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CEO John Hamann Speaks on How Velocomp Started, Making Affordable Power Meters

CEO John Hamann Speaks on How Velocomp Started, Making Affordable Power Meters
KJ Hiramoto

Power is one of several metrics that drive peak-cycling performance. Velocomp makes affordable, high-impact cycling measurement products. AeroPod is one of the most advanced power meters on the market, as it measures cycling power and the “aerodynamics” of the cyclist.

To learn more about the Jupiter-based manufacturer, we sat down with Velocomp CEO John Hamann on how it all started, why he chose to make products that are more affordable than the competition and what makes the AeroPod stand out from the rest of the pack.

 

What’s the story behind Velocomp? How did the company form?

Velocomp started in 2004 when we had the revolutionary idea of measuring power through opposing forces. We realized we could make a power meter that did not require swapping pedals or bottom brackets or cranks or hubs. Our power meters would be extremely easy to move from the bike and achieve accuracy comparable to conventional power meters. And above all, our products would be much more affordable.

Where did your passion for cycling come from?

I’ve been cycling since I was a kid. Cycling is the way I enjoy myself outdoors and it's how I exercise. When I started as an engineer, I used my bike to commute to and from work. I took bike vacations in Switzerland, the San Juan Islands in Washington State and Montana. Along the way, I discovered I could ride faster than most of the other cyclists where I lived.

I was persuaded to enter a regional stage race in Louisville, Ky. I had no idea what I was doing, I had never trained or raced, but I won the time trial stage. After that came the Criterium Stage, which scared the hell out of me. I came in third overall but I “retired" after that crit, my body luckily escaped the broken bones and skin scrapes of real bike racers.

Talk to us about the Velocomp lineup. What was your vision behind your product offering?

Fundamental to our product vision is value: we have always thought -- and for the most part, still think -- that power meters are too expensive. Our designs have always focused on delivering maximum performance at the lowest possible price. We don’t have machine shops, spoke machines or gluing stations in our factory. Our electronics are very sophisticated but our designs are simple to manufacture. We make and ship everything from our factory in Jupiter, Florida.

Velocomp prides in making affordable high-impact cycling measurement products. Can you expand on the importance of making these products accessible to cyclists?

We have always believed that power measurement is something that mainstream cyclists could benefit from -- not just the elites. For cycling enthusiasts who love cycling but who don’t race, power offers great benefits: power enables training in a structured, time-efficient manner. Power quantifies cycling fitness and seasonal performance improvement. Power is the best way to measure calories burned and on long rides, power helps keep “gas” in your body’s “tank.”

Do you have a favorite success story from colleagues or customers?

One of our AeroPod Beta testers is an avid time trialist. He has been CdA tested in a wind tunnel, he has lots of “lunatic fringe” bike gear and he competes regularly. After doing wind tunnel testing, he found that his wind tunnel “aero” position actually made him slower on the road. In his wind tunnel super-aero position, he couldn’t pedal as hard. Using the AeroPod outdoors on his normal ride routes, he found the optimum compromise between sleek aerodynamics and high-power output. After riding with his “AeroPod” position, he achieved a lifetime personal best in a 25-mile time trial.

Do you have a favorite piece of cycling advice?

Never ride without your power meter.

What are some of the products we should all look forward to?

AeroPod uses a new generation of sensors with capabilities not available previously. We will be unlocking the capabilities of these sensors, making it possible to add more performance and better cycling insights.


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