A2 Wind Tunnel adds motion-capture fit

North Carolina aerodynamic facility caters to cyclists

The A2 Wind Tunnel in Mooresville, North Carolina, has just finished adding HD cameras and the motion-analysis Dartfish software to its offerings for riders looking to refine their racing position.

With a background and active business in motorsports, A2 has been serving the bike industry for years now, with a few companies using the tunnel to develop products, and pro teams bringing their riders in as well. Enthusiast riders can also buy time in the tunnel.

A2 manager David Salazar affixes biometric measurement points on a rider inside the tunnel

In the US, two new businesses have begun offering fit-plus-aero services. ERO Sports in Los Angeles provides Retül fit packages along with real-time aero-drag data on a velodrome. And the progressive bike shop FASTER now has its own small wind tunnel, plus 3D bike fitting. Now A2 is stepping up its game with Dartfish motion-capture software for fine-tuning the fit for biomechanics as well as aerodynamics.

A2 can test a rider on a bike with power analysis and the wheels moving. Now, A2 has six high-definition cameras and an HD projector in the tunnel so riders can view real-time data and video.

"The rider is hooked up to a Computrainer, so they have resistance to ride against at race pace and give us feedback," A2 manager David Salazar told BikeRadar. "This new software allows us to give a more complete analysis with another component to measure and track the biomechanics. Before, riders would come in with a fit and now we can analyze that fit and make changes if needed or track the changes we make to make sure we are within their physiological range or a change we make won’t limit them.  By combining wind tunnel data with fit technology we will be able to encompass a more complete analysis."

A2 has not yet finalized pricing for its fit-plus-aero packaging, but as reservations for tunnel time require a deposit of between US$250 (less than four hours tunnel time) and US$500 (more than four hours), the fee would be at least that much and likely a few hundred dollars more.

Video from six HD cameras plus aero and power data can be viewed in- and outside of the tunnel

A2 is also using Dartfish, which lets a fitter track frame-by-frame information for measuring body-position angles.

"With motion analysis and tracking capabilities along with precise aerodynamic measurements we are now leading the way for athlete wind tunnel testing," said Salazar. "This will give us a more detailed test, whereas before, the physiological measurement was separate from the wind tunnel, we have now combined the two and are getting great results in A2 from this new tool."

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