OmniWheel Makes Any Bike an Electric Bike
This OmniWheel Review is part of an ongoing series of trail-related products featured on Trailsnet.com. The OmniWheel is a revolutionary new product, made by Evelo, designed to make just about any bicycle into an electric bike. In essence, when you purchase an OmniWheel, you are purchasing a wheel, tire, battery, console and motor. You provide the rest of the bike, install the OmniWheel, and you’re ready to go.
Why OmniWheel & Other Electric Bikes on Trails?
Before I go into more details about OmniWheel, let me give a quick recap about electric bikes in general, and what they have to do with trails. As you may recall, the most commented-on post on Trailsnet thus far has been the one about Electric Bikes on Trails. Trailsnet has always been a supporter of inclusiveness when it comes to trails. Other than motorized (internal combustion engines) vehicles, we believe that most personal transportation vehicles (PTVs) should be allowed on trails. This includes electric bikes. We believe that America should adopt rules that are already in place across the rest of the world where Pedal Assist (PAS) electric bikes with some kind of governor/regulator are allowed (often encouraged) on most bike paths. It’s simple. Pedal-assist e-bikes have pretty much all the same benefits as regular bikes. They encourage exercise, they are safe, they are affordable for most people, they do not pollute, and they do not use fossil fuel. But electric bicycles have an added advantage: They make trails and bicycling more readily available to a wider cross-section of folks. They take the intimidation factor out of trails that may be a bit lengthy or may contain hilly sections. Thus they make trail cycling more accessible to those who may be less physically fit or may have some sort of minor disability. In addition, electric bikes make bicycle commuting much more feasible. They allow a commuter to carry more work-related items (daypack, pannier, satchel) and to arrive at work less sweaty and bedraggled.
What Kind of Bikes Would Work With an OmniWheel?
This question is easy to answer. Take a look at the list of bikes that might work well with an OmniWheel:
- most urban bikes
- most road bikes
- most mountain bikes
- most cruisers
- most tandems
- some recumbents (bikes and trikes)
- most classic bikes
So, as you can see, the OmniWheel has the potential of working well on a wide variety of bikes. I can’t quite say that it works on all bikes, though. Check out the section (below) about which bikes may not be suitable for an Omniwheel.
Who Might Want to Purchase an OmniWheel?
So, as mentioned in the first paragraph, the OmniWheel, by Evelo, allows you to turn just about any bike into an electric bicycle. E-bikes are a great option for recreational bicyclists, commuters or even folks on bike tours including long-distance trail tours. Electric bikes are common in Europe and offered on most of the trail bike tours in addition to non-electric bikes. Electric bikes come in especially handy for hilly terrain or when longer distances might make bicycle riding too much for the average bike rider. The OmniWheel is particularly suitable for someone who may want the benefits of owning an e-bike but doesn’t want the expense of buying the entire bikes. Someone who has a bike that they aren’t using much could especially benefit from transforming that bike into an e-bike.
What Are Some Bikes That Might Not be Suitable for the OmniWheel?
The OmniWheel does not work on every single bicycle. In most cases, it works well, but here are some possible bikes that may not be suitable for use with an OmniWheel:
- bikes with a carbon fork
- bikes used mainly for single track mountain biking
- bikes that have wheel sizes other than 26″ (often mountain bikes & cruisers) or 700c road wheels
- bikes that do not have at least a 100mm (3.9 inch) space between the fork dropouts (inside dimension)
For more information check out the OmniWheel Compatibility web page.
Installing an OmniWheel
How difficult is it to install an OmniWheel? The answer to that question depends on two factors:
- How mechanically inclined are you?
- What type of bicycle will you be installing it on?
These two factors are interrelated. For most bikes, the OmniWheel is quite easy to install, even if you aren’t particularly mechanically inclined. Assuming you have a bicycle that meets the correct specifications and are able to follow directions, installing OmniWheel is not very difficult at all. However, if your bike has issues, such as the fork isn’t wide enough, the bottom bracket is atypical or your brakes are incompatible, then it will take a bit more mechanical know-how and/or patience. Fortunately, both the phone and email support provided by Evelo/OmniWheel are top-notch and extremely helpful. They will walk you through the process with great patience and even send you replacement parts if the regular ones don’t work for your bicycle. In the end, if you’re not the least bit mechanically inclined, you may want to consider having someone from a bike-repair shop install the OmniWheel for you. If you go that route, be sure to take the OmniWheel Installation Guide with you as well as all the parts that came with the OmniWheel.
OmniWheel Review Summary
- Do I recommend the OmniWheel? – Definitely. If you’re in the market for an electric bike, I highly recommend you check out Evelo and the OmniWheel.
- Can the OmniWheel and other electric bikes be ridden on your local trails? – Unfortunately that question is way too complicated in the United States. Our laws are way too convoluted on this topic. Those who own/enjoy e-bikes as well as those who manufacture/sell e-bikes should work together to change the system. Once you spend some time on a pedal-assisted e-bike, you’ll realize that they are every bit as safe as any other bike.
- How far can the OmniWheel go on a single charge? – I was able to go slightly over 40 miles on a single charge with my OmniWheel. Of course that will vary depending on the terrain and the individual riding bike. Keep in mind, the OmniWheel is pedal-assist, so part of that 40 miles was human power and (the biggest) part was the electric-assist of the OmniWheel. 40 miles with a pedal-assist electric bike provides some exercise/activity but is not overly taxing.
If you have ever thought of purchasing an electric bicycle, I would recommend you contact Evelo/OmniWheel at the links provided in this Trailsnet blog-post. It is a high-quality product that is relatively affordable. And, as always, Trailsnet welcomes comments (below) from subscribers, guests, potential e-bike converts, current e-bike owners or members of the Evelo/OmniWheel team.