StageONE $699 ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart crank-based power meter announced

This morning, Stages Cycling announced a new crank-based power meter, StageONE, which will be available for $699US.  The power meter includes both ANT+ and Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE/BLE/Bluetooth Smart), allowing you to connect to any of the ANT+ power meter heads out on the market today, as well as all of the phone based Bluetooth Smart phone apps and devices coming down the line.

Back at Eurobike three weeks ago I had the change to sit down with the guys behind the power meter and gets a brief hands-on peek at the unit.

StageOne Power Meter Back

As you can see above, the unit is literally on the crank arm, specifically, the left crank (the riders left crank).  This is different from most “crank based” power meters that typically measure closer to/around the spider of the right side of the crank.

From an implementation standpoint this is substantial because it doesn’t require a specific chaining setup, nor specific pedals or wheels.  Meaning that you can move it from bike to bike as long as you have the same and/or compatible cranks.

Interestingly, this isn’t terribly different from the measurement point of the Pioneer power meter I wrote about at Eurobike.  With the Pioneer, they are measuring across both crank arms (to gather individual left/right power), whereas the StageONE measures it in one location (thus total).  The Pioneer though has a significantly more complex installation situation though, which mandates a person go through Pioneer’s training program to install it.  I thought it was interesting that in StageONE’s official press material, they seemed to subtly call it out and poke at this “No wires, magnets, zip-ties or additional mounted hardware”.  The magnet reference though is tied to the lack of magnet needed for cadence, which is commonplace in today’s crank based power meters.

StageOne Power Meter Attached to bike

The unit will however require specific crank types, which means that you have to either purchase a compatible crank, or already have a compatible crank.  Below are the compatible cranks/arms, and the prices.  Note there are two prices – one for just the power meter (if you already have said crank), and one for the full left/right crank kit (including power meter).  The sealed extra pod that attaches to the crank arm adds 20g of weight to that of a normal crank.

Shimano Products:

Shimano Dura-Ace 9000, $949 power meter, $1,399 complete crank
Shimano Dura-Ace 7900, $899 power meter, $1,299 complete crank
Shimano Ultegra, $799 power meter, $1,099 complete crank
Shimano 105, $699 power meter, $899 complete crank
Shimano Dura-Ace Track, $899 power meter
Shimano XTR, $899 power meter, $1,299 complete crank
Shimano XT, $799 power meter, $1,099 complete crank
Shimano Saint, $899 (only available as a power meter)
Shimano DXR, $899 (only available as a power meter)

SRAM Products:

SRAM X9 GXP, $699 power meter, $899 complete crank (Compatible with X7, X9, X0, XX [166 Q model], and many Truvativ models]
SRAM X9 BB30, $699 power meter, $949 complete crank
SRAM Rival OCT GXP, $699 power meter, $899 complete crank
(Compatible with Apex, Rival, Force, Red, Truvativ Omnium (track), and many other Truvativ models)

Cannondale BB30 Products (all Cannondale pricing still TBD):

Cannondale Hollowgram SI SL (pre 2012, road/mtn power meter only)
Cannondale Hollowgram SI SL2 road
Cannondale Hollowgram SI SL2 mountain
Cannondale Hollowgram SI road
Cannondale Hollowgram SI mountain

In total, they are offering 14 specific models.  Which, if you had a bit of time on your hands and wanted to lay them all out – would look like the below.  First are the road bike variants:

StageOne Power Meter Road Lineup

Then the mountain bike variants:

StageOne Power Meter Mountain Bike Lineup

Despite measuring on one side (left), the unit does correctly give you total power by taking the left power and applying an algorithm to determine total power.  If you compare it to spider based power meters, that is measured at the spider, which takes into account force from both cranks.  Note however that none of the left/right crank based power meters currently available on the market today however independently measure left/right power.  They all estimate it.  The only direct force power meter today on the market that separately measures left/right power is the Polar/Look pedal based power meter.  There are crank based units coming down the line next year that will measure it independently (i.e. the ROTOR system).

The accuracy of the unit is advertised to be within +/-2%.  The unit includes temperature compensation to protect against drift due to temperature.  It also supports a standard zero offset done ahead of riding.  They are not however at this time opening up the unit to do any form of static load test or manual calibration.  Though, they left open the possibility for that to change.

Here’s a quick blip by them on the temperature compensation component:

“The StageONE power meter uses a thermistor to actively compensate for temperature changes during the use of the power meter. The StageONE uses factory calibration points to plot a linear power slope. A pre-ride zero reset serves as a starting point for the ride’s power calibration. The thermistor active temperature compensation will move that slope based on ongoing environmental temperature readings to maintain consistent power values as the ambient environmental temperature changes. Furthermore, we match the thermal properties of the StageONE power meter’s strain gage to the base crank, thus the crank and gage’s properties are affected similarly by external temperature.”

