MotionIQ – the How of MTB Suspension Data Analytics
OK, you read the “why” about mountain bike suspension data acquisition (if you didn’t check out BikeCo Pro Rider Cody Kelley, Joe Binatena and Rob Pryzkucki from Motion Instruments discuss it here) let’s now look at the “how” of the Motion Instruments MotionIQ system.
Those who’ve read a lot of BikeCo’s content know I love formulas and data. Everything is just easier when you can minimize variables with facts. So suspension data acquisition would be right up my alley right? Well sort of.
I’m also somewhat of a cynic. I’ve questioned earlier systems for a variety of reasons. Some concerns admittedly bigger than others but valid, in my opinion, none the less. Of the larger concerns particular issues in my mind: rear shock data credibility, outlier data issues (more on that later) as well as front and rear comparison.
Joe mentioned he planned to work with Cody Kelley and Motion Instruments after Crankworx Whistler and prior to the EWS Northstar round. I had sort of forgot about it until an overheard phone call peaked my interest. While driving to lunch one day Joe took a call from the engineer at Alchemy Bicycles who would be sending Motion Instruments leverage ratios and geo for the test. Wait, the testing system is sophisticated enough to need leverage input? Well, now we’re speaking my language.
Without understanding a specific rear suspension’s mechanics interpreting data is kind of like divining water. Ya, someone might be able do it – no, it’s probably not me. Understanding a frame’s rear suspension means you can quantify what’s happening and when. Instant credibility increase.
Well fast forward a bit and Cody’s testing goes really well. The data illuminates issues some changes are made which he embraces. Goes off and finishes a career high 7th place at the EWS Northstar. I get a call from Joe to get some content together highlighting what separates Motion Instruments. Puts me in touch with Rob one of the founders of Motion Instruments. OK. Let’s dig a bit deeper.
For full disclosure: I’d first heard about the team from Motion Instruments from BikeCo Pro Rider Brian Lopes some time ago. Brian and Joe did some testing and analysis with Motion Instruments. While I wasn’t really involved with that project I’ve known Brian a lot of years now and he is extremely analytical. If Brian’s working with you there’s a reason.
Rob was kind enough to exchange emails and calls with me providing awesome insight to his system.
First to my concerns. OK so I like data, am a cynic, and want things my own way. Learning a lot about me.
Rear Shock Data Credibility
Rob: MotionIQ analyzes a bike, not just a damper by itself. To set up a bike, you need a bike file we provide. It has all of the details about the bike including geometry and leverage curve.
This makes a ton of sense. I can’t take my shock off my current bike and bolt it onto another design and expect it’s settings to work perfect. So how can telemetry be useful without being bike specific? So what about outlier data…
Rob (continuing about the front / rear relationship. OK so I want things my way but often have to bend hahaha): From this (MotionIQ rear damper data), we compare front and rear axle motion. Here’s a screenshot of Cody’s front/rear balance on compression. The blue line is fork, the orange is shock. The colors were chosen for folks who are colorblind.
Rob (con’t): Next, if you recorded with our GPS, we can upload tracks to Strava. Then we pull the trail segments from Strava that you rode. So if you are an enduro rider like Cody, you can analyze your tracks on any of the Enduro courses.
Hook. Line. And Sinker. I’m loving all of this, even if he answered my questions out of order. One of the real holes in suspension analytics is the lack of correlated front and rear data. Being able to see the performance on trail as well as overlaying the graphs of both of your bike’s dampers is it. I’ve always wondered if singular testing riders end up focusing on the end of the bike the data acquisition is on? Even if it was subconscious. Like when you stare at the rock you’re trying to miss until you hit it?
But back to it. Outlier data. How does MotionIQ allow you to highlight special moments?
Mark your Data
Rob: We have integrated a unique handlebar button that the rider can push while riding the bike. This places markers in the data (map, and waveform data). This helps you go back to see what your bike was doing when something didn’t feel right. Super helpful, lots of great reviews from pro and novice riders on this feature.
I can imagine. From my experience I imagine the pro’s place markers where they noticed an inefficiency in performance. I might have to place a marker where I hit the biggest feature in the trail head on (on accident) so that I can negate the outlier data from my sets…
Rob: With any system, junk in = junk out. So we’ve incorporated a bunch of features to let you analyze data that really matters. With that same push button, you can drop multiple pins, then analyze an section of the recording between any 2 pins. This lets you just record all day, and lets you isolate the sections of trail that really matter when you are in the pits. This saves a lot of time and headache. It also gives you a view of your bike when it matters, steep and deep…
Our app lets you record your settings on each run. Then you can create a report that gives you side by side analysis of your runs. You can pick the settings that were the best because you’ve got data to compare, not just gut feel or somebody else’s BS.
Well with my three main issues accounted for I figured Rob should have the floor. What else sets Motion Instruments and MotionIQ apart?
