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The Power Meters Buyer’s Guide–2016 Edition

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Once again, it’s time for the annual power meter buyer’s guide.  While the last month hasn’t seen a ton of new power meters, if you take the entire year in review, you’ll see it’s been quite busy with not only new players – but also totally new methods of buying a power meter…such as subscription based power meters.

Of course, we saw a spring price war breakout, with power meter prices plummeting.  I wrote about that here, and will update it shortly to show where things stand at the end of the year.

When we look at what’s new this year, there’s been a number of new products on the docket:

– 4iiii Dual Power Meter
– Team Zwatt Subscription based power meter
– ROTOR’s 2INPower system
– Look’s new dual ANT+/BLE units shipping
– Shimano’s new power meter
– Pioneer’s expansion of crank arm types
– Quarq’s new DZero power meters
– Power2Max’s new NG power meters
– Heck, even running power meters (which I’m excluding in this post)

At the same time, there’s also products that have been in our minds for potentially years (or less) that still aren’t shipping.

The goal of this post is NOT to give you a final answer that says ‘this is the power meter to buy’.  If there’s anything I want to change in the industry it’s the mindset that there is a single perfect power meter for every consumer.  Thus, if you ask someone for “the best power meter”, and they give you any answer other than “it depends”, don’t trust that person.  That person should be asking you your specific use case, bike placement limitations, and how much you want to spend.

The cycling market has many unique use cases and thus you’ll need to take into consideration your specific requirements.  For example, it’d be silly to go out and buy Garmin Vector if you’re looking to put it on a mountain bike.  And similarly, it’d be silly to buy a PowerTap hub if you currently have HED H3 wheels, since it wouldn’t fit there.

Note that I’m not going to cover why you’d use a power meter here, nor how to use it.  For those, start here with these posts.  Instead, I’m just going to focus on the products out in the market today, and those coming down the road.

Finally, remember that power meters tend to be about as fiery as politics and religion.  So keep in mind this is just my view.  There are certainly other views out there (all wrong of course), but this comes from my perspective of trying out all the products below and hearing feedback from literally hundreds of people per day.  There are no doubt edge cases I can’t easily cover in a single readable post, but I think I’ll cover 99% of the people out there.  The remaining 1% can consider a donation of gold and/or expensive rocks for my further thoughts.

With that, let’s dive into things.

Power Meter Placement:

Before we start diving into the brands, features and functionality, we should probably talk about placement.  The reason being that unlike a bike computer that works on just about every bike on the planet, power meters actually have more limitations than you might think.  Some limitations are straight technical (i.e. it won’t fit), and some are preference based (i.e. I don’t like it).  In either case, for most people this section will help narrow down the selection a bit.

Let’s just briefly ensure we’ve got everyone on the same page as far as where these things all go, starting with the below photo and using the text after it as a guide.

image

As you can see above, we’ve got five main areas we see power meters placed today:

1) Rear wheel
2) Crank spider
3) Crank arms
4) Pedals/Cleats
5) Bottom Bracket/Axle (not visible, behind tip of arrow)

There are tangential products on other areas of the bike (like handlebars), but none of those currently on the market actually have strain gauges in them.  Thus they are more estimations (albeit some highly accurate) than actual force measurement devices.  So for much of this post I’m keeping the focus on what’s known as “direct force power meters” – which are units that measure force via a strain gauge of some sort.  And finally, I’m not going to talk about companies that have gone out of business (i.e. Ergomo), or products that haven’t been made in a long while (i.e. Polar chain power meter).  Not that I’d recommend either anyway at this point.

Back to my photo-diagram, I want to expand out the crank area a bit and talk specifically to that.  Here’s a quick cheat-sheet of which products are where (I’ve added a single-line item for non-direct force options):

Rear Wheel: PowerTap hubs
Crank Spider: Quarq/SRAM, Power2Max, SRM, PowerTap C1, Team Zwatt Zpider
Crank Arms: Rotor, Stages, Pioneer, 4iiii, WatTeam, ROTOR INPower2, Team Zwatt Zimanox, Shimano
Pedals: Garmin Vector, PowerTap P1, Polar/Look combo, bePRO, Look, Xpedo
Pedal Spacer: LIMITS
Cleats: Brim Brothers
Bottom Bracket: Ashton Instruments, Dyno Velo, ROTOR INpower, Team Zwatt Zpindle
Non-direct Force Power Meters: PowerPod, LEO, iBike

In the case of left-only variants of some of those products (Polar/ROTOR/Garmin/PowerTap/4iiii), it’s still the same placement, just on the left side instead of both sides.

Also note, for companies where they OEM a secondary product, I’m just focusing on the primary name-brand product.  For example, Cateye is simply 4iiii, and FSA is simply Power2Max re-branded.

Features & Functionality:

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Now that we’ve covered where each unit goes, let’s talk about the features that the power meters on the market have today:

Total Power (Watts): This is the obvious one – every power meter has this today (even estimated ones!).  This is simply measuring and transmitting your total power output to a head unit of some type.

ANT+ Support: Another relatively obvious one, the vast majority of power meters on the market today transmit via ANT+ to compatible had units.  This allows you to use one of dozens of different head units out there.  I’d be very hesitant to choose a non-ANT+ power meter unless you already know which head unit you’re going to pair to it (for example, the Polar V800 or Ambit3).

Bluetooth Smart: Bluetooth Smart (or BLE/BTLE for short) has become a bit of a secondary standard in the power meter market.  The majority of new power meters being made are shipping with dual ANT+/BLE.  However, I’d warn that the head unit support for Bluetooth Smart power meters remains a mess with different units working on different head units, even varying by firmware versions.  Thus by and large even companies that support dual ANT+/BLE power meters on their head units (like the Wahoo ELEMNT), are recommending folks use ANT+ when connecting from the ELEMNT to power meters, as it tends to work better.  In time that’ll resolve itself, but the industry is still growing there.

Left Only Power Meters: These power meters only measure power from the left side.  All of these units then simply double the left power and produce total power.  Stages really exploded this category with their left-only power meter, and other vendors followed suit including Garmin (Vector S), Rotor (Rotor LT, ROTOR inPOWER), 4iiii (some models), LIMITS, and Polar (Keo Power Essential).  Note that all bottom-bracket power meters are left-only power.  There are likely more I haven’t listed here.

Estimated Left/Right Power: This became all the rage just prior to true left/right units coming out, starting with the SRAM/Quarq RED unit offering left/right power.  That platform works by essentially splitting your crank in half and assuming that any power recorded while pulling up is actually coming from the left side, whereas pushing down is from the right side.  Thus, an estimation.  It’s good, but not perfect.  Note that even with true left/right power (below), there’s actually very little in the scientific community around what to do with the data.  While you may think that perfect balance would be ideal – that hasn’t been established.  And some that have looked into it have found that trying to achieve balance actually lowers your overall output.  The only thing folks agree on is that measuring left/right power can be useful for those recovering from single-leg injury.  The PowerTap C1, Power2Max units, and all SRAM/Quarq models currently on the market use this method.

Actual or True Left/Right Power: This is limited to units that can measure your power in more than one location.  Thus why we see it on pedals, as well as the more expensive crank-arm or pedal based power meters.  You can’t measure it directly at the spider, instead you have to measure it upstream of that such as the cranks (ROTOR dual system, Infocrank’s dual system, Pioneer’s dual system, WatTeam, Shimano’s dual system, 4iiii’s dual system), pedals (Garmin, bePRO, Polar/Look, Look alone, Xpedo), or cleats (Brim Brothers).

Pedal Smoothness & Torque Efficiency: These two metrics are available in the high-end power meters which contain true left/right power measurement as well as a supported head unit.

Cycling Dynamics: This is Garmin’s suite of Garmin Vector specific features that enable data such as platform offset and where in the stroke your power is coming from (power phase), as well as seated and standing position.  Polar also has a variant of this in some of their new cycling units as well with their own pedals.  But other manufactures can’t display these metrics on Garmin’s head units. So basically, it’s just Garmin to Garmin.  But honestly, I don’t find much true value in this, beyond some limited bike fit scenarios.

Battery Swapping: All but one unit on the market today (SRM) supports battery swapping by yourself.  SRM requires you to send it in (but gets way longer battery life in between swaps).  The remainder of the shipping units out there today utilize a CR2032 and similar coin-cell batteries. Most get between 200 and 400 hours of run-time before you simply replace the battery.  However, some of the newer units like the PowerTap P1 that runs on AAA batteries get a bit less time, as do units such as bePRO and WatTeam that use rechargeable batteries (using micro-USB cables).  Also, Power2Max did just announce their rechargeable system in the NG models, but it hasn’t started shipping yet (slated for November 2016).

Calibration options: All units on the market today support some sort of calibration function, though to what extent is what differs.  Some have numerous options (i.e. Quarq with an app allowing you much further access), while others are more black-box (i.e. Stages and Polar).  For the most part, your primary concern here is really that some sort of calibration occurs, and that you can trigger it to happen on demand.  Beyond that it tends to get to more advanced calibration and torque checking methods. It should be noted that the term calibration can have very specific meanings to different people (technically most people are really doing a zero-offset).  But for today’s post I’m going to keep it a bit more generic.

Ok, with all the core power meter features covered, let’s dive into the brands available today.

The On-Market Contenders:

We’ll start with products that you can effectively take home today. They’re in the market, available today for purchase and you can more or less install them today on the bike.  They may have slight backorders if you were to order today, but units are shipping to consumers (which is where I draw the line).  For the purposes of this section I’m focusing on direct force power meters (DFPM’s), in a later section I’ll cover non-DFPM’s.

Additionally, in the following section after this I’ll cover announced but not yet shipping units that are on the road to market.

Note, this list is arranged in no particular order, you can use the sidebar shortcuts to quickly skip to different products.  Also note that I’ve updated sections as appropriate for this year, but for products that haven’t changed, I’m not going to re-invent the text just to re-invent that text.  I’d rather spend that time eating cookies and ice cream.

PowerTap Hub:

IMG_0647

PowerTap has been around more than 15 years – longer than most folks realize actually.  Though their popularity has really grown in the past few years, especially in the US.  The PowerTap replaces your rear wheel hub, which means that it’s tied into a single wheel.  This makes it easy to move between bikes, but also makes it difficult if you have separate training and racing wheels – ultimately costing one of those two situations to lose out on power.

These days the PowerTap hub products ship with a dual capable ANT+/BLE cap.  But if you find an older G3 unit that has an ANT+ cap on it, you can buy the dual caps or the BLE-only cap.  Thus it’s pretty flexible that way.  I use the dual caps on my units without issue across a wide number of devices.

Advantages: Easy install if you buy a wheel set with it pre-installed (my recommendation).  Auto-zero while coasting helps keep things in check without you thinking about it.  Manual calibration is easy, and swapping out batteries and the electronics pod quick and straight forward.  Good customer service.

Disadvantages: Limited to a single wheel, so training vs racing scenarios can be tough.  Also limited on things like disc wheels.  And if you have multiple bike types where the wheel type changes (i.e. going from triathlon to cross), you may be in the same pickle there.

Would I buy it: Absolutely, and in fact, it’s one of the units that I’ve bought myself as a workhorse in my power meter testing (two units actually).  Based on what I’ve seen, the PowerTap is the closest I get to ‘set it and forget it’ when it comes to power meters on the market today (talking specifically to calibration/offset variance and stability).  However, if you’re one that changes wheel sets frequently in your training, I’d be more measured in deciding whether it’s worth not having power somewhere (I don’t think it is).  Though, with their recent price cuts, it makes buying two PowerTap’s basically as cheap as buying a single crank-based unit.

Relevant Posts: CycleOps Joule and PowerTap Wheelset In-Depth Review, PowerTap’s new hubs, Bluetooth Smart Trainers, iPad apps, and more, A sneak peek at two new PowerTap products (including high speed data cap) – Note that I don’t really have a super-new In-Depth Review of the PowerTap G3, for no particular purpose, though you’ll find data from it in virtually every one of my power meter reviews.

(Note: CycleOps has renamed its power meter organization to simply be “PowerTap”, and prefers that the company thus be called “PowerTap”.  Thus, I’m using that naming.)

PowerTap Pedals:

PowerTap-P1-Pedals

Since we’re on PowerTap products already, we’ll continue that trend with the P1 pedals.  I’m separating out these three products because they’re so different (different placement, etc…).  Versus if a product is simply a slight model change by the same company (i.e. Quarq Riken to Elsa), I’m lumping them together with differences noted in that section.

As for the P1 pedals, they were announced in the spring of 2015 and started shipping in the summer of 2015.  Since then they’ve been adopted by many people, primarily due to their simplicity and ease of use.  They don’t record advanced metrics yet like Garmin’s Cycling Dynamics (though they did just roll out an app store update this week that allows you to see them during indoor trainer sessions), but they do have total power, left/right power, cadence, and other core metrics.  Additionally, they also have dual ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart transmission, which Vector lacks.

Advantages: Easiest install of really any power meter out there (except perhaps the PT hub if it’s already in a wheel), no pods or torque wrenches required.  Just a simple hex wrench to install and off you go, no settling period required either.  Pricing is competitive with other full left/right units currently shipping.  I view the AAA battery as an advantage, though a small group of folks sees it as a disadvantage (I love that I can get a replacement anywhere in the world at any tiny little store on a route if need be).  Finally, no pods are on the units – so nothing to worry about breaking easily.

Disadvantages: Only a Look-Keo pedal/cleat type, and at that it’s not exactly a Look-Keo pedal (slight differences).  Also the battery life is more limited than some other power meters.  Finally, there’s been a handful of folks that have seen issues with play in the spindle.  PowerTap says that they addressed some early manufacturing issues there, but there still seems to be the occasional issue pop-up with a handful of readers.  Note that any earlier reviews seen on the interwebs with power spikes have long seen been resolved in a firmware update last winter.

Would I buy it: Yes. This is my go-to power meter in terms of being able to travel and bring it with me.  I type this from 35,000 feet over the Atlantic, and I was able to use these P1 pedals in both Canada and the US during my trip.  Quick to put on.  If I had to have only one power meter (ignoring all the usual constraints), this would be it.

Relevant Posts: PowerTap P1 Power Meter Pedals In-Depth Review, First rides with the PowerTap P1 Pedals & PowerTap C1 Chainring…and more, PowerTap announces P1 Power Meter Pedals, also PowerTap C1 chainring unit

PowerTap Chainring:

PowerTap-C1-Chainring

At the same time that PowerTap introduced their new P1 pedals in the spring of 2015, they also announced a new line – the C1 chainring power meter.  This unit ships with the chainrings, per the pod you can see attached to the chainrings above.  The company started shipping the product last fall of 2015.

I used the unit quite a bit last fall and into the winter without any issue.  It’s essentially very similar to that of the Power2Max and Quarq units.  The only major differences you’ll note are really more around compatibility with various crank sets.

Advantages: Dual ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart compatibility, ability to install onto your own compatible crank arms, price, and long battery life.

Disadvantages: Limited chainring compatibility is really the main one, being that the company is only offering certain compatibility options. For many people this won’t be an issue – but it’s worth noting.  Like most of the other crank-spider region options (Power2Max/Quarq/etc…), it’s not hard if you know what you’re doing – but might be slightly intimidating to those not as familiar to figure out which model is compatible with your bike.  Fear not, it’s easy for your bike shop though.

Would I buy it: Yes, I have no issues buying this unit.  It’s been proven reliable and accurate, and after nearly a year of being on the market, I hear virtually no complaints.  I kinda put the PowerTap C1, Power2Max and Quarq units all in the same boat: All are great options and all are fairly similar in features  (and roughly in the same price range) – simply go with whatever fits your requirements around compatibility best.

Relevant Posts: Powertap C1 Chainring In-Depth Review, First rides with the PowerTap P1 Pedals & PowerTap C1 Chainring…and more, PowerTap announces P1 Power Meter Pedals, also PowerTap C1 chainring unit

Power2Max:

Power2Max

Power2Max has been on the scene for roughly a little over 4 years now.  Since then they’ve repeatedly driven down the costs of power meters in the industry, and gained significant market share in doing so.

The units are typically sold with or without cranks, so you’ll need to add your own, or purchase them from Power2Max pre-installed.  Exactly one month ago today they introduced their new Power2Max NG power meter lineup, which succeeds their Power2Max Type-S lineup.  The new NG units bring with them dual ANT+/BLE (the Type-S is ANT+ only), as well as a rechargeable battery.  It also brings a bit of a steep increase in price.

When I use the Power2Max (like Quarq and PowerTap), I find them among the least finicky and most ‘easy to use’.  Day in and day out in testing these units tend to ‘just work’ for me with very little calibration worries.

Advantages: The least expensive crank-based solution on the market today.  Solid accuracy with a growing crank set compatibility matrix.  Any temperature compensation concerns are long-gone relics of devices years ago.

Disadvantages: There isn’t a method to turn off auto-zero today on units (which is really only an issue for the most advanced of advanced users).

Would I buy it: No problem at all here, as noted above – it’s probably the best deal for a complete (captures all power, not just left) power meter on the market today.  I love that they’re well into the ‘just works’ category.  Note that at present I have *NOT* tested the new/upcoming NG units, so, I’ll have to defer judgment there until they ship.  I have tested both the Type-S and Classic lineup without any issues.

Relevant Posts: A look at the new Power2Max NG power meters, The Power2Max Type S Power Meter In-Depth Review, Power2Max drops prices…again. Now $610US, Power2Max releases new Type S line, expands compatibility, Power2Max introduces Type S mountain bike power meter, additional road bike models

Garmin Vector:

GarminVector

It’s funny to think that Garmin Vector has been out for over three years now – well into the ‘mature’ product category from a power meter standpoint.  In that time they’ve released a new v2 version, added in Cycling Dynamics (to both v1 & v2) and even started including the fabled crowfoot adapter for installation (which still requires a torque wrench, even on Vector 2).  Finally, they introduced a Vector S option, which is a left-only unit that can be upgraded down the road to a complete dual-leg system.

They’ve largely stabilized any outstanding issues for most users that cropped up in the first edition, though I think many bike shops remain leery mostly on historical grounds.

Garmin is the only company that offers Cycling Dynamics, which includes all assortment of metrics on your pedaling style.  Some of these metrics can be interesting from a bike-fit standpoint, but many don’t yet have a specific training or racing purpose.  Sometimes these metrics take time for the greater scientific community to figure out how to use.  Unfortunately, Garmin believes that either the system or these metrics warrant a price far higher than it should be.  I disagree, and it’s been 2 years since Cycling Dynamics has been out and nobody has come up with any real uses for it beyond a fit studio.

Advantages: Cycling Dynamics, full left/right power recording, somewhat-portable system between bikes (can be a bit finicky to install though)

Disadvantages: Pedal choice (just Look-compatible, albeit with a Shimano Ultegra upgrade/accessory kit available), price, and portability isn’t quite what it seems if you travel (you’ll need a torque wrench to really install properly, yes, even with Vector 2), but within your house it’s really straightforward.

Would I buy it:  No, not at this point or price point.  This is for three specific reasons: 1) They require a torque wrench to install, the PowerTap P1’s don’t.  2) They are ANT+ only, and not dual ANT+/BLE, thus limiting your app and head unit usage.  3) They’ve got pods hanging down that the P1’s don’t have.  3.5) Garmin has yet to clearly define how to use Cycling Dynamics to get faster in training or racing, despite 2+ years of folks asking for it.

