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Wind Tunnel Sets New Retail Facility Apart

Published July 12, 2011

SCOTTSDALE, AZ (BRAIN)—A new retail and training facility, set to open in early August, aims to become cycling’s most comprehensive performance center.

Local businessman James Kramer, owner of a wireless cell tower construction company, provided the vision and financing for the project. The facility, called Faster, brings the widest possible range of tools and services—including wind tunnel testing—under one roof.

Kramer recruited Paraic McGlynn, its director of performance services and operations, to provide credibility and expertise gathered over 20 years in the industry. McGlynn, the former director of the International Cycling Institute and fit lab at Serotta, relocated to Scottsdale, where he previously ran local retailer Bicycle Ranch.

Faster has integrated a 2,000-square-foot retail area with state-of-the-art fitting and recovery services. Its retail showroom will focus on lightweight, aerodynamic equipment and road, time-trial and triathlon bikes from brands including Scott, Cervélo, Guru, Serotta and Parlee.

Bike fitting will include proprietary 3D motion capture video analysis and a compilation of best-in-class fit methods. Recovery services will include massage, physical therapy and a suite with tools such as muscle stimulation machines, compression boots, trigger point tissue therapy and a plunge pool with hot and cold therapy to boost recovery.

Where Faster sets itself apart, however, is with a purpose-built in-house wind tunnel that could be a game changer not only for individual cyclists but also for industry companies looking for aerodynamic testing.

“The biggest differentiator is we’re building the first-ever, from-the-ground-up wind tunnel,” said McGlynn, adding that the project required a healthy seven-figure investment.

Faster will use the wind tunnel to evaluate a rider’s existing aerodynamic drag and how position or equipment change the rider’s drag. It will also incorporate biomechanical, power and respiratory measurement tools to ensure that aerodynamics don’t compromise performance.

Unlike other wind tunnels designed primarily for testing aerospace or automobile designs at high speeds, Faster’s wind tunnel is optimized for slower speeds. It will accurately simulate wind speeds up to 50 miles per hour.

“From an accuracy standpoint we are adding new elements to the test bed where we analyze slow characteristics—how equipment, the shape of the tunnel and the design of the fixture in the tunnel give new types of data about forces on yaw angles. We think it will give a more comprehensive data set,” said McGlynn, adding that Faster has hired Thomas Giesen, a mechanical engineer with bike industry background, to manage the facility.

Faster will make the wind tunnel accessible as a research and development testing facility to bike and component manufacturers.

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