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Copenhagen Wheel, an owners thoughts.

June 2018


1989 Bridgestone MB-6. Something old, something new.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copenhagen_Wheel


The Copenhagen Wheel is truly a great ride, but after nearly two years, the best grade I can give would be a C overall. This is June 2018, I still have not tested the wheel in inclement weather conditions. Here is the breakdown.


A Wheel Operation.

A Customer Support

D Speed Restrictions

C- Range

F “Wheel” Android Application


Operation:

Fun to ride! The Copenhagen Wheel really feels natural and responsive. Acceleration and uphill performance is great. You don’t have to think about it. Shifting gears becomes something you seldom do. Upward pressure in your clips when climbing gives a boost you can feel. Spandex cyclists are blown away by an ancient mountain bike(er) passing them going uphill. My advice; pull off at the top, because they will kick your butt on the downhill. The brake feature will save your pads, but any current generated is not noticeable in the battery charge.


I think the Copenhagen Wheel contributes to safety, in that the rider does not mind slowing down, even if is going to cost a lot of momentum. The acceleration is so much fun that you don’t mind slowing down. A good feature on a combined pedestrian trail. In traffic, the CW’s acceleration lets you clear an intersection and get out of the way.


You will find yourself looking for hills!


Customer Service:

Way beyond excellent. At first, same day email response was normal. The team enthusiasm is noticeable. By this spring, it was two or three days for an email response. And, now it is longer than that, but they do come through. My wheel was replaced with no charge last fall when the clicking noise became worse. All I was told was that it was a “rare mechanical problem”. Turnaround was about two weeks, due to ground shipping. It would have been longer if I had not saved the shipping container, a $40 item. Customer Service volunteered to send me one at no charge. I feel guilty that I ended up with a second charger in the wheel exchange, but that makes the bike a real commuter.


Limited Speed and Range:

Before the wheel arrived, talk was up to 40 miles, depending on conditions. My experience has been considerably less. On the Chehalis Western, a trail defined by Google Maps as nearly flat; in Standard Mode, with no hot dogging; maximum range is under 20 miles. And, realize that as battery condition drops, so does performance. It makes the last few miles of a “Western Junction Turn” a misery.


Superpedestrian has waffled on the speed limit restriction. Initially, it was 20 mph. Then it was 25, now it seems to be 22. I asked Customer Support if these were typical numbers. The response was that the “legal” limit is 25, but it starts reducing assist gradually so that you don’t “hit the wall”. The idea that they can impose restrictions is horrible. For instance; you buy a car and the maker arbitrarily restricts it to 55 mph? And, can change the restriction at will? Call me a Geezer, but I believe that mechanical limitations should be the only restriction.


Weight:

When the wheel is not working it is no fun to ride. I blew an ancient knee getting home the first time the app failed me. The CW needs a special vehicle rack, with bottom support, and is difficult to carry up stairs.


Nits:

Cannot be shipped by air. Lithium Ion Batteries! What are you going to do?


Maybe my feet are big, my heel hits the cheap wheel-stay fastener, bending the loose end, and eventually ruining the fastener. I have used zip tie and tape, but a better fastener might be a cheap improvement.


The power switch breaks my thumbnail almost every time. Cold fingers cannot operate the switch worth a damn. Maybe a little plastic key would help?



Smart(?) phone interface: (Saving the worst for last.)

The “Wheel” android application is invasive, asking for way to many permissions in the phone. If you decline to agree to the Terms and Conditions of this invasion, your wheel will not function.


The trip log seldom works, and would be greatly enhanced with a time line. The third party mapping is terrible(and not constrained by your T&C with Superpedestrian). There is other third party software as well. The bug reporting app, for one. Who knows what evil now lurks in your phone?


If there is no internet coverage the “Wheel” app will not load. This can easily leave you out in the country with an inoperative wheel.


I hereby nominate this piece of software for the Steaming Pile award.


Conclusions:

Fantastic wheel design, but with current limitations it has a very narrow focus. With a 2nd charger it becomes a major commuting machine. I must say, the Copenhagen Wheel is the master of the cross-town commute! Given that this is the niche, there is no need for the map or the tracking, or the security issues. We know where we work!


This Geezer’s recommendation is; Superpedestrian should consider a version of the Copenhagen Wheel that doesn’t require the phone “app”. One more switch on the hub instead. Maybe key operated switches? A version like that, I would upgrade this next Bridgestone in a minute.


I read that Superpedestrian just got a load of money to go into the “city bike” business. https://electrek.co/2018/05/24/copenhagen-wheels-founder-ebike-safer/


We wish them good luck and smooth rides. Frankly, I’m surprised Microsoft hasn’t bought them yet.


And, now for something completely different!




The Heraldo de Aragon published this excellent article about Zaragoza AB

http://www.heraldo.es/especiales/base-americana-zaragoza/


A-400M News

Segundo A400M del Ejército del Aire en vuelo. Foto: Airbus


The second A400M destined for Zaragoza AB makes first flight.

http://www.infodefensa.com/es/2017/10/24/noticia-segundo-a400m-espanol-realiza-primer-vuelo.html


And is baptized upon arrival.