Relevant Posts: Garmin announces Vector2 (and 2S), also upgrade kit for original Vector owners, Garmin Vector In-Depth Review , Garmin announces Vector S: $899 power meter, also announces Cycling Dynamics,

Favero bePRO:

FaveroBePro

It’s rare that a company both announces and ships a power meter at essentially the same time – but Favero did just that last summer.  They announced their first power meter, the bePRO and started shipping basically immediately.  The unit is similar to Garmin Vector in that it’s a pedal based power meter, but it’s a bit different in that it doesn’t require separate pods be installed – rather it’s all part of a single pedal with directly attached pod design.  This gives you full left/right metrics.

While the installation may appear intimidating the first time, you’ll quickly realize it’s pretty easy to do.  In my testing I found the accuracy was quite good after a few rides to let it settle, and from that point forward it handled fairly well.  The battery life isn’t quite as strong as some of the coin cell powered units, but isn’t too hard to charge in that it uses a simple micro-USB cable.

Advantages: Price – the unit is 749EUR for a dual-leg system or 499EUR for a single-leg system.  Accuracy is overall quite good as well.

Disadvantages: Installation can be kinda finicky at first, and you do need to take their special tools with you if you travel.  Also, I’m concerned about wear and tear on the units over a longer period of time.

Would I buy it: Mostly. Last year I was concerned about how it might hold up long term with the pod design, but after a winter’s worth of DCR readers testing it – the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.  No issues on the durability front.  I would caution that I wouldn’t buy this unit if you’re moving back and forth between bikes, it’s just not designed for that.  The other downside is that it doesn’t support BLE, so it’s ANT+ only.

Relevant Posts: The Favero bePRO Power Meter In-Depth Review

Polar/Look:

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(This section talks specifically to the Polar-branded Look/Polar combo, see next section for Look-branded option)

The Polar/Look Power System pedals is almost five years old at this point, though it’s had a few overhauls along the way – most notably now being full Bluetooth Smart compatible, though that basically means that today it’s really only compatible with the Polar V650, M400, and V800 units.  I don’t know if the Suunto Ambit3 is compatible with it (as it does support BLE power meters).

Note that there’s been a bit of a relationship status change been Polar and Look, so things are in a wonky state right now.  Look announced their own dual ANT+/BLE version last year, and started shipping this past winter/spring, effectively sideswiping the Polar product lineup.

Finally, Polar announced a new version two summers ago, Keo Power Essential, which is a left-only option.  In this scenario you just get the left pod and pedal, and then it doubles the power for the right side.  This has the same inherent limitations as Stages, but also offers a lower price point than the full Keo dual-pedal system.

Advantages: Pedal based means theoretical portability, system largely ‘just works’ once you get it installed. Appears accurate, but really hard to validate all aspects.

Disadvantages: Installation is a bit complex. Not as easy as Vector to move between bikes. Limitations on crank widths/lengths.  Only Bluetooth Smart support (not dual ANT+/BLE).  Overpriced.

Would I buy it: Definitely not.  Aside from being functionally rather limited compared to other power meters, it’s horribly overpriced.  As noted in a recent post elsewhere, the price would really have to be solidly sub-$1000 to consider, and even then really only if you were an existing Polar head unit owner (V650/M400/V800).  Plus, I don’t even think Polar is selling these at this point anymore.  After Look ditched them and made their own dual ANT+/BLE power meter (also overpriced), they’re kinda left at the alter holding limp flowers.

Relevant Review: LOOK’s new dual ANT+/BLE Power Meter Pedals: A bit more information, Polar Look Keo Power System–Pedal Based Power Meter–In-Depth Review, Polar announces new Keo Power systems, and V800/V650 power meter update plans, and more!

Look:

DSC_0861

(This section talks specifically to the Look-branded option)

As noted in the previous section, Look spun off their own product  from the previous Polar partnerships late last year and started shipping earlier this year.  That product upgraded the pods used, as well as added dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart solution.  In other words, it became a viable option within the power meter world.

Now this is one of the few units that I haven’t tested the final dual ANT+/BLE version that Look themselves are producing.  On one hand they produced the Polar product previously and from an accuracy standpoint that came out seemingly fine.  On the flip-side, the product did see some delays – so I’m hoping the didn’t shortcut anywhere.

Advantages: Pedal based means theoretical portability, dual ANT+/BLE allows multiple head units.

Disadvantages: Only one pedal type, limitations on crank arms/types.  Incredibly overpriced.

Would I buy it: No. It’s overpriced. Simple as that.  At $1,500 for the dual set, that’s far more than the PowerTap P1’s which do exactly the same thing and don’t require funky installation or have pods hanging off the sides.

Relevant Review: LOOK’s new dual ANT+/BLE Power Meter Pedals: A bit more information

Quarq (SRAM):

IMG_7763

Quarq became the first non-SRM crank-based power meter that was actually affordable.  Starting off on straight road bikes they’ve expanded to other areas including track and cross bikes.  The unit replaces your existing crank spider and depending on the model is typically sold with specific crank arms attached.  You’ll need to ensure your bottom bracket is compatible, but if you shoot the Quarq folks an e-mail I’ve found they can usually help anyone figure that out easily.  All Quarq power meters are made in South Dakota (US), along with servicing and shipping from there.

The Quarq Cinqo was actually the first power meter I bought, and what The Girl subsequently purchased as well for her training. Both I and The Girl still have units on our bikes, and I still use them in testing.

At Eurobike this year, Quarq introduced their new DZero lineup of units, which further dropped prices as well as simplified their product line.  I got a chance to use one recently during a single ride, but haven’t had the chance to do any detailed testing.  My understanding is a unit is on the way to me any day now for a more in-depth review.  So the perspectives below are focused on their pre-DZero lineups (the DZero’s just started shipping in the past week or so).

Advantages: Crank-based design means no wheel swap issues. Accuracy on-par with other units.  Can swap chain rings without issue.  Easy replacement of battery, and can utilize phone apps for further calibration.  For me, it has a high ‘just works’ factor.  Also, last year’s major firmware update removes need for a magnet on your bike.

Disadvantages: Crank arm selection has diminished some with SRAM acquisition (reducing compatibility), and while Spring 2015 pricing updates has made things substantially more competitive, they are still on the higher end of the scale between Power2Max, PowerTap C1, and themselves.

Would I buy it: From the standpoint of “Have I bought it?”, the answer is obviously yes (Cinqo twice, Riken upgrade from Cinqo).  From the technical standpoint, I have no issues with either the RIKEN or ELSA units, which I’ve done quite a bit of testing on.  All of those units perform as expected technically.  And obviously, customer service-wise they’re awesome. But I haven’t tested out their DZero lineup yet in-depth.  If I were to pick 2-3 companies to ‘trust’ not to screw up a new power meter lineup, Quarq would definitely be on that list.  But again, I can’t say for certain yet.

Relevant Reviews: First Ride: Quarq’s New DZero Power Meter Series, Quarq introduces new $799 RIKEN AL power meter, Quarq/SRAM RED Review, Quarq RIKEN In-Depth Review, Eurobike 2014 Power Meter Roundup: Quarq News

Stages Power:

StagesNewPod

As many know by now, Stages really started the whole left-only trend, in that it’s attached to your left crank-arm (seen above), and thus is only measuring the left leg power.  It simply doubles the left-leg power to get total power.  This means if you vary, or vary in certain conditions then the power might not be accurate – or something that you could compare to years from now on different products.  They were also the first one to do dual ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart dual broadcasting.

They introduced a number of expanded models over the past winter and spring, though did have to put the brakes on other models (such as their planned Campy units).  Further, we haven’t seen them expand into selling the dual-versions that Team Sky uses.  And I think at this point we’re going to see them focus on their new Stages Dash head unit for a while.

Still while $529USD is a good price, at the same time you do have to consider options for either slightly less (Power2Max) or slightly more (PowerTap/Quarq) that accurately capture your total power.

Advantages: Inexpensive option.  Easily moved from bike to bike with a simple Allen/hex wrench. Contains both Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ (and dual-broadcasts).  Their new Gen2 design seems to resolve most people’s waterproofing concerns that caused earlier deaths.  Also, their firmware update this past spring seems to have resolved many triathlete’s issues with head units not picking up signal while in the aero position (far less common on road bikes).

Disadvantages: Left-only approach means simply doubling left-leg power, may not be fully accurate representation of your power (high or lower).

Would I buy it: This is a much more complex question.  Technically speaking it’s a well-made unit that accurately measures the left side.  From a pricing standpoint it’s tough to recommend the left-only approach with other options in the same price ballpark that fully capture all power.  Further, as I’ve collected a tremendous amount of power meter data over the past year with 3-5 power meters concurrently, I’ve started to understand my specific personal left/right balance biases.  For most of my riding, there’d be no major issue with Stages.  However for longer or higher intensity rides where I might fatigue more, I see some inaccuracies on Stages due to my personal leg differences.  You might be the same, or you might be perfectly even.  I don’t know.

I know it’s easy to point at Team Sky and simply say “It’s good enough for Froome”, but the reality is we’re talking about sponsored athletes and teams.  In the case of Team Sky, for some riders that are/were seeing imbalance issues with Stages compared to SRM they simply have gone with a ‘known percentage offset’ for wattage goals.  This is a bit of a throwing the baby out with the bathwater approach though, that numerous folks have proven isn’t terribly accurate.  Which isn’t to take away from Team Sky and Stages, more power to them, but rather my point is that it’s not a one-size fits all implementation.

(Yes, this isn’t just relevant to Stages, but all left-only power meters.  It’s just that I wrote the text here first, since it’s the first left-only power meter in the list.)

Relevant Review: Stages 2016 Sea Otter News, Stages drops prices, down to $529US, Stages Power announces carbon crank options, talks a bit about dual leg power, Stages Power Meter In-Depth Review Update

4iiii Precision:

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Next we’ve got 4iiii Precision.  They announced two years ago at Interbike, and started shipping last spring.  While the road was a bit bumpy the first few months, they solved some outstanding issues and have been delivering a very solid left-only unit, and doing so at a $399 price point.

This past spring they announced their dual left/right version, which should have started shipping over the past few weeks, though it might not quite have happened yet.  I tried that out last fall on an early prototype.  They also announced new crank-arm offerings where you don’t even have to send in your crank arms, you simply pickup one of their units with it pre-installed (and it’s still under $400).

Advantages: Least-expensive power meter on the market today and actually shipping at $399USD. Can be applied to most cranks (non-carbon). Contains both Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ (and dual-broadcasts).

Disadvantages: Left-only approach means simply doubling left-leg power, may not be fully accurate representation of your power (high or lower).  Once they release a right-side (dual) companion for it, it’s less of a concern.

Would I buy it:  For the left-only side, sure. Take the exact same general left-only comments I made for Stages and apply them here.  If the dual left/right version that’s shipping momentarily is as accurate as the left-only version – then that’s a very solid option in the market.  I just haven’t tried that yet on a production unit.

Related posts: 4iiii Precision Power Meter In-Depth Review, 4iiii Announces New Factory Pre-Install option, Dual Timelines/PricesA Brief Update on 4iiii Precision Power Meter: Starts shipping this week, 4iiii’s Introduces $399 Power Meter, Precision: My First Ride With It

SRM:

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SRM has been around since the beginning of power meter measurement, and I don’t think there’s anyone that would argue that SRM doesn’t produce solid power meters.  But don’t let that fool you.

From a power meter standpoint however, they are really just as susceptible as any other power meter on the market to adverse events.  Which is probably an important point to note: No power meter out there today is perfect.  Not even SRM.  They all have conditions where they do really well, and conditions where they do less well.  It’s understanding those conditions that’s most important.  Which doesn’t take away from SRM, but rather simply serves to note that I believe there’s a bit of an urban legend with them being the ‘gold standard’.  Many of the products in this post can produce just as consistently accurate power as SRM (which again, SRM is good at doing).

While SRM and I have talked about doing a product review, I’m not sure there’s a substantial benefit in me doing one on older products.  Perhaps if/when they release either a rechargeable unit (which has been backburnered for at least another year), or if/when they release a newer low-cost power meter that’s in the market.

Advantages: It’s a well established brand with a well understood product. The reliability is generally very good.  With ANT+ you can use any head unit you’d like, and aren’t limited to just the SRM head units.

Disadvantages: Expensive. Servicing isn’t as open as other power meters on the market today.  If looking at their head unit (not required), the current generation is simply really expensive for what you get.  No BLE support.

Would I buy it: While I do own one, I certainly wouldn’t recommend someone else buy one.  With the exception of very specific technical use-cases that other power meters can’t fulfill (higher speed recording rates with older head units), I feel that for 98% of the market today, there are more budget friendly options that are just as accurate.  I don’t subscribe to the “gold-standard” concept, maybe at one historical point, but not in this market.  And as the Pro Peloton has proved, virtually every other power meter in this list is just as good as an SRM (if not better).

Relevant Posts: Eurobike 2016 Power Meter Roundup: SRM, Eurobike 2015 Power Meter Roundup: SRM, First look at new SRM PC8 head unit with WiFi/GPS/ANT+ & Bluetooth, Eurobike 2014 Power Meter Roundup: SRM.Interbike 2014 SRM: Their iOS app, PC8, and their thoughts on low-cost power meters

Pioneer Power:

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Pioneer has iterated nicely through two generations of power meters over the last three years, roughly paced at one per year.  Or in the case of this year, a boatload of new options.  In the process they’ve dropped the price significantly – now down to $999USD for a dual system, and $579 for a left-leg system, as well as greatly simplified install and purchasing.

The Pioneer system is a bit different than most other power meters on the market in that you don’t do the install yourself, but rather, you get the kit sent to you fully installed after sending in your crank arms.  Additionally, it’s one of the few units on the market with true left/right high speed data (starting at 12 samples per second (at 60RPM); faster the higher the cadence).  While the 1st generation units received a bunch of undesirable attention due to zip tie usage, the 2nd generation units removed that requirement.  It also removed the complex-crazy installation process by going with a process where you ship them your stuff.

Note that the higher speed data is only available on their Pioneer head units.

Advantages: Has the highest recording rate of any dual-leg power meter on the market today, measures left/right power and associated metrics more in-depth than anyone else.  A completely pre-set system once it arrives to you.  Any choice of chainrings you’d like on the planet. Plus, the $999 complete system price for dual-leg isn’t too bad.

Disadvantages: For crank arms, you’re somewhat limited to certain crank sets.  There can be a small delay when you send away your own cranks to get it installed (versus buying a pre-installed set), though realistically very few power meters are available next-day anyway.  Some have seen very minor delays in track-start type situations, but I think that’s very limited in scope.

Would I buy it: No issues at all for the dual system.  I’m a bit mixed on the left-leg side.  If you don’t plan to buy their head unit or upgrade to a dual left/right system down the road, then honestly there are cheaper (and better) options from Stages and 4iiii that do dual ANT+/BLE.

Relevant Posts: Pioneer announces new power meter options, head unit upgrades, bike sensor modeling, Power meter prices plunge further as Pioneer & SRM join PowerTap in price cuts, The Pioneer Power Meter System In-Depth Review, Interbike 2015 Power Meter Roundup: Pioneer, Eurobike 2015 Power Meter Roundup: Pioneer

Verve Infocrank:

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Verve introduced their Infocrank power meter in 2014, and continues to chug along with updates to the platform and hardware options.  This dual crank-based power meter has strain gauges on both crank arms.  Additionally of note is that the unit has custom designed crank arms that are specific to Infocrank.

The unit transmits on ANT+, and uses small coin cell style batteries that you can go ahead and replace as required (no sending in needed).  I’ve been testing a unit for…well, an exceedingly long period of time.  To date I’ve seen absolutely zero accuracy issues with it – and can validate their claim that you don’t ever need to worry about pressing the ‘calibrate’ function on your head unit.  Of course, at the same time, most other power meters are fairly accurate as well – but Infocrank seems to be more hassle-free when it comes to that side of things.

This past year they introduced some deeper data analytic options, as well as removed the requirement to use magnets – both of which they announced at Sea Otter.

Advantages: Complete end to end system that’s mostly ‘install and forget’, gets fairly long life on coin cell batteries.  The company claims higher levels of accuracy compared to the competition, but I’d say it’s more of a ‘just as accurate’ statement instead.  Though the lack of requirement to occasionally manually zero is handy and low-maintenance.

Disadvantages: You’re limited in crank compatibility, since the units are built into their crank arms.  The batteries can also be a bit fickle to find in out of the way places (thus, carry backups if you’re in the countryside somewhere – SR44 silver oxide batteries).

Would I buy it: My primary issue here is price – it’s just really expensive for a power meter.  Sure, cranks and chainrings are included – but that’s far from justifying the price increase compared to other units that are just as accurate.

Relevant Posts: Sea Otter 2016 Power Meter Tidbits: Stages & Verve Infocrank, Verve Infocrank Power Meter In-Depth Review, Eurobike Power Meter 2015 News Roundup: Verve Infocrank, Eurobike Power Meter 2014 News Roundup: Verve Infocrank

ROTOR Power:

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ROTOR has been in the power meter market for more than four years now, and has iterated through four different products in that time.  The first unit is/was designed to measure both left and right power separately at the end of the crank arms.  However despite my trying it quite a bit, I never got the system to accurately display power for me.  They then shipped a left-only unit, the LT lineup, which ostensibly sidestepped the accuracy issues since being left-only sorta negates some elements of accuracy.  I didn’t test that since it was merely just one half of the system I already tested.  Next came the INpower system, which was initially left only within the bottom bracket.  Finally, this past spring they introduced the 2INPower system, which makes a dual left/right system.

I have not tested the new 2INPower system, however, a box was left this morning from Spain for me with it in it.  I’m optimistic this will work out well.  In talking with ROTOR about it at Interbike; they ditched the company that provided the technology for the initial LT/dual setup that I had previously tested and have since moved to a different technology provider for the INPower/2INPower setup.

Advantages: Compatibility with ROTOR cranks and elliptical chainrings (most power meters don’t do this accurately). Ability to track additional stroke/balance metrics through their software platform.

Disadvantages: Limited compatibility with crank sets.  Note, the older ROTOR sets do NOT do Bluetooth Smart, but 2INPower does.

Would I buy it: We’ll see. I’ll reserve judgment until I have units in my hands and at least a few weeks of testing under my belt.  But like I said above, I’m optimistic they’re on the right track.

Relevant Posts: ROTOR announces new INpower power meters, starting at $779US, First look at new ROTOR Power Meter, Eurobike Power Meter Update Post: Quarq, ROTOR, Pioneer, Brim Brothers & Ciclosport

LIMITS Power:

LIMITS

LIMITS came onto the scene during the spring of 2015, as part of an Indiegogo campaign that planned to ship by the end of 2015.  That didn’t happen.  However, they did recently start shipping initial units over the last 3-4 weeks.  The unit sits in between your pedals and your crank arm, offering near unlimited compatibility.  It’s priced at sub-$300.

I’ve historically been very skeptical of their product, timelines, and company.  Like, the most skeptical I’ve ever been of a product.

Earlier this summer (2016) I received a production unit from a backer who attended their launch event, which I published a detailed comparative about here.  In short, it failed.  The company then went back and worked on some further firmware updates and minor hardware changes, which aim to fix those issues.  Those firmware updates are within the latest units shipped out over the past few weeks, which some DCR readers have received.  However, I’ve yet to see any data results that look positive.  I’ll be doing more detailed tests in the coming weeks, but at this point it doesn’t look positive.

Advantages: Compatible with virtually any pedal type, crank arm, or wheel set.  Inexpensive.

Disadvantages: Doesn’t appear to be accurate, battery caps easily break off, questionable customer service.  Some people are concerned with q-factor changes (basically increase in distance between your two pedals), though, most don’t realize your q-factor changes anyway between a mountain bike and road bike for example.

Would I buy it: No, not at this point.  If they can address accuracy issues, that’s different.