While the unit measures only on the left side, it uses a “mathematical algorithm” to determine power across the entire system.  It remains to be seen how different the values from the StageONE compare to something further downstream in the system (i.e. a PowerTap at the hub). That’s one area I’m looking forward to testing.  Once I have a unit, I’ll be able to provide concurrent power data accuracy tests from this, a PowerTap, and a CompuTrainer (three total streams).  One would suppose down the road you could also add a pedal or cleat based power meter as well.

Included in some of the material I received this weekend was the below comparison between themselves and a competitor (crank-based).  Of course, once a unit lands in my hands – I’ll be doing some detailed accuracy testing against other power meters.

Power Meter Comparison

As noted earlier, the unit does not require a magnet to obtain cadence, and instead includes an accelerometer to determine cadence.

The power meter is powered via a standard CR2032 battery, and gets about 200 hours of life on the single coin cell battery.  This is the same battery used on just about every other ANT+ device out there today in the market and typically costs about $3-5 to replace.

StageOne Power Meters in test

The unit transmits both on Bluetooth Smart as well as ANT+.  This is huge in that it’s the first power meter to do so and gives you complete choice and flexibility when it comes to head units.

The Stages Cycling team worked with Wahoo Fitness on the Bluetooth Smart components, to ensure that they appear identically to that these components report and display power in the same way as the Wahoo Fitness KICKR trainer, as well as the Kurt Kinetic inRIDE trainer accessory.  All of these devices adhere to the nearly standardized Bluetooth Smart power meter device profile, as well as the long standardized ANT+ power meter device profile.  This is an important distinction, compared to something like the Velocomputer Bluetooth Smart power meter, which is not following these standards and requires specific apps to be written for it.

With the standardized units, you can hook it up to any app that follows the published device standards.

Bluetooth/ANT+ pod on StageOne Power Meter

The unit also supports wireless firmware updates, which has become commonplace in today’s cycling accessory market.

And finally, they’ll be introducing a power meter protection plan.  This is now the second company I’ve seen to offer/advertise such a plan (after Power2Max announced them at Eurobike), which enables you effectively buy insurance against accidental damage protection.  The prices are directly tied to whether the power meter component you bought was $899/$799/$699, with the corresponding cost for the protection plan at $135/$125/$105.  In other words, $105 for two years of accidental protection against crashes/etc.

Dura-Ace StageOne Power Meter

The units will start shipping in January 2013.

Once the Interbike convention show floor opens up on Wednesday morning I’ll be swinging by where they’ve invited me over to get on a bike and give it a shot in person.  Look for this post to be updated with additional hands-on thoughts with it actually attached to a bike.  In the meantime, here’s a massive gallery of photos they sent over (PR supplied).  I’ll put together a different gallery once I get more hand-on time.  The photos above with the watermark are ones I took at Eurobike.

Interbike 2012 Update:

I’ve gone through all of the questions and sat down with the Stages team and had them answer every last one.  I think we got them all covered.

In addition, I took shots of everything else I could find in their booth and placed it in another gallery below for your browsing.  Enjoy!

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to drop them below.  Thanks for reading!

Retweet 34 Like 312 Google +1 15

89 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Ray that sounds like a great idea (the multiple test) for us rec cylicst. I was thinking of getting the powercal powerguesser…this would be great info

  2. At last I see a light with those power meters… I mean the price :) I can’t wait to see a review from you about this power meter. The worst part is it won’t connect to my polar rs800cx….another reason for me to abandon polar and move to garmin.

  3. Thanks all for the questions! I got answers to every last question about from the Stages team, and will be posting them all here in the next 8-12 hours. Tons of goodness coming!

  4. Anonymous

    I use a keo power and i reckon the left crank arm measurement will be an issue so far as accuracy is concerned if they just x 2. My L/R power is usually 48/52 though it will vary during a ride (high power sprint and climbing efforts are closer to 50/50). However in normal riding my 48% Left split would result in 96% of total power being reported if they just double the left measurement. So this is a 4% discrepancy to begin with….

  5. Hi Anon-

    One item to keep in mind is the accuracy of the PM. In other words, if the Polar is +/-2% – then in reality, that 48/52 may well be 46/54 or 50/50. You just don’t know. That’s where this whole thing gets tricky, and where some better long term independent comparison data gets interesting.

