ANT+ Opens Up Suspension Control, Data Protocol; Magura Springs for It

Magura eLect Rear shock fork system (2)

ANT+ has just finalized a Suspension Device Profile, allowing manufacturers of ANT+ enabled devices and suspension manufacturers to easily incorporate the code into their products.

With nothing more than a firmware update to your computer, sports watch or smart phone, you could gain not just control over your suspension, but also have it dump full performance data from your ride into the device. Imagine being able to see how much of your travel you’re using on each ride, how it’s handling the hits and how often you bottom out, then using that to tweak your performance beyond the basic settings. With data going the other direction, you’ll be able to dial your compression settings or activate a lockout, among other things as the tech progresses. That’s the promise, now it’s up to the component and accessory makers to bring it to reality.

Fortunately, Magura’s already on board, and they already have the equipment in the pipeline to take advantage of it. When we reviewed their eLECT fork with automatic “smart” lockout, we learned their remotes are switching over to ANT+. That goes for their rear shock, too.

Check out our interview with the ANT folks for a deeper dive on how their data transmission protocol works, then head past the break for the full press release…

PRESS RELEASE: ANT Wireless, proven innovator in ultra low power (ULP) wireless technology, today announces the release of the ANT+ Suspension Device Profile which enables the seamless transfer of key compression data and commands. Designed to provide riders with quantified suspension damping values and immediate adjustment capabilities for improved performance, this Device Profile complies with the strong ANT+ standards for reliability and interoperability.

With the new profile, key data seamlessly transfers from the ANT+ enabled fork and/or shock to an ANT+ remote control and/or display such as a handlebar remote, bike computer, phone, watch, etc. Riders can then immediately lock or unlock their suspension to suit their riding style and trail conditions simply by sending commands back from the remote. This locking and unlocking can happen either automatically or manually (via the remote) without the rider stopping or taking their hands off the handlebar. The profile also allows for more control over the stiffness of the suspension (e.g. the damping can be adjusted to 50%), thus creating different set-ups for different terrains.

MAGURA, global leader in hydraulics, composite and innovation, has incorporated the ANT+ Suspension feature into their ANT+ Certified MAGURA eLECT bike suspension unit. Utilizing a handlebar remote control, this lightweight, easy-to-handle system is a simple upgrade for existing product. According to Götz Braun, Head of Marketing for MAGURA: “This innovation will make your ride unforgettable. It’s the first eLECTronic suspension system that thinks for you.”

“The combination of easily controlling the damping on-the-go and gathering suspension data brings great value to mountain bikers looking to optimize their performance,” stated Sebastian Barnowski, Senior Team Lead, ANT Wireless. “Riders want as much travel as they can get before bottoming out. Having a record of settings takes the guess work out of post-ride analysis and lets people repeat or improve settings for the next ride.”

When the devices (i.e. fork, shock, remote control and/or data display) are ANT+, the metrics will be comparable between different suspension units regardless of the manufacturer. ANT+ equalizes the value of each fork so, for example, a damping value of 0.6 on fork A will be represented as the same value on fork B. This means that if the rider gets a new fork, they can use the data from their previous equipment to determine their new starting point, shortening the learning time.

Manufacturers and developers who choose to add ANT+ Suspension to their existing products can do so with minimal time investment. Adding the profile to a bike computer for example, can be done with a firmware upgrade and because the device profile is so simple, minimal coding is required. This all provides a great opportunity to broaden cycling products lines typically more directed to road cyclists, and reposition them for the mountain and cross country segments. The profile and simulANT+ support are available to ANT+ members now.

With the ANT+ groundwork in place to enable the fork to talk to the remote control and display, other suspension metrics can be added. The ANT+ Suspension Device Profile has been designed with the potential to also track high and low speed damping values for both compression and rebound. This base functionality also opens the door for the development of applications that will transfer data to recording sites as well as personal action cameras.

“The beauty of ANT+ is that the technology doesn’t impose any limits on how the rider sets up their system,” added Barnowski. “Today riders can choose a fork and/or a shock and pair them with a handlebar remote. As products are developed, they can add a bike computer and/or phone to record the settings throughout the ride. Pairing and operating an action camera simultaneously is easy too. Riders can add or remove ANT+ enabled devices to suit a particular trail and their system will just work.”

Comments

KJR - 08/25/14 - 4:48pm

Potential game changing technology here. IMHO, more for the data acquisition than the remote capability. Amateur suspension tuners may soon have access to cheap telemetry devices, and that’s pretty cool.

Jimmy D - 08/25/14 - 6:12pm

That looks like a SWEET frame…

Jbikes - 08/25/14 - 8:03pm

Just to be clear, ANT+ doesn’t allow anything that they stated. It only allows those things which are tracked/controlled electronically by the damper manufacturer via specific electronics that they will have to develop, to be controlled and transfered easily to a controller/monitor/recorder. ANT+ is just a wireless transmission protocol.

As for generalizing suspension data. How is ANT+ doing this? A damping coefficient of 0.6 will be 0.6 regardless of system (mathematically that is). However, I’d be surprised if fox and RS will actually provide this data. Instead I see FOX saying you have 23 “damping units” and RS saying 12 damping units and only displaying what “damping position” you are at. The actual damping range will be different so how will ANT+ normalize the data given the shock manufacturer is unlikely to program electronics that easily show the “raw data”, nor will it really be possible to give an actual damping output chart since the mass will be technically unknown (At least i think, long time since I looked at dashpot systems)

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