Relevant Posts: LIMITS Power Meter Accuracy Data

RPM2 Footpod Power Meter

The RPM2 power meter is essentially a footpod (insole) that you put in your cycling shoe to measure power.  The company started in the medical space, and then branched out into the cycling and running realm.  Initially they only supported their own app for recording of power (which was a non-starter), however they’ve since branched to ANT+ compatibility as well.

Beyond that, there’s so little information available on the units by anyone that it’s somewhat hard to take seriously (even their own website is virtually absent information about cycling use).

I haven’t spent any time with this unit unfortunately however.  We initially talked this past spring or so, and I did all the measurements, but that in turn caused some confusion on their side (even when I did photos of my foot measurements).  We haven’t reconnected since then about getting a review unit in.  It’s on my to-do list.

Advantages: Not bike dependent being insole based; can move easily from bike to bike simply inside your shoes.

Disadvantages: Resale value is effectively zero, being it’s sized to each of your feet individually.

Would I buy it: I don’t have enough information at this time, but it does seem overpriced.

Unreleased Products:

Next, we’ve got power meters that are currently in a pending shipping state.  This means that as a regular consumer as of the date of this publishing you can’t actually get your hands on one quite yet (though, some do offer pre-order options).  Nonetheless, since I’ve been fortunate enough to actually ride most of these, I can offer a bit of perspective on them.  Of course, until they do release a final product things could change.  Ones that look promising could flop, and others that have challenges could be superstars.  We just don’t know.

What we do know however is that nobody in the power meter market has actually hit their projected timelines for initial release of new products (I’m not counting minor variants).  Seriously, nobody.  Not SRM (new rechargeable model for years now), not Garmin (Vector), nor Polar (Bluetooth edition).  Despite what the interwebs would tell you – it’s rather difficult getting a mass produced accurate power meter, regardless of whether you’re a company with hundreds of millions in revenue (Garmin), or a startup (WatTeam).  Remember that it’s easy getting 95% there in power meter development, it’s the last 5% that can take years (and often does).

Nonetheless, here’s what’s in the pipeline.  I’ve roughly ordered them based on a combination of when the company says they’ll ship with when I think they’ll ship.

WatTeam PowerBeat:

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WatTeam broke onto the market a couple of summers ago (2014) with the announcement of a $499 left/right power meter system.  The sensors attach individually to your left/right crank arms, and then have separate communication pods somewhat similar to Garmin Vector.  The system is planned to work on both carbon and aluminum cranks, and is a bit less dependent on the flat surface of the back of the crank arm like 4iiii Precision.

They started shipping this past spring, but then had to pause and recall units due to accuracy issues noted by myself and others.  I talked to them just last week, and posted yesterday about their current state, which aims to start shipping again by the end of the year.  They hope to have an updated unit in my hands in the November timeframe, which would allow me better gauge whether the accuracy issues have been solved.  If so – it’ll be a major step forward for consumers and dual-capable power meters at a much lower price point.

Related Posts: A Fall 2016 Update from WatTeam and their $499 PowerBeat, A WatTeam PowerBeat Spring 2016 Power Meter UpdateA Preview: A Week Riding the Watteam PowerBeat $499 Power Meter, A chat with the CEO of Watteam and their new $499 power meter: PowerBeat, Watteam’s PowerBeat: A first look at prototype/beta power data

Team Zwatt:

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Team Zwatt hit the interwebs about two months ago as part of their crowd funded launch.  The company had previously been working as an OEM for another crank arm maker, working on a power meter for them.  When that crank arm maker continued to delay their market introduction, Team Zwatt decided to make their own unit.

I tested a unit as part of my post, which you can read below.  Overall despite being beta, it handled well.  But the units aren’t shipping today – and so I’d wait until they start shipping.  Getting from beta to shipping a mass-market consumer product is always really tricky, especially for a small company.

Related Posts: Hands-on: Team Zwatt launches subscription based power meter

Shimano Dura-Ace Power Meter:

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As a surprise to nobody, Shimano jumped into the power meter market this past summer, announcing a new Dura-Ace integrated option that enables you to get complete left/right power.  While they didn’t have beta units at the launch, they did have some on-hand at Eurobike a month ago.

At present it doesn’t sound like this will start shipping till around April 2017, so we’re talking quite some time until we get to ride production units and judge things like accuracy.  All of which ignores price (which isn’t that great comparatively) as well as the fact that it only transmits power on ANT+ (it does support Bluetooth Smart for configuration however).

Related Posts: Eurobike 2016 Power Meter Round-up: Shimano, First Look: Shimano Dura-Ace R9100–Now with power meter option

Brim Brothers Zone:

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Update: As of October 23rd, 2016 – Brim Brothers has ceased operations.

Next up is Brim Brothers Zone, which I’ve previewed for years now.  They launched this past spring on Kickstarter with hopes of shipping prior to summer.  The latest update has them shipping soonish.  The Zone system is cleat-based, and attaches to the base of your Speedplay compatible cycling shoes.  This means that you can quickly move from bike to bike, as long as it’s Speedplay equipped and is compatible with the specific Speedplay versions that Brim Brothers supported (and is also a three-hole shoe).  This is ideal for those with numerous bikes, or who travel and can control the pedal type.

I’m not sure what to say here. I’m putting this in the camp of – when it ships, I’ll be happy to test it and will celebrate that they’ve done so.  But until then, I’d hold off.

Related Posts: Brim Brothers announces Zone power meter production, my first ride impressions

Xpedo Thrust E:

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Next we have the perennial party crasher at bike events worldwide, the Xpedo Thrust E.  This pedal based unit has been continually shown for a number of years as ‘almost ready’, typically just ‘2-3 months away’.  Astoundingly, last year (2015) they actually said March 2016 – as opposed to the usual 3 months away.

I checked on them again this year at Interbike 2016, and they said…“Maybe March 2017”.

Either way, there were a lot of “maybe’s” said within their discussion.  Simply put – I doubt we’ll ever see it ship at this point.

Luck Shoe Power:

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This Spanish company is making a power meter cycling shoe. Well technically it’s a bit of a shim that slides under their cycling shoes, but either way – it measures and transmits your power.  I got a chance to check it out at Eurobike last month, and got a better handle on where it sits.  I think they’re basically further away than they say they are.  They’re aiming for around the New Year, but in reality I’d bet fall 2017.  Still, if they can achieve accuracy for the prices they’re talking – that’d be awesome.

Relevant posts: A Look at Luck’s Cycling Shoe Power Meter

Ashton Instruments

AshtonInstruments

(There has been no change in this product or communications to me since last Interbike 2015, I’m leaving the text basically as-is from 2015.)

Ashton Instruments made the media rounds at Interbike two years ago (2014), and then I visited with them again during the spring of 2015 where they demonstrated their bottom bracket based system, which they hoped to sell for under $500 in the spring of 2016 (earlier this year).  These former MIT students have the foundation for a potential power meter company and product, and were able to demonstrate it to me both indoors and outdoors.  They also have riders on one of the local teams testing out basic prototypes of the platform.  Note that the solution will be limited to measuring left-only power.

Ultimately while they’ll no doubt be a player to watch in the future, I certainly wouldn’t make any purchasing decisions today or for the foreseeable future based on their product.  It’s simply too far out and with far too many unknowns.

Dyno Velo:

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(There has been no change in this product or communications to me since last Interbike, I’m leaving the text basically as-is from 2015.)

I visited these folks at Interbike 2015.  They’ve got a bottom-bracket region power meter, very similar to what Ashton Instruments is doing.  As I noted in the post, I think they have the potential to have a solid product if they can make it a bit more consumer/bike shop friendly.  Their pricing will likely be in the same ballpark as the Ashton Instruments option (and targeting the same customers).

At that time they wanted to ship in early 2016, but I thought they’d need to make some minor tweaks to their designs in order to achieve that.  Still, nothing major since then.  I get the feeling they thought my post last year was the end of them (ok, maybe not ‘got the feeling’, they said exactly that).

Non-DFPM Devices:

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Finally, we have a few options that use calculations to determine your power output.  These units don’t actually measure your work effort using strain gauges, but instead rely upon other environmental factors.  Thus the name of non-Direct Force Power Meters (DFPM).  Some take offense to these being called ‘power meters’ since they lack a strain gauge, but frankly that’s stupid.  There’s no international definition that states how a power meter shall measure power, but rather just that it measures it in some way.  These units come to a measurement via different methods than direct force measuring strain gauges.  I don’t care whether they use strain gauges or small chipmunks, as long as it ends up accurate.  Inversely, if it’s inaccurate, then it’s useless – even when using a strain gauge.

Historically (in all the years I’ve been doing this), I’ve kept these as a separate category – in large part because they were indeed so different in terms of not just product design, but also accuracy.  However, I do want to highlight the PowerPod as being one that for the right consumer I would recommend.

PowerPod: This was launched just over a year ago at Interbike 2015, and then started shipping about 60 days later. The concept is built upon the iBike technology of using aerodynamics for power.  In my in-depth product review, I found it did very well against a suite of power meters in a wide variety of conditions.  For a $299 power meter, it does quite well.  There are specific edge cases where it might not handle as well, but if you understand whether or not you fall into those edge cases – then you can make the right decision.  I do think the unit is on the edge of pricing though, in that at $399 from 4iiii you get a direct force power meter that reduces those edge case (albeit left-only).  Whereas I think a $249 price point is far more wide-reaching.  My In-Depth review can be found here, as well as the boatloads of people in the comments who are largely quite happy with the device.  Finally note that the company says they’re about two weeks away from shipping their dual ANT+/BLE version.

PowerCal: The PowerTap PowerCal (offered in both ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart) is a heart-rate strap that also transmits power information.  It monitors your heart rate and then uses the rate of change to determine power.  While many hard-core power meter users are afraid to even glance at the thing, I found that when you started looking at real-world data, it wasn’t actually all that bad.  And in fact, it was far more accurate than you’d expect.  In general, I’d recommend this for someone that may be buying a heart rate strap anyway and is interested in power (since you’re basically just spending $50 more, it’s about $99 these days).  While there are some apps out there that can attempt to do the same thing, none of them re-transmit back over ANT+, so the data isn’t included on your bike computer.  Check out the full review above for the limitations on where it works well, and where it’s not so hot.

iBike: I haven’t tested out the iBike in a few years now, however, this is effectively a head unit combined with the PowerPod noted above, which determines your power output.  My challenge with the iBike has primarily been the head unit side, and not the power meter side.  Compared to the head units of today, the head unit is just horribly dated.  But I think the company is on the right track with the PowerPod and focusing on a solo power meter rather than the full package.  So far so good there.

Buying Used Power Meters:

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Everything in this post is talking about new units whereby you are the original owner.  So when I talk about costs there, that’s my baseline.  With that in mind, there’s nothing wrong with buying used cycling gear.  However, in the case of power meters, I’d caution that accuracy is of the utmost importance.  After all, if you’re buying an inaccurate/untrusted power meter, you might as well just send me the cash instead and I’ll send you back random numbers.

Thus if you buy a used power meter my only caution would be to spend the money to have the manufacturer validate/test it, this is especially true if you don’t know the source of the unit.

For example, I’d be less concerned if you had a close friend that used a PowerTap for six months and then decided to swap it out for something else due to changing their rear wheel for a disc.  In that case you would know if your friend was having issues with it, and the reason behind the sale (new wheels).

Whereas, if you buy randomly from an unknown person you don’t know the history behind it and I’d be inclined to ensure a trusted 3rd party can complete a test on the device to ensure accuracy.  In most cases, the best 3rd party to complete that test is the manufacturer itself.

Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying, as I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy used.  I’m just saying trust…but verify.

So What Should I Buy?

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At the end of the day, there’s no single right answer to this question.  There’s only ‘best’ answers for a given individual situation.  I’ve tried to outline all the major pros and cons of each unit on the market, and in simple language whether or not I’d purchase it (or, purchase it again).  I’d probably narrow down first where you plan to place the power meter (i.e. pedals vs crank arm vs etc…), then narrow down a brand.  Placement will drive usage (i.e. changing bikes or not).

The landscape will continue to change.  As I noted in the above sections, the market continues to expand, and thus you’ll continue to see new brands – and we’ll continue to see drops in prices.  However, just like last year, I don’t expect to see any further price drops this year, with the first round likely not coming until early Spring 2017.  There simply wasn’t any major market shifter this fall to drive spring prices.  The single biggest unknown player is really WatTeam.  Their $499 price point for dual-leg power would have shifted the market.  But the recall last spring put those plans on ice.  If they can start shipping an accurate product this November/December as planned, then that’ll heat things back up again on the price front by spring.

I wouldn’t expect anything otherwise new will hit on the market until then, and thus companies have no reason to shift prices based on speculation of other units.

Of course, if I haven’t covered something – feel free to plop questions down below.  Thanks for reading!

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367 Comments

  1. John

    Thanks again, Ray, for putting this all together!

    :-)

  2. Peter

    I got my dual sided 4iiii power meter on a Dura-Ace crankset a few weeks back, so they are definitely shipping. Now I’m just anxiously awaiting your verdict on its accuracy ;)

    • Johannes

      I’ve received my dual sided 4iiii as well, and even though I’ve not made a direct comparison, based purely on perceived exertion and heart rate, it appears to be in line with my power2max on another bike.

      The only issue I’ve encountered so far is somewhat regular data spikes, but that might be a result of the beta firmware currently used. I’m hoping the latest firmware released today adresses it.

    • Chris

      Also received a couple weeks ago. Mine stopped working and am anxiously waiting for an answer. Would love to speak to either one of you about your dual sided experience if you care to share your contact information.

    • Johannes

      We can simply share our experiences here. :)

      So far, I’m very pleased with mine.

      What happened to make yours stop working?

    • Chris

      I received mine about a month ago. I had a Gen 1 that failed so I did an upgrade to Gen 2
      dual side at the time. Was using it as single sided since they did not have firmware available yet. Worked good for about 2 weeks then started reading double or more of my normal power. I was hoping new firmware would solve problem but I have been unable to update firmware on either left or right side. They are recognized but I never get screen to “update firmware”. Have you tried to install new firmware?

    • Johannes

      Yeah, mine updated to the newest firmware without issue.

      Did you update the firmware on yours before trying to update to the newest firmware that was released a few days ago?

      Which firmware is installed on yours now? What number does the app show is installed?

    • Chris

      I currently have version 1.5.0 When I get to screen shown it does not go to the screen for upgrade. Same for both sides.

    • Johannes

      I’m guessing you then previously managed to update the firmware to version 1.5.0, which most likely does not support the dual sided version, which would explain your issues.

      When I received my dual sided version, it had a beta firmware installed that was newer than version 1.5.0., which was at that time the newest firmware in the app.

      The beta firmware was older than firmware 2.0, though, which was released a few days ago and is the first firmware in the app to support Precision Pro.

      Before firmware 2.0 was released, however, the app still asked me if I wanted to “update” to firmware 1.5.0 even though it would essentially mean “updating” to an older firmware that would not be compatible with the Precision Pro.

      My guess is that you perhaps accepted the app’s suggestion to “update” to firmware 1.5.0 from the newer beta firmware that was originally installed on the power meter, when you received it from 4iiii?

    • Chris

      I am pretty sure I have had 1.5.0 since back in May. A couple weeks ago when I started having issues they had me “restore factory calibration” on both sides. Possibly something changed in firmware then. I emailed support yesterday. Hopefully they get back to me before end of today. Are you using Apple or Android for update?

    • Johannes

      That does indeed sounds strange. I’m using the Android app.

    • Chris

      If I don’t here from them today I will try and track someone down with an Android phone this weekend. Can’t hurt.

  3. Chmou

    I can see that you were an IT architect, the answer there is always “It depends of your use case” ;)

  4. Markus

    Interesting blog posting on Stages quality from a major German powermeter shop. Unfortunately it’s only in German. Perhaps google translate can help.

    link to powermeter24.com

    They mention a much higher rate of defective units when compared to other brands. Gen 2 has not really improved the situation. Still many defective units.

    Sort of echos what you can hear in the various internet forums.

    • peroni

      interesting link, thanks!
      In their blog they also talk highly about Bepro (which I own) and have some statistics on failure rate.

      It puzzles me how a small and pretty much unknown company came out of the blue with such a solid product. It takes other big players several releases to get things right.

  5. Bertram

    Unfortunately the 4iiii left only crank is here (Netherlands/Europe) still € 600,- (with Stages at 470,-/650,-, depending on the model – with my Cannondale Si at the top end, of course).
    It seems they (4iiii) did bring down the price of the more common Stages models worldwide, but (due to distribution?) both the 4iii and the more rare Stages models are still just a bit to high priced for me.

  6. Nate Robinson

    with SRM there is a bit of a not-so-obvious benefit with its line, in that they have released only solid products in their line. It’s a dying concept where you have multi-year development with low supportability once its released. In that you have to design a product that ships without needing updates. I send my SRM in once a year (generally in the 2-3 weeks after the racing season is over and I’m not riding anyway), and they’ll do minor firmware updates, hardware upgrades, perform PMEL recalibration, and battery changes for that $150 fee. Anyone working in scientific instruments will tell you that’s a fair price for that kind of service. The last battery change I got was upgraded to the newer 2 year model. Being SRM, and behind the times, they never advertised that they did that now. I completely understand where they want to remain in the market, and hope they will continue to operate as is. With note of the above, I understand how they would be a hard product to continue to write reviews for as they aren’t rushing out with shiny new features every year and tend to rely on word of mouth advertising. I still think its worth doing occasionally just to follow up with SRM and see what changes they are implementing in their new devices/yearly calibrations.

    All that being said, I’m a bit disappointed in their new head unit. I’ve heard from many that it has serious problems with the water seals. Really hoping this is not indicative of a need to rush unpolished products to the market like the industry is more than happy to do these days.

    • Nate Robinson

      That really made me think of another point, the unpolished products we see a lot of today. I can’t think of one cycling product I own that doesn’t have problems:
      Garmin Edge 520- occasionally just turns off, loses BLE pairing after updates, and general bugs.
      Specialized 2016 Tarmac- insanely finicky headset for marginal performance gains, OSBB30 has slightly off chainline with anything but specialized cranks.
      Specialized Evade helmet- head straps get brittle and break
      BOA laces- can these get through 365 days without wearing out or breaking?
      Look Blade pedals- clip the corners in crits
      Red Quarq (had to use for a year through sponsor)- read high, read differently after firmware updates, would lock up without connecting to a PC through the ANT stick, and battery would discharge unpredictably.
      on and on and on…
      except for the SRM. in the age where dealing with small glitches and bugs is the norm, I’ve never had a problem with the SRM.

    • Thomas

      Sure SRM’s are reliable. So are Powertaps! Never had a problem with it! But I’ve also rarely had issues with my Garmin 910XT (going on 4 years), my alloy road bike, shimano 105 pedals… Your post makes me wonder.. why pay all that extra dough for premium stuff?

    • Nate Robinson

      You make a good point. Bashing aside, you do get perks with that stuff, but more and more coming at the cost of nuisances and annoyances that you didn’t have with the old stuff (and often for no reason). I’ve warrantied every component of my sram red 10 speed and holding because it currently is fine. Also, interestingly enough, I have been on two rides in California with a SRAM and Specialized designer. The SRAM guy was completely aloof and surprised that I had warrantied my stuff for breaking and that most of the other people I knew had as well. The Specialized designer noted my new 2016 shoes and asked me if I liked them better than the year before. I absolutely did, but when I brought up the Boas having the same issues, he was shocked and had apparently never heard people having issues with Boas (which after a quick google search, you’ll find isn’t isolated at all). If i could have my way, shoes would still have velcro straps, bottom brackets would be gxp, and wheels would be cup and cone.

