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Eurobike Power Meter Tidbits: SRM, Limits, 4iiii, Verve, Pioneer, Look

As usual at Eurobike there are plenty of cases where companies may make itty-bitty product line changes, or simply no announcements at all.  So in an effort to round-up the ‘sorta but not really’ announcements category, I give you this power-meter focused pile of Eurobike goodness.

Most of these will be quick!

SRM Power Meters:

IMG_7411

SRM was at the show as usual, but most of their efforts were focused on showing off their SRM PC8, which started shipping this past spring and is now pretty easily found.  This is the latest head unit from the company that had been promised for a few years, so the mood in the booth was definitely more of a sigh of relief that it’s out and available, than other new major announcements.

You’ll remember I tried the PC8 out briefly during a test ride this past spring just around the time it was set to start shipping.  While the display has nice sharp contrast, it’s just really hard to justify the price compared to other dedicated bike computer options on the market which offer more features and better functionality (and just as much stability).  You’ll see it get Bluetooth Smart enablement over the next month.

They have been busy prepping releases of the new SRMX Training software for their desktop sides (both Mac and Windows), which are now available in beta editions here.  Along with the PC8 DA, for configuring device fields. This is also inline with updated versions of their iOS app for both the SRM PC8 and their indoor trainer system.

On the crank side, they’ve added the 1X mountain bike power meter:

IMG_7414

As for their long talked about re-chargeable SRM power meter, that’s been pushed out quite a bit.  Definitely not this year, and the folks in the booth said it sounds like it’s unlikely to see the light of day next year either.  No word either on other lower-cost SRM units that had been rumored on and off in the past, to compete with the rest of the industry.

Pioneer Power Meters:

IMG_7370

Like SRM, Pioneer just finished doing most of their major new product announcements this past spring.  In Pioneer’s case it was both a drop down to $999USD for their dual left/right power meters, as well as introduction of new left-only power meters.  Finally, they also released a pretty good firmware update this past June for both their cranks and head units.

IMG_7373

Meanwhile, at the show they did have on hand a new mountain bike variant of the Pioneer power meter system.   This would be focused on XT and XTR compatibility, and be single-leg only (à la Stages).  The pricing isn’t yet finalized but was noted that it’d basically be in the same ballpark as their existing road bike single-leg power meters (so roughly €800).

IMG_7376

IMG_7375

Availability for these new mountain bike focused units is expected by the end of the year.

Verve Infocrank:

IMG_7396

Next up we’ve got some minor updates from Verve on their Infocrank series.  First is that they’ve expanded their offerings over the last few months, in terms of models they have available, such as the compact crank options.

IMG_7401 IMG_7400

Next, they’ve also shrunk the pod sizes on new models going forward, thus increasing clearance on various bike frames that might be a bit tight.  It’s pretty flush now.  You can see how the new pod size looks less pregnant than the old pod size:

IMG_7397

Finally, they’re also working on some software to better visualize the left-right metrics that their cranks produce today.  The metrics seem fairly similar to what you get with Garmin Cycling Dynamics and ROTOR’s desktop software suite.

In addition though, this will cover high-speed data processing as well, enabling a few more situations there for folks looking to track things like track starts or very short duration bursts of power.

IMG_7404

There isn’t a specific date yet for the software, but it looks close and will be available to all Infocrank consumers (old and new).

Limits Power:

IMG_7406

Next we’ve got the Limits power meters.  Or rather, haven’t got Limits.  So, kinda Limitless.  They were hanging out in the Scotland booth, but when I stopped by on Friday morning, they weren’t there and had left the show already (and also didn’t seem to be there Wednesday late afternoon either when I initially swung by).

According to other Scotland booth folks, they were there on Thursday, but I was packing then.  Perhaps they’ll make it to Interbike and have something on-hand to show for it.  Certainly looking forward to seeing something tangible.

I can’t stress enough how disappointed I am at the lack of tangible detail from the company, and the lack of response to repeated requests I’ve made to them to provide something real in terms of their crowd-funded updates (i.e. data).

