Wahoo Fitness Acquires Speedplay

Wahoo Fitness has purchased Speedplay the pedal company, yesterday, the most surprising news on a day full of news.

If you follow what I write in these pages, I’m ornery in my advocacy of good ideas, and for the well-executed pathway from idea to finished product. This is how I've written about our partners (Speedplay) and those who aren’t our partners (Wahoo Fitness; tho one can hope!). I’ve written about both companies a lot this year, and I’ll continue to write about both these brands.

Why is it a surprise to find that one well-run acquired by another? I always felt that SRAM would be this brand's eventual acquirer. Speedplay would’ve been a great fit for Campagnolo, but absorbing acquisitions well is what SRAM does: as well as company I’ve spectated in our industry. The one piece of the puzzle missing is pedals. Shimano makes an excellent pedal. SRAM has not made a pedal (tho it just acquired the PowerTap pedal). Speedplay was, in my view, SRAM material, but over its 4 decades Speedplay's husband/wife owners resisted all suitors.

So much for my prognostication skills.

Here’s what Chip Hawkins, Founder of Wahoo Fitness, said about his company's acquisition: “Speedplay pedals are the most innovative, high performance pedals available so it’s a perfect fit with Wahoo. We welcome the opportunity to offer another edge to Wahooligans around the world with the best pedals in the business.” But that still doesn’t tell me why, beyond that fact that discriminating cyclists value the features of this pedal. This includes Slowtwitchers and, as we wrote earlier this month, Speedplay is not only the choice of Sebastian Kienle and Jan Frodeno, it's the road pedal of many of you:

Here's another snippet from the release: “Wahoo seeks to build on that legacy by bringing its commitment to smart training, its extensive suite of products, and its history of innovation to the Speedplay brand. By focusing on the needs of cyclists across all disciplines, Wahoo intends to put Speedplay pedals on as many bicycles as possible and continue to drive creativity at this celebrated brand."

Let me zero in on a phrase, like a philologist tweezing out the hidden meaning. "Smart training." Does that mean organized and science-based training rather than haphazard, freewheeling training? Or smart as in not mechanical? That kind of smart?

I don't know. Further, I'm not going not going to know, because Wahoo Fitness keeps secrets about as well as any company I cover.

This makes two Wahoo Fitness acquisitions that surprised me this year - The Sufferfest and Speedplay - as well as a product launch (Kickr Bike) that didn't surprise me, but did impress me.