    • Sean

      Interesting summary of some product design flaws. I generally agree but I’ve had some great products. My power2max classic has been wonderful. I had a SRM before and this is much better. Accuracy is the same but I can change the coin battery easily (only needs to be done about once a year), no messing with magnets to start the PM and price was outstanding.

  7. maksibec

    Thanks for this—once again great—overview. I also find it particularly trustworthy to see you criticize the Vector pedals. Sometimes it feels as if Garmin is the market’s Uber-Brand these days in, say, 95% of cases, both by quality and by quantity (money, that is). I guess this leads to many of your reviews ending with praises for Garmin’s products (and your absolutely right from what I can tell). It is good to see both: there are companies that can well compete with Garmin (albeit many new ones as opposed to other established ones) which is good for customers, the market situation, and not least Garmin itself; and you still have no Garmin glasses on, which is good for us readers of your blog! Keep it up :)
    (disclaimer: 90% of my sports tech gear is by Garmin ;))

  8. ubrab

    Ray, why is Favero bePro still fyling under the radar? Anytime I mention that I bought it to someone, they have no idea it existed. It might be the best value for price out there, yet no one’s heard about it!

    • It’s because their distribution is extremely limited.

      Also, they aren’t doing much to engage the cycling/triathlon/etc media/industry. Doesn’t take away anything from their product, but certainly hurts their business/sales.

    • Joel Engström

      I find them highly interesting. My only concern is really just second hand value.
      Joel

    • Adam

      This seems almost exactly like PowerTap P1. Is there a major difference?

    • The reviews cover more of the differences, but at a high level:

      Key differences:

      – P1’s don’t have pods on the side of them (bePRO does)
      – P1’s don’t require any special tools to install them (bePRO does)
      – P1’s have dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart (bePRO is ANT+ only)
      – P1’s when moved between bikes generally settle in the first 15-30 minutes max (bePRO is 2-3 rides in my and others experience)

      Again, there’s nothing wrong with the bePRO pedals if you understand those differences/limitations.

    • Joel Engström

      I’d think that you get a higher price for your used p1 or vectors compared to the faveros. The brand sells

    • Triphi

      I think you should not underestimate the battery issue. I’ve followed a discussion in another cycling forum about the capacity where the general experience has been 24-25 hours per charge. But how does it behave in three years and 100 more charging cycles…
      Concerning the P1s, it’s obvious…. just change the battery.

    • J

      I wonder how much one of GCN “unboxing” contests/adverts cost?

    • It’s roughly the price of a midsize family car (no bling), though the deals are rarely just the unboxing itself but a collection of videos (chatted with someone about it recently that did one).

    • The one thing that’s tricky to understand with P1 battery life is whether people are actually using lithium batteries. The recurring theme over and over again on the P1 review is people using the alkaline batteries, which not only get worse battery life, but have weird behaviors in certain conditions.

      A number of people that did have P1 battery issues have since noted that they were using alkaline and after switching the issues went away. Obviously, this doesn’t impact things like play in the unit, but for drops/etc…

    • Lee Sutton

      Which raises another question about the cost argument about the Vectors. You can easily get Vector £100 cheaper than the P1s and then you’re saying to make P1s effective you have to get the more expensive AA batteries which you have to replace more frequently than the CR2032 ones in the Vector.

      I get the portability argument, although it’s really not that hard with Vectors. But in terms of price, garmin is way ahead.

    • I think the thing is that unless you have a torque wrench, most people won’t correctly know how much force to put on it, thus, they get inaccurate results. Said torque wrench is yet another thing you need to have with you if you travel.

      Gen2 does require a torque wrench. No doubt some people are fine knowing what that torque requirement is and doing it by hand, but, the reality is that it still requires is. And it still has pods hanging off the side, and it still doesn’t do Bluetooth Smart.

    • Lee Sutton

      Yeah I can definitely understand the portability argument. Bluetooth smart less so but that’s likely just my needs, only Bluetooth connection I use is forerunner/edge to my phone.

      As for the pods, they’ve not caused me an issue, but a mate did break his first P1s by grounding the bottom of the pedal, albeit he must have been pedalling round quite a tight corner. But with the battery underneath it does seem to reduce the clearance.

      The lack of Android support is also pretty poor, especially considering the relative size of Apple v Android users. For some apps that can be affected by things like differing hardware in Android I get that it’s difficult but for simple update pass through it’s just plain lazy!

    • Andrew Heskett

      Ray, I’d second that.
      I’ve got gen 2 vectors. Torque wrenches that work for the range needed for these pedals are not cheap. It takes some learning to get the right torque just by hand. Garmin do say that tighter is better than looser, but I still worry about breaking them.
      I haven’t had them long enough to know if I’ve gotten the fitting right yet. A small human infant has been delivered into my life, which is indirectly preventing me from getting out.
      Why did I buy them rather than the P1? There was a flash sale and I got them for £700.

    • Oleg

      Andrew,congratulations with your baby!
      BTW, where did you get Vector 2 for this price?
      Cheapest I see them in SigmaSport for 769 GBP

    • Matt Rice

      I got my Vectors for £769 from Evans via a price match. I was torn between the P1’s and the Vectors. With the price match for me it was too good a deal to miss. I am hoping that if BTLE does replace ANT+ then Garmin will have to support it and might release new (smaller?) pods with ANT+ & BTLE. Torque wrench is a pain but the saving over the P1’s more than paid for that.

      I was going for the 4iiii until I realised that if I upgraded my cranks like I’m planning to do next year then I would have to replace the power meter which makes it a very expensive upgrade.

  9. Andrew

    As usual a great post.

    Any update on the Powertap left only pedal?

    I thought I read somewhere to be shipped on 1 October. Is this true and have you tested them out?

  10. They are all still a bit expensive for me. It just feels wrong to spend more on a sensor than on the bike computer :-)

    Though if the P1S will be available before Christmas I might change my mind.

  11. Adam

    I don’t think it’s in Garmin’s interest to “define how to use Cycling Dynamics to get faster in training or racing”; they’re a tech company not exercise physiologists and to cross that gulf is a HUGE task. Sure they could hire someone from the latter field to produce such a study, but associating themselves with such data is going to open themselves up to a LOT of scrutiny and potential litigation (see Vibram Class Action Lawsuit).

    They’ve adopted the same position with running dynamics, essentially saying “here’s a device that gives you x, y and z metrics, you guys see what you can do with it”; it’s a very sensible and fair position in that it gives them a strong marketing angle with almost zero liability. I’d vouch that a lot of people’s viewpoint is that “more data = better” and the fact that noone has proven a good use for that data (as yet) is secondary in their thoughts.

    Having said that, I certainly wouldn’t consider buying the Vectors for the other reasons that you mention, namely the faff of installing and the stupid pods.

    • Somewhat. I think anytime a company markets new data types as a key selling point – they should be able to describe how to use those data types to make your life better. Garmin has yet to do that in anything beyond a single sentence or two.

      They’ve sent out units to universities and other academic people for study, but nothing has ever come of that.

      If Garmin’s units were equal in other specs to the P1’s (ANT+/BLE, pod design, etc…), as well as price, then I’d probably give them the edge for having this extra data that someday someone might figure out how to use. But given they aren’t equal…

    • John

      Thanks for the article. Been thinking of a powermeter for ages and it made me rethink things a bit.

      I’m interested in the comment you made on the price of the Vector v2s as you said your go to power meter was the Powertap P1s.

      Here in the UK I’ve found the Vectors for £750 but the cheapest for the Powertap P1s is £950. That’s enough of a difference to buy a torque wrench and lots of other shiney gadgets.

      As far as I can tell from your articles the P1s offer less than the Vectors provided you have the correct tools to shift the Vectors easily – even if the Garmin cycle dynamics stuff at the moment is essentially fluff.

      So are the Powertap P1 pedals cheaper stateside than the Vectors? Or is there another reason you are discounting the Vectors based on the price?

      Thanks.

    • Joel Engström

      Where have you found them for 750 £?
      Thanks
      Joel

    • Ole

      Well, you can buy in UK Vector 2 for less than 900 Euro, while P1 cost over 1100. Seems much better deal.
      Well, pods are ugly, but honestly, P1 is not the nicest creature either.

    • Lee Sutton

      Yeah, Vectors are loads cheaper than P1 here. As in nearly a bike computer worth.

      Plus a mate has P1s and he’s had to return them twice.

      I agree on the usefulness of the metrics. In terms of Bluetooth though, the saving over the P1s is well worth the trade off. Especially as certainly every device I use is Ant+ anyway.

  12. Ale

    I have BePro (dual) and I am happy with it. Would I buy it again? Yes.

    Ray, I don’t exactly understand why you stated that they are not designed for moving them back and forth between bikes. Presently I moved them only a couple of time with no issue at all, but I’m about to buy a new bike and I intend to move them frequently. Can I ask you why you are concerned?

    Thanks for your great posts!

    • Andy H

      I’m also happy with my BePro and move mine between bikes. Now I’m used to how to do it, I find the process relatively easy. They do take a little settling in once moved though – so it’s no perfect.

      In this respect they would seem identical to the Vectors so I would agree. I can’t see how the same situation can be an advantage for one system and a shortcoming for the other.

    • It’s the settling piece I’m referring to when moving bikes. In my testing, it takes about 2-3 rides after moving them between bikes until the power numbers are accurate. Vector is usually closer to one ride.

      Also, while the process is relatively easy, it’s not something you can do without their tools – which aren’t exactly small (so less ideal for travel). The reason I note this (and the installation/portability pieces) is that many people assume that power meter pedals would make for a quick swap between bikes, but in reality, very few of these units are designed for that. I would definitely not want to move Vector or bePRO frequently due to these reasons.

      (Note: In both of them I say that installation is finicky, though not super-difficult once you’ve done it a few times…but not as quick as the P1’s either.)

    • Nathan Budd

      I’m looking at getting some BePros.

      When you say 2-3 rides, do you mean quick blasts round the block, or 3x1hour rides?

      What’s the best practice for switching them?

    • I was doing 45-60 min rides for much of my swappage testing.

    • Grant

      Just for my 2 penneth, I have the Bepro S (single side only) and do switch them between my TT bike and training bike.I have had zero issues on the TT bike once I have calibrated them, but on the training bike I have had slippage on the couple of times they have been on. I think this is something I’ve done TBH, and on the next switch at the end of the season I will get to the bottom of it! Probably just me be a little too gentle!

    • Fabrizio

      Hi,
      I use threadlocker glue (is allowed, I asked the favero support), no slippage/settling whatsoever.
      Checked multiple times with the pc program, the “installation angle” remains (about) the same for every dynamic calibration.

    • Moritz Haager

      It’s interesting. Most comments on the Favero pedals by users seem to indicate no issues with settling after switching between bikes. When I asked Favero about this they indicated there should not be an issue. Ray, do you still see this issue on the latest firmware? I desperately want to buy these pedals but this uncertainty about whether or not they actually have this settling has been a deal breaker as I need to be able to switch them often. I’d buy the P1s but I hate the look, clunkiness, and weight penalty. Plus the price premium does not help.

    • I haven’t used the units recently, but others on the bePro thread/post have noted still similar stabilization aspects more recently.

  13. Hammer

    I’m still really disappointed at the way the Limits meter has turned out. It had the potential to be a game changer if it had been even just averagely good. As it is, it looks like it’s been condemned by various failures, especially their bad press and customer engagement operation.

    Hoping for good things from the Luck power meter, as it’s one of the few that works well with my use-case.

  14. part_robot

    Thank you for this – I know it’s a Herculean task but it helps us all so much; for many of us, this is our biggest and most important bike expense.

    I ordered a DZero with carbon crank arms from CyclePowermeters a couple of weeks ago. Such awesome customer service not only from them but Quarq too – by email, on DCR and social media. That and you and my LBS saying nothing but good things about their reliability really convinced me. Extremely light too – lighter than my Cannondale Si crankset (although not my SiSL2 of course). Thankfully your new guide hasn’t given me buyer’s remorse :P

    Now to patiently wait until they finally ship to UK…

    • Erik

      I just ordered the DZero Carbon as well (from clever training so Ray’s baby can eat for another day). It just hit the right spot on weight, having BT and ANT+ (with firmware updates over BT), price (with 10% off), customer support, use of easily replaced CR2032 battery, built in America (for support reasons, not political ones), etc. It also looks good, which helps. I had hoped for more discussion of them, but knew (assumed) that Ray hadn’t had a chance to get much time on them. I hope he’s right about the trust factor. Quarq’s presence on the DZero post comment section makes me think that, if he’s wrong, they’ll at least try to make it right. Can’t wait to throw my rubber-banded cadence sensor in the bin. It always takes forever for Zwift to pick it up!

      CT said they should ship in the next week or so.

  15. James

    The 2nd gen Stages has probably solved the water and door issues, but many of us are having problems with weak ANT+ signals. Switching to Bluetooth solved it for me. It needs to be taken into to consideration that their 2nd gen unit has some new issues.

    • Have you installed the April Stages firmware update? That seems to have helped quite a few people out.

    • James

      Yes I have. As well as all of the steps recommended by Stages support. And I’ve also tried a replacement unit. I suspect the extra layer of error recovery that BLE has is making the difference with a marginal signal.

      I was able to get slightly better ANT+ results by mounting the Garmin on the left side of bars, facing backwards toward the crank arm.

      While I was trying to solve this, I found a good number of other users with the same problem in various forums and youtube. I personally feel Stages are aware of this, but have remained quiet.

    • Tommy

      Yes stages has weak signal problem, it’s annoying. And recently my stages had encounter another problem—the zero offset value had gone too high. It ruin my hard day training result, those IF, FTP, TSS are all go wrong with high value which wasn’t my performance. This is sucks. I’m ready quit Stages, it just not that stable and reliable. The only pros is CHEAP.

  16. Christian

    PowerTap hub and pedals rules….

  17. Christian

    When will you buyers guide for trainers 2016 go up?

  18. Will

    Hi
    Can anyone tell me, if I buy a dual sided 4iii, can I use the left only by itself (for instance to swap between bikes) and then leave the right only permanently attached to one bike.
    Thanks

  19. Duane

    Minor note about the Garmin pedals: I think you say that you are limited to the Look pedal interface but I believe they have an add on option to substitute Shimano pedals. They don’t sell it direct in this format though.

  20. Dale

    It’d be nice to have a price comparison table.

  21. Pablo

    “Disadvantages: Pedal choice (just Look-compatible), price, and portability isn’t quite what it seems if you travel (you’ll need a torque wrench to really install properly, yes, even with Vector 2), but within your house it’s really straightforward.”

    I think there is a Shimano Ultegra upgrade Kit.

  22. Scott

    Hi Ray, I have no skin the game, but the Brim Brothers description is a little clunky about the Speed play compatible shoes, you can’t actually use four hole shoes with them as the PM sensor is a replacement for the three hole to four hole adapter plate. This is all from reading about the system. Thoughts?

    • Thanks, just added in the 4-hole piece. It’s also technically limited to certain Speedplay types, but I figured for a short 1-2 paragraph thing, it was getting a bit into the weeds there.

    • Barry Redmond

      Just to be absolutely clear, to use our power meter you must have shoes with the standard 3-hole pattern. You can’t use it with shoes that have only the Speedplay-specific 4-hole pattern.

      Barry Redmond
      Brim Brothers

  23. matt kime

    I picked up the Garmin Vector 2 at REI during a 20% off sale which brought them down to $800 + plus tax. At that price its a great deal for dual sided power. I think its ridiculous that more people don’t consider this option, considering that you’re no longer tied to specific crank / bb / wheel options.

    • Steve

      Do you have any concerns with the little battery pod breaking off?

    • Matthew Kime

      nope.

    • TigerRoad

      I have not committed yet (though I do still have a new Vector 2s in the box – should it stay or should it go!). Still, I understand and agree with most of the criticisms, and although most don’t bother me (I use a torque wrench for practically everything), the one I don’t understand is price. Vector 2 and 2s seems to always be on sale, everywhere. And even when not marked down it looks like the new baseline price for Vector 2 is $999, which is still always $100-$200 less than P1. I think the P1 set looks better personally, but it surprises me a bit that the look of the pods is such a turn off for so many, to the tune of a couple hundred dollars.

    • ian r.

      had mine for two years and the pods are not a problem and Ray says fiddly not for V2 I can swap them over dead easy and not even with the torque wrench as can do it by feel.

    • ian r.

      I find it funny they would be such a problem for people.

      guess different strokes for different people but at the price point you now can get them IMHO the vectors can not be beaten.

    • Matthew Kime

      I understand people’s concerns about reliability but they’re largely unfounded. futher, other powermeters have their own reliability problems so nothing is perfect.

    • Lee Sutton

      Yep I agree on ease of installation. Although you ideally need a torque wrench, I’ve done it with a spanner and just made sure to get it really tight and had zero issues.

      And zero issues with the pods so far, one even got a bash against a curb but didn’t damage it.

  24. FrankJ

    I know it’s a matter of taste, but as a P1 owner I would like to stress that the pedals do look a bit bulky. Both the Vectors as well as the BePro’s have better looks IMHO.

  25. Steve

    I like the Powertap P1 pedals but it appears you need an iPhone app to update the firmware. I firmly refuse to buy anything from Apple so I am a committed Android user. Does the lack of an Android app mean I would not be able to update the firmware and is this a reason not to buy the Powertap pedals?

    • It sounds like they are looking at doing an Android app for updating/etc…

      Still, I think you’ll get a firmware update about once per 4-6 months, so realistically you could just find an iOS friend to update the pedals if/when that happens. The last time the firmware was updated was in April: link to powertap.com

    • Eric

      You should really look into confirming that “they are looking at doing an android app for updating”. Every response I’ve seen from them on Facebook is that there is “There is no ETA for an Android app.” and “We are continually reevaluating our product development opportunities. ” They refuse to answer the question directly and ask people to call them but won’t answer the phone. Maybe you have more clout and can get a direct answer from them.

      I agree with Steve that that the complete lack of support for anything other then Apple should be noted in your review. I purchased the Powertap P1 based on DC Ranmakers review only to find out that they have no plans to ever support anything other then iOS. They do have a way to update the firmware through a PC but it requires buying a $20-$30 Bluetooth dongle from some obscure electronics web-sites. Knowing this ahead of time I would have likely went with the torque wrench for vectors that I can find almost anywhere.

    • J

      >committed Android user

      i think you can get a cream that helps with that.

    • FrankJ

      I don’t know your social life, but you must know SOMEONE who has an iPhone? I can tell you, they are not all serial killers…

    • Urg, you have to have access to an iPhone to update the firmware? I was looking at P1s (after the collapse of the BB Zone DPMX :( ), but that’s a killer for me. Damn.

      Who chooses to make firmware support depend on a minority phone platform?

    • Jeff

      It is not a minority platform (when it comes to sports technology)

  26. Frank

    I’ve had the RPM2 power soles for a while. I would not recommend them. I do not think they are accurate, consistent, or reliable. The values are all over the map and do not correspond to those I gather from other power meters (Quarq, Ergomo -yes I own one of these and they work well). There is considerable day to day variability as well.

    • EB

      I unfortunately have to agree about the review about RPM2, as I was an early adopter. They seem highly inaccurate, and even if the data were accurate, it doesn’t communicate directly with a garmin, so it is very hard to even use the data. I am hoping they can resolve this through firmware updates. I let them know about the numerous issues, and they were not very helpful.

  27. arvi1000

    Thanks. Would be nice to see a big table with all options, and fields for brand, placement, total power / single side, and price

  28. Marc Tremblay

    Didn’t SRM just announce a new at power meter at interbike with a rechargeable battery?

