With the body on the bike making up the vast majority of aerodynamic drag, it's little wonder that aero sensors are a fast growing product group - and one such device has now raised over £255,000 via crowdfunding.
The Body Rocket has raised £255,424 (at time of writing) on Crowdcube to progress its prototype device, which is designed to provide real time feedback to the rider on how changes to fit and equipment affect drag, with data fed into a smart stem, handlebar and pedal set.
The data provided - via an integrated stem and seatpost sensor - will show the effect of changes across different yaw angles, and at different speeds. The brand is aiming for a launch at the Eurobike trade show in 2021, and promises the likes of Garmin Connect IQ integration.
Currently, most aero optimisation sessions happen in the velodrome, or in a windtunnel. The velodrome option, paired with custom software and hardware packages, is used frequently by the likes of Dan Bigham's Wattshop and Xavier Disley's Aerocoach consultancy services.
Regardless if testing happens at a velodrome or windtunnel, it's then up to the rider to maintain that position when they get on to the road. With fixed contact points, this is manageable, but hard for the rider themselves to measure and improve on.
Sensors like the Body Rocket make it easier to test without a full suite of equipment and over more varied routes - as the present suite of equipment typically needs a very consistent environment. Body Rocket says it is "the world's first on-bike device capable of offering wind-tunnel-precise measurement directly integrated into our smart stem, handlebar and pedals, allowing aero to move out of the wind tunnel and onto the road, where cyclists actually ride."
There are several competitors offering real time aero analysis, usually by pairing power and speed/cadence sensors with a device containing a pitot tube measuring what's going on around the rider - combining the data to provide a coefficient of drag area (CdA) number .
Cycling Weekly took a deep dive into this tech earlier this year, using the Notio device (in-depth review coming post lockdown) but other devices alongside Body Rocket include the PowerPod AeroPod.
The Brighton based tech start up Body Rocket was looking to raise £80,000 to progress the device - but input from private investors saw the figure far surpassed. Cash so far has come from 370 individual investors.
Looking ahead to the future, Body Rocket says it anticipates this "rapidly growing market set to reach $780M by 2026."
As well as attracting investors via crowdfunding, Body Rocket has partnered with HotChillee to provide top investors with a bespoke aero-training weekend in Girona together with the Body Rocket team.
Commenting on the campaign, Body Rocket CEO Eric DeGolier said: “We're blown away by the support we've had during this campaign. It's gone beyond just raising funds and has introduced us to people with expertise in all aspects of the business that are excited and want to help us make a great product.The enthusiasm and engagement we’ve had from riders and triathletes of all levels speaks for itself in what Body Rocket can do and how it will change the industry. To confirm that belief from the wider community really gives us the drive to keep forging ahead and developing our MVP and final devices.”
The capital raised will not only help develop the next stages of Body Rocket’s product, but it will also enable the company to deliver testing for a range of WorldTour cycling teams, professional triathletes and Olympic track cyclists later this year. As well as this, the team will be able to build and deliver an effective marketing strategy to help take the product to market.
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor, and is responsible for managing the tech news and reviews both on the website and in Cycling Weekly magazine.
A traditional journalist by trade, Arthurs-Brennan began her career working for a local newspaper, before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining writing and her love of bicycles first at Total Women's Cycling and then Cycling Weekly.
When not typing up reviews, news, and interviews Arthurs-Brennan is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 190rt.
She rides bikes of all kinds, but favourites include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
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