Research and Passion Collide
BrakeAce started as a PhD research project at Massey University in New Zealand under the world’s leading MTB research team - the same team that proved 29ers and high volume tires were the future.
Our research started by trying to understand MTB performance with normal power meters, but along the way we discovered that braking was much more important for mountain bikers. We pioneered braking measurement in MTB with this clunky prototype and unlocked how riders used their brakes for the first time in our sport.
Democratizing MTB Analysis
From the outset it was clear that there was a lack of understanding of braking in bikes. It was nobody’s fault - the technology to understand braking simply hadn’t existed.
From 2016-2018, Matt traveled to bike trade shows like Interbike and Eurobike to meet with industry insiders. He met Rolf at this time and the pair worked on a number of smaller brake sensor prototypes, including these wired versions that were used to test the earliest ABS concepts.
From Raw to Refined Insights
While we’re proud of our foundation in science, the focus soon shifted to developing braking metrics that everyone could understand and improve.
Matt left his University position in 2019 and went all-in on BrakeAce. Mack came on board as an intern to develop the first BrakeAce analysis program, which was done in Python. The program took a while to run, but we sifted through hundreds of ride files to create meaningful scores.
This original Python program became the backbone of our first web app, which was launched in 2020. We were still using wired sensors with data loggers, but a number of companies got on board to use these for internal testing while we continued to work with riders at every level.
Cutting the cord
Recognizing the limitations of wired sensors and data loggers, we dove into creating the world's first wireless brake sensors. We created a Kickstarter campaign over 6 months, launched it, and were funded by August 2021.
Rohan joined the team as CTO, bringing along his expertise in embedded and mobile software. From here we were flat-out. In a year, we achieved a major milestone – crafting the initial 3 sets of fully functional wireless sensors, seamlessly integrated with our mobile app. By November 2022, BrakeAce was piloted by Elite DH racers Bryn Dickerson and Daniel Self at Crankworx Rotorua.
April 2023 marked a high point as all Kickstarter-backed sensors reached their new owners. Continuing our momentum, global pre-orders started shipping in May, and just a month later, BrakeAce was piloted by Sam Blenkinsop at the World Cup.
Ride with us to the future!
Ultimately, we believe that insights derived from MTB sensors have the potential to elevate every facet of riders' experience – enhancing enjoyment, safety, performance, and engagement.
Now that we have unlocked the major missing piece of the rider experience puzzle, our journey has evolved into a mission to democratize mountain biking insights. We're not stopping here; with our expertise in suspension sensors and power meters, we're poised to redefine the boundaries of what's possible. Just as TrainingPeaks and power meters revolutionized fitness, we're here to propel MTB insights and exploration forward, empowering both coaches seeking unparalleled reach and riders eager for more enjoyment. Join us as we carve the future together - one bike at a time.