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Singlespeed World Champ/EWS Pro Racer, Shaw, Uses BrakeAce Brake Power Meter and Suspension DAQ

Photos by: Ezra Newick

Have you ever wondered why the pros are so fast? Sure, they are incredibly skilled, but what actually are they doing differently?

Turns out a lot.

I recently had the chance to link up with EWS phenom, Sam Shaw to test his braking with the BrakeAce automatic coaching software. Sam was setting up his suspension with Jono from The Suspension Lab, so we thought we’d combine forces to help Sam dial in his ride with full data-acquisition (DAQ).

Setting up the BrakeAce on Sam Shaw’s Transition Sentinel at The Suspension Lab in Rotorua, New Zealand

We met at The Suspension Lab, where Jono had already mounted suspension ptentiometers on Sam’s Transition Sentinel. Sam had ridden the same frame setup over the past year in the EWS, but this was a new frame and drivetrain, with upgraded Fox Factory dampers. He only had a few runs on the new setup so far for the season.

As you can see below, this was a top-notch build!

Sam Shaw uses MTB telemetry DAQ setup to test his braking and suspension before the 2020 EWS

What I’ve found over the last few years of testing riders is that nobody really know what they are doing when they are braking. That’s what makes the BrakeAce so valuable.

Over the last year, we have focused on transition from raw data to automatic software analyses. Raw data as in the video below is nice, however it can only be taken so far.

The reason the raw data is so difficult is because braking power is going to affect your speed and control differently based on a number of overly complicated physical factors.

With the automatic coaching software, we filter through all the confusing bits for you and simply show you what you did in practical terms, and where you can improve on the trail.

At the end of 2019 when we collected this data, we were storing all data on an AiM EVO 4s data logger then running files through our own software (AiM software for suspension).

Sam Shaw is fit, fast and stylish. Here’s a nice sideview of his Transition Sentinel with full DAQ, including suspension potentiometers, prototype BrakeAce, and Galfer 223 x 2.0 rotors

The trail we chose was National Downhill in Rotorua. Sam could shuttle to the top, plus the track features big hits, tight turns and ridiculously high speed (scroll to video!).

This track at Sam’s pace would surely push the suspension and the brakes to their limit!

Prototype BrakeAce

After Sam’s first run, we noted where he was brake checking, which was a lot (13 times!). This was fair enough for his first run down the trail in a while. He was also super heavy on his rear brake at around 85%, which was probably because he was just trying to control his speed so much of the time.


There were a number of other metrics were showed Sam, too, such as his number of braking events and their locations on the map, FlowScore, brake intensity, modulation, places where he was dragging or feathering his brakes, corners where he was braking beyond the apex, how hot his brakes were getting, and locations on the trail where he could improve his braking the most–all automatically!

The BrakeAce software showed Sam 3 parts of the trail where he could improve his braking, where he was braking beyond the apex of the turn, and where he was brake checking as just a few examples.

Between runs, Jono did his own analyses. Based on his expert knowledge in suspension, he was able to use the data to make the call of what to adjust next on Sam’s suspension. Things like damping, volume and pressure were all adjusted.