    • Sorta. They showed an updated variant of what they’ve been showing for years, but never actually shipping.

      They showed it in 2013, 2014, though skipped 2015.

    • Marc Tremblay

      It looks promising as they’ve posted it on their facebook page now with their new SRM branded THM carbon crank arms.

    • Yeah, that looks like the power seminar they were talking too. And, they kinda showed that same stuff in the past (sans THM cranks). It goes against what I was told at Eurobike, which was that it’s not happening anytime soon.

      Given they didn’t announce pricing or availability, I think it’s definitely a next year or beyond thing.

  29. Eric

    Thanks, Ray! Great roundup!

    So for someone like me…have a specialized carbon crankset and like it (eliminates crank arm and powertap chainring)…uses a KICKR (eliminates hub based)…is relatively budget conscious (isn’t everybody?)…is relatively indifferent on ANT+/Bluetooth (have a Garmin and ANT+ dongle for the laptop)…and won’t be moving the power meter around much…it looks like my choices are…

    1) Bepro or Vector pedals (With my use case, $1200 for the Powertap P1’s is looking like robbery by comparison)
    2) Power2Max ($740 + $30 lockring tool)
    3) Wait. It looks like Power2Max prices their spiders based on whether Quarq offers a similar solution. Low/mid-$600’s if Quarq offers one, mid-$700’s if Quarq doesn’t. Right now, Quarq only appears to be offering a $1k specialized spider with last gen technology.

    • John

      Curious why having a KICKR indoor trainer would preclude a hub based power meter on the road? Is it just wanting to use the same power meter indoors and outdoors?

    • Eric

      Yes. I also have a Tarmac disc, which further complicates things with a unique rear hub to keep the chain line within shimano’s specs.

  30. Gunnar

    I went with a used set of Vector 2’s on a chance and glad I did.

    They, so far, have been “set it and forget it” and I love the dual sided metrics. Granted, I would never buy them new for the retail price, but I did get them for the same price as a Stages.

    Granted I do have to travel with a torque wrench, but that’s not too much of a big deal.

  31. I’ve had two different stages units. The Gen 1 and the Gen2. The Gen1 was RMA’d 3 times, but the Gen 2 replacement I got has been rock solid. You forgot the biggest advantage of Stages over any other unit is weight. You get a fully functional power meter with an additional 40 grams that is easily swappable between bikes.

    Left/Right balance is an interesting metric, but is it an actionable metric? I know lots of people units that simulate it, but I have yet to meet anyone who go a significant performance gain out of it. I’m sure stages will eventually have a dual sided unit.

    The P1 pedals are awesome, but the are also double the weight of higher end road pedals.

  32. Struan Lownie

    Given I only have one bike and they are cheaper than the P1’s on clever training are the Vectors still a bad idea?

    • TigerRoad

      Keep your eyes on the online discount warehouse retailers. Two weeks ago I was finding Vector 2 for $750 and 2s for $450 new.

  33. Adam

    The GS version of the powertap hub is on sale for a super low price (299US). And mine came with the ANt+/BT hub. It is a pretty good deal if you can swap it into an existing wheels or are planning on new wheels

    • giorgitd

      Ray…adding my thanks for your terrific work. I’m still on the fence about how to proceed – I have a TT/triathlon race bike and a training bike. The TT already has carbon clinchers and my frame make rear wheel swaps a total PITA. My training bike is too old (well, the components are too old) for most modern crank/chainring PMs (it’s a 1997 CAAD3 – don’t judge, the fit is perfect for me and it was good enough for Cipollini…:) ). I actually like the idea of two PowerTap rear wheels and there are lots of folks who say ‘well, you buy two Powertap huns for the same price as one xxx PM). True…as mentioned, the GS Powertap hub is $300 USD. BUT…you need a rim…and spokes…and a build. It’s *not* a $300 USD PM unless you have a compatible rim and the right length spokes and you are a good wheelbuilder who values her/his time at $0/hr. The least expensive *built* (new) wheel from Powertap (using the G3 hub) is OTOO $700 for Shimano (more for Campy). And, for my use case, that wheel would be training only. I’m really thinking about the Powertap pedals – solves my ‘old training bike / new-ish racing bike’ mix of components and wheel needs. Still, the number of repeat complaints about service/failures of the Powertap pedals is a concern although, as DCR says, many are rock solid. Bleh, not a super choice for me, but pedals seems to make the most sense…

    • Davesee

      I jumped on this deal too. I’m going to have LBS build it with DT Swiss RR411 rims (once they are available in Jan)–since I already have a spare cassette and tire–should have it all done for around $500 which is great price for PM + really nice rear wheel.

  34. Ivan Dobski

    You mention Garmin’s cycling dynamics and the difficulty in clearly establishing a defined use for it – how do you find the Powerpod Powerstroke, is that a similar story and have you any experience of using the Isaac software beyond it just generating an interesting load of data to look at?

  35. SuperGo Sam

    With the prices of flying with my bike continually increasing, I more often find myself renting (or borrowing a friend’s when I travel, even for some races!). The PowerTap P1 seems ideal in this scenario, but also for a general use case as I now only have “one” bike.

    I thought of going with the C1 system as it ‘feels’ more traditional, but after reading most of Ray’s in-exhaustive-depth reviews, I can’t see a reason to NOT get the P1. (had my powertap hub been able to be 11 speed compatible, I would definitely still have that after 6 years!)

  36. Bruce

    Ray,

    Appreciate your Annual Summary on PMs :-).

    Any word when/if PowerTap Chainrings may be developed for 11-speed (i.e. – Shimano) drivetrains?

    When I reached out to them directly, they were pretty non-committal, but I think they are losing a large piece of market share given my observation that more than about half the bikes I see on group/club rides are 11-speed.

    Thanks!

  37. AJ

    Ray,
    Bike Radar, in a May, 2016 review of Powertap’s P1s, stated that they (the P1s) have a tendency to over-read starting at 280-300 watts and above; and that they misread an FTP test alongside Quark and Powertap Hub by +30 watts. Have you seen similar discrepancies with the pedals? Has this been corrected with firmware updates since May?
    Thanks

    • I see their Mar 2016 review, where they noted that it was:

      A) It was on firmware from November 2015
      B) All the items they noted had since been fixed

      Given their 2016 May roundup used a copy/paste of the exact same pros/cons…I’m going to take a swag they didn’t re-test since then).

  38. Raul Freitas

    Hi Ray, Powerpods didn’t even make to the list?
    For their low price and at least bearable accuracy, I don’t see why wouldn’t them be a very good option for the price conscious out there… At least for 2 specific sub-types: a) the ones looking for their first powermeter and (b) for a second bike one, for those who might have a transferable pm in their primary bike (e.g. crank based on a tri-bike and then a Powerpod on a road bike).

  39. cycloscott

    Great write up (as usual) Ray.

    And now we anxiously await your trainer software roundup. Go Golden Cheetah!

  40. Shaun Callaghan

    I own both Quark and PT Wheel – both are outstanding products for their uses. Being a speedplay fanboy I keep hoping Brim Bros will get their’s across the finishing line. Last update I saw mid Sept was they ran into some issues with their first production batch that they are working to resolve – no new time frame set for delivery. Credit that they refuse to ship a defective product however I memory serves correctly they started development similar time to what became the Garmin’s….which is probably 5 odd years now…

  41. It seems like the powertap hub has been overwhelmingly successful over the years. Is there any reason why NO other competitor has tried entering the market with a hub based model?

    • Kyle Polansky

      Good Point. I currently have a gen 2 PowerTap hub, and my only issues are the plastic battery cover cracking (which was fixed in gen 3) and cassette cogs digging into the aluminum freehub body (which isn’t a huge issue, but it’s a much more expensive replacement, especially if you have ceramic bearings).

      Despite these issues, it’s my favorite power meter placement. I love that I can easily swap wheels between bikes or with someone else if they want to try a ride with power.

      One guess for lack of competition might be distribution. It’s very easy for a consumer to swap out a crank/pedal based meter (hence all the new development there). I helped one of my friends build a wheel with a PowerTap hub, and it’s a huge pain in the a**. I’m lucky enough to have a community bike shop where I live, and I’m not sure how I would have been able to tension and true the wheel without using some special tools. I suppose the customer could ship wheels to the factory to have them built, but this would be very expensive (both shipping and factory dealing with so many different types of wheels). IMO, the only reasonable way to distribute PM hubs is to partner with a wheel company and build the PM into the wheel. I’m sure this is harder said than done as respected wheel companies won’t partner with a new PM hub, and without a good wheel, no one will buy the hub. I think most people buy PowerTap hubs when upgrading wheels. The mindset is usually “I’m spending so much money on these new deep dish wheels, so I should go ahead and spend a little extra for a power meter built in”

      side note: This may be similar to why BB power meters are not very popular. They are a pain for a consumer to install, and since they don’t come bundled with any bikes (at least that I know of), few people think of them.

      I think this makes a hub based PM really hard for a new company. As for existing companies, it seems as PowerTap is the only multi-location (on the bike) power meter company. Not sure why on that one, but guess it means we probably won’t see expansion in the hub anytime soon.

      I’d love to hear if Ray has any thoughts on this though.

  42. Brian

    Have you ever considered putting a comparison table together to compare features? This would really help someone like me sort through the myriad of options.

  43. Mark

    Great reviews, would fully concur with your statements as an owner of an SRM, Powertap Hub’s and more recently Powertap P1’s. I love the reliability of the SRM. It’s worked without a single hiccup for > 1.5 years now but their tech is old (no LR), expensive and difficult to move between bikes at a more reasonable price I’d have multiple SRM’s vs. anything else but when faced with the 2-3 bike problem I now have the P1’s were an easy winner.

  44. Derek

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for yet another fantastic article. You don’t seem to have had any serious issues with P1s. Or have you seen the same problems I’ve faced?

    I’ve just returned my 4th set of P1s in less than a year. All replacements under warranty but I’ve given up this time and asked for a refund. I regularly transferred them between bikes and loved the ease of install so I really don’t want the Garmin Vectors but I just no longer trust a product that I’ve had replaced 3 times due to faults.

    This can’t be coincidence or bad luck and seems to point to a flawed product or poor quality control. I’m not doing anything special with the pedals. All 4 sets have had different issues: draining the batteries in about 5 hours; spurious readings; cutting out completely; and dropping connectivity then switching themselves off despite new batteries.

    You’ve obviously tested them thoroughly so I’m really surprised you’ve not had any of these issues.

    • Lee Sutton

      My mate has had to return his at least twice as well.

    • Nope, none of those issues.

      I’ve seen a handful of people that have gone through multiple sets, though, it’s never really been clear why – when others have no issues at all.

      Fwiw – I have noted that those who have gone through multiple sets, the vast majority are in the UK. Not sure why or the pattern, but just a curiosity I noticed from comment location.

    • gabor

      If I would have 4 consecutive faults with the same product in a short time, all electrical (the symptoms are quite similar, showing some shortage possibly), while thousands of other customers have zero issues, I would search the root cause on my side. First I would guess alkaline batteries (they are proved to cause problems due to positive pole on the shell), second guess would be water leakage or entering dirt during battery change.

      “This can’t be coincidence or bad luck” – that statement is right for sure!
      But PowerTap is just one side of the coin, user is the other one. I do not say, that it is impossible that you received 4 faulty products, but according to the statistics, it is highly unlikely.

  45. Ian S

    Thanks Ray, great summary as ever.

    I had the Vectors since gen 1, the pods aren’t an issue in my view and I prefer the look of the pedals over the powertaps. I also think the requirement for a torque wrench is overplayed, doing them up tightly is sufficient. What is a problem though is the continued lack of testing garmin seem to run with, I had significant time periods where a firmware update would introduce inconsistent behavior with the vectors and it took time to fix. I’ve moved away from them as a consequence.

    Now running power2max which I think is brilliant, it just works consistently and accurately. I’m delighted.

    From my experiences I now prefer crank based power over other positions (and harmonising BB means portability isn’t really a problem), and as you say the price delta on left sided versuses full power measurement is also so close now that I dont get why people are still buying one side only, just seems like an introduction of another potential variable that you don’t need.

  46. Simone Chiaretta

    Maybe it’s been mentioned already, but the 2 Polar/Look sections have the same title and appear as one in the sidebar

  47. Carsten Hahn

    Great review and overview!

    In your opinion, Pioneer and Q-Rings, will it work? The guy here i Germany told me “why not” but i cannot imagine how they would put it together?!

    • Conor Robinson

      I’d be curious to know which dual-sided meters in general work well with Q-Rings. I run an INpower with !-Rings currently, but am considering swapping out for a dual-sided option at some point.

  48. Conor Robinson

    I was reading up on power meters this morning, when I asked myself, “self, I wonder when DCR is going to be putting out his annual PM buyers guide?” I go to the SCR site to see when last’s years was published and find that the 2016 edition was put up today! Talk about fortuitous. Thanks Ray! :)

  49. Alex

    Just was wondering, are there any plans/announcements for the manufacturers to develop pedal based mtb powermeters? Or this is initially bad idea, because of the riding impact (mud, rock hits etc.)?

  50. Tim Grose

    Ray, have you got thoughts on the relative ranges of all the different PMs – especially when paired to the triathlon watches like the Forerunner 735 and 920? The forums are full of problems with some PMs – Stages and Rotor spring to mind where the signal emitted by the PM does not sometimes appear to be powerful enough to be picked up by a watch say if worn on wrist when out on the tribars. Personally I have had a lot of difficulty in this regard with my Rotor (the 2014 one you could not get to work not the current InPower one I should mention) although it does seem to work fine with an Edge 810 on my handlebars.

  51. Tim Grose

    According to link to 4iiii-innovations.myshopify.com then the dual one is out now but only for Dura-Ace. Wonder if any plans to extend that? I am getting an upgrade on my training bike to 11 speed 105 so am looking at PM options! Also is the Gen 2 only for Dura-Ace right now?

  52. TimRPM

    Great article, thanks Ray, this kind of thing is SO helpful.

  53. Chris Capoccia

    I use the PowerTap hub, and some things that are really nice about it are that it also reports speed and cadence. You might think the cadence figure is questionable, but it’s good enough for me and I don’t have to mess with separate speed/cadence sensors. Downside to the hub is that if your rim takes some abuse or a crash, fixing the issue is more expensive and time consuming. You can’t just toss a bent wheel. You have to get a new wheel built around the PowerTap hub.

  54. Jeff

    Has Look announced any details on their previously promised upgrade program where a Polar BLE user gets Look’s new ANT+/BLE dual tranmitters?
    Thanks!

    • When I chatted with their US distributor running their booth at Interbike last week, they said it would be $400 for the upgrade from the Polar BLE units.

      That said, I had relatively low confidence with this individuals brain power capabilities. So take that number with a grain of salt (even though he looked it up).

  55. Erik

    Ray, BikeRumor is saying that the FSA Power Box power meter will retail at 1250€/650€ for carbon/alloy cranks… Is it just me or is that price a little high?

  56. Pol

    I just recently upgraded from a powertap hub power meter to the P1 Pedal system. I am loving it thus far. Easy to install and allows me to change wheelsets depending on conditions or racing/training. Plus how easy it is to change from my Tri bike to road bike is amazing. Thanks for pushing me in a great direction!

  57. 2UpDuc

    Great review as always.

    I can imagine that your email inbox and voice mail is full of complaints from manufactures that you gave “No I would not buy”..

    Thanks for doing an extensive review on basically everything that is out there. Did you miss any that you wanted to test??

  58. David Tucker

    I’ve been very interested in the PowerPod since I first read about it here and after the recent updates it sounds even better. I’m signed up for IMWI next year and I want power to be part of my training, especially since I live in very flat New Orleans.

    I honestly still don’t know enough to make a decision on it. I have two bikes, my tri and road bike and ride them both each week so the quick swap between bikes is appealing.

    So I guess my real question comes down to… Will I be disappointed in it? Thanks!

  59. Mike

    The one aspect i think would enhance the article includes a discussion of longevity of the product. This is clearly a difficult issue to nail down specifically, but as a consumer who has noticed clear lifespan issues with specific brands this would be a nice addition. For example, i have had two Quarq’s warrantied in less than a year each. My third Quarq has again started to show issues around one year. My PT hub had no issues for the 3 years i owned it. I am seriously considering SRM due to the quality of the product and fewer warranty issues.

    • Yeah, it’s really tough to gauge that. I’m roughly able to consolidate some aspects, but even then it’s tough.

      For example, there’s clear trends for people with Stages Gen1 units (and to a lesser degree, Gen2 units) having defects mostly due to water.

      If you look at Quarq issues, most of those were really from units back in the 2008-2013ish timeframe, before they (too) changed their waterproofing on their battery door, which has significantly cut issues there. It’s pretty rare to hear of someone with a Quarq issue from a unit built on/after 2014.

      When you look at newer units, the companies iterate so quickly in the early months. Both PowerTap and Garmin for example had a number of hardware iterations in the first few months, all tiny little changes that most people would never notice (Garmin moreso than PowerTap), but they add up if that tiny change reduces a 8% return rate to 5%.

      It’s tough to ask people when they comment to put in the comment: Exact date of purchase, model, etc… I sometimes wish I had a drop-down box that would do that on review posts… All of which also doesn’t solve issues when someone buys something that sat on a shelf somewhere in a shop for 8 months mixing up the theory.

    • Oh, and one more thing that doesn’t solve: Companies faking being consumers to sway peoples thoughts on posts like these.

      While I haven’t seen it happen yet in the power meter game here (by companies, though, I have seen it by distributors of certain power meters), I do believe there’s some funny business going on with the trainer side and companies trying to influence through fake comments here….

  60. Brian s.

    My powertap G3 hub with factory ceramic bearings has been great but I know quite a few people who have had bearing issues with powertap hubs using the standard bearings. I haven’t ridden the powertap in the rain much but now it’s on my foul weather training bike and I guess we will see if the solution is just to replace the standard bearings with ceramic.

  61. goobo

    It seems that there are plenty of options to choose from but for me (disc brakes, ultegra 6800 crankset and crank bross pedals that I use both for mountain and road bike and I love them) it comes downt to stages and 4iii (if I’m wrong let me know) and since I wasn’t able to find any european dealer of 4iii stages seems to be the only choice.

  62. This post is about iBike/Powerpod. For those interested in my opinion here are my thoughts from the DCR PowerPod in-depth review (one up from this comment)(sorry I don’t know how to link to my own comment):
    link to dcrainmaker.com

    To update, I had a bike stolen from my garage (three bikes stolen actually), and while my Ibike Newton 6 was inside charging, I still had to replace bike, Newton mount, and speed/cadence sensor. I wanted to go to magnetless sensors, and I bought velocomputer smart sensors (they can be programmed to be either speed or cadence and attached accordingly)…huge mistake! These sensors are finicky to say the least. The sensors worked, but I would get strange numbers (double cadence at times, intermittent speed). I finally thought the sensors had settled (they worked with my garmin fenix 2, and mostly while riding indoors), but I couldn’t get the Newton to work right.

    My Newton was no longer functioning properly, and I contacted Ibike to see if they knew what was wrong, or if they had seen issues with these particular sensors. After going through some troubleshooting and a few hard resets and calibrations, nothing seemed to work. That is when CEO of Ibike, John Hamann stepped in.

    You can see how active John is in the PP in-depth review, and his customer service and devotion to his business, his product, and most important his customers are second to none. We discovered that we were both in Florida (albeit about an hour and a half away), and John suggested that he would meet with me personally to troubleshoot the unit, and bring a replacement if needed.

