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Chuck Wurster, the man behind RacerMate and CompuTrainer, dies at 86

Published December 23, 2018

VASHON, Wash. (BRAIN) — Charles "Chuck" Ivan Wurster, Jr., whose products helped create the current indoor cycling boom, has died at age 86 at his home here.

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Wurster was co-founder and president of Floscan Instruments, which made fuel monitoring equipment for marine and aviation applications. He was also the longtime leader of RacerMate, Inc., which made the RacerMate wind trainer and later the CompuTrainer and Velotron smart trainers. 

Chuck was the son of Charles Ivan Wurster and Pauline Browning Wurster; he was born Aug. 25, 1932, in Oklahoma City. He graduated from Franklin High School in Seattle as valedictorian and received a Bachelor of Science degree from Yale University in 1954 and a master's in science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1956.

In addition to his wife, Natercia Wurster, Chuck's survivors include three children from his marriage to Constance Cover, which ended in divorce: Charles Ivan Wurster III, Kimie Kreidle, and Valerie McGowan. He also leaves a sister, Gay Wurster Stuntzner, and five grandchildren.

He spent three years in South Africa (1963-66) with Standard Oil designing and building a fertilizer plant that was subsequently nationalized. 

"Chuck said many times that one of his proudest life accomplishments was that the company could support 53 families, many of whom were recent immigrants to the U.S. He always treasured their talents, skills, and work ethic. Chuck had the unique ability of identifying his employees' useful talents regardless of their background, always seeing their potential for developing, producing and selling outstanding products," the family said.

FloScan began manufacturing the RacerMate, the first wind-resistance stationary trainer, in 1975. The product was invented by Wilfried Baatz. The company launched the electronically controlled CompuTrainer in 1986. It later launched the Velotron, a stationary trainer for laboratory use. 

RacerMate stopped production of the CompuTrainer in 2017 and Floscan and RacerMate were dissolved this year. SRAM bought the company's Velotron assets in April and was servicing customers from its Spearfish, North Dakota facility, where SRAM's Quarq division is based. 

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