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Spring 2016 Power Meter Pricing Wars Update

It’s been almost a year since I did a big power meter pricing chart.  Sure, I talk about pricing in my annual power meter buyer’s guide, but pricing continues to fluctuate a bit.  So I figured I’d do a recap on where things stand, and what’s new, as well as what I see happening over the next few months.  Oh, and I’m calling this ‘Spring’ because the trees have started to blossom (well, one of them anyway).  The fact that spring is technically still 6 days away is besides the point.

To recap since roughly last fall with my power meters buyer’s guide, here’s the big ticket items that would have impacted pricing or products in the market:

4iiii Started shipping their $399 power meter
Pioneer, SRM, and PowerTap all dropped prices in Jan/Feb of 2016
LIMITS has delayed their release yet further, plans shipping possibly in April
Brim Brothers has launched a Kickstarter campaign, plans shipping in May
Stages announced price drops in September, also carbon options

Remember, the mere act of launching a power meter has zero impact on pricing.  Essentially, you have to ‘put up or shut up’, when it comes to having any impact on the prices in the market.  So companies like Limits, Brim, and Xpedo don’t impact any pricing decisions until people can validate it’s both a functional product and ones that you can install on your bike today.

How Pricing is Tracked:

IMG_7186

Thus, in order to keep things simple, I put down some ground rules on pricing (I had to draw lines somewhere):

1) Non-sale prices: The lowest non-sale price for the unit within that calendar year,.  I didn’t want Black Friday sales and the like hosing it up.
2) Only list/retail prices:  Some bike shops may offer discounts (i.e. the DCR Clever Training 10% deal), which would make it difficult to track all units equally.  So I excluded those.  Also, shipping costs are excluded since that’s usually based on the retailer.
3) Whatever model is cheapest: Finding the least expensive unit offering they have.  Most power companies have a myriad of variants available.  I just went with the cheapest unit they sold in a given category, with no accessory options.
4) US Dollars: Products are priced at all sorts of levels globally.  I just went with USD, because quite frankly I can’t keep track of hundreds of currencies and product prices in those currencies.
5) Shipping Products only: While I do show both shipping and announced (not yet shipping) units in the first few charts, I only focus on products you can actually install today after that.

Also note that some units include things like crank arms or chainrings, while other companies don’t give options.  I realize that might make for an uneven playing field…but I kinda put that in the category of ‘you lie in the bed you make’.  Those companies certainly must understand limitations of packaged offerings and price points.

I should point out however that SRM didn’t really want to ‘play’ in this historical exercise (despite numerous official and unofficial requests).  And while a few awesome non-SRM folks have tried to help me piece this together, I felt like the data was too unsure to include it.  Rather be safe than sorry.  So right now I’m only going with a single SRM 2015 data point and will collect data points going forward.  If I can get historical base-unit USD price list data that I absolutely trust (without the head unit or accessories), then I’ll add it in.  Otherwise, we’ll just mentally note it was more expensive than everyone else.

As you might guess, I wouldn’t say I have a flawless method, but I think it’s reasonably solid.  Going forward I have the baseline to track these more easily.  Oh – and one more thing, I actually tracked a 2015 year end data point, as well as new March 2016 data point. I figured that’d be interesting.

Power Meter Historical Pricing

ProductCategory/Region20112012201320142015(H1)2015(H2)2016 (YTD)Product Posts
4iiii Precision (Left)Left-only--- $349 $399 $399 $399 In-Depth Review
Favero bePROPedals----- $824 $824 In-Depth Review
Favero bePRO (Left)Left-only----- $549 $549 In-Depth Review
Garmin Vector S/2SLeft-only--- $899 $899 $699 $699 First Look
Garmin Vector/Vector2Pedal-- $1,699 $1,499 $1,499 $1,299 $1,299 In-Depth Review
Pioneer Power (Left)Left-only----- $799 $559 In-Depth Review
Pioneer PowerCrank arms- $3,100 $2,000 $1,299 $999 $999 $999 In-Depth Review
Polar/Look KEO PowerPedal- $2,200 $2,200 $1,999 $1,999 $1,500 $1,500 In-Depth Review
Polar/Look Power EssentialsLeft-only--- $1,159 $1,159 $1,159 $1,159 First Look
Power2MaxCrank spider $999 $999 $879 $729 $599 $629 $610 In-Depth Review
PowerPodNon-DFPM----- $299 $299 In-Depth Review
PowerTap C1Chain Ring----- $699 $699 In-Depth Review
PowerTap Hub seriesWheel Hub $899 $899 $789 $789 $789 $789 $599 In-Depth Review
PowerTap P1Pedal----- $1,199 $1,199 In-Depth Review
RPM2Insole----- $675 $675 Soon!
QuarqCrank spider $1,495 $1,495 $1,595 $1,200 $799 $799 $799 In-Depth Review
ROTOR LT/INpower (Left)Left-only--- $1,490 $779 $779 $779 First Look
ROTOR Power/INpower (Dual)Crank arms- $2,400 $2,400 $2,400 $1,559 $1,559 $1,664 First Look
SRMCrank spider---- $1,804 $1,804 $1,399 Product Posts
Stages PowerLeft-only- $699 $699 $699 $699 $529 $529 In-Depth Review
Verve InfocrankCrank arms--- $1,995 $1,995 $1,399 $1,399 In-Depth Review
WatTeam PowerBeatCrank arms------ $499 Product Posts

