Here's a riddle for you: what was invented at MIT in 2009, popularized on Showtime, never sold, and has just been reinvented better than ever? Answer: The Copenhagen Wheel, although this year's model is called the FlyKly Smart Wheel and doesn't actually claim to be the same invention at all. We'll let you be the judge of that.
The original Copenhagen Wheel was a simple replacement wheel for you bicycle that ingeniously coverted your ride into a hybrid pedal/electric vehicle without any complex installation or setup. Invented waaay back in '09, it was popularized by the hit Showtime show Weeds in 2011, but never went to market. Theoretically, you might be able to reserve a Copenhagen Wheel as early as next month, but we'll believe it when we see it at this point.
What we can say for sure is that the FlyKly Smart Wheel is not only currently taking pre-orders, but looks to eclipe the original Copenhagen Wheel almost immediately. That's because FlyKly has incorporated security and speed controls for the Smart Wheel into a smartphone-compatible app. From your Android, iOS or Pebble smart device, you can lock your wheel, track your bike by GPS, and set a maximum speed for your commute. The Smart Wheel will also save your commute data and suggest alternate routes that may be safer, more scenic and quicker than the ones you know. It'll even charge your phone with pedal power, through a special handlebar-mounted headlamp/dock.
The FlyKly Smart Wheel does differ from the Copenhagen Wheel in one major way: Where the Copenhagen Wheel is capable of powering your bike without your aid, the Smart Wheel is a pedal-assist device. That means that it only works while you're pedaling, but effectively flattens hills for you and keeps your commute at top speed. It also means that it has twice the range of the 15-mile-max Copenhagen Wheel. The Smart Wheel tops out at about 20 miles per hour, a respectable speed for anyone but those of you out there who happen to be training for the Tour de France.
You can pre-order your own Smart Wheel over at FlyKly's Kickstarter page here for $590, exactly ten bucks less than the proposed retail price of the Copenhagen Wheel — and they'll even throw in the smartphone-charging headlamp. For a better look at the FlyKly Smart Wheel, check out the video below.