About Fiets Magazine
The Dutch magazine Fiets (translated ‘Bike’) is the most renowned cycling magazine in The Netherlands for over 38 years. It covers extended tests from bikes, components, accessoires and the best events. Furthermore Fiets provides pro cycling background stories, interviews with cyclists and developers within the cycling industry. We are proud that our founder Harm Giesen was invited for a four-page exclusive interview.
Read parts of the interview translated on this page. For the full Dutch story, visit our Facebook page.
You want correct data on your cycling computer
Every cyclist with a cycling computer knows the story: you are riding in a dense forest or remote area and suddenly your cycling computer doesn’t respond. Or the gained altimeters aren’t correct. Industrial designer Harm Giesen (30) invented the Absolute Cycling One cycling computer, a fusion of a satellite and a motion sensor.
“Innovation in cycling: the last big invention was the introduction of the disc brake…”
“Innovation in cycling, Harm laughs. The last big innovation in road cycling was the introduction of the disc brake. Not really a new idea. Since 1902 the first car disk brakes were on the market. Really new concepts, you don’t see them often in cycling. Most manufacturers look at each other: ‘How do they do that?’ People don’t have the intention to experience things in a different way the they’re used to”, Harm says. But I am always into innovation, that means don’t go back on things that already exist. You need to invent how something is made in an ideal setting. Constantly searching: is this possible?”
“In the end everybody wants an easy to use interface.”
“The smartest cycling computer in the world” is Absolute Cycling’s advertisement slogan. But a cycling computer? Is that so innovative? All self-respecting cyclists have already a Wahoo or Garmin, don’t they? Though, Giesen do has a point. What he invented is truly something new. It had to be possible to develop a cycling computer that is not only dependent on gps and a speed sensor in the front wheel, Giesen thought in 2015. A cycling computer that is accurate, also in tunnels, dense forests and remote mountain area’s.
“In the end everybody wants an easy to use interface. A cycling computer has to be simple and reliable. But achieving simplicity is complex”, Giesen admits. “What the bike computer does, is extremely complex, but that doesn’t bother the cyclist. As cyclist, you just want to hop on your bike and enjoy your ride. You don’t want to worry about anything, except about the pain in your legs maybe…”
Giesen worked on his idea. He invented a concept where motion sensors cooperate with gps. While making a living as a bartender, he diligently worked on his idea. “I worked on the concept fulltime, next to my job as a bartender. That was hard work.” He made a prototype, in cooperation with Flanders Make, a Belgium strategic research centre. It was a huge device, as big as a half shoe box. As a remembrance, it has a special place in his office in Arnhem. In the meantime a new prototype is designed by Valeur Designers, a Danish bureau that also works for Bang & Olufsen and knows how to give a device its excellent looks.
That he got it done, the fusion between satellite and movement sensors, interest arouse from pro cycling teams as well as companies outside the cycling industry. There are more applications possible for this technique and amongst others the Ministry of Defense and Prorail have shown interest.
“We make a new and reliable system for an affordable price.”
The separate elements in the computer are not new, but where he wants to make the difference is the cooperation between them. “We make a new and reliable system for an affordable price.” What we do is already possible. Something similar is housed in a cruise missile, but those sensors cost over a million dollars. To develop it on this level for consumer electronics, no one can do yet.”
This story is partly translated from the original Dutch version, covered in Fiets, Octobre 2019.