    We were able to suss out the problem of the sensors (John had brought some garmin ones) fairly quickly. We did a little ride to make sure everything was ok, and now my unit is back in business (I just need to pickup a new speed sensor). John was great, and we chatted about the product lineup, the BTLE PP that is shipping soon, and the company’s other upcoming plans (sounds like good stuff in the future).

    I realize this might sound like a shill for the company, but I can guarantee that I am just a regular customer. The bottom line is that the product (both powerpod, and ibike newton) flat out works.It gives realistic, repeatable, consistent, and what feels like accurate (when compared to indoor rides on smart trainer) output. The product is the most affordable power meter on the market, and has features that others can’t touch, including portability between bikes or for travel, and data metrics, such as wind speed, slope, and power stroke (which gives a measurement of wasted wattage due to poor pedaling mechanics, and side-to-side/ forward-and-back motion).

    People talk about the customer service from others, but John and his team back it up. It is not a product where you lose all support after a purchase is made. They are excellent, and gearing up plans for the future. If an understanding of the target market (knowing what matters to cyclist and triathletes), a robust product, and top notch customer service matter to you, give these guys your business. You will NOT regret your purchase.

    • TigerRoad

      Power Pod people…how often do you have to update your weight in the system, and how accurate does it have to be? My weight can fluctuate up to 5 pounds, or even 10 if we are talking from start of season to end. Then, depending on the length of ride, I might have one full water bottle, or I might have 3, and a full bento or saddle bag to boot. Also, I may change wheel sets between rides. If the weight of the bike and the rider factors into the power calculations, how are all those minute variations accounted for? These are not questions from a critic, but rather from someone who is still looking at all of the options, and Power Pod is still on my radar as a potential first step into training with power.

    • Paul S.

      It depends on how obsessive you are about accuracy. I haven’t changed the weights I put in for my 3 bikes (and I just guessed them) since I initially set up my PowerPod. I probably weigh now about as much as I did back in November when I got my PowerPod, but I was heavier earlier this year. The calibration rides were done back in December, so I was wearing at least some (we had a mild December) cold weather gear. If you want high accuracy, keep a scale and a computer in the garage, weigh everything (pick up the bike before you step on the scale) and insert that number into Isaac and on to the PowerPod. I doubt that anyone actually does this. (Of course, you can always change the weight after the ride in Isaac.)

      Of the forces on a cyclist, gravity depends linearly on the mass, frictional forces probably have some dependence on the mass, but the major opposing force, wind resistance, has no dependence on mass (well, OK, if you gain enough weight so that you balloon up and get larger, then it will). So the answer to how much it matters to get the weight exactly right is complicated and depends upon what kind of riding you do. If you’re going up and down all day, the error using the wrong weight in power will be linear in the mass. If you’re riding on flats, getting the correct weight into you PowerPod will matter very little. You can play around in Isaac with a particular ride after the fact and enter different weights and see how much that changes the power computations.

    • Great answer Paul!

      I just want to add about changing wheelsets… If the wheels have a different aero profile or different rolling resistance (knobby vs slick), you would have to do a calibration to get things right. However, you could set up multiple profiles for the different wheels so that you wouldn’t need to do the calibration each time. You would need a separate speed sensor for each wheelset for the PP to auto-detect that the wheels are different. This can be easily done with a magnetless speed sensor on the wheel hub.

    • TigerRoad

      I don’t have a power pod, so I can’t experiment with the weight variable. Have any of you out there done so? My rides do involve a good bit of climbing, and can be long. Between onboard nutrition use, and weight loss due to fluids over time, I know that total weight can and will fluctuate by pounds and not ounces, even during a single ride. Just really curious as to whether or not a change in a few pounds would make an appreciable difference in power readings.

    • mitchell w

      You could download isaac (their software) for free. It comes with a sample ride preloaded. Let me know what you find out. I’d be interested.

  63. Eric H.

    Great overview, as always.

    You mentioned price as a consideration for Shimano’s 9100 power meter. I haven’t seen any pricing for this yet; is there any clear guidance?

    I’ll probably upgrade a bike to 9100 in ’17 and that would be a path of least resistance.

  64. Karim

    Hi ray
    Any insight in to probability that some smart ingenious developer or powertap will take advantage of Connect IQ and create an advanced metrics app for the P1 pedals or creating / developing widgets or data fields etc? I assume that is the whole point of IQ? Or is Garmin denying or block access to data and preventing this from happening? Seems with the new powertap app it is a small leap—you would think it is in powertap best interest to develop the app for the Garmin to make their product more marketable?

    Thanks

  65. codyish

    “however, a box was left this morning from Spain for me with it in it”
    *eye twitch*

  66. SMB

    Hi Ray – great roundup as usual. I’ve been using the 4iii since May and it’s a great power meter at a great price. Since I’ve received it, it’s just worked. No dropouts. No issues syncing to 920XT or 800 Edge – quickly. I use it on my secondary bike (primary has Quarq Elsa), so I’m using it to see real time power output and overall post-ride output, while not overly concerned with L/R bias. I do think people who are on the “should I get a power meter” fence should seriously consider the cheaper one-leg options. The data you will have is incredibly powerful. Don’t get hung up on the doubling of one side – understanding effort and work and how it impacts training will make you a better rider.

  67. John

    So, I’m sold on trying power; cost is an issue but I’ve decided that the savings to be made by going left-side only are a false economy and knowing real output (and perhaps learning about my balance and what that might say about me/my training/strength & conditioning) is worth extra 20%. On top of that – portability between 3 bikes is important (winter bike, TT bike and a summer road bike). It looks to me to be all about a pedal based power meter:

    Powertap (favoured by DCR) at £1000
    Garmin at £710 (with a personal voucher), or
    Favero BePro at £600

    I’m ruling the Powertap out – because although favoured by DCR – I’m still reading a lot of negatives on the forums and the cost seems disproportionately high for the advantage of easier swappage.

    So it is down to the Garmin or the Favero. At a price differential of less than 20%, that makes it difficult to justify the decision on cost alone.

    The Favero looks more compact but I worry about the lack of reputation that Favero have. I’m more comfortable with the Garmin reputation, the company size, the volume of users and the fact that the Vector is the native companion to my Garmin head unit. That said, I do worry about the Garmin pods that seem to protrude and look vulnerable.

    Is this a Garmin no-brainer at £710 – or is the Favero more durable irrespective of lack of reputation – or should I suck it up and find the 40% premium for the Powertap…

    Why does this have to be so hard!!!

    • SMB

      I disagree that one leg power is a false economy. As Ray says, most people don’t even really know what to do with the data. I looked back at my L/R balance (from my Quarq) and it honestly seems like a random walk. One leg power *is* real output. If you consistently train with any power meter you will build a history of data that’s directly comparable to itself, and absent a manifest bias, comparable across power meters (on a relative basis – they all have +/- 1-2% error tolerances).
      John – I know portability is a key benefit, so this isn’t directed at you. I just wanted to make sure there was a devil’s advocate for one sided power, especially at the current prices. I do like solutions that allow for future 2 sided power if one becomes more interested in having both sides of the equation.
      ((and trust me, I didn’t come to this view until recently, I held out for Watteam for as long as I could!!))

    • John

      Fair comment; I accept that the data from one side is still ‘real power’ – but it doesn’t tell the full story and I do tend to think that the ‘full story might be helpful – hence the false economy – the reality is that I think I would want to see both sides at some point and the cost to ‘double up’ after the initial purchase looks ridiculous.

      Let me explain why I think I might get some benefit from seeing both. I often look back at my running dynamics data – the ground contact balance and I consistently have a 5% difference between left and right ground contact. I have no idea what to do about that. Is one leg stronger than the other? I’ve no idea. But if I see one leg consistently putting out more power than the other – then I think that *possibly* tells me that one leg might be stronger than the other and I can consciously try to do something about that.

      I appreciate you say that you aren’t seeing a consistent distinction from one side to the other – but without the full picture – I’d always be wondering…

    • Lee Sutton

      Although L/R balance isn’t necessarily an issue, total power versus left doubled can be. I vary ride to ride from around 47/53 to 52/48 (l/r) so doubling my left leg could see around an 8% variance with no actual change in actual power output.

    • John

      That’s a very good point, Lee. I think that what SMB is saying though is that the actual number doesn’t matter whether true reflection of both legs or not providing you have a consistent history of left leg data and you are always relying on the left leg measure.

      But I agree that this would be limiting and misleading.

      For example – FTP on left leg only is likely to be different to, say FTP done on a Wattbike or direct from a smart trainer. For left leg only to be useful it has to be left leg only all the time.

  68. Fabio

    I’ve been using the Rotor 2inpower since late July on one of my bikes. I spent two weeks riding in the Alps and then I rode the haute route Swiss Alps and Dolomites. I found it consistent and faultless and actually I really like the solution they have to recharge the battery.

  69. Tosin

    I could couple my Powerbeam pro with the P1S and still be able to get relatively accurate power numbers with just one side. It would mean I could stretch out the purchase over a couple of seasons if I wanted to upgrade to full P1 status.

  70. Dan

    Thanks for putting this together–much appreciated! However, one significant disadvantage that you failed to mention on the Vectors is a 200 lb weight limit. That is pretty limiting for many riders.

  71. Lee Sutton

    I’m 220lbs and quite a powerful rider and mine have held up fine for 18 months now so I think they’re just being corporately cautious with the limit. But I know it did make me think twice initially.

  72. Rob

    Great review of power meters. Been running a P2M and rotor cranks for 6 months or so. Can’t fault it. It just works every time and consistent compared to turbo trainer. Will be my go to for a power meter for an upgrade on other bikes. It’s the obvious choice to upgrade existing cranks, you just swap out the spider keeping everything else. Sram/Quark have missed a trick with the dzero by not making it backwards compatible with existing cranks. Why would you spend another €3-400 to buy another carbon crank arm which you already have. Is the dzero really going to be that more accurate to make it worth the extra money?

  73. Michal

    Hey, this is going to be about choosing the right power meter for me, but also a little bit of babbling about groupsets etc. so please keep up with me.

    I have a road bike with Shimano’s 105 groupset and 175 mm crank arms. Next year I am looking forward to buying a new bike alongside a power meter. A friend told me to keep my old groupset and just buy a carbon frame and wheelset from China, but there are a multitude of things that I would like to change with a new groupset (172,5 mm crank arms, 11-28 cassette, 52/36 crankset) and besides, I like the idea of less maintenance with adjusting cables etc. thus I want to purchase Shimano’s Ultegra Di2. In my understanding, Shimano is going to be releasing the successor of the 6870 next year. So, is it worth waiting for that successor being released and then purchasing it or maybe should I wait for that successor being released and then snatching the 6870 anyway for less? The 9150 doesn’t appear to be a significant step up from the 9070 and I think this might be the case with the successor of the 6870 as well.. as such the second option is definitely tempting.

    Ok, so now that we have the groupset matter out of the window, let’s continue with power meters. I was thinking mainly of two options. The new Quarq DFour which retails for ~1000 euros and a Stages Ultegra which I am able to get for about ~600 euros. What’s Quarq got to offer for me specifically? If I delay the purchase of my new bike, then I will be able to train with power on my old bike for the time being which I wouldn’t be able to do with Stages due to owning 175 mm crankarms on my current bike and wanting 172,5 mm crankarms on my new bike. Also, besides the whole total power versus left doubled debate (while I am not interested in my L/R balance due to not knowing what to do with these metrics, I think that total power is superior) the Quarq appeals to me as a much more refined product that has weight saving benefits and just looks neat in general. Sure, Stages gets the job done, but it looks so unsophisticated/coarse. Now, someone needs to try convincing me that Stages is the way to go, so I can save 400 euros (which is no pocket money for me!) :D. Maybe I should consider some other alternatives?

    • Michal

      Oh, just two things I would like to add. Firstly, the power meter will be paired with a Garmin 820 most likely. Secondly, I overlooked Pioneer in my initial evaluation; what do you make of it in comparison to the Quarq DFour? They are similarly priced after all.

  74. Jon

    DCR – Great work, as always. Quick question for you:

    My LBS pushes Trek/Gramin, so taking that into consideration they obviously suggest Vector Pedals (reasoning being that it is really not a big deal to transfer and they are also lighter and much less “clunkier”, outside of their own sales goals). I am between the Vector pedals and P1 pedals. I ride a Speed Concept and have a Garmin head unit. Thoughts/Suggestions? Any are appreciated!

    Thanks!

    Jon

  75. John

    It would be helpful if Ray were to say what point Vectors become ‘buy’ as opposed to avoid. He does seem to suggest that the reason he doesn’t recommend them is because they’re at the wrong price point.

    Given that there are some great prices on Vectors at the moment – I can get a set for £710, for example – as opposed to £600 for BePros.

    So, help us out Ray – at what price point do Vectors become ‘buy’ recommendations?

  76. Karim

    2 Questions – I have P1 pedals and a Garmin 820 which I use the calibration menu (not clipped in-no pressure applied to pedals) to zero out pedals before I ride: when you zero out before riding what are the numbers and should they come up zero. Each pedal generates what seems to be a random number (usually single digit- 5, 7 etc) — when I use my 820 and the app they all come up with different random numbers. Can you please explain (or point me to a link/blog) what the numbers are and how they are generated and if they should match or equal zero?

    Also if I calibrate via app should I do both L & R?

    Thanks for the insight.

    • Chris

      Ray what is any easy way to compare 2 power meters or power meter and trainer.
      Basically want to look at 2 .fit files on top of each other like you do in all your power meter tests.
      Thanks

    • Daniel Pass

      Download the fit files into Golden Cheetah, then using the “edit” function, export the Power data and Time data to Excel. Do this for both fit files, into the same Excel sheet. Make a little graph, and your there. There’s a YouTube video so where of the exact steps. (You’ll probably also want to use Excel to calc the 30 second averages of each fit file so everything is nice and smooth)

  77. Rich Hadjian

    Ray, re chain ring power meters. I have a Shimano Ultegra 6800. Neither Powertap nor Quarq fit. Power2max requires replacement of the crank, so the price would be about $1200. So, although you suggest dual L/R power is possible for about $600 with a simple chainring/spider unit, it won’t work for my Shimano. Thus, my basic choices seem to be one side Stages for about $600 or a the two pedal Powertap for about $1200. Am I missing something? Also, for basic training/serious exercise purposes (I’m 66), would I be better off with a power meter and a basic trainer, or no power meter and a smart trainer? Apples and oranges, but I think serious recreational cyclists who really like to push themselves a bit, face this dilemma. Thanks Rich

    • Eric H.

      Or a Pioneer.

    • Moritz Haager

      Regarding the second part of your question, I think without any question that having a PM is WAY more useful than having a smart trainer. I got my PM first and then later I got a Kickr. I would classify the Kickr as nice to have, but it’s not a must have. Having a PM that remains a constant, and can be used indoors and outdoors, for training and racing, is WAY more useful overall. It really also turns any dumb trainer into at least a pseudo smart trainer.
      Seems to me if u want to stay with your Shimano cranks your best options would be a power tap hub, the 4i, or the pedal based versions. Of those the 4i would be the cheapest.

    • Joel

      You also have the Bepro Favero and the Garmin Vector 2

    • Bruce

      Rich,
      I’m in the same boat grouppo wise.
      Quarq is still an option, but like P2M, requires a new crankset as well as bottom bracket (P2M w/Rotor crankset is supposed to be Shimano BB compatible). Bottom line, your in at ~$1200 w/either option.
      Personal opinion, but I’m leaning towards Quarq because DFour/Elsa RS utilize your existing Shimano 6800 chainrings (P2M will be non-Shimano chainrings). Because Quarq retains Shimano chainrings, it should maintain overall excellent shifting qualities, and for vast majority of serious recreational cyclists like ourselves, are likely not flexing cranksets enough to note any difference between Shimano vs Quarq.
      Cheers,
      Bruce

  78. Mathias

    Ray, what are my current options for a direct force, total dual leg (L/R preferable, but no option available?) power meter for mountain bike use? My preferred manufacturer Verve has spoken about an MTB version for years, but I don’t expect any news from there any time soon.

    So, it’s Power2Max (type S and NG next year) mostly using Rotor cranks, Rotor INpower and Quarq (only available for XX1?), are there any more? I know for instance Stages are available for e.g. XTR and XT, but not with total power…

    BR,
    Mathias

  79. The Germinator

    Hi all/Ray,
    I have had a look through all comments and could not find an answer. Hence my question:
    Could anybody tell me of their experience with Powertap P1s and a Polar V800?
    Specifically, do P1s work well with a V800? Any issues?
    Also, what Polar Power data fields (from training views in Flow) can the P1s ‘populate’? There are lots of them but the key ones are:
    1. Power,
    2. Left/right balance,
    3. Maximum force of pedal revolution
    4. Average power,
    5. Maximum power
    I guess all other data fields from Flow are just calculated on the basis of these but for particular durations (i.e. automatic laps or manual laps).
    Would be great if someone could shed some light on this!
    Cheers,
    TG

  80. Po

    Great Overview & Summary . Thanks a lot :)

  81. Stuart

    I wonder if the guide needs a minor edit, now that the Brim Brothers ‘Zone DPMX’ cleat-based power meter is off the cards…
    link to stickybottle.com
    ’tis a shame, as it could have been a great solution

  82. Jim Murff

    Brimm Brothers just took a lot of peoples money and left us with nothing. So angry to $1000 down with no recourse. Never Kickstart such thing again… Now have to figure out what to do next.

  83. Dat

    Brim Brothers seems crooks – link to kickstarter.com. I cried about my 790 euros! :(((((((

  84. Stuart

    … it may be scant consolation to those who are out of pocket following Brim Bros’ collapse, but I note that Powertap are selling the 24H direct pull hub for the ‘very competitive’ price of USD 300.
    link to powertap.com
    My understanding is that this wasn’t their best selling product, and so they are just clearing inventory. I nearly bought two :)

  85. D

    Ray, I saw the news that Brim Brothers is now bankrupt and won’t be giving back any refunds. What do you think happened with them? It seemed they were close to shipping their products soon.. for a few years now…

    Your experience with their prototype was ok, wasn’t it? What do you think caused them to not be able to produce them for customers?

    • They were OK when they worked, but the fault I saw repeatedly over the various test iterations was:

      A) The cable that wrapped around the side: This was engineering wise very tricky, specifically the point in which it attached to the cleat, due to possible pulling/breakage. This is was thrawrted my last test back last spring.

      B) Twisting forces on the cleat causing accuracy issues. This caused me issues a few years ago. they believe they solved this when I chatted last, but obviously their final note seems to indicate accuracy issues somewhere.

      Ultimately, they just ran out of money and I suspect whatever new roadblock they hit was one their investors simply couldn’t swallow anymore.

  86. Mark

    Finally decided on the 4iiii and their Ultegra stock levels are just none existent in the size I’m looking for.

    • Nathan B

      I had the same issue. I’ve spoken to 4iiii support, and another batch is on it’s way apparently. I ended up getting my 172.5 from probikekit.co.uk

  87. georg

    Hi DC some help here plz: im finding people complaining about some play in the berings of the Powertap P1. check the videos bellow. link to youtu.be link to youtu.be link to youtu.be link to youtu.be link to youtu.be

    i email them and i got this answer from Saris: Thank you for contacting Saris Cycling Group. The issue seen is not the fault of the bearings but rather how the spinal itself is situated and secured within the pedal body. We have addressed this issue. If you have any more questions do not hesitate to contact us.

    how to buy the pedals with this upgrade??
    thanks g

  88. Roberto

    What do you suggest for a first timer?
    I would like to have a pedal one since usually, I rent the bike for my race, and the only thing they ask me is to bring my pedals.
    Can this work if the pedals are also power meter? This should be great!

