Trail-blazing suspension tool using IoT gives mountain bikers a better ride

If you’re hurtling downhill over rocks and mud at 50km/h, you want your bike suspension to work for you, not against you. But suspension set-up is a dark art for many mountain bikers.

Alan Mason, of SussMyBike, has a solution for taking the pain and guesswork out of suspension adjustment – a small tool that clips on to the bike and aims to make set-up fast, easy and effective. It can work with both air and coil suspension.

The device uses sensor and Internet of Things (IoT) technology with Bluetooth for real-time assessment of suspension set-up. It analyses suspension data and sends suggestions to riders’ phones about how to optimise their fork and shock settings to get a better ride.

Having raised money for the original idea through Kickstarter crowdfunding, Mason and his small team then worked with CENSIS, the innovation centre for sensor and imaging systems, to develop their original design.

The partnership with CENSIS came about after SussMyBike was one of seven Scottish winners of the 2017-18 CENSIS IoT Explorer programme, a competition designed to accelerate businesses’ adoption of IoT technology. The prize included technical and project management support, advice on pitching and securing funding, and introductions to relevant suppliers and other businesses.

“CENSIS advised us on the latest technology we could incorporate, and helped us greatly with its knowledge of IoT and the whole process from sensor to end-point,” said Mason. “We gained great practical information about chip sets and manufacturers, and were also able to improve the power supply and battery life. Knowing what’s possible electronically and what to build at what price has given us real confidence to develop and market our product.”

SussMyBike has tested the product extensively with mountain bikers, and is promoting it at events such as the Fort William Downhill World Cup. Feedback has been positive, and the interaction with potential users has also helped with finetuning the design, for example, extending battery life.

“People often spend a few thousand pounds on a decent trail, downhill or Enduro bike, and hundreds more upgrading forks or shocks; but suspension set-up still remains a matter of trial and error,” added Mason.

“SussMyBike gives them real-time, easily-actioned information about how they can get more from their bike – better response, better control, and a more comfortable ride – even on extreme trails. We’re very thankful to CENSIS for helping us push forward with this product.”

Craig Fleming, senior business development manager at CENSIS, said: “SussMyBike knows its market and this was a fantastic product idea which we saw had great potential for the CENSIS IoT Explorer programme.

“This is a great example of how CENSIS’s work to connect businesses to cutting-edge sensor and IoT expertise can help turn a great idea into commercial reality. And in a global sport like mountain biking and Enduro racing, this type of trail-blazing technology further boosts Scotland’s reputation as an innovation nation.”