Power meters tend to be products that I test for the longest duration prior to posting a review. This is often due to wanting to validate products across a wide range of weather and environmental conditions: Heat, humidity, cold, cobbles, indoors, outdoors, etc… However, my test of the Verve Infocrank might just take the cake for the longest. I’ve been using it on and off for roughly the past year, across huge range of conditions. I’ve brought the unit on my bike travelling with me to New Zealand, as well as the Alps of France, Switzerland, and Austria. Plus all of the rambling around my local hood for the last year in all four seasons.
At this point, I know more about the Infocrank than I ever ventured to know. I can tell you wonky things like which little stores in the Swiss alps sell the right batteries on a Saturday evening…as well as the many that don’t. I can also tell you how each of the different Garmin units reacts to the Infocrank, which turns out to be slightly different for different models. And of course – I can tell you boatloads about accuracy of the Infocrank.
So with that, let’s get cooking. Note that Verve sent a usual media loaner Infocrank for me to test. I’ll be handing that back to them when they swing through town in a few weeks. Otherwise, all other products seen are mine that I’ve bought.
Now I’ve technically done two different unboxings of the Verve Infocrank. When I first started this whole review process they were using one set of boxes. However, given some time has gone by, they’re now using a different set of boxes. So in the interest of keeping things all current, they sent over another unit to be unboxed.
(Funny semi-unrelated story: Unboxing photos are usually among the least loved things I do. This evening, for a totally different product, The Girl mistakenly said she was bored. So I talked her into doing her first unboxing photo shoot of a new swim product. Turns out, it had one of those horrible plastic clamshell designs that’s both super-reflective, and a serious pain in the butt to open, let alone do so in a pretty non-bloody manner. Following that experience, she’s sworn off future unboxings for me.)
In any case, I’m going to walk through the new box shots, but also include a brief gallery of the old box shots. The reason I’m doing that is that they’re two slightly different bundles. The new one is just the crank arms, whereas the old one was with the chain rings and all sorts of other jazz. Let’s get started though:
The box is roughly like an oversized shoe box, except that it’s heavier and built to be tossed off a tall building.
That structural integrity is apparent once you crack it open:
After we de-layer it, we’ll find the following. It’s sorta like looking at core samples:
Basically, we’ve got four things:
A) The drive-side crank arm/spider
B) The non-drive-side crank arm
C) Four batteries
D) A pile of manuals/paper
Here they all are:
Now you’ll notice that in this case it did not include chain rings. Again, that totally depends on which unit/bundle you’ve purchased.
Here’s a closer look at the unboxed crank arms from all sorts of directions in a mini-gallery:
You will also likely have magnets in your box, which you’ll see in the below unboxing of my first box.
Next, as promised, here’s a gallery of the initial box, which includes chain rings and other goodness. It’s older of course, and not as stylish as the new box. Notably, the new box is designed in an incredibly ‘tight’ configuration. Meaning, everything is super-snug and doesn’t flop around. Whereas the old box sorta unfolded itself like a water balloon being punctured – stuff went everywhere.
With that, let’s get this puppy installed.
Now when it comes to installation, it’s actually a bit of a funny story. And by funny, I mean complex. Like most crank/spider based power meters you have to be somewhat aware of any compatibility issues with your bike (frame). In my case, I decided to install it on my Cervelo P3C as my first choice of steeds.
So I went quite a ways down that installation routine, as I usually do, without really thinking it through. As you can see below in my mini-gallery, I got all the way to the part of spinning the crank arms after tightening it, before I found an itty-bitty problem: It would hit my frame.
So, I circled back and consulted with the Verve folks, and we took a quick inventory of my bikes. My newest road bike that I purchased last fall would indeed fit the bill, provided they included a beta bottom bracket from Praxis (now long since available on the market). So we did that instead.
Assuming you’re somewhat handy with bike tools and brackets, this overall process isn’t too tough and in-line with other crank based power meters. Also note that the exact steps will vary depending on what package you bought. For example, in my latest unboxing photos you’ll notice it didn’t include chain rings, whereas the initial gallery did. So obviously you’ll have to install chain rings first regardless of the source (super-easy).
In any case, first up is to get rid of your existing crank, and if applicable – existing bottom bracket. So that’ll roughly leave here:
In my case, I first had to install a new bottom bracket, because I was swapping things out there:
Then, it’s actually just a case of sliding through the drive-side crank set into the bottom bracket and through to the other side, where you’ll attach the non-drive side:
I don’t have a ton of photos here, because I took a ton of photos of the first attempt on my initial bike (that wasn’t compatible), but didn’t think to re-take them on the second bike.
Now at the very end you’ve got installation of magnets (seen above). This is the part that takes you back to kindergarten arts and crafts day. You have to essentially trim the magnets using scissors to fit your frame area, and then you’ll install the magnets using the sticky stuff that’s on the magnet backing.
All while ensuring you don’t get the magnet to attract to the power meter itself in the process.
Alternatively, you can use the ring based magnets, but they had a horrible bolt design that made it easy to strip/break. Thankfully both have since been redesigned to be a bit better.
But even better than all of that is that coming early next year, they’ll release a firmware update which does away with needing magnets at all. You can still certainly use the magnets if you want, or if you plan to go into cadence ranges where it might be important (i.e. above 180-210RPM). But otherwise, they’re saying accuracy is just as good without them. You’ll remember that almost all other companies have gone the same direction as well (most using an accelerometer, though Infocrank is actually using just the strain gauges – more on that later), and we just haven’t seen issues on most of these products in the last few years.
In any case, with that all setup, we’re ready to roll. Note that in my case I did find the magnets fiddly, and they fell off more than once (and then mated with the power meters due to magnet prowess). The solution I employed there was good ole super glue to my frame. Serious.
