About us

engineering and biomechanics in cycling

Foundation & History

It all started in 1980 with the purchase of a  KOGA MIYATA Fullpro. My fascination with cycling was awakened. At the time there was hardly any literature that offered a glimpse into this world of technology and tactics. The only magazine was RAD MAGAZIN, founded in 1977 in the Didi Thurau euphoria, now known as TOUR. The frames were made of chrome-molybdenum steel, Shimano brought the first DURA-ACE EX onto the market and modern nylon racing shoes were in hook/strap pedals.

In 1984 I met Hans Christian Smolik. And in his workshop I spent countless hours of turning, sanding and theoretical physics. However, I owe my training as a toolmaker to Franz Pawelczyk from Haan, who improved the principle of the spoke wrench, which is now the worldwide standard.

  • Original Franz Pawelczyk (li.) in Lizenz DT Swiss (re.)
  • Original Smolik Hand gefeilt

In 1987 my friend Andreas Kappes joined the legendary Toshiba-La Vie Claire team as a professional cyclist. The new LOOK carbon frames had a weak point: the glued tube connections came loose. And the frame had to be replaced overnight. So it happened that Andreas was sitting on his bike but the seat position was not right. During the race it had to be readjusted or the muscles suffered from the unfamiliar position. His father Werner Kappes, himself a successful Berlin amateur athlete in the 1960s, gave me the task to solve this problem. And so I developed my first biomechanical tool and built it after work during my semester break in a metalworking company. In 1988 I proudly presented my 'invention' to Paul Köchli, Toshiba's sports director. I was sent to the service de course to show it the mechanics. But they didn't want unfamiliar technology preferring to continue working with the old methods. Christian Smolik then presented it in special issue IV of TOUR 1992, but the response was very muted. From now on I made things official and founded ergocycle..

In 1990 I met Ulrich Schoberer the inventor of mobile power measurement and founder of SRM. For the first time and with the help of his DOS-based program I was able to measure and study the course of the torque while pedaling. It turned out that the power and the magnitude of the torque of the legs depended on the seat position and could even be influenced by mental concentration. In order to put the anatomy of the legs in relation to this the joint centers were covered with markers and filmed with a video camera while pedaling. The course of the markers could then be recorded two-dimensionally geometrically from the individual images. If the respective crank angles were correlated with the SRM data, each torque value could be assigned to a corresponding joint angle. This enabled theoretical conclusions to be drawn about the generation of force in the muscle and its transfer to the body segments involved. But in order to get to the bottom of the secret of the optimal sitting position, I developed human models that were supposed to confirm or refute an examination of the measurement data.

The rise of Team Telekom around Jan Ullrich began in the 1990s. And SRM in Jülich became the center of performance-based training. Word had got around in the scene that I was offering these movement analyzes on the SRM premises. And since there was no comparable measuring technology available anywhere else - apart from a few universities - Eddy Merckx and his son Axel also visited me. Based on the torque data I diagnosed for Axel a significant difference in leg length who was contesting races for MAPEI-Quickstep at this time. Eddy wanted to compensate this difference in leg length with special shoe plates according to the old tradition. However, I increased the crank length of the longer leg according to the law:
                             Torque = Force x leverage
so that the torque graphs of both legs had the same maximum. In this way, the longer leg could achieve the same muscle strength-contraction length ratio as the shorter one. And voi là, Axel later won a stage in Giro d`Italia. Whether biomechanics helped is always theoretically explicable. You win races with your head...and good legs.

  • Eddy und Axel Merckx
  • Sitzhöhen abhängige Drehmomentkurven
  • Matze Kessler bei der Analyse

In addition to my studies in mechanical engineering I acquired all trainer licenses from the German Cyclist Association. At the same time I rode bike races until 1999. My finest victory was at a criterium in Wuppertal in 1995, where I won ahead of Wilfried Trott.

  • Neufeldersee Radmarathon 2019
  • Rund um die Burg in Nürnberg1995
  • Wuppertal 1995
  • Rheindorf 1985
  • Limburg - last minute Attacke
  • Deutschlandtour 1999