A look behind the scenes at SIGMA – by Salim Kipkemboi
How does a company actually work? How are bike computers and bike lights, which I use in training and sometimes in competitions, planned, manufactured and tested? I asked myself these questions and SIGMA answered them. Together with me, you can now get a glimpse of some of the work processes at the Neustadt-based cycling accessories specialist.
In my home country of Iten, in the west of Kenya, I started my journey to Germany in June 2021. As a first stopover, I visited my teammates from the German UCI continental team Bike Aid, trained with them, took part in races and even got a visit from a film crew for the brand ambassador series “SIGMA Stories”. Then it was straight on to the SIGMA headquarters in the wine town of Neustadt a. d. Weinstraße.
Here at headquarters, SIGMA develops reliable devices that athletes and cyclists need. Not only bike computers, but also heart rate monitors, cadence sensors, multitools and of course bike lights.
Meeting the product managers
Reliable devices are already the appropriate keyword here. What I was looking forward to most were the meetings with the product managers. As a cyclist, I primarily want my device to work, I want my data to be displayed and I want to be seen during training thanks to good lighting. Therefore, it was particularly exciting to get an insight into the development of the products. Every product line at SIGMA has its own product manager. I was allowed to test the latest GPS bike computer ROX 11.1 EVO before its release. Daniel, the product manager, explained the entire process to me here. From design to market maturity – and I can tell you, I wasn’t even aware of how much effort goes into such a small device.
As an athlete, my performance data is of course extremely important to me. Personally, I find a meaningful app very useful here. That’s why I met Debby, the product manager of the new RIDE app. Debby explained to me the special features and improvements of the new app. For example, the RIDE app communicates with the new ROX series and is very intuitive. I can personalise my data and preferred views and of course analyse my training data. I can share my training directly with my friends or my trainer. But I can also download the GPX files before each ride and then use them.
#ridesafe with proper lighting
What is more important than safety on the roads? Probably not much. For safety in training, for other drivers and for yourself, there is a very simple solution. A good front and rear light. Therefore, a visit to Robin, the junior lighting product manager, was not to be missed. Here, too, everything revolves around an appealing design and, even more important, the complete technology that goes into such a small light. Optimally, of course, the new lighting products can only be tested in the evening or at night. Of course, there are also various ways to simulate darkness in the company, but realistic lighting conditions and ground conditions can only be found on the street or in the forest.
Personally, the topic of #ridesafe is very close to my heart. It’s so easy to avoid problematic or dangerous situations – a switched-on rear light should be a priority at any time of day or night. It makes everyone visible. Sometimes cyclists are not easily visible due to rain, fog or even on sunny days. With a small rear light switched on, cyclists cannot be overlooked. That’s why I support the #ridesafe campaign that SIGMA has launched. The aim is to raise awareness for the use of the rear light at all times of the day and night. Are you also taking part?
On the road with the User Experience Manager
Besides all the interesting background information about the products and apps, my personal highlight was the meeting with User Experience Manager Torsten. What is a User Experience Manager? Torsten puts the devices through their paces and thus finds out what can be improved and what cannot. So, he deals with a user’s impressions during interaction with a product. Together with Patrick, who works in sponsoring, we went on a little bike tour. We borrowed e-bikes and I got to know the e-bike ready connection of the new ROX series. The products can be easily connected to many e-bikes. That was a successful end to my visit!
It was very interesting for me to take a look behind the scenes of a large company. I learned a lot during my stay. For me it was a completely new experience to work in such an environment and what it means to run a company. Maybe my visit to SIGMA will lead to something big at home in Iten in the future. Maybe one day I could run my own company.
We say THANK YOU, Salim for the great time with you and look forward to your next visit! 😊