Rob: Motion Instruments started as an idea to help anyone develop their bike. Today’s top telemetry systems are expensive, complicated, heavy, and cumbersome due to needing a laptop to interpret the results. Our goal was to drastically reduce the cost of a system by leveraging a high end computer everyone has in their pocket, a smartphone. It has more computing power than all computing power on earth when we launched a man to the moon. It’s good enough for what we needed. Next, use off the shelf technology as a transport medium, Bluetooth. Then we got down to building an app and some sensors.
Our app, MotionIQ, is on the Apple AppStore today. Download it, check out the data. It’s comprehensive, detailed, and blows away anything that’s ever been built. What’s different about MotionIQ? Data, and a lot of it. We live stream from multiple sensors at 200 Hz. We are streaming vibration data via a 9 axis Motion Processor, along with fork and shock position. This is just the start. We’ll have kHz sample rate soon for motorcycles (Street and Dirt).
So will I be able to ask Siri what my suspension settings should be?
And, off topic, if my phone is so amazingly powerful how come it CONSTANTLY calls the wrong people when I use voice control? Like “Call Katie” at nine at night gets my phone to respond “Calling Tom from Ibis” and it’s like no, no, shit where’s the cancel button?
Rob: MotionIQ is not a recommendation engine, we haven’t earned the right to tell you how many clicks, air tokens, etc. But with data, you can make informed decisions without bias or option. It’s an iterative approach that wins the race. One day of testing is not going to do it. Some folks have spent weeks to get the right setup, but with up to 245 billion combinations (Fox 49 and a Float X2, holding air pressure steady), there is not enough time in a lifetime to try them all. Rider feeling is still important to determine the correct balance. MotionIQ just quantifies what is happening.
To summarize, MotionIQ: Your data specific to your bike, your riding ability, on your trails will give you the tools to get the best of your bike. I say current riding ability because as you develop your bike, you will ride faster, and you’ll need to keep tuning for results. Anything else is just guesswork.
Once again hook, line and sinker. Acknowledgment of what the system does and doesn’t do up front? Loving it. Know what you do, do it well. Instead of the modern jack of all trades master of none, the MotionIQ system is clear in what it’s going to bring to the table for you.
Want to be the first on trail with the MotionIQ system?
Rob: Motion Instruments will be launching with our fork sensor and handlebar button. The app will have basic functionality for free with more advanced features with a subscription. If users want the rear shock, we can sell a package with a transceiver and AIM sensor. Folks who purchase our fork kit will be first in line to get a new sensor we are developing for the rear end of the bike. We will also offer high end potentiometers as a kit with our MotionIQ Pro app for race teams, suspension, and bicycle OEMs. We’re already working with major OEMs. We started selling systems to manufacturers last year to get feedback. The system has proven to be a game changer and we are really happy with how the project has evolved. Through 1000s of hours of testing, getting feedback, and rapidly iterating the design, we have something quite unique.
I downloaded the app and saw a monthly as well as yearly subscription option. Having seen what the upgraded system is capable in Cody’s test sessions I would be hard pressed to pass it up. At $299 a year, or less than $25 a month, why not. Per month it’s probably substantially less than the gas bill to your next event right? Eliminate the guess work on suspension. Save time in setup. Add confidence to your riding. Improve your understanding of the sport you’re hooked on…
Personally, I would be all about ordering both the front and rear sensor.
Motion Instruments Rear Mounting
Between Rob, Cody and Joe I ended up with several rear shock images showing some mounting options.
Brian Lopes Ibis Ripmo. This install is super clean with custom machined hardware. If you know Brian you know he’s going to have the cleanest setup for sure! The part of me that owned a fabrication shop in my 20’s loves this. The part of me that would have to unbolt everything off it when I wanted to remove the system, well, I’m not sure what that part thinks!
For my personal riding I probably would want to develop a really clean way to mount everything and keep it on the bike nearly all the time. For interest’s sake in the data if nothing else. I mean, I’d rather look at an app of my morning ride’s suspension performance than hear ANYTHING a celebrity or “influencer” has to say…
Rob’s personal bike, he’s got great taste as it’s my personal rig too. Rob told me he wanted it as out of the way as possible since it’s on the bike all the time. A bit of steel stick and some small bolts provide a clean mount. By the way, again from my fabrication past, steel stick and JB Weld are simply amazing. I mean here it’s successfully adhered to an aluminum link and a vinyl sticker holding stainless (I’m assuming) bolts. And it will probably never go anywhere.
Finally here’s a look at Cody’s testing setup. For Fox X2 testing this is brilliant. Quickly mount the sensor on the reservoir cap, don’t try that on your DPX2 since the reservoir is on the non-mobile end. A quick forward mount aligns the sensor parallel with the shock body.
This is a great way to utilize the system particularly for people testing multiple bikes. Whether you’re getting a system for your race team or even just letting buddies ride it I like the idea of being able to move the system quickly.