Look Power Pedals go ANT+:

I’m working on getting some clarity from the right parties on this one (since only Look was at Eurobike, and not Polar).  So hang tight while I ferret out all the details.  At a high level though Look semi-announced that they’ll be delivering a dual ANT+/BLE version of their power pedals that have to date been branded as Polar/Look power pedals.

I’m working to get clarifications on how precisely that all works going forward (i.e. swapping existing pods, who’s selling what, whether Polar might also be expanding out dual offerings, etc…).  So hang tight just a little bit while all the appropriate folks get the usual detail you’d come to expect here.

But either way – having companies go dual is definitely awesome!  Though, the pricing is still a bit high here with them apparently remaining at €899/€1,499 and delivery not until early next year, as reported by Bike Radar’s Ben Delaney.

4iiii Precision Power:

IMG_8220

Finally, we’ve got a super-quick update from 4iiii.  In discussions with them during the week they believe they’ve nailed down and fixed the issue that I saw this past spring that prevented me from completing a review on the unit (I had updated my various posts noting as such back then).  They had said unit on-hand at Eurobike, but they’re going to ship me over a slightly different one this week to match the crank-length of other power meters I’m currently testing (otherwise that’d result in wonky test results).

I expect I’ll have more clarity on the results of that by, or just after the Interbike time frame, depending on shipping/work travel schedules/ride availability/etc…

With that, thanks for reading!  If you’re looking to burn a bit of time, here’s all my Eurobike 2015 posts!

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43 Comments

  1. Geoff Nenninger

    Is the SRM iOS software available already somewhere? You mention an ‘updated’ version, but I can’t seem to figure out where it already exists to be updated.

  2. Brent Kendall

    Did 4iiii decide to give up on the Viva Mini? Nothing more on there site and never saw any more details?

  3. Laurens Bloem

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for all the Eurobike news.
    Do you have any idea how 4iiii are going with the whole glue / DIY saga? Should I hold my breath for dual precision that I can put on my bike myself as their original plan was?

  4. Don

    Ray,

    Are SRM’s sales so high that they can sustain the business with no new products and such high prices? Other than pro teams, is there really a market for the SRM? And I believe even the pro teams are starting to move to other power meters.

    • I’m not entirely sure how they’ll be able to sustain it. Like you said, many pro teams are moving to other products (mostly due to sponsorships, but some cost).

    • Bogdan

      Ray, do you have details on who’s moving away from SRM? SRM had more WorldTour teams using its meters this year than in 2014 for example. See here: link to cyclingnews.com

      Similar things were said about their demise two years ago, and that proved surely incorrect. It’s hard to believe SRM is clueless and doesn’t have a business plan going forward. We are not privy to it,but it’s hard to see them fade away. And outside of the WorldTour, they have a lot more users. How many teams are using Stages or Quarq for example? Why not more if cheaper? I think SRM knows that they have so many years of proven experience that they can rely on while slowly making changes as they see need fit. By the time say pedal systems get better, 1-2 years, I’m sure SRM will have an answer. Why are pro teams not using PowerTap? That one is more interesting. I guess we’ll wait and see.

    • SRM is being outsold in every measure possible and their adoption rate certainly can’t be increasing. Look at Kona count numbers, look at bike shop numbers, look at even just discussions on power meters out on the internet.

      As for World Tour, I was talking in general, accounting for those teams that have moved away. As for why other teams are or aren’t using power meters, it really comes down to who is willing to pay for what. Stages decided to sponsor Team Sky. Power2Max another, and SRAM/Quarq another. Meanwhile, SRM has put in vast amounts of money to sponsor 6 teams. No doubt, it’s core to upholding their reputation. For the four other teams with individual riders, those are almost always cases where individual rider sponsorships are being leveraged.

      Other companies know it’s not worth it to them to sponsor more than one team. For examples, there’s no reason for Stages to sponsor other teams beyond Team Sky – they won at marketing there.

      As for PowerTap, they’ve said pretty clearly in the past they don’t see World Tour team sponsorship as worthwhile to them, so they haven’t invested in it. I don’t think it’s valuable either for well established brands, whereas it’s more valuable to some consumers to see a Power2Max or Stages in there.