You’ll notice I included the PowerPod in there, which is a non-direct force power meter (DFPM).  It uses aerodynamics to determine your power output.  Yet, I didn’t include the $99 PowerCal.  In my testing, I don’t feel the PowerCal is in the same ‘accuracy category’ as the PowerPod, hence my line in the sand.  Definitely read both reviews though to understand the pros/cons of those products (PowerCal review here, PowerPod here)

Finally, for fun here’s some of the upcoming still-to-ship units from a pricing standpoint.  Yes, I know some of these are supposedly close, but until at least one production unit arrives in somebody’s hands (non-media, non-pro rider, non-beta user), then it doesn’t count.  And of course, some of these have been perpetually close for a long time.

Power Meter Futures 2015-2016

ProductCategory/Region201120122013201420152016Product Posts
Brim Brothers ZonePedal---- $999.00 $870.00 Product Posts
Brim Brothers Zone (Left only)Left-only----- $435.00 Product Posts
4iiii Precision (Dual)Crank arms---- $749.00 $749.00 Product Posts
Ashton Intruments (Left only)Left-only---- $500.00 $500.00 Product Posts
Xpedo Thrust EPedal----$1,100.00$1,100.00Product Posts
LOOK ANT+/BLE PedalsPedal----$1,499.00 $1,499.00 Product Posts
LIMITS Power (Left Only)Left-only---- $385.00 $385.00 Product Posts
Dyno Velo (Left Only)Left-only---- $399.00 $399.00 Product Posts

Ok, with the raw data out of the way, let’s get graphical!

A Whole Lotta Charts:

Like last year, I’m going to run through a whole bunch of charts, because charts are pretty.  I liked the charts I used last year, so I figure why change it?  First up is all units shipping today:

image

Here’s what’s supposed to come down the line from announced but not yet shipping parties.  Note that prices are subject to change (for example, 4iiii hasn’t released any updated pricing guidance).

image

Now let’s break them out into crank region ones first (anything involving the crank spider, but not including the pedals).  It’s perhaps a bit arbitrary, but eventually you have to draw the line somewhere.  Oh, and as usual, shipping ones only.  And yes, there’s some semi-duplicate colors.  Look, there’s only so many colors of Skittles, and we’ve run out of new ones.  This is not the 128 pack of Crayola here.

image

Then pedals based solutions (dual only):

image

Then looking at the various left only solutions.   The lowest here is still 4iiii’s at $399, you’ll notice it went up – that’s because they tweaked things last year when they shifted from self-install to send-yours-to-be-installed, so the calibration kit price was baked in (thus going from $349 to $399).

image

There’s only one wheel hub on the market, the PowerTap hub.  It continues to see price drops, and this past January was no exception.  It’s still an awesome workhorse, and probably the unit that much of the power meter industry counts on to compare against during road testing (since it’s outside of the crank region that many are developing products within that would mechanically conflict).

image

Oh, and I didn’t make a chart for the PowerPod non-DFPM, because it would just show a single dotted line as they haven’t changed their price any since shipping in November (at $299).

Going Forward For 2016:

IMG_9762

So what’s in store?  Here’s some bulleted thoughts for a number of the players.  Nothing too long, just sort of my quick one-liners about each one.

