Saris – PowerTap
This story started in 1998 after Gerhard left IDEO to found Tune, the creator of the PowerTap bicycle power meter. The PowerTap system brought to the mass bicycling market features and capabilities once reserved only for research institutions. Effectively reducing the cost by 90%, preserving measurement accuracy in the 1% range, and designing an innovative product that looked more like it evolved from existing bicycle computers rather than having trickled out of a university lab, the PowerTap set a standard in the market it created, which it has continued to hold the leading position in for over fifteen years. The patented technology is based on a creative way to accurately and precisely measure torque and angular velocity, the product of which results in power. Built into the rear hub of a bicycle wheel, the strain gauge-based system is completely immune to every force in any direction except for torque. With sensors and electronics built into the hub, processed data is wirelessly sent up to the handlebar-mounted computer, which presents real-time data and provides data storage. Analysis software lets athletes review a library of ride data at their desktop computer. As co-founder and CEO, Gerhard conceived the business and product idea, assembled the team, raised venture funding, organized credit lines, landed US and European distribution deals, and finally negotiated the company’s acquisition. Since then, Cooper Perkins continues to develop associated products and technology for Saris Cycling Group.