  89. Brian E.

    I know you didn’t included a full review of SRM, but will you with their latest 2017 lightweight model? Also, do you have a comparison of the weights the various systems add? I realize that crank systems will depend on on crank selection, so it wold just be the added power meter components.
    Thanks.

  90. Matthew Neugebauer

    Does anyone know when Powertap plan to release the P1S single-leg option? It’s still not available for purchase as far as I can tell. As far as release date all I noticed online is from the bikerumor.com article stating that they’ll be available “late this year”

    • Matthew Neugebauer

      Okay, I just found them for sale on the actual powertap site. My mistake. I just expected to see them at my local retailer since they carry all the other powertap products.

  91. N-Garcia

    nowadays all quarqs are using Accelerometers to get cadence?

    What you think about powermeters using Accelerometers to get cadence? And I am talking about riding not only in road where is easy work for the Accelerometer to get the right cadence value. I am talking about Mountain bike power meter, for example stages.

    I want to share with you two files using stages :

    link to strava.com

    link to strava.com

    See the peaks and you will understand what I am talking about.

    I want to get a PM on my MTB and I am thinking in the Stages carbon… I will need to change spindle 100€, and I can get Stages for 700€ or I can order an quarq( have to change the BB bearings and buy new chainring´s), new quarq is like 1000€ without chainrings.

    On my road bike I use Riken, and I like it a lot works very well.
    In my MTB bike the stages solution is cheaper and much lighter.
    The quarq solution is more expensive and much more heavier.

    My leg balance is like 50/50 … or 49/51.
    This misreading in the cadence that stages can do sometimes it worry´s me about, since it will create that crazy 1700… 2000w spikes. But I am wondering if quarq( also uses Accelerometer)can also show that crazy spikes? I think not because measure force with more sensors and is less prone to get this errors.

    Do you think with stages I can trust and use the some values for intervals that I use in my road riken?

    I know this talk can be boring but for a guy like you that goes over every detail I think this is an interesting conversation :D

    In my case what you recommend stages carbon or quarq xx1 or just forget that and keep rolling.

  92. paul

    Anyone have experience using GXP -> bb90 converter? I wanna get the new Quarq Dfour and I have a Trek with bb90 bottom bracket. I read some comments about converters having flex and creaking issues.

  93. Larry_Thompson

    Stages vs 4iiii? What are the advantages of Stages that justify the higher price point? Only think I note from the product comparison chart is Stages has a better battery life. I’ll hang up and listen.

  94. Jim

    My wife and I been using the original Vectors since Nov 2013, without any hassles. I’m on the 5th set of batteries in that time, and about 10,000 km of riding between my road and TT bikes. She’s on her 4th set of batteries, with about ⅔ the distance. Switching them from one bike to another is not a problem, only taking about 3 minutes per set.

  95. Joel

    Can’t make up my mind. Bepro favero at 540£, quarq dzero al at 620£ Or Powertap p1 at 850£?

    Opinions?

    Thanks!
    Joel

  96. Karim

    I have the P1s and love them not withstanding the stack and additional “weight”. No issues no problems and travel with them and swap them between two bikes and use them in the winter on a “dumb” trainer. Highly recommend them.

  97. C Robinson

    Can anyone advise, other than Rotor IN/2INpower, what power meters out there work well with Q-Rings?

    Considering P2M as well as the 2INpower due to their promo atm, but want something that accurately works with the Q-Rings.

    Any feedback on the 2INpower would be welcome too, from those who might have used it already.

    Cheers!

  98. Will Galdino

    Hy DC,

    I have 2 Power meters and want to compare them.
    The fist one is a inRide (Kurt) and it is installed in my road machine.
    The other one is a Quarq Sram Red 22.

    How can i compare them? I have laptop, table, and a garmin, any sugestions?

    Tks for you time
    BR
    W

  99. Claude Leger

    Hi:

    Are you be sble to review a new power meter product that has just been introduced in the market: Arofly.

    Their website is arofly.com

    Your review will greatly benefit cyclists around the world.

    Thank you.

    Claude
    Canada

    • Lee Sutton

      You have to worry a bit about a company that states that cadence is proportional to speed :-)

    • I’ve looked through their site/stuff a fair bit, and I’d say that this makes the LIMITS situation look brilliantly well prepared. I see epic failure in our future.

    • Paul S.

      Intriguing concept though, and with perfect sensors and fast enough sampling, you might even be able to pull it off. (And I wonder why no one has thought to put a pure wheel rotation sensor in a valve cap. Everyone has valve stems.) As a practical matter, though, it’s not likely to work.

      They need to know wind speed, ground speed, and incline. Ground speed is easy enough. The Bernoulli effect that they talk about is real (air flowing past an opening will lower the pressure in that opening proportional to the speed that the air is flowing). But mounted as they are, the wind speed with respect to their sensor is periodically changing with every revolution of the wheel (discounting other practical problems like the presence of spokes and rims interfering with air flow and inhibiting measuring the actual general air speed that most of the bike/rider sees). The interesting point is that mounted as they are, at some point on every revolution of the wheel they’re nearly motionless relative to the ground, so it might be possible to measure the wind speed there if they were fast enough and could identify that point where the stem is right above the contact patch. But incline would be the big problem, since the acceleration is changing constantly. Yes there are notch filters that can remove periodic signals from a data stream, and maybe with perfect sensors you could use a rotating sensor (in contact with possibly bumpy ground through a dampening mechanism!) to measure incline, but as a practical matter, it doesn’t seem possible to me. Without the ability to measure incline, they can’t measure power.

  100. Mario Tello

    Hi, which one would you recommend me? I have two bikes, so I would likes something that can be used in both; I do triathlon and I train twice a week outside, once a week inside with Trainerroad. Thanks for the insight!

  101. Chad Stephenson

    Hi Ray!

    As always, love each and every post you put up.

    In terms of power meters. With the 4iii, would you think they could be used for both road and mountain biking disciplines? And secondly, I presume you wouldn’t be able to easily move one 4iii meter between the two bikes?

    • Chris

      If both bikes have Hollowtech II cranks of the same length it would only take a few minutes to change. Another minute or 2 if changing pedals.

  102. Canyon have a sale today for Garmin Vector 2 at 749 EUR. At this price point do you think it is a better deal than the P1s?

  103. Rich Chin

    Hi,

    I have a Cannondale Evo Supersix with SiSl2 and Cannondale SpiderRing that ideally would want to keep and continue using. I also committed myself to Speedplay pedals (worst case scenario, change them??). I replaced my back hub of my Zipp 404’s with a PowerTap G3 and love them.

    I am considering swapping my 404’s to my tri bike and will probably buy another wheelset for my Evo. Is my only option another PowerTap G3?

    Can anyone offer any advice?

    • Alex

      Hey rich,

      The stages SI crank arm fits the sisl2. I’m running that on my EVO and it allows me to swap easily between my caad10 and evo, both are equipped with the sisl2/spider ring.

    • Rich Chin

      Hey Alex,

      Thanks for the advice. I will look into it.

      I also found that Power2Max and Quarq both make spider rings that are compatible with the Sisl2 crank arms, but you would have to swap out the chainring.

  104. Carsten

    Brim Brothers are of business ?!

  105. Jose

    I am so happy i stumbled onto your website by mistake.

    I love the extremely detailed reviews including pro/con for each product – for sure i will make this my go-to site for bicycle component info.

    Cheers from Canada.

  106. Erwin

    Just saw this picture of Peter Sagan’s new 2017 Specialized. Anyone know the powermeter that is on there? Looks like a Pioneer but in a different “hole” of the crank. Prototype? Or new brand?

  107. Jack

    I assume there are still no mtb pedal based options?

  108. Peter

    Anyone has any experience with the StandCycle power meter? Their website is quite murky and desn’t go into much detail about pretty much anything (specs, pricing, where to buy, the company details).

  109. michael gilman

    Dear D.C.

    Thanks for the great work you do for riders everywhere. I’d like to return the favor with an observation about writing. When you write: “…there’s been many models of…(whatever)…” you are writing ugly English. Why? Because you are actually writing ‘there is been many models,’ which is pretty much gibberish.

    Please resist remaining among the current cadre of writers and speakers who forget or ignore what contractions mean. And please keep your wonderful reviews coming.

    Thanks,

    Michael Gilman
    Cape Cod, MA

    • Dear Michael:

      Thanks for the comment. I’d like to return the favor with information about contractions. When one writes “there’s been many”, one is actually not writing ugly English. Rather, one is writing proper English, which is pretty much not gibberish.

      See, that contraction (there’s) is reserved for:

      – There is
      – There has

      You can validate this on Google, or your friendly paper based texts. Here’s a shortcut though: link to en.wikipedia.org

      As such, ‘there has been many models of (whatever)’, is proper English for this specific use case.

      Thus, please resist remaining among the current cadre of commentators that attempt to fix grammar issues where there are none. I make plenty of legit ones to actually correct.

      Thanks,
      Ray Maker
      Paris, France

  110. michael gilman

    Dear D.C.

    You’re correct regarding my critique of your usage and I apologize for my misdirected critique.

    There has is a phrase I haven’t thought of contracting in ages but there it is. So long as the nouns and verbs agree in number, Bob’s your uncle.

    I read and hear common contractions misused so many times every day -‘There’s horses in that field’ – that my grammar-knee jerked at you.

    Have a merry, happy holiday.

    Michael

  111. Tom

    Reading your review of the stages or more generally left only power meters, you say you are reluctant to recommend because you can get full left/right for ballpark the same price point. yet I am unsure who can provide full left/right power readings for the €600 that stages charges. What am I missing?

    • You’ll often find the Power2Max in that ballpark, as is the PowerTap C1. Same goes for various PowerTap hubs too.

      Note that when I say full data, I’m talking data inclusive of left/right legs (which Stages is left-only). When you’re talking getting legit left/right data separated, then you’re looking a bit more than that.

      Though, WatTeam is at $499USD and should start shipping shortly and is legit dual left/right leg. I’m working on a review with their Gen2 models right now (the ones that’ll start shipping shortly).

  112. Mike

    Ray,

    I currently have the Vector2s on my road bike. I understand the larger consistency accuracy variance that left side only produces but I’m OK with that as I’m just looking for consistency. My question to you is that if I add the Power-tap P1s pedals to my other bike do you think I’d get similar power numbers from bike to bike? In other words if the Vector2s is reading 250w, will the Power-tap P1s also read in the 245w-255w range? Thanks

  113. Laurence

    Thanks for the detail! Is the lack of temperature compensation a reason not to get the 4iiii and go for a Stages instead? Long triathlons or climbs makes getting off and calibrating a bit of a pain, and even on long days in the saddle temperature rises a fair bit, although is this a problem for most meters not just 4iiii? Thanks

  114. David Mulligan

    I’ve used the two versions of the Garmin Vector. I switched to the Vector 2’s about 4 months ago and have found them to be pretty good – until Saturday. I was riding up a short sharp hill to the top of Pranburi Dam south of Bangkok and standing on my pedals when the left pedal just sheared off. No slight give then fail – just instant failure pretty much where the pedal joins the crank. There’s a small bit of thread sticking out of the crank but not much – so now have the problem of getting the thread out without damaging the crank. Not sure if this is a design flaw or just a poor casting – anyway will take it in to the Bangkok service centre on Wednesday and see what happens!!! By the way love your website which, I just stumbled across.

    Regards,

    David

  115. Osman I.

    When it comes to left/right power imbalance, I think that the traditional use of the terms “estimated” (or calculated) and “actual” (or true) may influence our way of thinking and training, and this terminology may be somewhat misleading.
    As I understand it, dual-pedal and dual-crank-arm powermeters measure what percentage of the total power is produced by each leg. In contrast, most chainring and spider powermeters measure what percentage of the total power is produced during each half of the pedal stroke. One of these metrics doesn’t have to be viewed as an “estimate” of the other, because they are fundamentally different, and both are relevant. In theory, dual-crankarm and dual-pedal powermeters probably have enough hardware in them to measure both metrics. But do they? If they do, which one do they output?

    In my view, crank-angle based power imbalance may be more important than leg-based power imbalance. Because there are such techniques as “ankling” and “pulling up” (or at least lifting the weight of the ascending leg so that the descending leg doesn’t have to work as hard), and due to some dynamic effects, it is possible, at least in theory, to do an unequal portion of the work with one leg but still have a symmetric power stroke. The opposite is also possible: if more power is measured between 12 and 6 o’clock positions of the right crank than between 6 and 12 o’clock positions, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the right leg produces more power than the left leg.

    So, my questions are:
    *In powermeter reviews, is it assumed that spider and chainring-based powermeters try to “estimate” the leg imbalance from the crank-phase imbalance, instead of simply outputting the crank-phase imbalance?
    *If dual-pedal and dual-crankarm powermeters have the ability to measure both metrics, which one do they output as ANT+ data, and what do they do with the other data?
    *Is the left/right power data field in Garmin computers and FIT files reserved for a specific definition of power imbalance (by the ANT+ or FIT standards, or by tradition)? If so, which definition applies, and how much difference should we expect between one definition and the other?

  116. Geert

    Dear Ray,

    I was wondering whether Garmin will change its design in the future, in particular whether they will move from the “hanging pods” design to a design like the Powertap P1.

    Kind regards,

    Geert

    • I don’t have any specific insight, but I’d be surprised if they don’t remove it.

      I think they get the feedback loud and clear, and certainly there’s market competitors without the pod. Competitors that realistically have less manufacturing capabilities than Garmin does.

      Of course, when that might come along is the real question. We tend to to see new power meter announcements around the April-ish timeframe, as well as of course the late August/September timeframe. I suspect it’ll be a relatively quiet year across the board, given last year saw many new models (either announced, or finally hitting easy availability).

  117. Nils

    Powertap P1 + Wahoo Kicker-snap, at the same time:
    I am currently having fun riding on the home trainer with these pedals.
    What I cannot figure out is if when calibrated they should show the same power or should the P1 show slightly more since they measure the power before losses in the transmission?
    I think it will be correct if they are different and show the power where they measure it, but then all other power meters than home trainers will show a higher power than what is resulting in the movement of the bicycle.
    I have searched in post (here) and on the producer’s websites, where they speak a lot about precision but not this topic; I see no indication that Zwift, Golden Cheetah or others take this into account either.
    Am I mistaken something ?
    I do not expect these power meters to give an exact measurement of the system losses, but since the tolerances of the power meters are higher than the losses I expect to have something should be visible.
    I would appreciate if someone have any input regarding this.
    Sorry for the long question, Thank you for your fine reviews (DCR). I use/used for most of my equipment.

    • Nils

      To answer my own question, and ask a new one.
      Yahoo has answered me that the Kickr measures the power going into the spin wheel (road).
      Si while the åowertab measures the power the cyclist ks creating the kickr neasjres the kart driving the bicycle forward. The difference being the efficiency of the drive train.
      I would like yiu take on this (DCR), I suppose 10% is a close guess.
      What does programs like Zwift do ? Compensate for this difference (with what factor) or give a 10% advantage to pedal power meters?

    • I would generally consider 1-3% a normal amount for drivetrain loss between a crank based power meter and a rear hub. 10% would be out quite a bit.

      If you’re seeing 10%, I’d ensure you’ve calibrated both units.

    • Nils Sveje

      Thanks for the follow up
      Are you by that saying that for power-meters you would expect 1.3% between pedal and wheel measurements (power-meters being somehow calibrated)
      Or are you saying that it is your belief that the drive-train has between 99-97% efficiency ?

      Ps. my measurements are all over the place, some days I get 15% more out of the wheel than I am putting into the pedals, I do not put much into this.
      I do think the drive-train is much less efficient than your estimate and if it is 5-10% loss then it is enough to create problems for anybody comparing data from the two, as it is more than the products published margin of error.

    • 1-3%, not 1.3% (aka 97-99%).

      But there are a lot of studies that have been done that demonstrate this:

      link to cyclingpowerlab.com

      link to djconnel.blogspot.com.au

      Etc…

  118. Vitaliy

    If you would have to choose between Power2Max Type S and QUARQ RIKEN R which one would be your first choice and why?

    • Honestly, either one is perfectly great. There’s really no tangible pro/con from a hardware/software standpoint there.

      I’d say one deciding factor (or *the* deciding factor) would just be crankset compatibility for what you want to install it on.

  119. thebucket

    I’m having problems to find a pioneer dealer in europe. And actually i’m having problems to find the price point for the pioneer.

    Is it 999€ for the dualsensor crank send-in service?

  120. Humayun Qureshi

    I am in the market for a power meter. I am trying to improve power while riding. I do have an imbalance between my legs. Been riding for 2 years now. I have a cannondale caad10 black inc. with ultegra Di2, and a Trek Emonda SL8 with Dura-Ace Di2. What would you recommend, if price was not a concern, if it was.

  121. Brian

    Due you have a timeline for an in depth review of Rotor’s new 2INPower powermeter?

  122. David

    Ray, can I ask the silliest question I don’t see answered anywhere?

    Can hub, chainring, or crank based power meters accurately measure power when paired with FLATS, you know basic non-clipless / no-cage pedals? I totally get that folks that want to spend big money on a power meter and carefully analyze their training are 99.9999999% likely to already use clipless pedals but is there something inherent in how these power meters work that they assume clipless/cage pedals use in order to accurately measure power?

    Thanks!

  123. Kim R

    Hi Ray,

    Do you expect any changes in the coming months on power meters in terms of pricing or new releases?

    Thanks,

    Kim

    • Hard to say. Typically though we see price drops occur in the Feb-April timeframe. Some of that will continue to depend on WatTeam, and I suppose probably to some extent what I say in my in-depth review coming shortly.

      If the unit looks favorable, that’ll likely drive adoption of it, as well as drive prices down for certain brands. More on that in the coming days.

    • Kim R

      Thanks Ray!

      Looking forward to those reviews.

      Kim

  124. Koen

    Hi, I’m looking for a cranck/spider based powermeter (because I want to switch cranck anyway).
    I’m torn between Rotor Inpower on one side and Power2max on the other. Prices are in the same area.
    Main difference being Rotor measures only left sided power and power2max total power from both legs on the spider (and try to calculates L vs R, which isn’t of very much interest to me).
    Next to accuracy, the powermeter should be consistent. The inherent flaw of a left only powermeter is the possibility of lack of consistency due to fluctuating power differences between left and right (fatigue, power,…) I read that after all your testing, you don’t have that kind of power fluctuations between L and R.
    Can you give any recommendations for me regarding rotor vs power2max? I don’t have know leg issues. I have a leg length discrepancy of 1.8cm for which I use an additional cleat but I don’t think that is a problem.
    Thanks for your great reviews

    Koen

    • Michal

      There is absolutely no reason to choose left-only power meter over power meter measuring total power if both units are at the same or even similar price point. Why would you even consider that? You basically answered your own question in the latter part of your post ;)

    • I’d go P2M over a single sided solution. Easily.

    • Koen

      I see 3 personal reasons in favour of Rotor:
      1/ My LBS is a Rotor dealer
      2/ P2M has no dealers. In case of issues, who do you turn to?
      Adding 1 and 2 gives 3:
      Rotor could be installed by my LBS. P2M would be self install. Have swapped chainrings, cassettes and chains without problems but cranckset would be my first. Is it more difficult or can I follow instructions included in the box? :-)

    • For no dealers, you’d deal with Power2Max directly. But honestly, you’d have to do that anyway with ROTOR, since support would route to them ultimately. So your timelines are the same.

      P2M install is pretty easy, if you can swap chainrings you can install a crankset.

  125. Bart G

    Ray,

    With the Vector 2 down to $999 at Clever Training would you now consider it on par with the PowerTap P1 pedals from a value perspective or do the PT bluetooth & ease of install still outweight the torque wrench & pods? I have a Garmin 920XT & 520 head unit so I’m not moving off of that platform anytime soon.