  • Overall: Don’t expect any major pricing shifts for most players below $800-$1,000.  Those prices are largely settled for right now.
  • SRM: With SRM dropping their prices last month, don’t expect anything new there till at least fall or beyond. And while still high/overpriced, they are at least in the ballpark now.  My bet is that they will watch sales with the new price, but that they’re still pondering the lower-priced option they chatted about two years ago.
  • PowerTap: They already reduced their PowerTap hubs this year, and their C1 (chainring) is selling well at current pricing.  Finally, their P1 is selling exceedingly well, with a 30-60 day backorder timeframe.  No likelihood to see that price change anytime soon.
  • Garmin: Vector continues to be overpriced (primarily compared to the P1’s, but also bePRO and WatTeam now too), and most poised for a price cut.  It remains to be seen if/when that happens, but I would think that in the $899-$999 range would be fair (since the P1’s are at $1,199 and dual-ANT+/BLE).  If they wanted to be pulling orders away from the P1’s they’d have to go to with $899 to make up for lack of BLE future-proofing and more difficult bike swap aspect.
  • bePRO: They have had very little pricing impact on the market because they can’t also keep up with demand (roughly 30 day delivery timeframe), nor do they have wide distribution.  As such, while technically solid, it’s not impacting market prices.
  • Stages & Power2Max: Both are pretty well positioned price-wise for the moment.  Both have higher brand recognition so they can charge more.  Eventually Stages will see the impact of 4iiii at $399 and likely have to reduce prices a little bit more.  But I don’t think that time is yet.
  • Stages Dual: It remains to be seen if Stages releases their much-discussed dual solution.  If so, they’ll be entering a crowded market.  But they’re positioned well from a branding and marketing standpoint.
  • Polar: There is definitely a big question here. While Look’s new ANT+/BLE unit (they used to be BFF’s with Polar) makes Polar’s solution un-purchasable, it’s realistically going to take Polar buying someone else’s tech and calling it a day.  There isn’t enough demand in the market for a BLE-only power meter (yet), so they’re kinda left with a lame-duck unit in the meantime.
  • Quarq: The company is in a so-so spot pricing wise.  They’re pulling in sales based primarily on their solid product reputation.  But they’re leaving money on the table to Power2Max/PowerTap C1 purchasers (and I’m betting it’s a lot of money given the PowerTap C1’s sales). I could see Quarq reducing their AL units by about $100 to be more competitive with Power2Max or PowerTap C1.
  • WatTeam PowerBeat: Assuming the units are accurate (just started shipping), I expect to see them have an impact on pricing of the market in the Fall 2016 timeframe.  But they’ll likely be busy catching up with demand until then (US and Europe this summer), as well as proving themselves as a company and the product as reliable.  Just like how it took a number of months between when 4iiii started shipping their Precision units, and when price reductions were required by Stages.

Phew!

As for a new buyers guide, we’ll see.  I think I’ve largely covered everything in my existing guide, so at this point it’s more around pricing changes and products finally making it to market.  For example, the PowerBeat units.  But otherwise everything else was released at the time of my buyers guide last fall (though my 4iiii Precision review came out afterwards).

With that – thanks for reading!

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59 Comments

  1. Artur

    Thanks! Awesome update for the start of the season. And updates re: 4iiii dual system release timing?

    Reply
    • Unfortunately nothing new there.

      Reply
    • Will

      I spoke to 4iii at the London Bike Show. The dual sided units were with Etixx for some testing, they expected to release pricing in the next 6-8 weeks for delivery mid summer; assuming no problems come up during UAT.

      Reply
    • Artur

      Thanks guys!

      Reply
  2. G

    Any update on dynovelo ?

    Reply
  3. Ismo

    Great summary. One interesting product I have been waiting for is the Stages for Campagnolo: any inside info on that? I fear it will be much more expensive than the current models.

    Reply
    • Chris

      sadly, I got this response from Stages re: Campy

      Reply
  4. fisao

    /fanboy in

    Great work as usual, highly detailed and precise information in one easy-to-read article with all the links !

    It is work like yours that have made it possible for the average consumer/buyer like me to be more knowledgeable and make better decisions when it comes to choosing the best suited products.

    Thank you very much Ray !

    /fanboy out

    Reply
    • Michael H.

      +1 it’s ok to be a fanboy once and a while

      Reply
  5. fd14

    Hello,

    Don’t forget Shimano with its Dura-ace powermeter on test in pro team. As Dura-ace device price will be probably important but it could hve impact on SRM policy if accuracy is OK.

    Reply
    • I haven’t seen anything yet that indicates any estimated pricing or availability – so somewhat hard to include it now since it’s mostly in rumor/leak state.

      Reply
    • D

      Apparently new DA is only embargoed until end of this month. I would guess availability would start end of year.

      Reply
  6. Gpe

    When will Powertap release a shimano 4arm compatible C1? Seems a no-brained and odd they haven’t done so already?

    Reply
  7. Matt Evans

    Isn’t Ashton a left-only meter ?

    Reply
    • Yup, tweaked the label in the table. Thanks!