So obviously, I’m happy to hear they’re going magnetless soon.
General Use Overview:
Now that you’ve got it all installed, it’s time to use it. I promise you, it’ll be easier/cleaner than the install was. The unit will automatically wake up when you turn the cranks, assuming the magnets are still where you left them. Like other magnet-requiring power meters, if the magnets do become dislodged, that’s usually the primary cause of the crank not waking up – since it doesn’t trigger the unit rotating (just as a troubleshooting tip).
Once you rotate the crank arms, it wakes up both sides of the power meter. While the power meter appears to you as a single unit, it’s actually two physically separate power meters, each measuring its own side. They communicate wirelessly via a private ANT channel between each other, but then broadcast as a single unit to your head unit.
When it comes to compatibility, the Infocrank is compatible with all head units that support the ANT+ power meter device profile. It does NOT transmit Bluetooth Smart however, so it would not be compatible with non-ANT+ devices.
Examples of ANT+ power meter head units would be: O-Synce Navi2Coach, Garmin Edge series, Suunto Ambit2/2S, and PowerTap head units. Additionally, devices like the Recon Jet and apps like TrainerRoad or Zwift, that support power meters can be used with it.
As with all ANT+ power meters sold these days, the Verve Infocrank has a single ANT+ ID. – typically a 5-6 digit number that identifies it to your head unit. This is no different than heart rate straps or cadence sensors. Now interestingly (totally random but kinda fun), the ANT+ ID on the Infocrank is the same as the serial number of the product. This ID number is printed just to the side of each of the two little bubbles that house the communications pod:
So in the above case, the ANT+ ID would be 842. Whereas the other crank set I had was #340, so the ANT+ ID was simply 340.
These ID’s are then displayed within most head units or applications, so you can ensure proper pairing if more than one person is around. Or, in my case, when you’ve got 4+ power meters on your bike.
On the metrics side, the Verve Infocrank currently transmits total power, cadence, left/right power, pedal smoothness, and torque effectiveness (all via ANT+)
You can see all of these metrics within the head unit itself, as well as online after the fact on various training applications. For example, going with the simplest one here – we’ve got Garmin Connect, showing first the total power, then the left/right power balance.
Here’s a closer look at Left/Right balance:
Now do remember that there’s no specific study or even recommendation that says you want power to be 50% evenly left & right balanced. In fact, there’s a growing body of folks who are quite clear that when you try and artificially maintain balance, it detriments your total power. Instead, it’s best to just let your legs do their own things.
The area where power balance is useful however is injury recovery on a single leg, to be able to see improvements in wattage on the impacted leg.
Note that in the event the battery dies on a single arm (such as the right side), it’ll continue to broadcast out of the left arm, effectively acting as a single-sided power meter (à la Stages). It’ll simply double that power. I had this happen on one ride this past summer, and you can see the left/right balance disappears in that case – but total power (derived from the left leg) and cadence are still available.
Speaking of batteries, this is really one of the few pain in the butt aspects of the Infocrank unit. See, almost everyone else in the power meter world uses CR2032 batteries these days, which makes them super-easy to find the world around. You can stop in any grocery store in pretty much any tiny town anywhere and find replacements for them. The Infocrank however uses SR44 silver oxide batteries (aka 357):
These are basically hearing aid batteries, and are far more difficult to find in smaller towns. The type of towns that luck will have it your batteries will run out on when on a trip. Trust me, mine did. In fact, they ran out twice while travelling. The first was on my second ride after having arrived in New Zealand – so one of my first duties then was trying to find replacements. And then again, this past summer while in the Swiss Alps…on a Saturday evening. For those in Europe, you’ll know that’s just about the worst time to find a new battery since everything closes earlier, and stays closed till Monday.
In my case, I found a non-perfect replacement at a grocery store in the final few minutes of closing (after checking 4-5 other stores). It worked because it was the same form factor, but it was the wrong type (alkaline) – so Verve doesn’t recommend it long term for best battery performance. Still, no negative impacts for the short term to get you through in a pinch (a few days as was my case).
The unit requires two batteries per crank arm side. So obviously it’s best to get a small pile of them and just stick them in your saddlebag or other location that always travels near your bike.
Finally, when it comes to performing a zero offset, the company maintains that you need not do so. A zero offset is technically different than calibration, though the terms are often used interchangeably on head units. I tested this theory a bit, especially on days where I was riding with significant temperature swings – or had just brought out the bike from a hot place to a cold place. Indeed, I saw no issues during any of these.
Of course, most power meters do have some form of temperature compensation (active or passive) built within them. In the case of the Infocrank, when you do a zero offset, it will report back to you a value. Note that you would want to follow their instructions, as if you had the cranks positioned horizontally during a calibration event, it could impact accuracy of the unit.
If you do go down that path, you can actually take these values and understand the impact of them in wattage, using a simple chart they’ve created. It’s pretty cool.
Power Meter Accuracy Test Results:
For my testing, the Verve Infocrank was tested on a single compatible road bike of mine, the Giant Defy. Though, all of my bikes I use for power meter testing are fairly similar in terms of ancillary power meters to compare against. Each has a rear PowerTap G3 wheel on it. And each has a different crank based power meter in test on it, in this case, the Infocrank. Additionally, for all tests I also had either a PowerTap P1 or Garmin Vector pedals on the bike. All in, I’d have no less than three power meters. For indoor tests, I’d place it onto a trainer that supported rear wheel usage (generally the CompuTrainer, so I could keep the PowerTap hub on the bike).
