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Hands-on: Team Zwatt launches subscription based power meter

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Today a little known Danish company called Sensitivus launched a trio of power meters on Kickstarter.  While power meters on crowd funded sites are hardly unique, Sensitivus has taken a new twist on things by offering what is the first subscription based power meter.  Meaning that you pay a monthly charge to continue using it.

The project is more commonly known as ‘Team Zwatt’, which has no relation to Zwift, Zeus, or Zebras; despite all sharing the letter Z.  However Sensitivus has actually been doing power meter stuff behind the scenes for years, primarily as an OEM for other companies.  Meaning they design the power meter tech that others will then rebrand.

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.  I’ll start off with the whole concept and break it down in a bit more detail, then I’ll cover some initial ride thoughts (I’ve got a prototype unit loaner), and then we’ll wrap things up and let you decide whether to throw your money at them.

An Overview:

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Ok, so back at the beginning.  We’ve got a company called Sensitivus pitching a product called Team Zwatt.  Already some 3,800 people had signed up for their newsletter and ‘testing’ scheme back this past spring when I first noted it.  The idea there being people could pay a small fee to receive a power meter, assuming they then provided data back to the company for testing.

Montage forward to now, and the company has decided on pitching three models on Kickstarter, based on three standard power meter positions.  Each of these models includes a base price, and then they include a monthly fee.  You can stop paying the fee at any time, and resume it at any time.  Say for example you go on a countryside vacation for July and August (cough, all of France).  And say you don’t take your bike (silly, I know).  You could skip paying for that month, and save your $5.

Here’s the three models that they’re selling on Kickstarter:

Zimanox: Left-only crank arm solution, doubles left-leg power
Zpider: Crank spider based, captures all power (left/right)
Zpindle MTB: Spindle solution (inside bottom bracket), doubles left-leg power

Now each of these models align to a specific place on the bike, or rather, a specific power meter type.  These types are all rather common, so to make it easier to understand, I’ve given you a list of competitors for each type:

Zimanox similar units: Stages Power, 4iiii Precision (left-only model)
Zpider similar units: Quarq, SRM, Power2Max
Zpindle MTB similar units: Ashton Instruments, Ergomo

Got that?  Good.

Now the unit is arriving with fairly industry standard tech in terms of connectivity.  All units have dual ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart broadcasting.  That means you can use it with a Garmin, Polar, Suunto, or your phone.  Basically anything you dig up supports those two power meter broadcast device profile types.  If it doesn’t support those two, it’s probably not worth using.  The company says they’ve tested the following apps with it: Strava, TrainerRoad, Zwift, Wahoo Fitness, Sufferfest, CycleMeter, Kinomap, RideWithGPS, iBiker, Cateye Cycling, and MapMyTracks.

The unit will broadcast both power and cadence, and in the case of the spider based model (Zpider), it’ll transmit an estimated left/right power balance (similar to a Quarq).  This is estimated left/right, and isn’t as accurate as measured left/right power balance on units that measure power from each leg.  To make this estimate, they simply divide your single-leg pedal stroke into two half’s and assume that you only provide power on the down stroke portion.  Here’s a simple diagram I put together the last time I discussed this topic:

PowerBalance

In addition, all units will transmit torque effectiveness and pedal smoothness.  Both of which are pretty much the norm these days on ANT+based power meters.  All units are IP67 waterproof, which means you can easily go for a short dip in the pool with your bike, should conditions warrant.

Interestingly, the batteries on all these units are rechargeable, though their battery life timeframes are pretty solid. They are:

Zimanox: 250 hours
Zpider: 200 hours
Zpindle MTB: 400 hours

With the spindle based variant, you use a micro-USB cable to charge it.  The micro-USB port is hidden beneath a well sealed battery cap. Given how infrequently you have to do this, I don’t have any concerns with their design.

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Meanwhile, on the crank-arm and spider variants (Zimanox and Zpider), you’ll use a magnetic based charger, which looks pretty darn cool from their animated GIF on their Kickstarter page:

Charger

Last but not least, it’s worth pointing out that if you’re looking at the Zimanox variant (left-only side), they’re only offering 172.5mm cranks.  They noted that’s the size preferred by 70% of riders, which is probably about right.  Down the road they’ll expand crank arm length options, but for now…that’s it.

