Stendec Data Acquisition: User Friendly System Anyone Can Own - Maribor DH World Cup 2019

Apr 26, 2019
by Richard Cunningham  
Canyon's lead mechanic Nigel Reeve installs Stendec instrumentation on Mark Wallace's Sender.


Pinkbike's Ross Bell was in the pits at Maribor with Dave Garland and Team Canyon lead mechanic Nigel Reeve to talk about Garland's Stendec data acquisition system and its potential benefits for rank-and-file racers who pay their own way to the venues. Data acquisition has found its way into just about every key player in World Cup downhill pits, and the Canyon Team has been using the Stendec system since January. Garland says that, after four years of development, Stendec is finally ready for market.

The price? Garland says he's sussing that out, but it won't be cheap. The kit includes software and an array of pressure, speed and acceleration sensors used to assess the usual suspension action, but also includes functions for braking, ride height, and
Stendec founder Dave Garland
weight distribution - features that help paint a more accurate picture of what is going on during practice runs.

bigquotesThe objective was always for any mechanic or any rider to be able to use this and within a very small amount of time - within a day - to be able to use it accurately.Dave Garland

The braking sensor is sensibly compact and integrated into the caliper mount.

The goal is to provide enough useful information to allow mechanics to make deliberate and positive adjustments so the knowledge gained can be applied and verified before race runs begin. Garland says that the last two years of Stendec's development were spent simplifying the displays and the way information was communicated to the user. "I'm not a great mathematician, nor a computer man," says Garland. "So if I can do it, anyone can." That doesn't mean the task was easy. The number crunching that the system does in order to simplify the data is "colossal" and Garland admits that he has put a fortune into the project to get it right.

Users can go as far down the rabbit hole as they want. Reeve's suspension data for Mark Wallace includes the fork crown and castings.

bigquotesThe first few days it was quite a lot to take in and learn, but when you start making progress with it you realize that it's kind of endless, what you can achieve.Nigel Reeve

Canyon has only been using the Stendec Data system since the beginning of 2019, and Reeve says the team has shaved off three to five seconds from practice runs on a two-minute track using what they've learned. That's massive considering that the top five men in Maribor were within two seconds in timed training. Reeve says that the first race the team used Stendec officially was the European Cup last week - which they used as a warm-up to get sorted before the first World Cup here.

POV cameras record each run and are used to synchronize data points with exact events on course.
Don't forget to switch on the system: Easy to manage buttons, located where you'd find a dropper lever.

When asked if the athletes would be using their "data bikes" for their qualifying or race runs, Reeve said it depended upon weather conditions: "If they do all their practice on Friday [in dry conditions] and they can get two runs in wet conditions Saturday to work stuff out, having information from the data system is going to be pretty crucial, I think."

Brake pressure sensor.
Both G-force and fork travel can be documented.

According to Garland, Canyon bought the Stendec Data system on the advice of Fabien Barel, and that both racers and mechanics needed very little shepherding to get up to speed with it. Garland dodged the question about the retail price of the system, but was quite confident that it would be well worth its cost when the actual number was revealed:

bigquotesIn relation to what it does and to what's out there at the moment, it goes way beyond what anyone else in downhill is using as a data acquisition system.Dave Garland

The question left to us is will privateers who do have the spending cash to pony up for a Stendec data system be able to take advantage of the benefits on race day? Garland answers that with confidence:

"In the first instance, for me, it was always about getting the best performance out of the bike and the rider together. That's how the system works. It measures both parameters and makes sure the all of that is as tidy as possible - that's what it does. It shows you where your errors are in terms of riding and bike setup, and targets that with some clever maths in the background. If you are a little unclear of which way to go, there are a number of scenarios where you can click a button and it will suggest where to make adjustments - and as soon as your mind starts to think more laterally about all of that, you'll be amazed at how clearly your mind works in terms of getting a bike and rider to work properly together."





62 Comments

  • + 48
 To all bike shops out there. Rental units would be awesome.
  • + 4
 This x1000
  • + 6
 For sure, since I don't really need to set up my bike all over again very often
  • + 2
 Since it looks like the software will be part of the package, rental will probably not be feasible, you can’t rent out a software license.

I could see shops having a setup service for customers, probably with a discount for customers who just bought a bike, but how many times a year will that be requested, and what would you realistically pay for it?
  • + 2
 @Lookinforit: sure, for "general use" nobody need this. just get out and ride. If you need to shave secs on specific track, training there for week, getting paid for results and need TOP setup, u need this and than, price is not an issue...
  • + 4
 @FuzzyL: Almost all CAD, FEA, CFD... most any engineering software is basically rented. Since StarCCM costs something like $20,000 per seat, per month, my company gets it for a month or 2 when we need it. They call that a rental license.

