Notio and Velocomp, the manufacturers of the two leading on-bike aero-testing sensors, have put their rivalry aside to work on a new protocol – or digital language – that makes their devices compatible with all bike computers.
Cyclists expect bike sensors and bike computers to ‘just work’, say the two companies in their press release. However, previously seamless operation between aero sensors and bike computers hasn’t been possible because an industry-standard digital language enabling aero sensors and bike computers to talk to each other hasn’t existed.
When we tested with the Notio last year (opens in new tab), it only worked alongside an app which was iOS compatible only. And at that point Garmin was the only company that provided the ANT+ aero field capable of displaying the Notio data field values, CdA and wind speed, so it could only be used with a Garmin head unit - and still only via its Connect IQ fields.
Despite the industry expecting Garmin – regarded as the industry leader in bike computers – to have developed a wider ‘aero profile’ industry standard in the last two years, nothing has been published.
In order to rectify this, Notio Technologies and Velocomp LLC have announced what they’re calling the Common Aero Profile. According to the brands, bike computer and aero sensor manufacturers implementing the Common Aero Profile will provide their customers with a simplified ANT+ setup experience, bike computer display of aero and related data, and device interoperability.
“The Common Aero Profile opens up aero-related measurements to over 10,000 Notio and Velocomp customers already using our sensors”, said John Hamann, CEO of Velocomp.
“Cyclists get simplified aero sensor setup, and measurements that are received and displayed on their bike computer in a consistent manner.”
Martin Lesauteur, CEO of Notio, said: “A common aero standard has been an industry goal for several years now. As Notio and Velocomp have captured nearly 100 per cent market share of the aero sensor category, we are collaborating to provide a common standard that’s available now.
“The Common Aero Profile will stimulate growth opportunities for bike computer and aero sensor manufacturers. For cyclists, seeing aero data on the bike computer of their choice, from the aero sensor of their choice, is another obvious win.”
The Common Aero Profile will be available for license, without charge, to any bike computer or sensor manufacturer. Notio and Velocomp will implement the Common Aero Profile in their respective products and apps during the 2021 cycling season.
However Notio’s Ed Collins told Cycling Weekly: “If and when Garmin publishes an aero profile, and assuming that bike computer companies choose to adopt it, Velocomp and Notio intend to transition to that profile.”
Earlier this year sports scientist and coach Mehdi Kordi, who has worked with British Cycling, English Institute of Sport and Huub Wattbike, published an independent study suggesting that the Notio device was "highly reliable" in measuring drag (opens in new tab).
In the next few years, aero sensors are expected to become much more commonplace as the technology progresses and the price falls – currently the Notio is priced at £949.99 and the Velocomp Aeropod £449 – and this seems like a crucial next step in making them more accessible to riders wanting to measure their CdA and make improvements to their position and equipment without an expensive visit to the wind tunnel.
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Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor following an MA in online journalism.
In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Mercian Classic fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.
And the vital statistics:
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