Copenhagen Wheel

Based on technology invented by MIT, Superpedestrian founding members reached out to MistyWest to make the next generation prototype for the Copenhagen Wheel that was reliable and cost effective.


Founded in 2004 within the City Design and Development group at the MIT Media Lab, the SENSEable City Lab aims to investigate and anticipate how digital technologies are changing the way people live, and their implications at the urban scale.

Drawing on diverse fields such as urban planning, architecture, design, engineering, computer science, natural science and economics, the SENSEable City Lab seeks to capture the multidisciplinary nature of urban problems and deliver research and applications that empower citizens to make choices for a better livable urban experience.

Prior to approaching MistyWest, SENSEable City Lab had a working prototype for a next-generation bicycle wheel which had grown out of their lab research efforts and was built by a team of architects and designers.

The rear bicycle wheel had a built-in electric motor, battery, and connected sensors and was intended for easily converting pedal bikes into e-bikes. The smart wheel’s electric motor can assist the rider when necessary, thus increasing the comfort and convenience of cycling, and providing an accessible option for cyclists to transition to e-bikes without a typical conversion kit.

The client requested MistyWest’s engineering talent to make their prototype cost-effective and reliable so they could manufacture prototypes for early feasibility studies and validation.

The Solution

Drawing from existing designs from the previous prototype, MistyWest assisted with the pattern-drawing and performed the 3D modelling of the wheel and associated parts. In designing the wheel’s battery system enclosure, MistyWest had to work around the constraints posed by fitting a heat sensitive component next to a heat generation component in a closed system that allows for very little heat dissipation. The engineering team’s understanding of thermal physics enabled a stable battery system to be designed and adopted for the smart wheel.

The inventors of the wheel were the first to ever fit a motor and a power source into a fitted bicycle wheel. MistyWest was responsible for the sourcing, part creation and design for its components, requiring a lot of creativity in choosing material combinations for this first-of-its-kind device. CNC cutting and the construction of vital steel components were designated for Singapore, while product assembly was set for Cambridge, making this project a great test of our ability in providing excellent remote engineering support.


In 2012, co-inventor Assaf Biderman founded SuperPedestrian Inc. with an exclusive license to commercially sell the final technology of the smart wheel. It was launched as the Copenhagen Wheel in 2017 to overwhelming success, being lauded by the New York TimesMashableDigital Trends and Electric Bike Action, to name a few.

SuperPedestrian raised over $6 million in venture funding and are considered the biggest-and-best-funded next-generation bike technology company. While the company stopped distributing the Copenhagen Wheel in 2020, it is still considered a next-level achievement in enabling transition to smarter cities and urban environments.

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