You should really stop reading here and check out the video of the FlyKly Smart Wheel, which is utterly hilarious. In i you’ll see an urban-warrior type taking his bike up into his beautifully-designed apartment and swapping out his back wheel for the FlyKly. This is fine, until you see him lowering the monstrosity into the rear dropouts of his frame.
The big, ugly plastic wad at the wheel’s center reminds me of nothing so much as generic prosthetic limbs: paint this thing ‘skin’ color and you’ll be done.
However, it’s this wad which holds the key to the FlyKly’s mysterious iPowers.
The FlyKly turns your bike into an electric bike, with the motor, battery and electronics all inside that fat hub. It’s easy to fit, and once you have bolted it on you can pair it with an iPhone app to set parameters like top speed.
The max sped is 20mph, and the max distance is 30 miles. The wheel works using a pedal-assist to make riding easier, so you still have to do some work. It also recharges itself on the downhills, and can be recharged to full in around 2–3 hours by plugging it into a standard wall socket.
But that’s not it. You can lock the bike using the app (it just stops the wheel from turning), and built-in GPS will send you an alert if your bike moves without you, and you can even track it on a map. There’s also an iPhone mount and charger for your handlebars.
So you see, we’ve gone from ugly blob to pretty cool gadget in the space of around 280 words. I’m skeptical that such a security system could work anywhere but in small German towns where bike theft isn’t really a problem, especially as you’d be adding a $590 wheel to your bike. If you want one, pitch in on Kickstarter, where you can currently save $40 on this price.