So why should you trust this power meter company’s tech over other crowd funded flailings?  Well they’ve got one thing going for them: They actually kinda know what they’re doing.  Or at least they’ve got some proof in that pudding.

They’ve been working on power meters for other brands for the last few years.  To my knowledge none of those brands have officially launched yet, though it sounds like one is on the cusp of doing so.  In fact, said branded variant is actually the unit I’m using (which is why I put electrical tape over it for this post).  It’s the exact same tech that Sensitivus will be using for Team Zwatt.  Thus putting them far closer to the finish line than a company that lacks any prototypes or test models upon launch

Which isn’t to say that Sensitivus won’t screw it up going forward.  Plenty of companies that know what they’re doing with more experience routinely screw up product launches much less ambitious than this. But, if I had to choose between various crowd funded power meter projects over the last few years, this certainly has the best hand of cards to work with.

Subscription Model:

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From a basic power meter standpoint, nothing that Sensitivus is doing is earth shattering (or really even that new, magnetic charging aside). It’s more or less all been done before.

Rather, their foray into the “new things” department comes from the their subscription model.  When you buy a Zwatt power meter, you’re paying in at a base level (about $190), then you’re paying a monthly subscription charge ($5) for each month that you want the power meter active and transmitting power values.  The connected nature of the power meter means you have to check in each month in order to keep it actively a power meter.  At the end of 2 years, the fee goes to $0.

However, it actually goes one step further. Team Zwatt wants your power meter data. Their proposition is that through large scale power meter data collection they can make a more accurate power meter. As such, the monthly fee is technically $10, not $5.  But as long as you upload at least one 30 minute ride per month using their app, they’ll give you a 50% discount on that monthly fee (thus the $5).

Got all that?

So, here’s the base prices and subscription fees:

Zimanox (left-only crank arm): $189USD/170EUR + $4.95/4.46EUR a month
Zpider (spider based): $299USD/270EUR+ $4.95/4.46EUR a month
Zpindle MTB (spindle based): TBA pricing, as it’s a Kickstarter Stretch goal

To make this easy, here’s what those costs look like when all is said and done after two years of payments:

Zimanox (left-only crank arm): $307.80 / 277.04EUR
Zpider (spider based): $417.80 / 377.04EUR
Zpindle MTB (spindle based): TBA pricing, as it’s a Kickstarter Stretch goal

For the crank arm based option, that’s roughly $90 cheaper than the $399 that 4iiii currently charges for their left-only solution (inclusive of a Shimano crank arm). For the crank spider version, that’s about $100 cheaper than you can usually get a Power2Max unit for on their frequent sales.

With the subscription model they’ll allow you to pause your subscription at any time, though they’ll charge a reactivation fee that’s roughly one month’s fee (i.e. $5).  They proposed a theory here being that someone could stop using the unit on their bike for a few months and save the cash.  Though I’ve gotta believe that anyone buying a power meter probably uses their bike at least a few times each month, if not each week. So I’m not sure there’s any true savings there.

Looking forward, the company is aiming to leverage the subscription model to give you ‘voting rights’ for new features to be added to the units.  Of course, whether or not these votes truly drive the direction of the product remains to be seen.  Historically speaking tech companies often introduce voting systems for new features, but they’re rarely adhered to when ‘commercial priorities’ outrank consumer desires.

Here’s what they’ve identified as future ideas:

– Better support for oval chain rings
– Other arm lengths
– Max torque display
– Pedaling style assist
– Surface roughness logging
– Air time and landing impact logging

So back to that subscription pricing concept – I think subscription pricing is a cool idea for sports tech goods.  If you look at the software market over the last few years, everything has shifted to subscription pricing.  Of course, for software it generally costs the end user more in the end than just a one-time purchase that you’d use for 2-4 years.  But it usually results in an ‘evergreen’ software platform, with far more new features.  One can debate the pros and cons of subscription models all day long, none of which will change the fact that it’s not just the future, but already the norm today in software.  That ship has sailed.

What’s worth debating however is whether Zwatt got their pricing right.  That’s more interesting to me.  I’d say that if they were shipping next month (just using a random near-term date), then their pricing is attractive.  It’s not a massive dip, but it’s certainly a head turner.  But with shipping not happening in a best case scenario until the end of the year, I’d be more concerned about whether that’s competitive.  After all, your 2 year clock won’t really start until you get the unit.  So if you don’t get a unit until Feb (or April) 2017, then you’re on that payment plan till Feb 2019.  A lot happens in 2.5 years from this week in August 2016.  Look at how much power meter pricing has dropped in the last 12 months, let alone the last 30 months.

