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    HIAWATHA BRAY | TECH LAB

    Want to charge uphill? Add a motorized bike wheel and go

    They say it makes no sense to re-invent the wheel, but in Cambridge some engineers didn’t get the memo. A couple of startups, Superpedestrian and GeoOrbital, have come up with two radical—and radically different—variations on the classic bicycle wheel. Bolt one of these onto a standard bike, and a built-in electric motor carries you down the road at remarkable speed, with minimal effort.

    GeoOrbital’s version resembles something a Martian might ride when his hovercraft’s in the shop, while the Superpedestrian Copenhagen Wheel looks like someone shoved a Frisbee between the spokes. But both have enough pulling power to turn an ordinary bicycle into a two-wheeled Tesla.

    Globe technology reporter Hiawatha Bray recently found out for himself, as he raced up Bunker Hill on the Copenhagen Wheel (above), then hopped aboard a GeoOrbital bike for a spin around the Globe parking lot (below).

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    Hiawatha Bray can be reached at hiawatha.bray@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeTechLab.