If you can't quite justify the purchase of a fully-fledged e-bike and/or the various conversion kit systems out there look a bit convoluted to you, then Taiwanese startup E-Rim may have found the answer... in the form of the E-Rim Wheel that has all the elements inside its hub to make your bike e-assisted. All you need to do is swap out your front wheel.
The first version of the wheel E-Rim are crowdfunding for on Indiegogo is based around a quick-release system, which rules out the large majority of disc brake bikes with thru-axles; but there are versions that will fit any 700c or 26 inch wheel bike with a QR front fork. It works around a patent-pending hub motor offering a range of around 45 kilometres, with assist up to 25km/h as per the legal limit in the EU. The total wheel weight is 4kg, quite a bit more than a standard front wheel but light considering there's a whole e-bike system in there.
No app or any significant setting up is required - according to E-Rim it's literally plug and play. A combination of A.I., gyroscope and accelerometer sensors also enable the wheel to analyse road conditions and send data to the motor that tells it to provide assist when needed. The built-in hub motor also acts as a generator and stores energy to fuel the battery when you're going downhill.
While E-Rim say this is a world first, it's not the first all-in-one e-bike wheel we've ever seen; our pals at road.cc first reported on the Copenhagen wheel way back in 2009, although that one is a rear wheel and required a spanner to fit and remove it. The E-Rim is likely to be the first all-in-one electric front wheel that doesn't require tools to fit it, though.
Herman Huang of E-Rim is keen to share the environmental benefits of his creation, telling Business Matters: “E-rim wheel shows the way for the alternative green transportation need to keep our planet safe. We have worked with the best of manufacturers to ensure a world-class product. At present, we are looking for mass production and hence this Indiegogo campaign. Your generous support will enable us to bring E-rim wheel to life and make the world a better place to live in.”
E-Rim's crowdfunding campaign has been a little slow to start, raising just over £2,000 of their £8,496 goal so far with eight days to go. You can pre-order either a 700c or 26 inch E-Rim for £404, a discount of 41% off the RRP. Check out E-Rim on Indiegogo here.