Personally I’d have bet that if they went with a substantially lower initial hardware buy-in price (enough to cover their crank related costs of goods), that they could have gone with a slightly higher subscription price and pulled in substantially more people.  Assuming a Shimano Ultegra crank arm (172.5mm), it’d have a rough street price of about $60.

Either way – I think companies pushing the bounds of new pricing models to get more people interested in power is a good thing.  It’s up to y’all to decide if that pricing model makes sense.

First Ride Experience:

DCIM\100GOPRO\G0107967.

So the Sensitivus unit I was sent was one of the OEM branded ones that’ll likely start shipping soon.  It’s based on the same tech as the Zpindle model that’s part of the Kickstarter project.  Just a different crankset and mechanical pieces.  As noted earlier, at the request of Sensitivus, I’ve blacked out the name of the 3rd party company since said company has yet to launch their product.  Electrical tape for the win!

In my case the kit came with the Zpindle already inserted into a crank arm set. So I’d need to install that crank-arm set on my bike.  They also included a tool to open up the battery cap, which is pretty darn snug on there.

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Next, I headed down to the Cave to install it on a bike.  Turns out, I didn’t have the right bottom bracket type for it.  Damn you 98 bottom bracket standards!  So I ordered a new bottom bracket and it arrived a few days later and I got it all installed up.

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The installation is just like any other crankset: It’s easy if you have the right tools.  It’s a nightmare if you don’t.  Thankfully I’ve got the mother of all bike toolboxes (I’ve upgraded from this), and was able to find everything I needed to get it installed.

CrankArmInstall

I hooked it up on a lesser used road bike of mine, simply because all my other bikes are currently busy with other power meter setups on them.  So I couldn’t quite sacrifice one of my nicer bikes.  No worries, I won’t talk ill of one of my bike children.  But yes, the wheels far outclass the bike.  Its married up.

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To ensure I had a semi-proper power meter test rig I added a PowerTap G3 hub to the back, and then PowerTap P1 pedals up front.  Given the crank-set was pre-installed, I didn’t really have many options when it comes to diversity of power meter companies.  Either way, this gave me three power meters in total to compare, two of which are known and trusted.

I then jumped on a trainer and got things settled in.  This involved about a 5-10 minute trainer ride and a handful of short sprints.  I usually do this on most power meter tests on the first day, merely to validate that all of the mechanical interfaces have settled.  It’s 100% normal for this settling period to also take more than one day (1-3 rides is typical for many power meters after installation).

After that, I did a second trainer ride to produce some initial data.  This was a fairly straight-forward affair with wattages at set levels.  It makes it easy to identify when a power meter goes askew.

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In this case you can see the PowerTap P1 (green line) was still settling a bit following the install until I increased the power/intensity, which tightened things up and it got right in line from there on out.  The Zwatt didn’t need to settle since it was pre-installed.  I also had a LIMITS power meter on there, but it was too distracting on the graphs, so I hid it.

Following my 30ish minute trainer ride, I set off outside for a short ride around the city.  This route included everything from standard European cobble-stone streets to smooth pavement.  Hills to flats.  On the trainer ride, things went very well in terms of matching others.  But I wanted to see how bumps and such impacted the accuracy, since that’s typically where most power meter have issues.

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Here’s how the data looked afterwards, starting with the high level overview using a standard 20-second smoothing on the graph to make it easier to see.  You can see here the three units (PowerTap P1, PowerTap G3, and Zpindle) agree quite well.  LIMITS is the offset party in red.

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Next, I’ve dug into the cadence data.  Remember that the unit transmits cadence data, so I’ve compared that.  Note that the PowerTap G3 hub is notorious for giving wonky cadence data (since it’s estimated) in certain situations such as if you do a short burst of power and then easy pedal.  So take that with a grain of salt.

No matter the case, I didn’t see any obvious cadence oddities on the Zpindle.  Also note that a solid chunk of this is on cobbles, which can really dork with some power meters.

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Finally, here’s a mean-max graph of the ride.  This is great for seeing how things handled over the course of the ride:

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This shows solid agreement between the three units, though perhaps a smidge of differences in the 15-second range.  That may be the impact of recording variables and the shorter ride meaning there’s less data to work with for this graph.  I was a bit limited in that I don’t have a 9-speed PowerTap wheel set (since I almost never use this other bike for power meter testing).  Thus shifting was wonky making a longer ride outdoors tricky.  I’ll probably look to move some bike parts around to make it a little easier going forward.

If you want to look at the raw data and play around with the graphs, you can do so using the DCR Analyzer tool (here for the outdoor ride, here for the indoor ride), it also allows you to download the original .FIT files from the head units.

Wrap Up:

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It’s cool to see companies push the boundaries, even if not technically.  What Team Zwatt is doing is pushing the boundaries of sports technology today, just not in the technological sense.  If we fast forward to a year or two from now, I’m sure we’ll see numerous other companies that are doing the same.  Whether or not Team Zwatt gets to market on time with their product is likely to be irrelevant, they’ve planted the seed of monthly subscriptions for a power meter.

From a technology standpoint, everything at this stage seems to be pointing in the right direction. As you can see with my data above, I’m not seeing any obvious issues at this point.  Though I haven’t ridden extensively on it, but still, it’s handling well.  Additionally, I love the way they’ve implemented the rechargeable battery system in the two rechargeable battery models.  Super slick, and so much better than some of the micro-USB port configurations that others have used for rechargeable power meters over the past year or so.

Finally, as with any Kickstarter project, there are risks (I’ve outlined many of them here).  But, I think they’re in a million times better spot than most tech projects I see.  Also, as with any Kickstarter project there are set timeframes to get in on the deal – notably 29 days from now the project funding period ends.  That would give you 8 hours from the start of Eurobike to see if anything new and notable had launched there that might sway your opinion.  But if you wanted that long, you’d lose out on the early bird offers.  So it’s a bit of a rock and a hard place situation for some that might be on the fence.

With that – thanks for reading!

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104 Comments

  1. Pretty cool to see direct force PM’s becoming cheaper and cheaper.

  2. Luis

    subscription… WTF

    thanks but no thanks

  3. Thomas Wylie

    Hi Ray, my question isn’t related to the Zwatt but – Limits sent out an email saying they had a firmware fix for the accuracy problem (I think they even name dropped you in it). Has this been sent out and is this ride with or without that update?

    Cheers,

    Tom

  4. Actually your example about suspending membership example is wrong, it is meaningful only with 2 month breaks, as they charge 1 month extra when you restart your membership.

  5. Brandan Kelter

    Really stinks that they are only doing 172.5mm crank arms currently. I would love to support them, but that is a huge jump from my current 165mm setups. Hopefully they add more options sooner than later.

  6. chris

    that tool to take the cap off doesn’t need to be brand covered, does it?

  7. Phil A

    I thought about it initially just for a 2nd power meter, but I have 175 cranks, so they will not work for me. The MTB ones on the other hand may, I honestly do not know what cranks I have on that bike :-p

  8. Bertram

    Have been following them some time. I had a Shimano 170 mm cranck, so was out of luck. Bought a new bicycle this weekend – a CAAD 10. Now I have a 172.5 cranck, but it is a Cannondale SI :(.
    Seems I need to wait a bit longer for my power meter….

  9. Eli

    I get a feeling that this group is very big on their marketing. When they first wanted people to sign up it was that users would help them test the power meter and in return they would get a cheap power meter. While $90 savings is nice thats not what I’d call that cheap, especially since thats only for the first 50 people, if you sign up now the savings over a power meter you can buy right now is $70. So while the testing part may be real and useful to improve the power meter the discount feels more like marketing.

    As to voting on functionality, even if the vote is used to determine what features get added how do we know if the features will be added to the unit we already bought. From their earlier email:
    “You keep the power meter and keep testing, and we repeat the cycle with a different model for a new group of testers.”
    Which seems to imply they will use our feedback to improve on future units and not really the units we get.

    • Andy

      I completely agree.

      From the emails I’ve had they have gone from promising the earth for a much cheaper fee than other power meters to then sending me emails changing the playing field.

      Not for me. Im not a f*cking idiot. I would rather just buy a Stages, 4iii or Power2Max, ONCE and be done with it.

