allowing cyclists to travel up to 60 miles on one charge.

ZeHus Bike+ - Mentioned in a review from the Interbike convention back in September, the Zehus Bike+ all-in-one system is an exciting development from a Milan-based Italian start-up. Similar to other E-Bike technology, the ZeHus Bike+ uses a smartphone app to spearhead its controls. Incorporating the app into your ride is optional, but with it it is possible to set the behavior of the device on a sliding scale, depending on the amount of pedaling assistance you prefer. As of now, the maximum speed is listed at approximately 15 mph, but as the bikes become more popular that is subject to change.

Pedego - Aiming to be “the coolest electric bikes on the market”, the Pedego bike company was founded in 2006, from a single shop in Newport Beach. CA. Now, in 2015, Pedego has sold over 20,000 of its electric bicycles, and only sees sales rising from here. Offered in several different styles, the bikes sit on a classic cruiser frame and can reach speeds of up to 20 mph. While the bikes still come with a hefty price tag, Pedego and other American E-Bike retailers are betting that this might be the machine that enables these products to hit the mainstream. The market is certainly looking up, as Ford Motor Co. recently partnered with Pedego, marking its first licensing deal with a bicycle manufacturer. If an automobile giant of Ford’s stature is willing to take these bikes seriously, perhaps we as consumers should too.

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