      Reply
    • BK

      Ashton’s site doesn’t really give much information as to what there progress is, have you heard any news on a release date. Is it more likely in 2017 or 2018?

      Reply
  8. thebucket

    Still no word on release/pricing of the new (non-polar) ANT+ keo power?

    At paris-nizza riders were still using prototype systems.

    link to bikerumor.com

    Reply
    • The pricing in the post (listed in ‘Futures’ under Look) is actually the latest USD pricing info that I have (from a few weeks ago). No update on availability yet though. I e-mailed them yesterday to see what’s up.

      Reply
    • Stipek

      Hi Ray,
      did you get any reply yet? I plan to upgrade from the Look/Polar pedals to the new Look pedals…

      Reply
  9. Any opinion on Tempo? link to kickstarter.com

    They look to be ahead of Limits for sure :).

    Reply
    • I’ve kept an eye on it. I think they’re kinda at the ‘we have a cool product idea’ concept, but not at the ‘we have a product ready for Kickstarter or consumers’ stage. I would have recommended them spend a bit more time polishing aspects of the product and messaging before launching to Kickstarter (which is likely we you see them struggling on KS).

      And, failing all that – I would have recommended finding a friend who was good in photography to take their campaign pics. Consumers judge a book by its cover, and in this case the lack of a polished look I think is really hurting them. :(

      Reply
  10. Kieran

    I am going on a holiday to New York soon and would like to pick up a stages power meter. Can anyone advise of a bike shop in NYC where I could pick up a Stages at a good price or would I need to order online and try and get it delivered to my hotel?

    Reply
  11. Andy

    Hi Ray, thanks for the wrap-up! I was pretty much decided on PowerTap Hub, but then I noticed there are several of them: G3, G3C and GS. While you have explained GS, I still can’t find any info on what this G3C is. Any idea?

    Reply
    • The G3C is simply with the ceramic bearings. :)

      (Shh…don’t fall for it – it’s a trap!)

      Reply
  12. Are there any interesting tendencies in European pricing, like for Tacx and Elite trainers that are better priced here than Wahoo? Favero and Power2Max being Europe based should make impact on that.

    Reply
    • Not generally, no (better in Europe than US). Usually it’s the opposite oddly enough. With Favero for example, they actually don’t have US-specific pricing – instead, they do it by currency conversions, so it’s a wash. Retailers like Clever Training and others basically order in bulk at a given price (conversion rate), and then typically validate the rate hasn’t changed too much every few months. Right now the EUR/USD has been pretty stable the last few months – so no changes required.

      Reply
  13. Andrew

    On Watteam’s website under technology (link to watteam.com) it now says,

    “SUPPORTS ALL CRANK TYPES

    POWERBEAT is compatible with all crank types – whatever year or brand, whether aluminum or carbon.”

    Would this truly mean all aluminum cranks? Or just hollow aluminum cranks? FSA gossamer pro here.

    Reply
    • Jeremy B

      Probably a premature marketing error. Neither their twitter or facebook page mentions carbon or aluminum compatibility.
      A rep on their facebook page said solid aluminum cranks aren’t supported – as of 8 hours ago.

      Reply
  14. Brett

    Ray, any word/view on the Rotor 2IN they are mean to be bringing out next month?

    Reply
  15. Justin Jones

    Speaking to the Watteam Powerbeat’s accuracy…have been riding mine for a couple of weeks now and have noticed that it seems to be underreporting power considerably. I don’t have anything to compare it to, and this is my first power meter, but consider this:

    I weigh 260 and therefore am as aerodynamic as a mack truck. When riding into a headwind, on a flat road, ~85 rpm, 18-21 mph would one expect my power to be 30, 40, 5 watts? That is what I am seeing and sometimes the reading is zero. I have to actually get onto a climb to get any appreciable power reading.

    This is seen via both ant+ and Bluetooth Smart. I have calibrated on 3 occasions and zero every time. Waiting to hear back from Watteam.

    Reply
    • Definitely hit up WatTeam’s support, but my bet is something is amiss in either the calibration or zero’ing of it.

      They actually get all of the information instantly as you go through the app, and are able to tell you which specific calibration sequence/item doesn’t look right.

      In my case they showed me something that was off on my first attempt that resulted in a similar pattern to yours. Once they were able to explain the proper way to reset (via the install menu, not calibration), then I was good to go.

      Reply
    • Justin Jones

      Just spoke to Watteam support. Turns out that I did exactly what you did Ray when calibrating…I did not zero out first. He also said with Speedplay pedals I should take the hook off of the water bags and carefully hang the bag strap across the “lollipop” so that the calibration occurs as close to the point where the force is applied (vs inboard on the spindle).