      The real pisstake for me is that they want YOU to spend YOUR time uploading YOUR data to them but they charge YOU for doing it!! eh??? shouldn’t THEY be paying ME?

      ffs

    • Tim Parker

      “The real pisstake for me is that they want YOU to spend YOUR time uploading YOUR data to them but they charge YOU for doing it!! eh??? shouldn’t THEY be paying ME?”

      They are – if you upload at least one 30 minute data set a month you get 50% off the subscription rate.

  10. Martin H

    Is the other OEM you allude to Mavic? It the photo it looks like plasitc spanner/ battery door opener thingy seems to have their name stamped into it :-)

  11. RJ

    You should’ve blacked it out better, just a tip…

    • I’m putting this in the camp of I went the extra mile with a piece of electrical tape… I could have put big censored pieces, or multiple layers of tape, but really, that just gets ugly. Or, they could have sent me a non-branded unit or something covered to begin with. Shrug.

    • Martin

      You could also have changed the name on the power data graphs :)

    • The names in the charts show Zwatt Zpindle, which…is the name of the Zwatt product we’re discussing here. The other names on the power graphs show the other power meters used on the bike I’m comparing to.

  12. Patrick

    You really missed an opportunity with “Zubscription Model” as a heading.

  13. Spencer Oswald

    Yeah i was super excited about this and was on the newsletter but they only have a 172.5 and i need 175 Lame. Good to see power meters going down though. I think the subscription model is great cause it helps spread out the cost over tine

  14. Oskar

    Since polar haven’t updated their “supported power meter devices” can you run this with a V650 for example? The company says so, but show no real proof of anyone pairing with a polar device..

    • If it’s BLE and doesn’t work I will be surprised. And if it’s important we will fix it. Get Polar to send us a unit to test with like some other head unit mfg’s do :) Or pop by when we do the next “come-and-try” event and try it out (not sure where in the world you are)…

    • Oskar

      Well getting Polar to send you a unit isn’t my job right? Popping by would be quite easy, if it did not cost as much as the power meter itself =D

  15. Artur

    I’ve tried their left crank arm model a few weeks ago while visiting Copenhagen. Appeared to work just fine, thought i’m not DCR and did not have a second power meter to compare (it was their bike anyway, but I’m sure they would have been fine with throwing P1s on it). But overall seemed ball park in line with what i see on the trainer.

    Unfortunately, missed the best deals today on the crank arm model… Would have made a lot of sense as a first power meter for 2-3 years…

  16. Juan

    Zimanox:
    So $189 for 50 units, gone
    $199 for the next 50 units, gone
    $209 for the next 500 units, still going.

    I was on their list from the beginning, but got stuck with work and didn’t get to see the email until around 11 am today. By that time I think there were a few $199 spots.

    I think at $189 it is a solid deal with the subscription $5 for the 2 years. Higher than that, I am not sure I am getting the interest with just 50 units and 50 units, then 500 units.

  17. J

    Seeing that you had to switch out your BB (on your Trek) i am guessing it’s 30mm spindle and you had to use one of those funky small bearing 30mm BBs

    Personally i think the subscription models a great thing. One of the off putting things about “Do i need a power meter?” (the answer is yes) … is the upfront cost.

  18. Dustin

    You may just want to photoshop out the name on the cranks… I can read it pretty easily, even with it being taped over.

  19. Joel

    Once the subscription/payment plan is up and it’s fully “yours” does the meter need to keep phoning home?

  20. frank andreasen

    I have been following this team for some time and has allready jumped on the team backing them :) right now they are very close to their kickstarter goal for production so ill be surpriced if they dont get going in time

    now i have been using stages for a couple off years with all the issues and dropouts of connections and is hoping this will be better
    pricewise i will say that this will be less than half the price of a stages ultegra crank
    if you get on it now its 179 dollars plus 111 dollars over 2 years that will end up aroun 288,- USD and here in denmark a stages ultegra crank is around 5000,- DKR= 750 USD so its ALOT cheaper

  21. Eric

    I think the subscription model is great, though I think dcr is right that they got the pricing wrong. The company ethics though… If you’re an OEM is it cool to take a not-on-the-market product you make for someone else and use it to market your own product that’ll compete directly with your customer? If I was that brand I’d be pretty pissed off right now.

  22. Radu

    @Ray – Be careful, your electrical tape is kind of see through!
    In SC_6313_thumb1.jpg on a properly calibrated monitor the name shines through the tape immediately.