  6. Hi All-

    Here’s answers to all the questions that I believe weren’t answered yet.

    (Part I)

    RE: Offering Pod seperately (self-install)

    There’s some pretty significant calibration and installation procedures that occur at the factor to ensure these are placed in exactly the right location and calibrated correctly for each specific crank arm. Unfortunately, any sort of self-install won’t be an option.

    RE: Campy/ROTOR cranks

    They are absolutely open to working with new cranks with them. They approach each prospective company as a partner, and then work with them in the same manner that other partners work with those companies. They noted that in the case of Campy, if it was up to them, they absolutely would. They also noted that they’re constantly looking to add new cranks (from our discussion on this, it sounded like finding and adding new cranks was a significant part of their work effort right now).

    I asked how long it takes once a new crank is identified, before it can be offered with the power meter. He said that on average it takes 45-60 days, with the vast majority of that time allocated to the creation of the plastic portion of the pod for each individual crank. Stuff like 3D Printing, prototypes, samples, etc – but that it’s simply the plastic that is the long-lead item.

    RE: Backpedaling (does the unit know it’s being backpedaled).

    Yes, because of the accelleromteer, they know the X/Y access and thus know the direction of travel across those axises. Despite them knowing the negative torque value, they logically aren’t displaying/transmitting it.

    RE: Arm lengths

    Most lengths and most models. Goal is to carry all lengths in all ranges, as best they possibly can.

    RE: 180’s on 7900

    Yes, this specifically is supported.

    RE: Cannondale timelines

    Probably a month behind the others, thus roughly Feb timeframes. Waiting on final tooling to be done there. They expect the pricing within the next 30 days though – just finalizing some of the distribution aspects right now.

    RE: Is there any milling out

    No milling out at all. No change in integrity of the crank. They noted that it’s just as important to them, as it is to Shimano, SRAM, etc… In other words, none of these crank companies want anyone messing with the cranks.

    RE: Pricing for other countries

    Trying to get it as close to US pricing as possible, pre-duty/import taxes. Meeting with distributors daily on it (including meetings at Interbike), but they don’t have a date on pricing via those distributors to international countries. At this point, it’s largely in the hands of the distributors (which are mostly just told of it on Monday).

    They did not however that you will be able buy direct at US rates + shipping overseas – they’ll absolutely do that. Shipping will be ‘reasonable’, they have no plane to make money/markup on shipping – they just want the product in your hands.

  7. (Part II)

    RE: Compact cranks

    No issues there, or with differeing chainrings.

    RE: “Math Algorithm” Details

    They confirmed it is just straight x2. There is other data to be had from the accellerometer that may help down the line in this area, but no head units support the additional data metrics today that would be needed to refine some data being sent. However, it is something to look at in the future.

    RE: Ability to place another unit on right side?

    Nothing technically stopping you from doing it, and thus having legit left/right power. However, from there standpoint they don’t think it really makes sense for you as a consumer. At that price point you’re basically just talking the same ballpark as other $1,5000 power meters – and today they see that market as becoming pretty crowded. Their focus is on the budget option.

    RE: Temp compensation

    They calibrate the unit in the factory at different temperatures – thus they know ahead of time how it reacts to said temperatures. There isn’t a set interval for temp compensation (i.e. every 5 minutes), but rather it reacts to rate shifts in temperature. For example, while descending you change temp more quickly (min every 30s), versus steady-state on flats it may be longer (max every 10m). The primary object here is to conserve battery while maintaining accuracy.

    RE: One-legged pedaling

    Pretty close to zero if doing one-legged on right side. Depending however on the weight of the pedal, you could show some single-digit numbers merely because of the force you’d be generating as that pedal goes around the axil.

    RE: FSA Gossamer

    Same category as other cranks, however, stay tuned there on that one.

    RE: GXP BB X9 BB30 arm with BB30

    No, qfactor is different. But they say you could use the Canondale BB30.

    RE: Shimano Tiagra Crankset

    Potentially a Shimano 105 ($899), they’ll check on that one and see specifically what the options are.

    Thanks all! And thanks to the Stages guys for sitting happily there answering a slew of questions.

  8. Anonymous

    Over the life of the crank, is it expected that fatigue of the alumium affect the power readings to the point that it is measurable?

  9. Anonymous

    Is this compatible with SRM Powercontrol 7?

  10. If they can do it, why don’t they offer left + right PMs? Might be more expensive, but I’m sure some will take it.

    I guess it might confuse their customer base and change their marketing.

    I must admit, it’d be tempting. It’d be the same product as the new Rotor crank but you’d get to choose which cranks to use (depending on availability).

