STAC Zero: Innovation Through Simplification
As the doors open to the warehouse of STAC Performance’s manufacturing and assembling facility in New Hamburg, you see a perfectly stacked row of their new bike trainers ready to ship out. Just released last month, they are flying off of the shelves. Significant pre-orders for their new product have rolled in after the traction they received as guest exhibitors for the Eurobike Conference in Germany last month. This is the world’s largest bike show with over 1,300 exhibitors and 50K attendees and they won the award for the new trainer – The Zero Halcyon Smart Trainer.
At Eurobike, the team attended the exclusive Zwift Summit – hosted by Zwift and invite only – where industry players have confidential discussions. “We met with lots of media, distributors and other industry players throughout the 3-day conference. We had a lot of booth traffic from people who saw our trainer in the Awards display area. Eurobike is an industry bike show that is not open to the general public. It’s designed for companies to meet with each other and understand the latest trends and products,” co-founder Shane Pegg recounts.
“The Stac Zero is a textbook example of innovation through simplification.” -Zwift Insider
Last fall they also won the Interbike Award at the largest bike show in North America, for their Virtual Wind Tunnel service. Their service provides 3D scanning, aerodynamic analysis and reporting. A fluid dynamicist Ph.D. analyzes the reports and then advice from the STAC team is given to triathletes and cyclists. The service is licensed and offered by coaches and bike fitters globally and allows athletes and cyclists to compare themselves to other riders while using Zwift. Currently, they have partners in 6 countries offering the service.
Andrew Buckrell started the company with a Kickstarter fund back in June 2016. STAC was able to get funding from 158 backers to raise $68,350 CAD to help bring this project to life. Soon after they also received $30,000 in funding from ACJumpstart that has helped them get on track to becoming one of the next big Canadian manufacturing companies in the Waterloo region. “The AC and the seed funding grant provided us with lots of great support from the all-star team of mentors,” says Shane.
The STAC team is a mix of Engineers and Business partners from UW and WLU. Andrew Buckrell (engineering) came up with the original concept and is finishing up a Ph.D. in Fluid Dynamics at UW. Art Hare (software) is a Computer/Math grad from UW. Shane Pegg, a WLU Business Grad, and Sean Peterson who also has a Ph.D. in Fluid Dynamics round off the team.
“The STAC Zero can be summed up as Zero Noise. Zero Tire Wear, Smart Trainer. Through a unique arrangement of magnets interacting with your brake rim, it creates resistance while avoiding all the problems with conventional trainers,” Shane explains.
It’s a wheel-on trainer, but there’s no contact between the wheel and the trainer. As a result, it’s the ultimate sound-free trainer. It’s also one of the most affordable trainers on the market with a built-in powermeter. Most importantly, it does not wear out your tires and your bike is always 10 seconds from being road-ready. Because there are no moving parts, it will never wear out or require maintenance.
Their slogan is “STAC Zero – letting people train while their family sleeps – says it all. This is the World’s Quietest Bike Trainer. Zero Noise. How did they accomplish that? – the beauty of electromagnetic force! The way this trainer works is by using magnets.
Eddy currents result in a resisting motion on the electrical conductor. In the Zero’s case, the conductor is your wheel, and it results in a silent, zero-contact bike trainer. Eddy currents are also used to stop roller coasters and thrill rides.
The powermeter model uses a measurement of force on the magnet array in order to determine how much power the rider is putting out. Power is simply force multiplied by speed, and the beauty of the STAC Zero Powermeter is that it does not require any wear parts that heat up or stretch during usage: no belts, no tires, no chains in the mechanism means a minimal need to recalibrate over time and unparalleled consistency.
Made in Canada at their factory in New Hamburg, they have sold trainers to 40 countries and counting.
You could store it in a tiny bachelor apartment as the kit folds flat easily and can slide under your couch. You could take it in a suitcase and fly with it around the globe. It’s only 3 inches tall.
The new trainer is 100% portable and lightweight. At 17 pounds it’s much lighter than other trainers, making it simple to travel to work or further. Shane tells the story of one customer who was able to transport it easily in his vehicle and carry it to his campsite to set it up on an outdoor rock surface.
STAC is currently fundraising $500K from investors with the goal of being able to provide innovative, outside-the-box products and services that open up new possibilities for cyclists.
From the STAC Zero letting people train while their family sleeps to the Virtual Wind Tunnel that lets athletes learn their CdA at their local bike shop, they are excited to bring to market many more exciting concepts. Digitalization and electrification are mega-trends that have a sustainable impact on the future of the global bike industry, and STAC will be shaping that future.
AC JumpStart is made possible by and investment from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario(FedDev Ontario) and is delivered in partnership with Conestoga College, Laurier, and the University of Waterloo.