Thinking of getting an e-bike, but not sure if you’ll like it? How about retrofitting your existing bicycle into one using a rig that you can easily remove if you end up not enjoying the experience? That’s exactly what you can do with the GeoOrbital Wheel.
A replacement for your bicycle’s front wheel, the rig automatically transforms any regular bicycle into a motorized e-bike with a simple swap. Even better, it installs like any regular wheel, so all you need to do are loosen the rim brakes, remove the front wheel (you may need a wrench), and swap this one in. Oh yeah, you’re going to have to clamp a couple of things to secure the motor and the throttle, but other than that, everything is pretty straightforward, ensuring you can easily remove it, too, if it ends up not being your thing.
The GeoOrbital Wheel has a frame and rim that’s cut in solid aluminum, so it’s both lightweight and pretty durable, with a foam tire that’s never going flat, so there’s no need for any maintenance (you don’t even need to check tire pressure). Because both the 500-watt brushless motor and the 36-volt Panasonic battery are set up on the wheel, it leaves no room for disc brakes, so it only works if you’re using rim brakes for your front wheel. Do note, they do plan to come out with an adapter for disc brakes, although that won’t be released until towards the end of the year.
After installing the wheel, you’ll need to secure the motor and battery assembly to the front fork using an integrated clamp system, as well as mount the throttle onto the handlebars. A knob-style switch lets you turn the motor on and off directly from the wheel, so there’s no need to pull out your phone and launch an app like many existing systems. The throttle can be controlled completely with a single thumb, so it shouldn’t add any distraction during riding.
Once set up, the GeoOrbital Wheel can help propel your bike at speeds of up to 20 mph, which should be pretty satisfying, especially for those days you’d rather give your legs a break. Unlike other aftermarket systems, the motor will keep it running even without you pedaling, so you’re not forced to use pedal-assist at any point. Do note, range is limited to 20 miles if you let the motor do all the work, although you can extend it to a more useful 50 miles if you pedal along throughout the whole commute.
To ensure it handles puddles and inclement weather, the wheel’s electronics are fully enclosed in a water-resistant enclosure, so you can enjoy motorized riding regardless of the prevailing conditions. It comes in two sizes, 26 inches and 28/29 inches, so that should cover most common commuter bicycles. Both, by the way, come with a USB slot, just in case you find your phone drained in an emergency and need a quick way to recharge to make an important call.
Available now, the GeoOrbital Wheel is priced at $995.