This new bike sensor could help improve your cornering

With Sir David Brailsford looking towards technology for the next marginal gains, we visited the Wearable Technology Show at the ExCel Centre London to see what we could find. Xensr is a small, but very powerful motion tracking device.

Xensr is a Wisconsin-based start-up which has developed an ultra-sensitive accelerometer GPS device which will be launched in the USA and Canada in May 2015. The tiny sensor should allow you to collect 3D positional data at a frequency and a level of accuracy – down to 10cm – which you can use as a tool to fine tune your riding. Collecting data 400 times a second, the device measures angles, speed, rotation, acceleration and yaw.

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Shown here on a motorbike, the system could equally be used on a road bike.

So how could this improve your riding? By analysing the yaw angle of your bike you could see how far you pushed in a corner, or how hard someone else pushed. This would be a useful tool in analysing the dynamics of cornering. You could accurately map the exact point at which you lose traction and wash out, which would be useful in comparing different tyres too.

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Here we can see how the yaw could be displayed. This would be useful when analysing cornering performance/technique

The sensor will also provide high resolution climbing data and could be coupled with power and heart rate data to see where your climb rate changed. Add a second sensor and you could potentially see relative position of your helmet to your bike and identify how much time is spent out of the saddle or in different positions, on the bike, by the change in their proximity and relative motion. When overlaid on video shot from an action cam, the footage could be incredibly useful.


The unit is small and could be placed in lots of locations

The company founder, David Troup tells us that he has plans to incorporate the sensor into bikes. He told us that this would be useful in measuring suspension in mountain bikes, but that the unit is sensitive enough to measure flex in a carbon frame too – a potentially very useful proposition. Perhaps your carbon bike has sustained a crash and you want to know if the frame is compromised – a sensor such as this may provide the answer.

Although there’s no display, Bluetooth LE allows data to be streamed to a suitable head unit or to your smartphone, while USB connectivity can be used to upload data to a computer for later analysis. The sensor unit is 4.5cm square and 1.7cm deep, can be mounted on your body or kit and weighs only 15g. With a claimed battery life of 7 hours, we look forward to getting our hands on one in the future in order to test it for ourselves.

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