      As for their business plan – no, I don’t think they all agree on it. From talking with multiple SRM employees each year, there’s clearly a division within the company – with it fully being focused on Uli Schoberer’s (founder/CEO) vision for being there at the Pro level. I (and others that work there I might add) think that’s a long term mistake. Perhaps I’ll be wrong, but I think if we fast forward 5 years from now, unless they’ve changed their plan, I can’t foresee them being relevant anymore.

    • Bogdan

      You may be right or wrong, time will tell. My point was that SRM has some time to change if needed, and they know that. I for one am glad they are not competing in a race to the bottom like everyone else. Quality suffers when everyone wants a power meter for as few dollars as possible. So yeah Stages is selling like hot cakes, yet it’s inferior in so many ways, and not just because it’s left only by design. I’ve given up on mine after issues and too many back and forths. Support is great, but it’s better to not need it….Haven’t decided which way to go next, but looks like spider based. I for one would pay more for a quality product proven out in the field for a very long time, than 1/2 that for something proven more in reviews that might be replaced in one year or less and/or returned with issues. There’s something to be said for a company that sticks to its vision and invests in sponsorship more than marketing and pure profits. Again, you may very well be right, but SRM is tempting for reasons stated. P1 is tempting as well for a pedal system, but I don’t want to beta test and be an early adopter. They do look good though. I guess we’ll know more in a year.

    • Bogdan

      Wanted to add, I don’t know what would happen if SRM would get in the price dropping game. Something would suffer if they came out at 1/2 price. And I don’t think it would be just their profit margins that would suffer. So that’s why I said above I’m glad they are not in the race to the bottom game. They don’t need to. Slow and easy. And stick to the vision. There are people out there that appreciate that. PowerTap I would say is similar in some ways in my limited view. And that’s a good thing.

    • In talking with employees in the past, they’ve noted that if they were to introduce a cheaper product, it wouldn’t be made in Germany – but rather likely in Asia. I’m not really sure that matters too much to be honest, it really comes down to how a company implements quality control. There are plenty of examples of excellent hardware products made in China (i.e. Apple iPhone).

      Further, I’m not really seeing any race to the bottom. A $600-$700 Quarq or Power2Max power meter is just as accuracy as an SRM power meter, despite what some might want to believe. All units can have an imperfect day, even an SRM.

    • SurlyWill

      One could say the same thing about Garmin Edge units 6 years ago. But prices come down and as they do you see more adoption. There doesn’t seem to be anything inherent about these products where the price could not be reduced with larger volume.

      I’m waiting till I have left/right power at about $300 before I jump in.

    • Brian Meyer

      I can’t predict the future, but if the past is any indicator. You’ll be waiting for at least 5 more years.

    • My bet: Roughly 18 months*.

      *Based on past history.

  5. Richard Rae

    it kind of sounds like 4iiii have a hardware issue, if that is the case, will they be replacing those already sent out to the buyers?

    I don’t actually know what the problem was with 4iiii, I have heard horror stories, but I seem to have got lucky, as mine pretty much just works, it has forgotten it’s factory settings twice, otherwise no problems.

    • Marc-Andre Savage

      I probably received one of the first Precision units to roll out of 4iiii HQ back in early April. I’ve been very satisfied with the unit with the exception of the battery life which, despite the latest firmware, doesn’t seem to lasts more than 30 hours.

      Ray, can you comment on the nature of the problem you were experiencing with Precision? Has this issue has been addressed with a firmware or hardware revision? By your comments above, it worries me that an early batch of pods have a hardware defect.

    • My problem was fairly inaccurate wattages (i.e. 10-20%), well beyond what it should have been despite being left-only. It doesn’t seem to impact all, but just some people – somehow to due to my specific pedaling style and where I place weight on the pedals. I don’t know what that means precisely.

      They’re saying the changes were both software and hardware. Not all hardware changes were for the fix, some were just general optimizations made like other companies would after doing things a certain number of times. Same goes for software.

    • Marc-Andre Savage

      Thanks for the clarification. My unit seems to be very consistent and I supposed that’s more important than outright accuracy. I’ll have to get the bike on a Wahoo Kickr to see how the power files compare.

    • Carl

      Did 4iiii give you any indication how a consumer is supposed to be able to tell if they’re having the problems you are, and what they would do to solve them?