From a data collection standpoint, virtually all of the data used in the analysis was collected using Garmin Edge 510/520/810/1000 units. I also record some data with NPE WASP units, as well as other applications. Data analysis is largely done in a custom toolset I use to ferret out differences, while also using more widely available tools like Golden Cheetah, Excel and Training Peaks to validate the results.
With that, let’s dive into things. I’m going to pick a few random rides that talk to specific conditions (i.e. temperature changes), sprints, stable power, cobbles, etc… The goal being to ferret out any oddities that I might see. You can download all the ride data used in this review at the end of this section (plus a bunch of other random data I tossed in there now shown here in graphs).
First, here’s a ride out to Versailles I did last February. This is with Garmin Vector, the PowerTap G3, and the Infocrank. First up – the overview, smoothed at 30s to make it easy to read. Also, in this case I chopped off the first five minutes of the graph, where the Vector unit had something odd in one of the pods, so it was wonky values till I reset it. It was happy after that.
Now you can see quite clearly that there’s almost no divergence of any of the lines. Seriously, it’s like white on rice – they never leave each other.
Now, we’re going to dive into edge cases in a minute in other examples – but one of the charts that’s most useful for comparing power meters is the mean/max chart. It shows how different units handled over the course of the ride – by showing the max wattages for a given time period along the bottom. You’ll note these are scary-close to perfect. Seriously, check out that 4-second max value – within 1w of each other. Yes, in theory the PT should be lower, and the Vector a touch bit higher, but to have them all within a very close ballpark at those wattages is really ideal.
Next, we’ve got a nice 3hr ride I did in the Swiss Alps, this one with a significant 2,100ft elevation gain in the span of a single hour (while a storm front was moving through). This is notable because it allows you to look at temperature shifts on climbs – which I’ve seen in the past can be challenging for power meters due to lack of stopping to allow them to re-zero. So, I like these sorts of tests when possible. This test was on an Infocrank, bePRO, and PowerTap G3.
Here’s the quick overview with a 30s smoothing factor just to make it easier to see. The values you see are simple point in time values from wherever my mouse was highlighting. They are NOT averages.
That said, for averages (a very low and useless bar to use), they do align nicely. Specifically that the PowerTap is the lowest, then the Infocrank, and then the bePRO. That’s considered ‘proper’ ordering based on the highest being closest to your foot (output of power).
Next, we’ll dive into the climb portion a bit, to see if there’s any variance going on there:
What you’re looking for here is divergence of lines. Specifically if a given power meter slowly creeps up/down from the rest of the pack. In this case, all three units stay together. You see a tiny bit towards the last 2-3 minutes where the bePRO unit starts to offset, but I believe that’s actually because I had mostly popped out of my pedals at that point since I was on steep gravel (the road ended) and wanted a wee bit more flexibility in case I had to catch a fall. So basically, nothing to worry about.
Next, after I coasted downhill back to the base, you look at the first few minutes as I start riding again – are the units in lockstep? And the answer is again – yes. As is usually the case you’ll see each power meter react slightly differently in the first few seconds upon waking up/reacting to force, but then they track well together.
In fact, the bePRO and Verve Infocrank are so close together it’s really damn impressive. I rarely see that level of closeness (in case you’re wondering, the tools I use actually enumerate out the individual power meter serial numbers from each Garmin file, just to ensure I don’t mix anything up). The PowerTap is a bit lower – but that makes total sense given it’s ‘downstream’ after you consider drivetrain loss/etc…
Next, let’s look at a night last month where I was out doing a cross-town ride, then some loops around a popular cycling area, before waiting on the side of the road a bit for a package drop-off, and then my ride home down the pavé of the Champs-Élysées.
The first 25ish minutes is crossing town, so a fair bit of stop and go. Then from 25mins till 60mins is mostly loops in/around a group of cyclists. Diving in on that a second, we see all three units track well. I’d say that perhaps the bePRO is a tiny bit high in some sections where it diverges from the other two – but the Infocrank and G3 are very consistently glued to each other at the same offset.
Now if I take off the 30-second smoothing, and pull it back to a 3-second smoothing factor, we can take a look at one of the sprints I did here. This one was up a short climb where the Infocrank had me hit a max of 830w. Of course, with the 3-second smoothing applied below, that tops out at 781w. What we’re looking at here though is how quickly they track when you apply significant power, as well as how quickly the power disappears:
You’ll notice that the three units track very well in terms of going up, and down (with the bePRO appearing to register the zero-power stop slightly differently than the other two – it’s unclear who is right there).
For fun, I removed all smoothing (so 1s smoothing), and then re-loaded the chart. in this case, the PowerTap G3 and Infocrank were within 1w of each other for max power on that segment. While the bePRO was lower.
Note that in general I don’t put too much stock in 1s max power comparisons – because it’s honestly more about timing of signals/communications between the head unit and the power meter than anything else.
Ultimately, no matter how many graphs I create, I’m seeing the same thing over and over again – which is that the Infocrank just aligns to other power meters I’ve compared. I really can’t seem to find any cases where I think something went amiss. There’s a few more files that I analyzed with the Infocrank mixed in there as part of my bePRO review as well – for those interested. But again, they all show the same story – even in adverse conditions.
I love the fact that from an accuracy standpoint it’s very dependable ride in and ride out, with nothing to do on the end-user standpoint (for fun, a few of those days in the Alps I specifically DIDN’T do any zero offsets, to see how it might do – no issues).
For those curious, you can find a huge pile of my power meter data here in this zip folder. Generally speaking the naming conventions speak for themselves. I have more data I’ll try and add in here over the next few days, just digging out some of my older data to add to it. Newer data is categorized a bit better these days making it easier to enumerate.
