How exactly will this help me improve my aerodynamics?
Right now, the best method for optimising your drag is to get it measured in a wind tunnel. Often the advice is quite subtle (roll your shoulders, bring your head down slightly), leaving you wondering if you’re holding your position the next day when you’re riding outside. The whole wind tunnel model also presumes you remain in one static position while cycling, and often in one specific wind condition. Of course, that’s not so.
Body Rocket aims to change this entire model. Our system constantly collects data about your aerodynamics in a whole range of different wind conditions. This means we can build a much more complete picture of a cyclist’s aerodynamics than is practical in a wind tunnel. We can help you understand, for example, how well you can maintain a position as you become more fatigued during an event, so you can make better decisions about set-up and pacing strategies.
The real-time component will be increasingly useful as you learn what aerodynamic numbers you can hold, as well as helping you make decisions about when and how to adjust your position as the conditions change. With the present model it’s assumed a cyclist has one position for all conditions. With a more complete knowledge of your aerodynamics we expect to find that the optimal position for a headwind is different than the optimal position for a crosswind, for example.
Who are your top five competitors? How do you differentiate from them?
There are three main types of competition.
Within competitive cycling wind tunnel testing has been in routine use by professional teams and manufacturers since the 1990’s. Initially the interest was in building faster bike frames and components. In the late 1990s top athletes began entering the wind tunnel to help win important time trial events of races like the Tour de France. Today many top teams send their entire squad to get tested before the start of the racing season.
Garmin TAS which focuses on estimating drag through power measurement as well as ambient pressure measurements within a controlled environment i.e. velodrome and are successfully competing with wind tunnels through affiliate partners based at velodromes around the world. However, these services have remained niche because of the costs and logistical hurdles involved.
At present, every other attempt to compete in this space is based on the same wind speed + power meter approach to estimate aerodynamics while riding on the road. This method has been in existence for 15+ years – they are all based on a product first commercialised in 2004 (iBike), and in our assessment, has insurmountable issues that will continue to keep it from mainstream acceptance. The idea has enjoyed a resurgence in the last several years due to the clear demand for aerodynamic improvements however, they rely on estimates that make them finicky to use and prone to errors.
Ultimately, the race for aero comes down to compliance (easy to use), accuracy (no assumptions), and accessibility (cost effective and in real time).
Only Body Rocket offers a solution that directly measures drag forces, and the possibility to transform a cyclist’s aerodynamics from test-and-improve to the world of big data and continuous improvement within a normal training routine.
Right now, the best method for optimizing a cyclist’s aerodynamic drag is to get it measured in a wind tunnel, which doesn’t accurately replicate real-life and variable conditions, or training/racin under fatigue. Apart from that, wind tunnels are very expensive for a one-time use!
Body Rocket’s patented technology aims to change this entire model. With constant data collection it’s possible to get insights into a range of new metrics. Over time we can build up a picture of a cyclist’s aerodynamics that goes well beyond what is practical in a wind tunnel by accounting for a full range of wind conditions. We can also help a cyclist understand their ability to maintain their aerodynamics as they fatigue over the course of an event, something else that’s not practical with existing methods. This is all the behind-the-scenes big data analysis, and it help cyclists make better decisions about set-up and pacing strategies for their events.
Because the aerodynamics of a cyclist’s body accounts for ~80% of all the forces a cyclist is pushing against this is an area where significant performance gains are still possible. The use of wind tunnels has had a dramatic effect at the top end of the sport for nearly 20 years, but they remain relatively inaccessible due to the cost and the travel required for most of the world to even get to one, and they still leave even the top professionals with just a snapshot of what their aerodynamics was on the day of testing.
How do you envisage that the user will be able to a) view the data live, and b) analyse the data after a ride?
Garmin allows others to display data on their devices through their ConnectIQ platform. It's already used by companies like Strava and Stryd, and that's how we'll display information as well. In addition to your regular fields like speed and power you'll also have fields for metrics like drag and wind direction/speed.
Just like a power meter a lot of the value from collecting all this data comes from post-ride analysis. Our system constantly collects data about your aerodynamics in a whole range of different wind conditions. This means we can build a much more complete picture of a cyclist’s aerodynamics than is practical in a wind tunnel.
We want to change the conversation around aerodynamics so that you'll be selecting a course-specific position based on course profile and weather conditions on the day. You'll get a pacing strategy based on hundreds of hours of your own ride data. If you have trouble holding your position we can give you insight into how you can either choose a better position, or work on your strength and flexibility to maintain a position longer.
However, it's a new tool and we'll be learning with everyone else how to best use it. In the 1980's you could already measure your power on an ergometer in the lab, but it wasn't until power was real-time and integrated into the bike that it reached its full potential. We see wind tunnels like that erg in the lab, and real-time aero taking a similar path to power meters. Some research will be needed to fully unlock the benefits of this new tool, and we intend to remain at the forefront of that, working with researchers and top teams to develop those tools, so we can roll them out to everyone using Body Rocket.
Will your product only connect to a Garmin computer?
Our goal is to make aerodynamics accessible to as many people as possible so we’re certainly not trying to limit which computers our system works with! Right now there’s no standard for communicating aero data to a cycle computer so we’re reliant on those companies to support us. Garmin offers the Connect IQ system that allows new sensor innovations to work with them so they’re the go-to option.
We are talking to other cycle computer manufacturers, and may even be announcing another partner soon. Also, there’s a draft ANT+ standard for aero meters so hopefully in the near future it will become something all computers can support.
What is the envisaged unit price (range) for retail sales
Body Rocket intends to follow a similar pricing arc to that of power meters. The initial product, which includes a power meter, will launch at a premium - £1499-£1999. As with power meters, we expect our devices to see a gradual downward trend due to increases in volume and decreases in the cost of consumer electronics components.
When will I be able to buy a Body Rocket device?
We will be launching Body Rocket to the mainstream market and making the device commercially available towards the end of 2021. However, we will be taking a limited number of pre-orders which will entail a refundable deposit.
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Can I invest in Body Rocket?
As a startup company, Body Rocket periodically opens up investment opportunities. You can find out about any future investment opportunities by subscribing to our email list here