    • No, that’d essentially take multiple power meters unfortunately.

  6. Neil

    Thanks for the Limits update Ray, disappointing as it is. I can’t help feeling that if they’d had positive (or even neutral) updates to give, they’d have hung around a bit longer to make sure they had every opportunity to spread the word. Maybe I’m just being cynical, but I don’t think their fleeting presence bodes well. I’ve got money tied up in Limits (yeah, I learned a lesson from that) so this isn’t what I was hoping for.

    • Neil

      To add to my own comment, I see that Limits have just posted an update on their Indiegogo page saying they’ve just bought a shedload of competitors’ power meters to do comparison testing. I’d kind of thought they’d have done this immediately they’d got a working prototype, but it would seem not. I guess the results of these comparisons is now going to play a major part in how quick (or even whether) Limits get something to market.

    • Even more ironic given their update they just published a few minutes ago showing new power meters in a box, notably Vector2, Stages, and SRM (that they plan to compare against) I note this because:

      Vector2 won’t actually work with their system, the Vector pod design simply won’t fit around their pods.
      Stages: I’d never use Stages as a left-only solution to do comparative testing on.
      SRM: Good, an option that makes sense.

      The correct line-up for them (that takes into account their compatibility items) would have been:

      Pedals: PowerTap P1
      Crank: Really anything – SRM, Quarq, Power2Max, Pioneer, etc…
      Hub: PowerTap G3

    • Doug

      Shipping in December according to their Indegogo site. I wish them well

    • Guy

      On their Facebook page this morning in the comments for this picture they were asked:

      “What date is your aim for full retail release of your product?”

      In response they have posted: “Full public release is scheduled for Jan 2016.”

      Hmmmm.

      I have to agree with your comments Neil, Ray and Doug and also say how disappointed I am with this company.

      Specifically the thing that really irritates me about Limits is that there is no honest and clear communication of how they are progressing. They are obviously behind schedule, which we all predicted, but there is no transparency about what the revised timeline for launch will now be or the challenges they are facing and how they are overcoming them.

      If they were more forthcoming and collaborative – for example by working with you Ray, they could avoid many pitfalls and costs and significantly speed up the development of this product.

      The overarching impression I get from Limits is that they are not cyclists and do not understand the technology and use. This is further evidenced not only by the odd selection of Powermeters in that update but also by them buying a Garmin 1000 and 810 (also pictured). Surely they should be testing with these head units already if they are still on track?

    • The latest update pissed me off. I stayed away when they refused to clarify whether the cycling team featured so prominently on their videos was actually using their power meter even in a rough alpha form. Snake oil.

      As for the update – they’re only just now buying competitive power meters to look at? And this is something they’re proud of? FFS people…

    • Give power meters to the masses

      I see many allegations on the posts above that may not do them justice. Has any company kept you 100% informed on a new product development in the past? There is also business secrecy on providing technical details. (if the case here I don’t know).

      Are you an early investor in the fundraiser? As an investor then you must know that there is a risk of the development not even completing and lose your money?

      I am buffled from all this “expectations” not being met for you guys, yeah marketing lied to you about the roadmap..did you believe it instantly? Tough cookie.

      When it comes out, if it comes out we will really judge it. Until then use the power meters that are in the market.

    • Hmm, you missed the part where Indiegogo funding means you put money down on the product based on specified claims(which is what many of the folks here, including myself, have done). There’s numerous cases of false or deceptive advertising even in their initial campaign video, which weren’t clear until my conversation some time later with them when you start putting the puzzle pieces together.

      While I’m not a lawyer, I’m pretty sure if one approached me about their campaign promises and the actual reality of what they had at the time, I think a very strong case could be made about about legal action. Not the least of which talks to government funding that they received as part of a grant. The criteria for which I don’t know, so unsure there on what they promised they had already done.

      There’s likely a reason why they aren’t on Kickstarter – they would have actually had to shown real working prototypes. Something that simply didn’t exist (and I don’t think actually even exist yet).

  7. Adam borah

    Ray- any word on the Brimm Brothers unit. Seems like in some stage of production for ever. I like no limitations on wheels, cranks, or pedals. No change in q-factor. Ease of changing between bikes. Why aren’t other companies pursuing a shoe based unit?