      Also of note, it is very cool that they can see the data and results of my calibrations. The person I talked to did mention that an app update is due out next week. Don’t know the details but I inferred that will add the zero out step into the beginning of the calibration routine.

      I look forward to trying the fix out this evening.

      Reply
    • Interesting on the Speedplay.

      Yeah, I suspect that they’ll be learning quickly all of the ‘unique’ ways people like you and I interpret their instructions. The good news is that they seem very open to that feedback, so that’s definitely good.

      And most importantly is that it’s not so much a case of hosing up the physical install, as it is just getting the steps for calibration/zero correct. So an easy fix. I’ve decided I’m not emptying out those water bags till I return the unit! :)

      Reply
    • Justin Jones

      I am going to follow you in not emptying those damn bags. Have done it 3x so far and it sure seems to take forever. After posting picts (note the grippy material to keep the strap from slipping) to twitter to Watteam of my calibration Speedplay tweak they said this morning that one side was not showing as being plugged in. Checked and both sides are indeed plugged in. So depending on how my ride goes today I will have to calibrate all over tonight. Problem is I have already emptied the damn bags!

      Reply
    • Practice makes perfect. 😉

      I think having a trainer here is useful for a quick validation check. The good news is that from what I’ve seen, failure is pretty binary. Meaning – either the values are totally wrong, or they are right. I haven’t see it be ‘mostly right’, if that makes sense.

      Reply
  16. Rick

    Ray, I see a $529 price base for Stages and read that prices quoted are for lowest MSRP. Stages website still says $699 so I was wondering where you saw the $529 price? And thanks for the great update.

    Reply
  17. panos

    Where is RPM2 ?

    Reply
    • Good call, just added them in. I knew there was someone missing. Hoping the unit shows up shortly.

      Reply
    • panos

      RPM2 has two types of insoles:

      – rpm2 @ 629 (specifically geared for traditional runners and team sport athletes)
      – rpm2 triathlete @ 675 (Specifically geared for triathletes and team sport athletes)

      Reply
    • Lee

      Looking forward to a test of the RPM2. Never heard of them before but would save a ton of time if all you have to do is swap insoles between bikes. Mtb, road, cx.

      Reply
  18. Ronaldo Spinola

    Ray, how about your thoughts for Pioneer?

    Reply
    • They make a solid unit, and I think their Feb price corrections put it in a pretty good spot. As I talk about in my review, I wouldn’t buy their head unit, but have no qualms with their power meter.

      Reply
  19. Kemi

    Have noted that Quarq XX1 (all different version have been back-tracked a while, plan to be back 18/3) Any rumors regarding a new version?

    Reply
  20. Don

    Ray,

    RPM2’s website lists them as $629, not $675. Are they going to raise the price?

    Reply
    • The $629 is for the runner version, the $675 is for the the cycling & running version.

      Reply
  21. Mattew

    Awesome Information… Quick question about power meters and my current bike.

    I have a 2011 Madone 4.5 with the crank being a Shimano R600… Am I correct that this set-up is severely limiting my options of the cheaper crank arm power meters? If you were were in my situation do you just look at the hub/pedal based meters or consider swapping components? Thank You.

    Reply
  22. Victor

    Thanks for info Ray, well timed! A Euro version would be most welcome, it looks like your community’s second market and we kindly saved from living under Trump’s reign :-)

    Reply
  23. peroni

    As of today Favero Bepro powermeter is in stock via their own shop and reservation should not be required any longer.
    Looks like they finally caught up with producing enough units. Which might also mean some price reduction in the longer term

    I own the single version and was positively impressed by the build quality and ease of use. Calibration seemed a big hurdle for some but I cannot see how it could be easier than this.

    Reply
  24. Mark

    How much cheaper would a vector2 need to be to make it a better purchase than P1s?

    If a power meter is only going to be used on one bike would one be recommended over the other assuming similar price?

    Reply
    • I don’t see it as ever being ‘better’ than the P1’s in terms of an overall product. But of course, at a given point, then it becomes a ‘better deal’, or as you said – a better ‘purchase’ (or at least at a price I’d heavily consider). I think that’s roughly in the $899 arena.

      Reply
  25. Martin

    Ray, what happened to the shoe-based power meter shown by Luck in 2014? You used to show this as a future product, but it is now no longer in your tables. Have they quit the concept or work in progress?

    Reply
  26. TofC

    What’s the verdict on the Team Zwatt product? It might be one I can actually afford, be it over months not straight up

    Reply