    If you are a SRAM user, then the Quarq is great. But if you are a Shimano user, then sometimes it’s nice to keep everything consistent and not use a SRAM crankset on a primarily Shimano setup.

    I’m moving to DA9000 and I like the new cranks because I can swap from standard to compact without buying 2 cranksets. If I can have that be a PM too, with L+R power, then that’d be awesome.

  11. Anonymous

    Are there any accuracy issues in buying the cheaper 105 power crank arm and installing it on my current Ultegra or even 7800 DA cranks? Sure it won’t match, but you can save $100 or $200.

  12. Albert

    Hey Ray,

    Is their claim of +/- 1-2% accuracy directed at the powermeter’s measurement of the left crank only OR is the accuracy claim towards the total power output (i.e. 2x times the left crank power). Assuming you have a L/R balance of 48/52, then your total is going to be off by 4% of your actual total (i.e., 48% * 2 = 96%).

  13. On the cost of producing a 2-sided system: that wouldn’t be double because there’s marginal costs and fixed costs of production. The latter include development costs, rents on the building, salary, shipping & receiving, marketing, etc. The second side would add only marginal costs, except perhaps if there were reduced sales as a result. Electronics are amazingly cheap.

    I’m interested in how good their cadence data are on rough roads, with accelerations, and on space stations.

  14. Hi DCR,

    Cool thingy. Missed it at EU bike, though. Too bad. How do they compensate the forces of the chain on the track version?? Because when riding on the track, there sometimes is negative force (that brakes the bike).

    Cheers! Bas

  15. CDudko

    I understand that the unit adjusts for temperature, but how quickly does that happen? Are there any issues with going out into a 20F NYC winter morning from my 72F apartment? Am I going to have to stand around outside for 20 minutes to wait for this thing’s temperature to normalize?

  16. Per the above (see huge coment answering section), it’s variable depending on how quickly the rate of change is. Potentially as quickly as every 30 seconds, or as infrequent as every 5 minutes if it detects no change in temp.

  17. Anonymous

    Hey Ray, agree this could change the game. Only potential (and easily resolved) design issue I see is the assumption that total power = Left crank power x2. Now if the firmware were to allow users to specify a different L/R balance (if they know it)to adjust the total power reported then we are cooking with gas…

    Minor issue – I don’t understand why owners of these cranks couldn’t send in their left crank arm to have the pod added. This would reduce the cost further and remove the small issue of spare left crank arms lying around the garage.

  18. I suspect it may just be a logistics issue with people sending back cranks and dealing with them. Perhaps down the line, but I suspect initially they need to sort out the outbound side of life before the inbound one.

  19. Anonymous

    Does this system works if I’m using my bike (with StageOne crank attached) on my indoor trainer?
    Or does this affect the acceleration values?! Would be nice to know!

  20. Anonymous

    I might have missed this but when are you going to be able to get your hands on a unit for a real DC Rainmaker style review?

  21. No issues with an indoor trainer – no impact of bike acceleration.

    As for the review, as soon as I get my hands on one, it’ll be about three or so weeks later. I think they were targeting roughly early November for me.

  22. Trevor Caston

    Just wondering if there will be a FSA compatable StageONE, as I’m buying a Cervelo P3, and it comes with stock FSA gossammer crank

  23. Chris Webb

    Any progress on the review? Are you ‘in testing’ at the moment?

    • Rainmaker

      All the media outlets will get them towards the end of January.

    • Kamileq

      When is possible to buy it? Why is delay in delivery to the market?

    • Rainmaker

      You can buy it via some local bike shopes, or online at the Stages site. They’ll start shipping out before the end of January (units are already built and ready to ship).

  24. Kamileq

    They said to me, that nowadayes term of delivery is March if I order it now.
    That’s pity it cannot be shiped to Europe, but I will go over this problem. Now, I wait if that really works and could buy in USA.

    • Rainmaker

      Yeah, they start shipping next week, in the order received.

      I think you’ll see more on the Europe front later this year. I’ll have more to share on that on Jan 28th.

  25. wow very very cool, going to get me one of those!

  26. kamileq

    what about MTB version – shimano xt ?

    anything new?

    i think interest in the product exceeded expectations

  27. RL

    Thanks for the info on this product. Did you receive one yet and if so what are your impressions?

  28. Hi All-

    Just realized this post was still unlocked. Since posting this well over a year ago, I’ve posted two in-depth reviews (an initial one, and an update after they made some fixes). Those can be found here: link to dcrainmaker.com

    As usual, I tend to close comments after posting the review, just because so much information is updated there.

    Thanks!