    • I’m putting this in the camp of I went the extra mile with a piece of electrical tape… I could have put big censored pieces, or multiple layers of tape, but really, that just gets ugly. Or, they could have sent me a non-branded unit or something covered to begin with. Shrug.

    • SummitAK

      Ray, from your response it doesn’t sound like there are plans for you to test this PM for the crankset company blacked out in this test. With Zwatt only offering this Zpindle option as a Kickstarter Stretch option it would be cool to here more about this version that will hit production in the near term. Cost, options, etc. When I saw it announced that this company was going to be making cranks again it was kind of a yawn. But the adaptation (merger I guess) of the Cinch BB standard and the future addition of a spindle mounted powermeter could be huge. These BB30 style spindles are basically becoming interchangeable so that this spindle mounted PM should cover 1x, 2x and 3x spider/rings and DM ring options (different spindle lengths, spacers, shims). This may become more valuable with rear axle spacing and chainlines that are starting to proliferate like BB standards:(

  23. Polarfan

    Hei Ray,

    when will you write about that polar m600?

    link to sportuhrenguru.net
    link to amazon.com

  24. Michael

    Ashton instruments…Are they still breathing?

  25. Jordi Backx

    No Campa? :-(

    • We hear that question a lot. Rally together 500 friends that want the same thing (should be doable with the help of internet and Facebook these days) and we will talk to Campy. We have the right contacts, and I am pretty sure they will listen :)

  26. Andy

    I originally signed up for this when they asked how much do you want to pay. So i filled the forms in quite happy.

    Then they hit me with the ‘Subscriptions’ email. At that point i binned the email and all correspondence from them.

    Come on. This is nothing more than a back-handed way of getting more money from you. They promise the world for a cheap fee but then don’t tell you they are then going to charge you a monthly fee to use it? F*ck off.

    Thats exactly the SKY tv model. You think you’re getting a lot of channels when you sign up, its only once you do you realise you only get the basics and if you want the extras its going to cost you.

    The upshot of this is that SKY control your fee. Before long you’re paying for everything. And this won’t be any different.
    You want accurate power? thats fine, you get it.
    You want left and right metrics? thats fine you get it.
    You want to upload to Strava or 3rd party apps? thats fine you get it.

    ..then 3 months down the line it goes something like this..

    You want left and right metrics?..thats going to be an extra $1 a month.
    You want to upload to 3rd party sites? thats going to be an extra $2 a month.

    Don’t be mugs on this, these things always go like this way and anyone buying into this system will get ripped off eventually. When you buy a power meter, you buy a power meter, you don’t want to be held to ransom further down the line to make it work.

    Bottom line is, if you want it to work and continue to work then you have to pay us every month. Ridiculous and I’m surprised that Ray is thinking this is cool! I can only put his usual lack of clear judgment on this down to sleepless baby nights. Ray, this is not the way forward.

    Buy into this at your peril. Just don’t come back on here moaning in a years time its now coast you more than buying a Stages or 4iiii unit one-off price.

    • Yagil

      As they have Ant+ and BLE, I doubt if they can possibly limit the uploads through other devices (e.g. Garmin). Anyway, as the price with subscription is still lower than Stages, and for me the ability to pay slowly is actually a benefit, I went for it. We’ll see if I was correct.

    • Yagil

      Well did a silly mistake and forgot that Shimano MTB and Road cranks use the same hollowtech II bb and axle but have a very different Q-Factor. Had to cancel so I won’t see if I’m correct… If they had a Dual-ring version of the Zpindle I may have gone for it.

  27. andy

    I don’t really mind the subscription model, but I do wonder if a Kickstarter project is the right partner for it.

    What happens if Team Zwatt gets bought by a bigger player or flat out ceases to exist for some other reason? To whom do I pay my 5 bucks to make sure my pm still works? Do I still qualify for the discount?

    And I wish there was a better explanation how the subscription works technically. As in, do they need to “turn on” the power function every once in a while? Am I correct to assume if I don’t connect via a phone for several days at a time I lose power functionality? So I need to connect even if I’m abroad and don’t have “regular” internet via my phone? What if your server goes down?

    What the heck does “a few rides” mean?

    • Andy, Fair questions. If we get bought up, the buyer will also buy the obligation. Or we will simply unlock the power meters, like what I will personally make sure happens if we have to fold for some reason.