There's no reason they couldn't issue a temporary license.
  • + 2
 Renting out a Quarq Shock Wiz even! Download an app m, rent a Wiz, Ride and assess. Thought about doing it myself.
  • + 1
 @Weens: To whom is your company lending their StarCCM license? We were talking about bike shops renting out the sensor kit - including the software. That is not the same as the producer providing a leasing model. Sure there could be ways to make it possible. But if you had to rent the sensors from your bike shop, then get a temporary license for the software... get’s kind of complicated.
  • + 2
 There’s a skills coach near me who offers a suspension tuning service with Shockwiz data logging and private shuttles. I think that may be a more valid model for one off use of this kit.
  • + 1
 @FuzzyL: I don't see it as complicated. If the manufacturer wanted to do a rental, it would be trivial. If shops wanted to rent it... well first off, one assumes the software is worthless without the hardware, so that would be moot, but even if it wasn't, just have a license-locked laptop or something that goes with the rental.

The notion that the software license is a reason you couldn't rent out the hardware is... not valid in the slightest. The practice is pretty common, at least for something you say you think is impossible.
  • + 2
 @hugebiff I used to rent out shock wiz units. If dudes can't even return a simple piece of gear worth a few hundred bucks back in good condition, I wouldn't trust them with something like this, regardless of the rental price or insurance bond they pay.
  • + 1
 @Weens: I didn’t say it was impossible, just complicated. And what you describe (locked in laptop, etc.) sounds complicated enough for me.

Sure it can be done. But what I was originally trying to say was, that I don’t see that as a widespread model used by bike shops as a relatively cheap way to provide their customers with data logging.

Might work for example in very big bike parks like Whistler, though.
  • + 1
 @FuzzyL: I can think of a number of ways to do it that seem pretty easy to me. But then again, the people that work at bike shops around me are generally pretty dumb, so you probably have a point.
  • + 22
 “Anyone can afford it”