(Note: All of the charts in these accuracy sections were created using the DCR Analyzer tool. It allows you to compare power meters/trainers, heart rate, cadence, speed/pace, GPS tracks and plenty more. You can use it as well, more details here.)
Power Meter Recommendations:
Note that while this is a power meter review, I tend not to put purchasing recommendations/comparisons to the rest of the market in these. The reason being simply that I’ve created an entire post dedicated to that – with boat loads of information about all the options available on the market.
Now the only thing to consider when using that post as a buying guide is that, as I discuss elsewhere here, Verve is set to announce price changes shortly. Those price changes would definitely change the picture a bit. Now until those happen, my buyer’s guide stands as-is. However, once those are announced, I’ll go back and update the buyers guide with pricing as makes sense.
Also note some of the features discussed in the next section are not in the buyer’s guide, because again, they haven’t happened yet. The buyer’s guide tends to be a point in time snapshot of ‘what’s real’ versus future planned changes.
In any event – grab a cup of your favorite caffeinated beverage and swing on over to that guide for more than you ever wanted to know.
A Few Thoughts That Didn’t Fit Elsewhere:
There’s a lot of interesting points and counterpoints about the Verve Infocrank system that didn’t really fit elsewhere in this post, or that I wanted to specifically call out. So I’m doing these as partly a Q&A and partly an internal debate in my head. Some of these points came out from a discussion I recently had with the company, on why specifically they had done things a certain way. Thus it made sense to explain it in more detail by itself.
Magnetless Plans: Starting in January, they’ll roll out a firmware update that no longer requires the magnets. They aren’t using accelerometers, but rather are actually using the strain gauges and the ability to read the tangential load. They’ve validated RPM’s up to 180RM, but are working to hit 210RPM. This is huge news, especially because it gets away from one of the most finicky parts of the setup.
Installation Flexibility: Probably one of the biggest challenges for the company to date has been some of the limitations on bike, crank arms and chain ring support. Going into next year, they’ll be rolling out more sizes, which they say will cover: 24mm & 30mm spindles, 110 & 130BCD, as well as arm sizes of 155mm, 160mm, 165mm, 170mm, 172.5mm, and 175mm. They noted in my case the Cervelo limitation will go away because of the 24mm spindle and the doing away of magnets would solve my P3C challenges.
Pedal Stroke Analysis: In January, they’ll launch a firmware update that’ll allow you to use their torque analysis and pedal stroke analysis app. This will take readings at 256 times a second and also pipe that information into the pedal smoothness metrics. But folks will be able to look at the raw data within the software suite directly.
Bluetooth Support: Finally, longer term they noted that they recognize the need for Bluetooth, but that it’s not a short-term item, but probably more around the Eurobike next year timeframe. At present there isn’t a ton of Bluetooth-only head units that appeal to power meter folks, so they can probably get away with this until then.
Pricing: Up until this point, pricing is really the biggest challenge I’ve had with the Infocrank. It’s just priced too high ($1,750USD), no matter how you slice it. However, in my discussions with Verve over the last few days, they plan to announce a global price restructuring (read: getting cheaper) in the next few weeks. Given that, I’m optimistic /hopeful that they’ll address my main concerns here.
When I think of the Infocrank power meter, my brain re-words it as ‘Infotank’. The unit feels like it’s built like a tank, and in many ways operates like a tank. By that I mean that it’s really good at doing the core things right – measuring your power. I’ve had no issues on that front – it does that very well and is very reliable there. Yet, like a tank it tends to skip over some of the non-mission critical trimmings – such as dual ANT+/BLE support, crank arm flexibility, or easily found batteries. A luxury sedan this is not, and for some people – that’s OK.
The good news though is that this past summer I would have said that I didn’t think Infocrank as a company ‘got it’. I would have said (and did say) they were repeating the market mistakes of SRM, without the brand of SRM to carry them through those mistakes. However, my recent discussions with them shows that they ‘get it’. Their upcoming global pricing change should help considerably, as will their focus on adding functionality that is commonplace to most other power meters in the market – filling in what were previously gaps. If they can nail the pricing aspect (since that’s still unreleased), they could definitely be a very valid player for those wanting a dual-leg crank-based solution.
Like I said, accuracy isn’t an issue for me. While I place virtually no value on the certificate of accuracy certificate they have – I do place value on months and months of testing with the unit in all assortment of conditions. And in those tests, I simply don’t see any variance that’s of concern, or any situations where things went south.
With that – thanks for reading. Feel free to drop any questions below in the comments and I’d be happy to try and answer them, or sucker someone else into answering them.
Just a correction if the left side dies the system goes down as it is the master ant+ transmitter and the right hand side is the slave transmitter. If the right hand side dies then you will continue receive a reading.
Oops, good call, got them flipped in that section of wording. Cleaned it up a bit! Thanks!
What is the weight of the crankset, and how does it compare with others?
Weights get tricky, because you start getting into the bundled component aspects. Meaning, in the case of Verve they ship everything all-inclusive (crank-arms/spider, chainrings) – so you’ve basically gotta pick something else to compare against.
I didn’t weight the whole gamut after installing the chainrings, but for the sans-chainrings portion it was for the 172.5’s is 703g (two crank arms including spider). Again, not including the Praxis chainrings or the bolts for said chainrings.
Mine is 561 g right crank and 273 g left. 172.5 mm length, 50/34 Praxis rings.
Infocranks are for people concerned with ZO stability, accuracy, and reliability. There are lighter options out there if your priorities are messed up.
Since you actually seem to appreciate typo corrections
Pretty sure you mean steed not stead when referring to your bikes.