      The technical solution is fairly simple when you think of it. You have to connect every so often using our app and that will give the PM a number of additional rides before you need to connect again. The exact number is not 100% locked yet – not too big, not too small is the goal.

  28. MJL

    A post here out of pure curiosity, as I’m mostly a runner. How does gathering power meter data from “out in the wild” help a company improve their product? It seems to this non-engineer brain that there wouldn’t be enough controls or known comparison points for the data to be useful.

    • I would love to give you the full answer. It’s too long and technical :) But… While everybody fuzzes over accuracy and tries to compare two power meter readings – the real challenge lies in separating the noise from the signal. By knowing a lot more about the noise, the algorithms can be “trained” to do an even better job. See this video for an example: link to youtube.com

  29. Ok, so it’s basically a lease. Nothing new with other products, but definitely a great option to get a power meter that nobody else is offering.

    I’m really considering the spider option. I’m a bit anal and wouldn’t go for a crank arm that doesnt, match the other. I’d get a Stages instead. But the Gossamer cranks + power meter for 360 dolars seems like a good deal (299+4.95*12). Just wonder if it’s worth switching to a Gossamer from an Ultegra. Anyone has input on that?

  30. Rick Louviere

    Great review, as always.

    So, bottom-line, recommend or not?

  31. Rick Louviere

    DC, in looking at their website, it looks like, if you want the Zpider version, you must purchase a chainring from them for an additional $200! If that’s the case, you may want to your above-stated prices. If it weren’t for the need to purchase the chainring, I’d probably get the Zpider; however, if this isn’t included, I’ll probably go with the Zpindle.

    • Rick,
      We have a price of $79 for a set of two chain rings listed on the add-on page. Where did you get the $200? Would love to have that corrected asap :) Also, if you can find a better deal on the chain rings let us know. We would love to be able to offer them at a better price.

    • Rick Louviere

      This is what I saw on your site: “The Gossamer crankset retails for around DKK 1500 (approx $220 | €200) without the power meter function, so factor that in when you look at the price. ”

      Maybe I misunderstood?

    • Rick, yes that’s a misunderstanding. Sorry if the wording there is not completely clear. With the ZPIDER you get a complete crankset with a power meter. Now if you were to just buy the same crankset in a store without the power meter you could easily pay €200 for that alone… So when looking at the price, remember you are getting a complete brand new crankset as part of the deal.

  32. Giles Roadnight

    Hi Ray
    Does the power meter transmit 0 values when stationary or does it just stop transmitting?
    For power meters that transmit nothing it leads to odd results in Virb Edit for example when waiting at lights.
    Thanks

  33. Hey Ray

    My eyes are not as good as they used to be and I’ve tried, I really have, but I just can’t make out the taped out brand name on the crank – everyone else seems to have managed it and now I feel left out :(

    Nice review though :)

  34. David

    I think everyone except maybe PowerPod is missing the market and maybe the point.

    I HAVE a bike, actually I have a few (another story) why do I have to buy another crankset just to have a powermeter? I have a box full of extra and discarded parts why do I want to add to it? Why only Shimano and not Campy? What nobody runs anything but Shimano? Why would I want to go through the hassle and greasy hands to swap the powermeter from one bike to another?

    Powermeters will never go mainstream until they become as easy to use as a smartphone and this latest offering is just more of the same but priced differently.

  35. HH

    FYI

    Goal reached now and 170mm + 175mm crank arm lengths are available for the left only option.

  36. Philipp

    Looks like those are the Powertap AMP 50 wheels (albeit with different graphics than I’ve seen) with rims apparently build for Powertap by Reynolds, would love to hear your take on them. I have an opportunity to get them steeply discounted, but there are few reviews of them online, I’m wondering how they stack up against something like the new Flo 45 carbon clinchers or more current Reynolds-branded wheels.

  37. Napan

    The test crank set is looked familiar with leading carbon component brand’s new crank set.
    If yes, it give me more confidence.

  38. Johannes

    I was actually about to pre-order this, until I noticed that the up front base price (excluding the subscription payment for two years) for the Zpider has gone up from the 299 $ noted in this preview to 399 $.

    As the prices shown on the web page is exclusive of VAT, the price is actually even higher at 500 $ for people in Europe (the VAT is added, when you proceed to the payment).

    This price does not seem at all competitive with other offerings, considering the added hassle and subscription on top of the 500 $ up front, not to mention the fact that this is still an unproven power meter that’s not even released yet.

