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App-powered monitoring system StatCap warns of low tire pressure

Published August 12, 2019

TUCSON, Ariz. (BRAIN) — After those first few pedal strokes, tire pressure becomes an afterthought for most cyclists. An undetected slow leak can change that in a hurry. 

It did for Kurt Stillman.

Three blocks from home at the end of a long road ride in 2015, Stillman banked right and hit the pavement. Not seriously injured, he regrouped and tried to figure out what happened. An underinflated front tire was the cause.

Once home, Stillman investigated further.

“I took the front tire to my kitchen sink and bubble, bubble ... there it was, a slow leak,” Stillman said. “At low pressure, it wasn’t noticeable (riding) in a straight line but (the tire) folded under on the turn. Now that I had it figured out, I tended to my wounds.”

He also started thinking about the importance of monitoring tire pressure in real time. Work soon began developing StatCap, a system that measures tire stats and relays via Bluetooth to a smartphone or smartwatch. 

Stillman said money from an inheritance helped get the idea off the ground. “We used that and bootstrapped the rest,” he said. 

StatCap P1 debuted in June with an initial run of 200 units and a retail price of $99 for a set. It will work with any bicycle tire/tube combo, including tubeless.

“We tested a few designs and wanted to make sure we could make it affordable, easy to remove (no tools required) and replace for those pesky flat tires,” Stillman said. “If done right, you shouldn’t notice it on your ride unless you have low tire pressure or excessive tire temperature.”

The sensor cap screws onto any tire stem, and the rider is alerted to pressure, temperature and even wobble anomalies. The sensors are paired to the Tahuna app, which features haptic feedback. Pressure range is set on the app and monitored every 250 milliseconds. The Tahuna app also features navigation and route-planning.

StatCap was sourced with parts from the U.S. and Japan and assembled in China. Research and development is done in Tucson, Arizona. StatCap is available now only through the website, with dealers being lined up. Stillman said Sam Vose was hired as sales manager.

Stillman said initial grassroots marketing is primarily focused on North America, with European partnerships being established this year. Digital marketing, event sponsorship and trade show participation is on tap for the U.S. and Europe.

“We are hoping to get to the $50,000 mark by the holidays,” Stillman said.

StatCap will expand beyond pedal bikes while continuing to refine its technology. “Next steps will focus on e-bikes and a global push through our partner channels, as well as launching our next product release with enhanced technology and features unavailable in today’s marketplace,” said Stillman, whose ultimate goal is to get that P2 version on a bike in the Tour de France next year.

StatCap P1 debuted in June.

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