Aren’t cranks normally called 110 or 130BCD (for Bolt Center Diameter)? You used 130CD.
Thanks for another well done review.
Why the non-standard battery?
Mark, the supplied SR44 (Silver-Oxide) batteries have different voltage characteristics. Substitute alkaline style batteries which are more common from the local retailer depending on the manufacturer will be LR44, A76 or the AG13. However the claimed 500hr battery life will be substantially decreased with the alkaline style. It maybe important to note that until Verve releases the new firmware for magnet less operation that storing your bike with the ant+ module in line with the magnet will significantly drain the battery. So it is advisable to orient the cranks correctly when the steed is not in use.
Thanks for the info, but not quite what I was asking. My question is why did Verve choose to use the relatively-uncommon SR44 battery in the Infocrank, instead of the CR2032, which seems to be fairly standard in fitness technology, including power meters, S/C sensors and HRMs? As Ray pointed out, it can be a challenge to find replacement SR44 batteries, whereas CR2032 batteries can be found just about anywhere. There must be some good reason for Verve’s battery choice – just wondering what it is, that’s all.
Sorry Mark my bad. It’s purely about real estate. As the module is integrated into the arm and there are four strain gauges placed in the load path of the crank arm (outside edges), it would be difficult to maintain the integrity of the crank arm an have such a large diameter battery.
Many kids toys and laser pointer toys for cats use those batteries in multiples!
PowerTap hubs prior to the G3 all used those darn sr44 batteries too…
So I guess not totally non-standard, but a key reason I’d buy the G3 over prior models :). Those silly batteries are just a bit annoying.
Firstly, thank Ray for the review. We have quite different views about accuracy to most and will make them more well known as time goes by. I just wanted to answer the question asked about the batteries.
In order to achieve scientific accuracy (there we go again, it’s about accuracy) you need constant power flow. Most batteries for home use do not have that level of specificity. The battery was chosen because it loses it’s power very gradually before going below the level at which power readings are “corrupted”. The alternative (in the same size and shape) and the ones that Ray bought up in the Alps are sold as the same, but the power decreases in linear form and quickly goes below the level at which power readings are uncorrupted and power readings have many more errors. Also just to quickly correct Toby, the latest firmware turns off, regardless of how you leave your cranks situated, so the battery does not go flat faster.
I am very curious about your accuracy comments. Infocrank seems to view its key differentiator as accuracy. You have gone to a lot of effort (ie make your own cranks) to achieve this.
However based on the data that DCR has provided it seems to me that the power readings of Infocrank, PT hub, Garmin Vectors and the bePro’s (and pretty much all the others) are pretty much aligned. How is it then that Infocrank is claiming some new level of accuracy that has never before been attained?
Please focus your marketing efforts on what really matters. It is not accuracy as all PM’s are good enough. Think about it – most people like me will have on their headunit on their Power dominant screen the following power data fields.
– Power (instantaneous or 1s ave – I use this but not everyone does), then
– Power (3s or 10s ave)
– Power (30s ave) and maybe also
– Power across the whole ride/lap
Most people I know use Power 3s and 30s. Now even if your PM is 1% more accurate than alternatives for riding a climb or doing a TT and monitoring it at 1s ave, 3s ave, 10s ave, 30s ave or the whole distance ave does it really matter that one PM might say 256W for my 3s ave vs yours saying (perhaps slightly more accurately) that is was 259W. My body cannot measure the difference at that level of detail. If I back off or increase power I normally see a 5-10% change – that’s about the level of accuracy of my legs. However others may be more in tune than me so happy to listen there.
I find the Infocrank accuracy claims to be a little hollow. My advise to you as a person involved in sales and marketing is to concentrate on the true differentiators as superior accuracy is not provable as all PM’s track pretty close to each other.
The customer requirement is simple – reliable, affordable, easy to use, easy to change between bikes. These are what is key to most consumers.
I also think that Infocrank has made a mistake in the crank design. A design that was a clone or similar to the four arm design from Shimano that has the ability to handle any size chainring and based on a 24mm spindle so it can be used on any bike and can use the superior Shimano rings would have been a much better approach. The Infocrank first version was BB30, 110mmBCD, then came a 24mm spindle in 130BCD, then came a 24mm spindle 110BD. There are 3 versions when there should just be one. (Now many might say that the 24mm spindle is too flexy compared to the 30mm. However for me if it can handle the power of a pro like Spartacus then it’s good enough for anyone.)
I also recommend that you do not make comments about batteries like the one above. I think you do the Infocrank company a major disservice as it smacks of pseudo science. Even if it’s true that your chosen batteries deliver “constant power flow” whereas others do not it obviously makes no practical difference as the PM’s of the competition use them successfully. However the claim itself seems like nonsense as we are expected to believe that the manufacturers of batteries have somehow been able to create proper “power flow” in one battery type but not in others. I do not find this claim believable.
Now I am an Aussie and would love you to be successful but I must say the marketing claims of Infocrank (and there are more claims I find objectionable than just the accuracy claim – another example being that Infocrank is the only company measuring torque) diminish my view of the product substantially.
I am encouraged by the coming improvements of no magnets, bluetooth and cheaper pricing. These are real benefits that should have been there from the beginning and would have made customers more inclined to buy than over-promises of accuracy. I would say your real differentiator from what I know is that “it just works”. No zero-offset just get on and ride. A strong radio signal so we don’t get dropouts. Not having to worry about torque settings. If you had built an alternative to Pioneer’s (based on the Shimano 4 ring crank) where there were no magnets and no requirement to use a funky new headunit to get all the data plus the features just mentioned (no zero-offset etc) you would have me.