    • Yes, I did talk to them a bit. The short version is that they’re still working to solve their issues that arose last year just before they started shipping. They’re making good progress, but they’re hesitant to announce any sort of timeline until they’re 100% sure they’ve got it figured out (save having to continually promise people dates that they can’t meet).

      They’re obviously just as frustrated as anyone else, especially in seeing the market explode so much and not being in it yet.

    • Don

      Ray, did you speak to them at all about how the extreme shift in pricing in the market will affect them and their plans compared to when they first thought they’d start shipping?

      When they first announced, their $900+ pricing was a great deal, but now, it’s looking less and less so. And given the costs they’ve likely incurred from the delays, I’d imagine their profit margins must be getting thinner.

    • Yup, we discussed that. They’re aware of the pricing shifts and they’re aware that they’ll need to likely adjust accordingly to the market pricing once the start shipping.

  8. Steven

    Im more surprised you lot actually thought they could produce a power meter for a couple of quid, the size of a coin that simply screws into the pedal hole.

    Come on, this was always a non-starter.

    Whats their next idea? A pin-head sized power meter that you stick to your big toe and registers the force you’re putting through the sole? do me a favour…

    • Not really, there’s nothing technically un-achievable in what they’re doing. Several I’ve talked to around the industry making power meters today agree. Tricky, perhaps, but not impossible by any stretch. Pricing isn’t really an issue either, the component costs are trivial here in comparison to pricing. The pricing levels are the direction the market is heading.

      What’s un-achievable is their planned timelines and previous experience in power meters.

  9. Dave S

    Polar is planning power meter in price range 100€. That would be every mans price…

  10. Laurens Bloem

    Dave S, do you have a source for this that you are willing to share?

  11. Oh I would like to see the price of vectors come down… And how about better availability of the upgrade kits. I think if the vectors were less I would have one set on my road bike and another on my Tri bike…. Moving them is a pita…not hard but a pain :-)

  12. Alfredo

    Hello Ray. Question about the Look/Polar power pedals. I have and old version (Polar proprietary solution). When they where preparing to come out with the Bluetooth pods they indicated that it will be backwards compatible with the pedals. Is that true?? If so, where can I find just the new pods for my pedals?? I looked for them everywhere and wrote several times to both Look and Polar with no answers…

    Thanks in advanced for your help.

    • Yes, they do have some sort of swap out/upgrade system available. But I’m honestly not super-sure on how to do that. I’d try your LBS first as in theory there’s some kit for that, but if not, I can poke them about it and get clarity on how it works today (pre ANT+/dual pods).

      Though personally, if able I’d probably just wait three months to get the dual ones. Of course, if you want to cutover now to a new BLE unit, it’s a wash either way.

    • Peter

      To update WIND version to Bluetooth, both pods and pedals need to be send to Polar (I think Polar then sends the pedals to Look for update). Cost is 150 EUR for new pods+pedal firmware update or 250 EUR for new pods and complete overhaul of pedals (new pedals except for axle). Polar customer service should be able to help you how to proceed.

      Upcoming ANT+/BT pods are not made by Polar. I’m not sure who has manufactured them. But Polar will not do the update to ANT+.

  13. Alfredo

    Thank you Ray. I leave in the Dominican Republic and there is no LBS that works with Look/Polar set up here. So if you could please poke them. Will be very helpful… Thanks again.

  14. Trav G

    Would be interested to know if the reported firmware update to the Pioneer PM & Head unit addresses the issues you encountered in your Pioneer review Ray.
    What concerns me most with the it is the slow-responsiveness with the head unit you reported… a major stumbling block for me in purchasing a Pioneer.
    If it’s slower to operate than a Garmin 510 I won’t bother.

    • I don’t know on the head unit piece, but to be honest, I just can’t see any firmware update addressing my core issues with the head unit: It’s horribly dated in UI and functionality.

      Note that my concerns do not extend to the power meter itself, I’ve got no issues there. And my slow responsiveness wasn’t to do with power figures displaying, but rather how the unit responds to commands/etc…