SRAM have announced the acquisition of US powermeter company Quarq, makers of the tidy chainring spider based CinQo. "We're looking forward to the opportunities that this partnership represents for further innovation and integration of bicycle components and power measurement," said SRAM CEO Stan Day in a press release.
"Quarq’s growth has been impressive and their technology and product base are strong. Power measurement represents a rapidly growing segment of the cycling market and we're very content to have partnered with a leading brand in Quarq, and a technology pioneer in Jim Meyer."
According to the release, Quarq co-founders Jim and Mieke Meyer will continue to run the company for now and production will stay put in Spearfish, South Dakota "for the near term" – meaning it's sure to relocate once the logistics can be figured out. Likewise, sales and customer service for Quarq will carry on unchanged for the time being but both will eventually be brought into the SRAM fold.
In terms of the product itself, SRAM have previously collaborated with Quarq and SRM on their crank-based powermeter offerings, and SRAM subsidiary Zipp also have a long-running relationship with Powertap. While SRAM road and PR media manager Michael Zellmann tells us "we'll continue to work with SRM and sell their products as we do today – same with Powertap/Zipp", one can't help wondering how this will affect that relationship.
As for team sponsorship agreements – many SRAM-sponsored teams are using the company's S975 crank with SRM power meters – Zellmann says that's "to be determined".
Quarq's website, on the other hand, is more explicit, saying that, "complete pre-assembled powermeter packages for SRAM, FSA, Rotor and Cannondale will continue to be available and Quarq will continue to sell powermeters for retro fitment on SRAM, FSA, Rotor, Cannondale, Specialized and Lightning cranks." All non-SRAM powermeters will be phased out over time, though – likely once the current stock is exhausted.
Quarq add that they're continuing with the release of their Qalvin iPhone app as planned and a mountain bike CinQo is already in development.
It's unclear at this point what the acquisition of Quarq will mean for SRAM subsidiary Zipp, who have long had a relationship with Powertap, though we see it likely to continue for the time being given the breadth of wheel product and lack of a suitable Quarq-based replacement.
The Quarq acquisition represents SRAM's first major foray into the world of consumer electronics and from a business standpoint, it's unlikely that SRAM will want to continue to use competing technologies in their product range. This is speculation on our part, but future possibilities could include a Quarq-based hub powermeter, a SRAM-branded computer display to go along with the measuring devices, or the long-awaited completion of Quarq's own Qranium display head, since SRAM may not be comfortable pushing the Garmin-Quarq association (Quarq currently don't offer a matching computer head) given the pending release of Garmin's own pedal-based powermeter.
And this is definitely a stretch, but despite SRAM's preference for mechanical drivetrains one might also wonder what else SRAM might use electronics for in future...