Hi, when you say:
“The battery was chosen because it loses it’s power very gradually before going below the level at which power readings are “corrupted”. ”
I think you mean “The (Ag) battery voltage decreases very slowly over discharge”
and then when you say:
“The alternative … are sold as the same, but the power decreases in linear form and quickly goes below the level at which power readings are corrupted ”
You really mean: ” The (alkaline) battery voltage decreases linearly over discharge, and quickly goes below the voltage at which the electronic circuit stops working reliably”
I’m using voltage because talking about (electrical) power is “ugly” (it depends on current, so a complex circuit design can extract a constant power from a non constant voltage… but is messy).
So… what you are saying is true, an SR44 battery is way “better” (because you can use a simpler, cleaner and reliable circuit design) than an LR44 battery, but is NOT better than a decent CR2032 lithium battery (which has a very constant voltage too).
If the battery size was a constraint in the PM design then an SR44 battery was a very good choice, but you cannot say “Most batteries for home use do not have that level of specificity”. That is false because is too generic, since a decent CR2032 has an equivalent or better discharge curve.
LR44 discharge curve at 220uA:
http://www. (antispam) lr44batteryequivalent.org/lr44-voltagedischarge.jpg
SR44 discharge curve at 220uA:
http://www. (antispam) lr44batteryequivalent.org/sr44-voltagedischarge3.jpg
CR2032 discharge curve at 200uA:
http:// (antispam) biz.maxell.com/images_products/9/pb0002/en/graph_02.gif
Is it just me or is the Verve website completely unusable from an iPad? I can’t get pages to scroll and none of the links do anything…
Thanks for the in-depth review. Just curious, you said “for fun, a few of those days in the Alps I specifically DIDN’T do any zero offsets, to see how it might do – no issues”. Did you re-zero any of the other power meters that were used for comparisons?
In the case of those few rides, I did re-zero the other ones at the start of the ride, merely because I wanted to have at least two units that I ‘knew’ were operating according to manuf recommendations in the event the Infocrank skewed (it didn’t). So basically, I wanted a reference.
Reading their site, their big thing (outside of the 0.5% accuracy) is all about no need to zero-offset manually. And that temp compensation just works. How would you say this is different than power2max, who claim the same? I know in your past reviews of power2max you DID do a manual zero, but they claim not necessary as it samples 60/sec and will auto-zero when it wakes up, and when no cadence.
re batteries: Wahoo’s BlueSC and TICKR use the CR2032, yet the RFLKT uses the CR2450. It’s fine, I tend to order them in bulk anyhow, but.. yet another battery I am worried about running out. I packed a few when I last travelled internationally.
Pedal stroke analysis is the magic Garmin exclusive, yeah? How are they going to transmit the data since it can’t be sent to a Garmin head?
At Eurobike they showed some 3rd party software. You can see some snippets of it here: link to dcrainmaker.com
As you noted, Garmin keeps Cycling Dynamics proprietary (as does Pioneer). Ideally, if enough of the PM companies talk together, they could get high speed metrics turned into an updated ANT+ power meter device profile standard. But alas, that seems super-slow moving.
Hey Ray, just a question here. Have you ever checked what the variations between head units might be given the same (non-uniform) power input? The reason I ask is that the avg power that I see for a given ride is different between my 510 and what Golden Cheetah says the average is. So, it got my engineering brain thinking if that may have a bearing on what the accuracy comparisons really look like. My thinking is that it should not affect things significantly, but depending on when things get sampled, and how the time wise averaging lines up, it may cause shifts/differences. I would think Garmin uses the same algorithms across all their units, but other brands may handle things differently.
In terms of how to do it, the only thought I have is to set a number of test head units to read the same power meter, assuming the power meter doesn’t sync with one head unit only. I don’t have two head units to try that against but I think you have all the stuff you’d need :))
Check your settings. I believe that one, if not both, offer the setting to discount zero power values from the average power calculations. As a data nerd, it’s one of those all-too-common scenarios that I can argue from both sides. Is the lack of power, ie zero, more of a NULL value? It’s a question of what “average” power means. Is it the average of ALL samples of your ride, or the average from when you were producing power during the ride?
In general, I get near-identical readings when using all Garmin units with the same settings. I’ll often pair 2-3 head units to a single power meter, just for the fun of it (especially when testing new head units).
Now, the only spot you’ll see some differences there is at max peak power in a sprint, which may simply see slight variations for the 1s peak.
It seems a key detail not included in your review is the specifics of the crank compatibility. Although not specifically mentioned, I’d have to say that I assume these are based on the Praxis Zayante, detailed here:
link to praxiscycles.com
and reviewed here:
link to fairwheelbikes.com
The assumed implications are that it is BB30 only, with the additional restrictions of clearance issues with frames with wide chainstays.
Digging through infocrank’s website seems to show you can get BB30 with compact chainsets, but only 24mm shimano-style BB in a standard configuration. Although there seems to be some options for fitting a 30mm axle into a bottom bracket intended for a 24mm axle. Honestly, the whole setup is pretty confusing (as bottom bracket standards typically are).
If I am correct that Praxis actually manufactures these cranks and it shares the same performance as the Zayante, then this means it is a very stiff crank, but potentially heavier than a high end crankset if this sort of thing matters to you.
I don’t tend to get into things like stiffness very much, since it’s a bit out of my scope and area of expertise. Further, I find that reviews are vastly different in their assumptions on stiffness of various bike components. Super-subjective, despite supposedly being super-important.
