Spearfish firm becomes world leader in bicycle technology
Jim Meyer grew up in Spearfish -- the South Dakota version of Boulder, Colorado. Located on the northern flank of the Black Hills, Spearfish has lots of scenery, a fair year-round climate and a healthy population of devoted outdoor enthusiasts, especially bicyclists. Jim became an avid triathlete, competing in grueling races that involve, swimming, bicycling and running.
In 2006, Jim, who was training in Australia at the time, went looking for a good, accurate bicycle power meter. It’s a device that measures the muscle power you exert when you ride. You can learn how much energy to exert, when to conserve and when to pour it on. There were several products on the market, but Jim found them all lacking. So the admitted math geek invented his own. That led him to found Quarq, which today is a top brand in the power meter business.
Competing on a world stage
The world’s top triathletes, including IRONMAN World Championship winner Jan Frodeno, ride with Quarq. (In fact, more than 200 IRONMAN competitors in last year’s Hawaiian endurance race were on bikes equipped with Quarq power meters -- more than any other brand.)
In 2011, Quarq became part of SRAM, the bicycle products giant based in Chicago. However, Quarq is still headquartered in Spearfish. Production, marketing and product development are based in two buildings on the east edge of Spearfish. The company employs about 50 people, and Quarq products are shipped to dealers and riders around the world.
Best of both worlds
"Spearfish is a great town for Quarq. We are all outdoor enthusiasts, so all the accessible outdoor activities are super important personally. Of course great cycling is required for our business too!,” Jim said. “The simple, small-town environment is a perfect fit for our business. And in a connected world, it’s easy to have global reach from anywhere."
Quarq continues to refine its line of power meters. And new technology products are coming out of the Spearfish plant. For example, the Quarq Qollector is a GPS device that tracks the real-time position, power output and other data from racers and riders in real time. Results are constantly updated online in leaderboards and interactive maps. And more products are in the works as Quarq pushes its presence in the world of bicycling.