    Am I missing something or has this gone from a great deal to a pretty mediocre deal?

    • This was published during the Kickstarter campaign, which means you get lower pricing in exchange for higher risk. It also gives the company capital to move forward projects.

    • Johannes

      The original prices from the Kickstarter campaign did indeed make sense to me for the reasons you mention, as those prices were sufficiently low so as to compensate for the higher risk and the subscription based model.

      The new price (including subscription and VAT) for the Zpider appears to be approximately $617, however, which is about $200 more than the original price, about $70 less than a Powertap C1 and about the same price as the Power2max when on sale, as you mentioned. It’s also about the same price as the 4iiii Precision Pro.

      In short, it appears to me that the Zwatt power meters are no longer the alluring deals they were when first announced, but are instead simply one option among many in the cheapest price bracket, where they are competing against several other options that are both already proven to work reliably and accurately and do not entail the added hassle and possible risks of a subscription.

    • Gotcyha.

      Then yes, at that price I believe they’ve misunderstood the cost/benefit balance, especially for a newcomer. And, it’s something I hinted at in the post about thinking even the pricing as-is wasn’t quite aligned to where I thought it should have been then.

    • Arno

      Actually, they re-opened the Indiegogo campaign. 329 for the Zpyder and 209 for the Zimanox, no added VAT. Just supported it myself today.
      link to indiegogo.com

    • Johannes

      Thanks, Arno! The campaign prices seem much more reasonable to me. I’ve now ordered the Zpyder via the Indigogo campaign.

  39. LaCe

    A few days ago, I was asked by zwatt what cranklenght I wanted for My zimanox crankarms. I really hope that IT Will be delivered soon

    I was’nt in the really earlie bidders.

    • Thomas

      I was early bird. I’m expecting march delivery from their updates. Chinese new year has delayed the Feb launch apparently

  40. Ben Mullin

    I am also an early bird and submitted my crank length info. The info was unclear if the new year issues that affected the Zpider also affected the Zimanox. They indicated “start shipping in March”. Not quite sure what that really means.

    I wonder if Ray has any insight? Maybe he as one of the first three CNC’d ones?

  41. LaCe

    Now Zwatt is in Production at idiegogo. Latest is that delivery for more than the first 30-60 will be delivered in april. The first user has got his unit delivered, would be interesting to hear a comment from Ray.

  42. Mdh

    Has anybody on here received their power meter yet. Curious to hear how people are getting on with them.

    Thanks

    Matt

    • Paul Doucette

      I received my ZPIDER last week. They forgot to add the bottom bracket and chain rings so I have not installed it yet. It does connect to my Edge 510 and Fenix 3.

    • Glen

      Got my Zpider last week. Set up was extremely simple (including the subscription and data upload) and it seems to work very well so far :)

    • Ben Mullin

      I got an email from them this week indicating that they were hoping to ship the first lot of Zimanox starting next week. I’m hoping to see mine.

  43. Jon

    Looks like the taped over brand has finally released their version of the powermeters

    link to bikeradar.com

  44. LaCe

    And the danish company that they have used for help with electronics should be…
    So I take this as a good sign that their product also is on Its way. They are supposed to be at sea Otter also.

    • frank andreasen

      right now we are just waiting for them to deliver but they keep on moving delivery to next week and then move it to next week again
      its getting frustrating now :)

    • frank andreasen

      right now we are just waiting for them to deliver but they keep on moving delivery to next week and then move it to next week again
      its getting frustrating now :)

  45. Paul Daly

    Hope to see you test/review the Zimanox and Zpider models.

  46. Mdh

    My two Zpiders turned up last week whilst I was on vacation. I have installed one and it seems to be working well so far.

    Cheers

    Matt

  47. Adrian

    Hi Ray,

    Good review it could be an option for me but have you heard anything recently about the company or a review of their products (I’m looking at the Zpider). I cant really find anything more recent than original backer having received them and this site which say they are shipping.

    Thanks,

    Adrian

  48. Paul H

    @Ray

    Any planned in depth review for the Zwatt Zpider?

    • Perhaps down the road. I don’t have any final production units of any of the Team Zwatt units, so that’d probably be the first item to solve.

    • Paul H

      From latest Zwatt backers update email.


      Latest production update
      ZPIDER: Full production. You can tell your friends to order in the webshop now :)”