Mick, I can clear up misconceptions right from the start. InfoCrank is not related to Zayante. Verve and Praxis have a very close relationship and utilise some design services together and actually use the same factory (the owner of Praxis) to manufacture cranks. We were never aware of anything in relation to Praxis cranks until just before their release which was substantially after the first InfoCrank. Verve specifies the stiffness and the alloy structure of the crank for the power measurement first and foremost. It would defeat the whole purpose of manufacturing an accurate power device to put it on or even someone else’s crank. But like everything else that happens in cycling, the goods are actually manufactured in the same place as other people’s cranks and as it happens the same place that manufactures your MacBook external cover.
Thanks for taking the time to respond. I was making a comparison to the Zayante because A) it looks very similar and I made an assumption on the actual manufacturing and B) It provides a reference to discuss the performance of the crank, as a bicycle component.
I recognize the argument that because component X is made in the same factory as component Y, therefore they are the same is invalid. In this instance, can you comment on the stiffness and weight performance of the infocrank directly then? I know the focus is getting accurate power data, but if I buy a power2max, quarq, or SRM, I know that I’m getting a Sram, Shimano, or Rotor crankset which is a known quantity that can be compared to. For those who are interested in a $1400 crankset, I imagine they will also be interested in saving 0.5watts through component performance.
the BB-compatibility issue was never really addressed. I’m still confused as to what is compatible with what.
Compact with BB30, and 53/39 with shimano BB?
53/39 is back-ordered because it’s an older iteration?
I always need to buy a custom praxis BB even if I have BB30?
Hi Mick, I have read the reviews you mention that include the nice remarks about the Zayante. Yes, the structure does include similarities to the InfoCrank, pretty much as you would expect. BB compatibility, Spindle design are the same. We did not know of the existence of the test when building the InfoCrank and all our testing was private and must remain so. I re-read the review just now and notice that while cranks were tested, no cranks with power meters were included. Without wanting to be controversial, a crank that has had a new spider with a power meter installed is not the same crank as that crank when complete. I have never seen a DuraAce spider break off a full and complete Shimano crankset, but I have seen a power meter spider break off a DuraAce crank. For our weight, feel free to go to the website and the FAQ’s, where a breakdown is given of our heaviest model.
Aaron here from Verve Cycling customer support. Thanks for your comments and interest.
Currently we offer an M30 110BCD InfoCrank (link to goo.gl) that is built to work exclusively with Praxis Works M30 bottom brackets. Thats where the M30 part comes from. The M30 bottom brackets currently offered by Praxis are BB30, PF30, BB86, OSBB, and BSA (english). The M30 InfoCrank only works with Praxis M30 bottom brackets in the above BB standards. Your M30 InfoCrank purchase includes a Praxis M30 BB of your choosing. See them in more detail here: link to goo.gl
The 24MM 130BCD InfoCrank Classic (currently unavailable) mentioned above as “53/39” is not an older variation of InfoCrank, just another option to reach more standards in the market. Not everyone rides the above M30 Praxis BB standards. In the coming months you can expect to see (as shown at EuroBike 2015) 24MM spindles in 130BCD and 110BCD as well as M30 spindles in 130BCD and 110BCD. Note: the 24MM options will not come with a BB. Standard 24MM BBs are recommended.
We’re excited for the future. Hope you can join us! If you have any further questions regarding compatibility feel free to write us at email@example.com.
When riding I always have a little bag in my jersey pocket which holds my phone, some money, one or to painkiller tablets (you never know) and a card with all my details (in case I’m found unable to tell anyone).
I don’t think I’m unique in carrying a bag like that.
It wouldn’t be too difficult to fit one or two of those special batteries in there I imagine. Or would the constant change in temperature etc drain them before use?
For whatever reason, the LR44 batteries I find are slightly more fragile when not protected. I tried doing something similar in my bike travel case, and found them all munched up after just the first leg. Perhaps I just got super-unlucky, but it was the second time where LR44’s had a rough transit experience for me…
Nice work Ray.
Ah, the LR44 – same battery as in the 2nd gen Powertap hubs and yes they could be a PITA to find. Pharmacies were best bet here.
Data quality sounds pretty good though 🙂
Thanks Ray – I’ve been waiting for this review for a while 🙂 Hopefully the pricing announcement is sufficiently interesting to make them a real contender.
Nice review mR Rainmaker, I’m glad to hear about the no magnet firmware coming up. I personally use very good double sided tape and install the magnets inside the cabin stays when faced with the external stick on magnets. A good tip!
Hi Ray! The hard blister packaging is opened simplest by using a can opener. Works like a charm!
(Insert comment here about trying to tell The Girl how to do something…)
SR44? Those used to be a lot easier to find back in the old Nintendo Game and Watch era! Showing my age here obviously. 😉
I’ve read that the size of the sending unit on the original Infocrank made it difficult to mount smaller (less than 48t) or solid outer chainrings without doing some modification but that this has been fixed in the updated version. Can you verify this? (Claim is here: link to bikerumor.com)
Thanks for the review!
The comment on Bike Rumour is correct. The RF cover is domed to give a clearer wireless signal. We are continuing to work on enhancing this as also noted in the article. Wireless communication from crank to crank is much more difficult than imagined particularly on a carbon bike. ANT+ requires one crank to speak to the other before the signal goes to the head unit. We have many reports of people riding InfoCrank on Cross bikes, but not sure what rings they are using.
“For example, in my latest unboxing photos you’ll notice it didn’t include chain rings, whereas the initial gallery did. So obviously you’d have to install chain rings first if that was the package you got (super-easy)”
Small point, but I’m pretty sure you’re going to need to install chain rings whichever package you got…
Ray, thanks for such interesting and useful review! As you always do 😉
a couple of questions:
– do they use removable spider? if so, it is not SRAM’s standard? As I can see it’s Cannondale Hollowgram or Race Face Cinch or Middleburn X-type, can’t define exactly via your photos. the cause of question – is it possible to use them with SRAM CX1 ?