Doesn’t want to say price
  • + 15
 Maybe he just doesn’t have a price set yet. A lot goes into setting a price and maybe he just doesn’t quite have it all sorted out just yet.
  • + 5
 how many have bought the shockwiz? for "only" $500 not really that many. now with this being "affordable" dont expect it to be under $2000 USD and even WAY less customers than the shockwiz.
  • + 2
 @viatch: I was going to guess more like $20k
  • + 13
 @viatch: I'd pay 2k for this over wireless sram dirvetrain...
  • + 3
 No mention of price. All Garland said was that, he's no good with maths or computers, and that anyone could use it if he could. He's talking about making it user friendly, not the price. Did any of you read the article?
  • + 2
 Quote: Garland says he's sussing that out, but it won't be cheap.
  • + 3
 He said it won't be cheap numbnuts
  • + 2
 everyone haves a kidney Wink
  • + 2
 @downhillnirvana: The title “...system anyone can own” is a bit misleading in that regard.
  • + 0
 @downhillnirvana: that is exactly the precise reason I made that comment. I read the title about “anyone can own” and then read the article to find a price and there wasn’t one
  • + 1
 @theronsta: Yeah, as in, it is going to be a consumer product, designed to be a diagnostic tool for the average Joe without a background in telemetry diagnostics.
  • + 1
 @downhillnirvana: Like the shockwiz or a power meter that literally no one good enough to benefit from one can afford!
  • + 1
 I dunno about that. I know a lot of people who run power meters. They're not as expensive as they used to be, and they are a sensible investment if you are serious about training. The Shockwiz is in a similar price range.
  • + 17
 Almost like the old Intense - FRO - For Racing Only.... Except it's FDO - Y'all know
  • + 5
 FPO - for puzzlers only
  • + 4
 "includes the fork crown and castings." Is that just a measure of exposed stanchion, or something more interesting? Cool system though, hope to borrow one, 3-5 seconds seems like a ton for a factory rider to pick up.
  • + 2
 I don't see this as a fit to the intended audience. As a privateer, you are driving to a venue, setting up camp, fixing food, checking the weather, talking to everyone else there, maintaining your equipment, etc. If you find time to mess with data acquisition as well, there's the question of what to do with the numbers once you have them. Even teams with someone dedicated to data acquisition and setup tend to lose interest once the novelty wears off. Three to five seconds sounds great but how do you credit that just to DAQ?
  • + 1
 Probably more interesting for those who struggle to get even their base setup right. From there, race setup "only" is about gradually cranking things to 11, so there is a benefit if you're not looking for 100% perfection but ease of use.
Of course you can argue that it's probably going to be too expensive for just such a minor improvement.
  • + 1
 In my view, the results typically won't be immediate, but rather put you on a path to progress. Data gathering is great, and necessary at the top level of sport. But even then, the interpretation and consequent recommendation for changes for the purposes of improvement is iterative. So for the privateer, where time and cost effectiveness options are existential, this is out of their reach unless they are well-heeled to begin with. Perhaps the privateers should consider working together to use the system. it will be icky to run, and benefits will be even further down the line, maybe a few seasons down the line. This is DH's equivalent of F1s wind tunnel testing, and as was the case for smaller teams, lack of wind tunnel testing banished them to the bottom of the racing pile. Only racers with obvious talent made it up the totem pole when they were bought out.
  • + 1
 Or you, as money less privateer, can go and buy an arduino and a set of accelometers, an excel spreadsheet, and have almost the for less than one tenth the price of this. Actually Pinkbike could use some setup with accelometers on both barends, the steer cap, the bottom bracket, front and rear axle, (brake data is a bit over the top for non pros and reviews) this way we could have some kind of benchmark number in the reviews instead of just a description of the bikes behaviour.
  • + 6
 Dave is such a legend!
  • + 1
 I think you guys are being optimistic as I believe the initial price for the package will be more like $3.5-5k and if it was more it wouldn't surprise me.
To be clear I know nothing about it, that's just my educated guess.
  • + 12
 “I know nothing about it” and “educated guess” don’t really go hand in hand...
  • + 3
 I think a lot of people are being too optimistic with their guesses too. Shockwiz. Tyrewiz. Sram AXS. I would find $10,000 a lot less surprising than $1000.
  • + 2
 @jaame: Could be right. I've worked on projects putting movement tags on whales which provide depth, pitch, roll, speed data using small accelerometers and gyroscopes. Seems like comparable technology. The tags are stuck on with suction cups and have to be retrieved after they drop off to get the data. It's been known for groups to hire out spotter planes to go out looking for the tags if they lose the gps signal. That gives an idea of cost of these things.
  • + 1
 @Footey72: Spotter planes, where they charge by the hour
  • + 1
 @sdurant12: That's not true at all. I don't know anything about their product but I've raced cars and go karts for years and built race cars from scratch and although I haven't used them extensively myself, I've had a fair bit of exposure to data collection systems and their capabilities and price points not just over a short period but from an era when no such thing existed to today. I know what sensors cost and I know what sophisticated software takes to develop. I've seen hundreds of products and prototypes come out in the biking and racing world and seen how the price points rise and falll and I believe I have a pretty good feel for the market this would be released into.

An educated guess can stand alone from specific knowledge.
  • + 1
 Good tool for some but seriously, some are blowing money like cashed up roadies . Suspension is pretty easy to get sorted and i am fugged why the average dude would buy this, but they will.
  • + 1
 This is pretty neat n tidy product, i mean im just a casual rider logging in 250km a month on my MTB but I can for see how this technology can be beneficial for privateers and people whom Ride bike's more seriously
  • + 1
 Not something I’d buy now, but this probably means we’re 5-6 years from some easier wireless version of this just being built in or easily stuck on... and at half the price.
  • + 1
 Sure let stendec should be send-tec, technology that helps you send. Get those letters fixed!
  • + 2
 Stendec also makes the best fork oil i have ever tried.
  • + 1
 As a computer scientist, working on a project like this would be my dream job!
  • + 2
 Should of branded as "Sendtec"
  • + 1
 oh joy, this oughta be fun
  • + 0
 If he is having trouble sussing the peice of the setup, he should work on some data acquisition software for Stendec's bank.
  • + 1
 Anyone can own. It wont be cheap
  • + 1
 Doesn't Garland own SAR as well?
  • + 2
 nope I do Smile I am also Garland but SAR is mine.
  • + 1
 The engineer inside of me is tingling
  • + 2
 @luckynumber13 As an engineer, I too believe having data to make a data driven suspension set ups is a good thing. Wink
  • + 9
 @luckynumber13 Sounds like he has an std, you'd better tell him to pull out
  • + 1
 But why?
  • + 0
 Because there are a lot of hosers in the mtb world that think strava times are life lol Im glad I just ride to have fun.
  • - 1
 Assuming its worth it, I'd splurge up to $1500 for a game changer thing like this.
  • + 1
 I could see frame manufacturers using this to get proper shock tunes on bikes
  • + 3
 @kleinblake: getting warmer
  • + 1
 @kleinblake: Just buy your bike frame of Suspention people and you’re golden

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