R&D Team of the Year: Specialized e-bike R&D Team

While e-mountainbikes have certainly reached a new level of on-trail performance, we all know that power is nothing without control. In order to fully harness the immense potential of e-assist power, the innovative superbrand Specialized have developed the Mission Control App, allowing the rider to fully customise the function of their bike. Utilizing the knowledge gained from seven years as the engineering manager of Specialized’s mountain bike department, Jan Talavasek now heads up e-bike R&D and is the main brain behind the development of the new Specialized Turbo Levo model range. We’ve had various chances to test prototypes of the Turbo Levo FSR Expert 6Fattie, and were impressed with the technical solutions; although not a finished product, some of the new innovations are very exciting.
On the hardware side of things, Jan Talavasek’s team showed the world clever details to increase usability and reliability while enhancing smart simplicity.

The revolutionary component on the Specialized e-mountainbike range is not the hardware though, it’s the software. With the Mission Control App, Specialized allows the rider to not only choose the assist mode, but  also personalise all functions such as adjusting motor tune, acceleration, max motor assistance, etc. Furthermore, the app will log your ride and provide a lot of data for analysis (which can be shared with Strava too). The highlight of the app is called Smart Control, an algorithm that will automatically adjust motor assistance based on diverse variables that you can set. With the ever-increasing quantity of sensors and electronics in components, it’s now up to the manufacturers to take advantage of this data to make our bike ride smarter and more efficiently – and also allow us to tailor it to our personal preferences and needs.
While adding more intelligent technology might not be everyone’s cup of tea, Jan Talavasek and his team’s Mission Control App have shown what an important role software will play in the future, pushing the boundaries of what is thinkable and possible. The development teams of innovative brands (especially in the e-mountainbike sector) will consist of software engineers as much as technical engineers and designers in the future. And like on your iPhone or Android smartphone, it’s the software, not the hardware, that will ultimately make the difference.

About the Industry Award

There are brands, personalities, and event promoters that have achieved exceptional accomplishments in 2015 by questioning and challenging the status quo. Here we are talking about forward-thinking concepts for the sport, product design, or marketing that were surprising and inspiring with the potential to revolutionize specific segments of the industry.
You might ask, why set up these Accomplishments of the Year Awards? Well, we want to honor the accomplishments of teams and persons who are ready to revolutionize the known by creating new formats and concepts. These accomplishments simply don’t fit any category. The Award-winners were chosen by the expertise of the participating international journalists and the expert jury.

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