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March 06, 2019
4 minutes to read  

CASE STUDY: Creating the Ultimate Indoor Cycling Experience



Located in Atlanta, Georgia, Wahoo Fitness has created a full ecosystem of sensors and devices for the runner, cyclist or general fitness enthusiast. Wahoo Fitness’s award-winning line of Bluetooth Smart products include indoor bike trainers, the world’s first smartphone connected bike computers, and a family of chest-based wearables that combines heart rate training with advanced motion analytics.


Maven is a strategic design group that collaborates with leading companies to create new products and experiences that delight users, strengthen brands, and improve market share. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, their expertise in connecting tangible experiences has helped leading companies such as Coca-Cola, American Express and AT&T.

“The Wahoo KICKR Headwind was developed in record time through seamless collaboration between design and engineering teams at Maven and East West.”
- Justin Arsenault; Partner and Lead Designer, Maven


Targeted to indoor cyclists, Headwind automatically adjusts to the way you ride by pairing with speed sensors and heart rate monitors. As your speed or heart rate increases, so will the fan speed. Delivering a realistic headwind up to 30 miles per hour, Headwind simulates the airflow a cyclist feels when riding on the road.


Headwind started as an idea from Chip Hawkins, Founder and CEO of Wahoo Fitness. Looking to have this fan integrate seamlessly with other products in their lineup, Wahoo wanted the airflow pattern to mirror the shape and position of a cyclist’s body while riding on a bicycle. After working with a local industrial design firm, Maven, on other products in their lineup, Wahoo needed another partner to help with the mechanical design portion and bring this product idea to life through manufacturing.


Design Resources
Engineering Support
Speed to market
Expertise in fans, motors and airflow analysis
Consistent look and feel with Wahoo’s other products


Computational Fluid Dynamics Analysis
Industrial Design provided by Maven
Mechanical Design provided by East West
Plastic Injection Molding
Streamlined transition from design to manufacturing



Without the internal design and engineering resources to develop Headwind and build out their fitness platform, Wahoo turned to East West to make this idea a reality.

East West’s first task was to establish what type of airflow pattern Wahoo wanted for the fan. CFD StackedOnce Wahoo decided on the motor size for Headwind, East West sourced the blower wheel and began Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations and analysis to define the internal geometry and airflow. 

The airflow design goals included optimizing the airflow to achieve the desired profile, maximizing the airflow velocity over the profile and maintaining a low sound output. In addition to configuring the optimal airflow for Headwind, East West also assisted with the circuit design and wire routing, leveraging Wahoo’s approved wireless modules.

The East West Design team also sought feedback on the suggested models from their own factory in Vietnam, which would ultimately end up manufacturing the product. Once Headwind’s design was finalized, CNC machined prototypes were created to test out the product.

By leveraging expertise between Maven, East West Design Services and East West’s Vietnam factory during the design and tooling process, Wahoo benefited from a constant loop of feedback between the three companies and Headwind’s path to mass production was seamless.



Headwind was successfully launched in time for Wahoo’s mid-year product unveiling, along with the new KICKR and KICKR CORE, and has received rave reviews from cycling fanatics and professionals alike.

East West and Wahoo are currently collaborating on additional fitness products to create the ultimate training experience for everyone from cycling enthusiasts to professional athletes.

“Our product road map was in jeopardy of getting backlogged. We needed a design partner that understood the direction of where Wahoo is heading. Our internal resources were at max capacity. Partnering with East West gave us access to designers who are manufacturers, and that gave us the speed to market that we needed. We had a tight deadline and finding a team with fan and motor design experience was pivotal in getting Headwind into the hands of the customers as quickly as we wanted. The market reaction to the Headwind launch has been fantastic.”

 — Chip Hawkins; CEO and Founder of Wahoo Fitness


* images courtesy of Maven Design and Wahoo Fitness

Filed Under: Product Design Services, Design for Manufacturing