iO DuPont: Engineering Cycling Innovations Since 2004

March 31, 2012

11:00 am

If you’re a big-time cyclist, I bet you are familiar with Boise, ID-based iO DuPont, which develops high-end technology products for the cycling industry (and beyond), including PowerCordz, the world’s only synthetic fiber bicycle control cables that are super popular among professional racers.

Founded by cyclist Tony DuPont, a lay-off from corporate America spurned his entry into the cycling industry. Io DuPont was actually started in his garage in Boise in 2004, and it was almost inevitable that he would found a cycling-focused company.  During middle school, he bought the most expensive bike available in Moscow, ID with his own money.  “My mother chewed my ass out when she found out how much it cost, but the next week I took it completely apart anyway. I’m curious and I want to know why, why it works, how it works. I took it apart because that’s what I do.”

DuPont said Boise is a great cycling town with world class mountain biking with lots of long, straight roads and hills to climb – last summer, someone even knit sweaters around the downtown bike racks (how cool is that?).
PowerCordz came about because major players in the cycling industry had been trying to develop synthetic cables for more than a decade.  DuPont said, “No one had been able to get an anchor to connect securely to the fibers.  When I realized the challenges involved, I thought, ‘I can do that.’ We figured out how to bond them and set up the manufacturing.”

When you look at the numbers – 10,000 fibers all bonded to a 1/4 inch potted anchor, which holds 600 lbs – that is a pretty cool engineering success story.  Of course, entrepreneurs are never ones to rest on their laurels, so the iO Dupont team is working on another innovation now: the Infinity Drive™ continuously variable bicycle transmission. The transmission is expected to outperform derailleur systems in range, smoothness, maintenance requirements, and ease of use while being competitive in weight, efficiency, and price with the best in the industry.  Awesome news for serious cyclists – and the cycling industry in general:

An advance like the Infinity Drive is about helping people all over the world embrace cycling. The first models will appeal to the bike racer or early adopter, looking for that competitive advantage, but we can see our IVTs becoming the new standard transmission system for the modern bicycle all over the world. It has fewer components than a derailleur system, is more intuitive to shift and will be lighter and potentially cheaper than any current options. We can’t wait to demo the prototype in the near future.

You can meet the iO DuPont team at this week’s Tech Cocktail Boise Mixer and learn more about what they’re up to.

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Monika Jansen is a writer and editor who is happiest pounding out blog posts, newsletters, website content, and other materials. Follow her at: @monikacjansen

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