Instead of spending a whole chunk of change on a new electric bike, why not convert your current boring non-powered one for cheap?
That’s the premise behind UrbanX’s Electric Wheel, which is currently on crowd-funding platform Kickstarter. Retailing at $299 (£245, AU$390) for either a throttle or pedal assist version, the electric wheel replaces your front wheel to turn your ordinary pedal machine into a 15 mph beast.
Hoverboards, e-scooters and electric bikes have become all the rage, thanks to more power efficient motors and better battery tech. While UrbanX is not the first to come up with a design that puts the motor on a wheel — the Copenhagen Wheel has that honor — it’s a lot cheaper compared with the Copenhagen Wheel’s $699 price tag or Rool’in’s, which costs about $590.
While the UrbanX was inspired by the Copenhagen Wheel, there are differences. For one, the UrbanX replaces the front wheel, which means you don’t have to worry about the Copenhagen Wheel’s myriad of gear configurations that jack up the cost. You still keep your bicycle’s rear gear hub and chose between two versions: pedal assist or throttle control. It comes in six sizes: 24-inch, 26-inch, 27.5-inch, 29-inch, 650c and 700c.
The UrbanX also features a replaceable battery, which CEO Eric Chow said will make servicing easier. Embedding the battery can also be detrimental to battery life, as the 240W motor generates a lot of heat. There’s also no regenerative braking to charge the battery; Chow said that adds too much resistance.
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