– what are they made from and what is the Q factor?
From the unboxing photos:
— They are made of a 6000 series aluminium alloy that is drop-forged.
— Q factor is 150mm
Great review. One question, you never explained this:
> I can also tell you how each of the different Garmin units reacts to the Infocrank, which turns out to be slightly different for different models.
What are the differences?
It’s actually interesting – specifically in how they handle a right-pedal sensor missing scenario. The newer ones (Edge 520) will stop looking for the sensor as soon as you press start, so if for some reason both sides didn’t wake-up, or if a battery is missing, you can’t just swap the battery mid-ride, you’d have to power off the Edge and restart it, for it to go and search again. Yet the older ones don’t seem to have this issue (i.e. Edge 810).
Note it’s possible something has changed in the firmware in the last month or two – but it was something I discovered this summer when I had a battery die on me. Played around with it a bit after the ride.
Love your review of this Ray. I was wondering when you might get around to it. I own an Infocrank with Praxis 50/34 chainrings and BSA bottom Bracket. It’s fitted to a custom steel bike I call Rolling Thunder by Kumo Cycles. At present, we are having difficulty with the 9070 Di2 on the bike, where the chain keeps being bent quite frequently when I shift from the little to the big chainring. I note in your review you had installation issues and there were compatibility problems.
Did you test the unit on a bike with Di2? If so, any issues?
No, unfortunately in my case Di2 was on a different bike (Cervelo P3C I tried installing originally), but my road bike lacks Di2.
Thanks Ray for your quick reply. Just thought I’d ask in case you had similar issues to me, or did not, as it’s really puzzling to me why my system is not fitting in on the bike. Any information I can piece together is useful.
Aaron here from Verve Cycling customer support. I am interested in learning more from you about this issue. We have no record of any compatibility problems with Di2. Can you please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share more about your case?
Update to this question:
I contacted Aaron, as he suggested here. I sent him some pics of my setup and some info about the build of the Kumo. He worked out that my builder has installed Infocrank correctly and that my issue must be with the Front derailleur, not the Infocrank or Praxis chainrings. Aaron was very prompt with emails, so am extremely impressed by the customer service. I’d expect that though for such an expensive product (I paid $2100 Australian in January 2015).
My bike builder/mechanic is presently attempting to remedy my issue by cutting away the braze-on and installing a band clamp for the FD. The FD was too far outboard and pushed the chain off the big ring onto the pedal and then to the ground, bending the chain in the process. Di2 9070 is a powerful motor!
So all good with the Infocrank. Yes it was expensive. It is supposedly accurate, but I’m not too fussed on that. I bought it because it is probably the most hassle free crank-based power meter that doesn’t require a re-zero to ensure accuracy between rides. I also bought it in hope I might work out how to use it to make me a better rider. Plus its probably the stiffest crank out there, and at my weight of 120kg, I need that.
The Infocrank price update is out. US price is now $1399, down from $1750. That puts it a bit above a Power2Max with Praxis rings and ceramic bearings in the bottom bracket ($1250 USD). Not exactly on par for price, but at least within the same ballpark now.
How does the new pricing affect any recommendation reservations you stated in your review?
After 9 months using the Infocrank, I can’t recommend it. None of the magnet mounts fit my bike so I ran it in magnet-less mode. Battery life is about one month and changing batteries is quite tedious. Each time I change batteries I have to struggle with it refusing to leave boot loader mode. Sometimes it goes into boot loader mode during rides which renders the crank non-functional until I get home.
The other major flaw is the use of Praxis chainrings. They simply do not shift as well as Shimano rings and drop/suck the chain fairly often.
Lastly, ZO doesn’t seem particularly stable. I see changes of up to 70 units.
Hullo Eric, Though all our US people have been on Thanksgiving Holiday since you wrote this and contacted us, we have replied through our service portal. Happy Thanksgiving.
Still no resolution. I had to roll back to an earlier firmware. However, the crank is now acting up even with the older firmware. Batteries need to be replaced monthly and each time that risks it going into blinking green light mode and never returning. Yesterday, I discovered only the left crank was working. By the end of the ride, neither crank was working.
It’s only seen one season of use. I’ve lost more data/done more rides power-less per month than in two decades using SRMs.
I just bought a bile with the Infocrank power meter. I have a Garmin Edge 500 and have managed to pair the two. However the power output reading on the Garmin is around 100 watts higher at least than it should be. I tried calibrating but there is no result in that it just times out on the Garmin. Any recommendations?
Not sure exactly if your Garmin head unit or the crank is the culprit here, but it would be a good idea to make sure the firmware on the head unit is up to date. Once its updated, make sure you’ve followed my calibration instructions below…
1. Place the crank vertical and active (at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock)
2. While vertical, press “calibrate” on your Garmin head unit. You should get a returned calibration reading back on the screen.
3. Its best to press “calibrate” several more times until the returned number on the screen shows ZERO.
Please let me know if this works for you. If it doesn’t, its best to write us directly at email@example.com.
Anyone had any success fitting the Infocrank to a cx/gravel bike with the wider chainstays than a road bike ?
A number of people have fitted both versions to CX bikes in the past. The most prolific is the M30 version. They have also been fitted to some gravel bikes, but we do not get so much news about those issues these days. The next generation of InfoCrank will be designed to take into account the ever-widening chainstays, but that was not technically possible in the beginning of the InfoCrank® story.
Will the next generation Infocranks allow for smaller chain rings? None of us are getting any younger and some of us are troglodytes who don’t want anything electronic or batteries just to make the bike move.
Yes. We hear you.