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1/12/2012
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iBike: Why You Don't Need No Stinkin' Dedicated Cycling Comptuer

Velcomp CEO John Hamann is at CES 2012 with an important message; Why pay big dollars for a cycling computer when your iPhone can do everything a cycling computer can do and more (like turn your performance data into riding advice).

If there's one category at CES 2012 that's exploding off the charts, that category is undoubtedly personal health and fitness. The sheer number of entries into the eHealth sector along with the extraordinary amount of innovation that's sometimes found under the hood (or in the cloud) of each offering is mind boggling.

Not only are some of the innovations generating reams of useful data about personal health, they're crunching that data down into actionable information and doing it for a fraction of what similar summaries cost just a few years ago.

One such personal health and fitness entry comes from Velocomp, the ethos of which is to drive the cost of cycling fitness down by relying on what's in an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) rather than reinventing the wheel and offering something that's both expensive and proprietary (as many current cycling computers are).

"Rather than have the usual mish mash of mumbo jumbo numbers" said Velcomp CEO John Hamann (in the embedded video below), "we've created a product that has the most powerful measurement system in the world [combined] with the most powerful mobile platform in the world -- the iPhone in our opinion -- and adds to it cycling programs designed by the best cycling coaches in the world."

Instead of presenting all of the different data points about your performance (as most cycling computers do), Velcomp's iBike Powerhouse takes that data, cross-references it with whatever goals you've encoded into the system (eg: weight loss, endurance, "Brazilian Butt," etc.), and it tells you exactly what to do and how fast to do it on your next cycling workout.

According to Hamann, there are cycling computers for hard-core cyclists (and Velocomp has one of those too), and then there's iBike Powerhouse for the rest of the population who just wants to know what to do next on the bike in order to take their fitness to the next level.

An iPhone is the key component to iBike Powerhouse. Velocomp provides a completely water-proof handlebar-mountable case that the iPhone slips into. The case also includes electronics that help the iPhone to gather performance data from the cyclist's effort as well as from sensors on the bike (to measure cadence and speed).

Once a cyclist uses the iBike Powerhouse to establish a baseline for their fitness, it crunches all the data and tells the cyclist what to do next without exposing him or her to all the gory details.

According to Hamann, cyclists with existing gear don't have to throw it out as long as it is based on the ANT+ wireless standard. For example, if you have an existing heartstrap or PowerTap hub, the iBike Powerhouse will use that data as well.

According to Hamann, the price for the iBike Powerhouse is $269. That covers the case, the sensors, the mounts, the applications and the fitness plans.

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Tom LaSusa
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Tom LaSusa,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/30/2012 | 4:06:48 PM
re: iBike: Why You Don't Need No Stinkin' Dedicated Cycling Comptuer
Great article, David
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