    Thx,
    Bart

    • Personally even at $999 I wouldn’t do it over the P1.

      I guess at maybe $899 – but it just depends. If you don’t plan to move it between bikes, and are fully in the Garmin ecosystem, then it probably doesn’t matter much. But to me the ease of movement of the P1 is just so easy that once you do it once…

    • Bart

      Thanks for the feedback.

      I realize that the technology is always evolving but do you know of any big changes in the next few months on the P1s or other pedal based platforms that would warrant holding off on purchase? I am planning to purchase before the start of the outdoor season.

  126. Louis

    Hi All – after reading these reviews, I’m a little bit more undecided as to what power meter I wish to get. I ued to have SRM back in my racing days, but sold it when I stopped racing. Now of course, I’d love that back, but that’s not gonna happen. I ride campy and would like to keep my crank, but it does look like there is a crank arm solution for my campy set up (or is there?). The pedal option may work, but I am reading enough good/bad experiences to give me pause as well. Maybe I just spend the $700 for the Ps1 and upgrade to the 2nd pedal if I see the need? Or am I missing another inexpensive option that will work with campy (but not a hub style meter)? Thanks.

  127. David Higginson

    Strongly considering the dual leg Pioneer system for my Trek Emonda SLR with Dura Ace 9000. Can anyone confirm clearance with the patch magnets?

  128. Steven

    Hi DC,

    A question for your regarding the RoTor 2inPower ?
    1. Have you had the time yet to review it/test it already ? RoTor has the upgrade plan and I’m looking to swap my dual-PM from them to the 2InPower one. The main reason is that I need a Garmin Edge to read my power-nr’s since the Dual Pm does not work with the 920XT. Which brings me to my 2nd question ;)

    2. Does it work and register all the data / fields with the Garmin 920XT ? It is a pain-in-the-you-know-what that I can’t get my power-nr’s during my races on my 920XT. So now I’m stuck using trainings and races with 2 devices I need to keep on top of… Which is a real mess. The Edge, you stop and you need to wait for it to save your ride, otherwise the FIT-file is corrupt when your device goes without power before you finished your IM and hurry back to T2 to save the ride and power-off… That means in the end, you do not have your power-stats from a race. Seriously frustrating and I want to avoid re-occurence of that.

    TNX,

    Steven

    • Brian E.

      I have a lot of interest in the Rotor 2INPower as well. I’m looking for a relatively lightweight option that measure left/right. The fact they have a aero version is also a plus. I’m on the Kickr during the winter, but will be looking for a power meter for the bike this spring.
      -Brian

  129. denis

    Hello Steve’m considering buying a power meter are torn between the garmin vector 2, the power2max or a srm used.
    I would be very interested in garmin vector 2 for two main reasons.
    1) I use the precision measurement of the right / left to improve and optimize my riding style which is very asymmetric
    2) Choosing the pedals if you change bike model I do not have to buy me a new powermeter.

    The vector garmin reliable? What do you think of the new power2max ng, measuring left / right is as reliable as that of the vector? thou whom modllo you recommend?

  130. denis

    i’m considering buying a power meter are torn between the garmin vector 2, the power2max or a srm used.
    I would be very interested in garmin vector 2 for two main reasons.
    1) I use the precision measurement of the right / left to improve and optimize my riding style which is very asymmetric
    2) Choosing the pedals if you change bike model I do not have to buy me a new powermeter.

    The vector garmin reliable? What do you think of the new power2max ng, measuring left / right is as reliable as that of the vector? thou whom modllo you recommend?

  131. zac_in_ak

    HI Ray

    Excellent work as usual. I’ve been using a powertap fora few years now and like it. I’m building a single speed cross and was wondering what would work for that? I don’t want to use pedal based ( already committed shoe/pedal system) So any cranks work with singe chainring or should I just runanother powertap with a spacer kit?

    Thanks!

    • Hmm, I know some manufs have done work for track bikes, which have effectively the same limitations. For example, Stages, the PowerTap P1, and I wanna say Power2Max has a version.

      Else, the PT hub may still be your best bet.

  132. 3dbiker

    I have an asymmetrical pedaling if I decide to take one measurement would get incorrect power powermeter internships? You can still use? Although overestimated or underestimated the important thing is that the result is repeatable right?
    It is true that power measuring systems based on the pedals become inaccurate when the cleat is consumed?

    Tanks

    • Mark

      I am finalizing a purchase of a new bike this week, and I would appreciate an opinion on a power meter to mate to it. The bike will come with an FSA-SLK Light (BB30) crankset. I would prefer the Powertap chain ring system, but Powertap reports that they do not have chain rings compatible with that crank. I don’t want to replace the crank outright (so, no Quarq or Power2Max, I think). I don’t mind a left leg only solution. Would you recommend either Stages or one of the pedal based systems?

  133. Brian

    Ray,
    Thanks again for your detailed reviews … definitely the gold standard for product reviews. I really like your power meter comparison table. With all of the changes in the power meter market, do you have any plans on updating it with the updated and new power meters on the market?

  134. Ivan

    A simple and probably already famous question.
    What kind of power meter would you recommend or likely to suggest for mountain bike (XC & Marathon) ?

    • Unfortunately it’s an area I’m not super well equipped to answer. I lack a mountain bike (or many mountain bike trails within inner city Paris). I really wish I had both! :(

      In general though, I’d look at crank based options – like the Power2Max, Quarq, and others in that category.

    • NGarcia

      I had the same question has you!

      And I ended with an Stages Carbon!
      I really like Quarq… is what I use in the road, but on the mountain bike I was looking for something cheaper and lighter. Stages is not cheap but it is cheaper than the rest the downsize is that measure only one side, but since I have a good balance in my legs I dont notice any diference.
      I have already raced with the stages in very ruff conditions… water and muddy and for now everything still works I am happy for now! I that was the worst conditions I can race.
      I recommed quarq or stages.

      Remember one thing if you use quarq every time you replace chainring (something I do.. I select based on the races I do) you have to torque the chain ring bolts all with the same value and is recomended you retorq after the first rides. (that is a turn off for me since I need to change Chainrings and dont want to be worried to retorque.)

      Stages it add like 24grams to my bike … its lighter than a energetic gel you carry while riding.

  135. Steven

    If I may add:

    I would Gondor the Rotor Rex since the vital electronic parts are very well hidden from dirt and obstakels hitting it (bases on the rotor InPower road System). I’m considering ordering one myself 😎.

  136. Steven

    Hi Ray, what do you think of power meters on the pedals? The brunt of a moving part of the bike as are the pedals is no longer detrimental of weight gain that you have the frame by mounting a traditional power meter on the crank?

    • I think it depends on the brand/model. For example the PowerTap P1’s are great/accurate as well as easy to move. The BePro, Vector, and Polar/Look options are also accurate, but less easy to move around.

      I don’t find the weight gain really meaningful in most discussions (if at all). I generally look at it and figure if saving what is at most a couple of grams is the issue…I should just eat less cookies or not take my phone on the training ride.

  137. Ben C

    “So what should I buy”? In my opinion price is the big decider…
    For an actual or true Left/Right power meter, there’s a big difference in price between the competitors that I cant justify. Why would I buy the Pioneer Cyclo power meter l/r Ultegra 6800 for £1142 when I can get the Garmin Vector 2 for £880 ??? I already use Look Keo and have a Garmin 520

  138. Peter

    You mention accuracy problems with oval chainrings, something the Rotor can deal with. Is this a general issue for crank based power measurement?
    I’m interested in the Watbike G2 and currently have an Ultegra setup with absolute black chainrings.
    In your opinion would there be measurement issues with this?

    Keep up the great work.
    Many thanks
    Peter

    • In general most companies don’t support it (i.e. not Quarq, SRM, Garmin, etc…). I don’t know off-hand exactly where the WatBike does their power measurement, so that’d be an area I’d focus on.

    • Peter

      Thanks, I did of course mean the Watteam powerbeat g2, not the wattbike…

    • Peter

      Just received this from the Watteam support crew.

      “The Ultegra 6800 is on our compatible crank list. We’ve tested the POWERBEAT with oval chainrings and there is no affect on the readings”

      Interesting, ne ces pas…?

    • Yeah, I’m undecided on it to be honest with them. Sometimes companies say they’ve tested and understood the problem, but actually don’t understand the problem.

    • Peter

      I guess at the end of the day it’s not the actual numbers that are important, rather the consistency of the numbers.

      Should I decide on the power meter I’ll do some back to back testing just out of interest.

  139. Louis

    Hi All – I recently purchased a PowerTap P1 pedal system, and although it’s only being a few rides, I am seeing som interesting data points. When I’m pedaling easily – say 75 to 100 watts, I’m showing at least a 25% variance from my left leg to the right; left leg showing higher power. When I have a higher sustained effort, say 175 to 225, I get much closer to a 50/50 split. I am zero’ing out and calibrating the pedals before each ride. Why would i see these variances? Aside from physiology, could the meters themselves be playing a part? Thanks.

    • That’s actually pretty normal. At those easy wattages you’re likely not applying a ton of force to the pedal, so that force may be uneven. My bet is if you look at 10s or 30s power it might be a bit more level.

    • Osman Isvan

      If one leg is indeed more capable than the other (not injured or anything, but something like right- or left-handedness), should that leg do more of the work, or is it better if both legs do the same amount of work? If so, in what way is it better?

    • In general, no, there’s no studies that have shown one can actually improve one leg specifically (excluding injury). In fact, there’s a growing body of evidence to show that trying to improve one leg actually leads to an overall lower wattage.

      Everything everyone is seeing at this point shows that imbalances are 100% natural. And differences in balance at various wattage/fatigue/etc points are all natural.

  140. Nicolas

    Ray a question of completely newbie on power meters (and cycling), why are they so expensive? Is it the technology inside, the niche market?
    And by expensive I mean more than 300€

    • In general, this is a good explanation: link to bikeradar.com

      Too niche of a market still.

    • Peter

      Powertap GS hub is available for £300 direct from Powertap including shipping, absolute bargain

    • Richard Hadjian

      Ray,
      I’ve read your reviews of smart trainers and bike mounted power meters. I’m having trouble deciding WHICH option is the better choice, given that both can let me train indoors with power (with an appropriate app). One is indoors only and the other is indoors/outdoors, and cost +/- $1K, which is a serious investment. I’d like to improve my fitness, and I know training with power info is more helpful. I have a regular trainer and do a variety of rides (intervals, etc) with just my cadence and heart info on my Garmin 520, without any 3rd party app. Do you have some advice re which option is the better choice? I’m 67, much more fit than most people my age, and have done many TDF climbs in the Alps. I’d just like to try to improve my fitness and capabilities. Thanks for your help.

  141. Louis DeVos

    Actually, it IS the consistency of the numbers that matter!

  142. Louis DeVos

    Hi everyone-since getting power tap P1 and software for training, I’ve got myself into a confused state. I’m using TrainerRoad on the PC I’ve got both trainer road and the power tap app on my phone, a Garmin 500 and I’m using the tacx vortex smart. I’m wondering which device do I use to calibrate the pedals, as all have that option, and are there any other setting best practices I should follow? I am also getting a multiple power meters found error on the 500!

  143. Mike H.

    Hey Ray,

    Thanks for the good info. I’m another Campy convert, so my options are somewhat limited. I’ve been rocking a PowerCal for the last 18 months and, although it is a non-direct measurement device, I’ve been pretty happy when being mindful of its limits…thanks for the great review and notes on that one. Actually matched really well with TrainerRoad’s virtual power for my trainer and let me have a better idea of what I was doing out on the road (no serious athlete here, but I do like something less subjective when training for my big charity rides each year).

    Anything on the horizon that might be a good upgrade for someone using an 11 spd Chorus group? I’ve got a BSA be frame, so crank based are an option…though I’d rather add to than replace the cranks.

    Cheers

  144. Haastrup

    Hi,

    Does anyone know if the new FSA PowerBox is a tweaked P2M NG or an older/other model?

    It seems bluetooth can be added via an firmware update which is already available on the NG but accuracy is 2% instead of 1% and also no USB charging but battery power like the old Type S model.

    As far as I know it could be based on either one of them?

    • TonyF1

      Weirdly just logged on to ask when a review might be in the offing and cost of left / right and BLE upgrade.

      No information on P2M or on FSA website (except 2017 catalogue). I’ve asked P2M on cost but had no response. The base cost as it included chain rings is extremely competitive in U.K. when compared to Quarq and P2M type S. I’d be surprised if it’s based on NG as that would be a massive price drop but you never know.

    • Jay

      I’m also wondering how the upgrade part works for bluetooth and L/R balace
      do you have to send the powermeter in to get upgraded or can that be done at home
      I have contacted both P2M (no reply) and FSA (sat doesn’t exist yet check back in the summer)

    • TonyF1

      FSA say the firmware will be made available to buy when they launch their new web site in a couple of weeks. Update should be end user rather than return to factory.

  145. Alec

    Thanks again for the exhaustive review. Very helpful!

    I do have a question that I hope isn’t a repeat:
    In high wattage situations for track (or road sprints) racing in particular. I know that SRM has a track crank which is a go-to for world cup racers.
    for the amateur, have you seen a particular setup that is better for 1,600 + watts than others?
    I’ve heard (unsubstantiated and here-say of course) that the glue-on crank meters have issues in this range and above.
    Thanks

  146. Jim Gray

    Great bike reviews.

  147. Avraham Sonenthal

    What if I want a head unit where I can offload the data via Bluetooth or some other means. Do you have a head unit review?

  148. Andrew

    You got a mention on 9 apr 2017 episode….’cyclingtips’ podcast

    • Hmm, interesting. Not exactly sure what Bryan is referring to on claiming that 10% off was OK. I went through the Verve post again and don’t see any data that shows 10% differences where I said it was fine (in fact, called out specific issues where it wasn’t fine).

      Also totally disagree on the claim some tried to make there that dyno’s are the answer. Everyone can pass a dyno test in a climate controlled lab. Going outside into environmental conditions is where the challenges are today.

  149. Jürgen Laruelle

    Hello,

    Can you recommend a certain power meter? I’m a triathlete working towards my first full ironman. I got the advice to buy a power meter for my bike training as this is the new way of training.

    When i look into the possibilities I get blown away. Do I need a meter for both sides? Should I buy a pedal based one? Or crank based?

    I also don’t want to pay a lot of money to have a solution that fits me well.

    So please can you help me :-) …

  150. Steven

    Hi Ray,
    As always many many thanks for the best reviews ever!

    I would like to measure the power on my old schwinn spin bike. Is there on the market a cheap option that would do the job?
    There are still some chain powermeters like polar had many years ago?

    Thanks

    • Unfortunately I’m not aware of anything that’ll honestly work well in that arena that I’d consider ‘cheap’. Well, actually, the PowerCal does do the trick in a lot of ways. Maybe check that review out.

      The cheapest option that’s direct force would either the Stages or 4iiii crank arms, which are at $399-ish, depending on bottom bracket standard. Oddly enough, Stages makes quite a bit of income taking their crank arms and affixing them to indoor spin bikes. :)

    • Steven

      Thanks for the reply, I did non know about PowerCal. Really interesting. I will probably have a try and let you know.

  151. Shane

    Just got a set of bePRO (dual sided version), after installation and calibration, I am getting drops in power display on my Garmin 510, where it will seem to be accurate, then go to 800+ watts, then act like the signal was lost. Is that the type of thing you were referring to when you said it took 2 to 3 rides to settle in? Being new to the ability to sense left/right power readings (long-time powertap pro user here), is there any software or website that will allow me to access that data?

    • No, not same-same.

      What your seeing is something ‘broken’. By broken I mean, not working right. That’s an incredibly tough one to troubleshoot, but is everything being done indoors? Perhaps you’re seeing WiFi drops?

    • Shane

      Yes, everything was being done indoors. Must have been a WIFI or some sort of electronic signal interference, took them for a spin outdoors this afternoon and experienced no signal drops. Thanks for the feedback yesterday, and all your products testing/reviews. I’ll let you know how they hold up in the future.

  152. Scott Griffith

    Usually Ray has a side by side comparison table with reviews like this but, I don’t see a link. Is there one somewhere?

    • You can do so in the product comparison tool…which…for reasons that make absolutely no sense to me I forgot to put a link to in this post. Doh.

      Here’s the tool: link to dcrainmaker.com

      I generally only add in power meters once I’ve reviewed them, so there may be a few missing here and there that reviews haven’t come out for yet.

  153. Great review as always.

    I have been using the Rotor 2InPower and I have havng real issues to get it to connect to my Garmin Forerunner 735 XT. I don’t know whether the pb comes from the watch or the powermeter. On race day, after T1, the watch won’t get the signal of the powermeter. The only solution I came with is to stop the watch – it is the only way I can get to the Parameters – and connect manually the two devices… It is really NOT something you want to do on race day… Apparently, it is a known issue. I understand Stage owners also have this problem.

    Ray, do you know from which device the problem comes from ? Any solution ? other than getting a bike GPS…

    Anyone with valuable experience is welcome too…

    Thanks

    • Hmm, I haven’t heard of that being an issue (nor seen it with other units).

      What minor quirk I have noticed with the 2INPower though is that the wake-up time is slightly longer than other power meters. It seems to take about 25-50 meters of riding to wake-up, versus others I can spin the crank arms and it’s happy. No idea why.

    • Alexandre Leger

      Thanks Ray for your quick reply. I have unpaired and repaired the two devices to see whether it may solve the problem… Will see.

  154. Luca Barani

    I’ve just finished reading the in depth review of the Rotor 2InPower review, and thought about the comment that I’m posting here below.
    I actually didn’t go through this entire guide (again.. I did it in the past but with no mind on the comment I’m putting here below).
    All the above to say that I might cover an aspect that was already taken in consideration and I simply missed it because of my fault.

    All that said, here’s my two cents:

    I do mtb races and use the road bike mainly for training (done a few races but basically just for fun). One of the important aspect in considering the Power Meter to buy is the fact that you will be able to install the same (type at least) of power meter on all the bikes you plan on having power readings.
    I use Stages and one of the good aspects is that I can have the same type of power meter on by road bike, on my front mtb and on my Enduro bike if I like to.

    It would be probably a mess to match power readings during an mtb ride with the Stages, with the values I normally see on (an eventual) Rotor or Quarq (or whatever) installed on my road bike.

    I don’t see many comments related to the off road world so I though adding this one could be beneficial for the scope of the post.
    Again I apologize if this was already considered at some point, I really didn’t have the time to pass through the entire review and all the comments again.

    ciao!
    Luca

  155. Jonathan Webber

    Hi Ray

    Thanks for the comprehensive review. Great insight as always.

    Do you have any thoughts on options to add a power meter to S-Works cranks? I have a 2017 S-Works Tarmac and I’m ready to upgrade my Garmin Vectors which have always been dicey on the accuracy front.

    It’s unclear whether the Quarq DZero spider would work and they seem to have discountinued the s-works specific spider which is now only available in compact form at almost twice the price. The expensive option would be SRM I guess. I’d welcome your advice.

    Thanks
    Jonathan.

  156. Louis Matherne

    Wondering if anyone saw this article. Interesting issue here about power meter accuracy.
    link to cyclingweekly.com

  157. Lee Gilchrist

    Is there anyone to date review for limits power metre. Been ordered one for £200 and wondering if you have a final review.

    • I haven’t put up any newer review, other than my data from last summer: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Nothing has changed, and it’s as bad as it was then. Countless other readers have chimed in the comments section of that post with their data as well. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone post comparative data that’s good.

  158. Greg Holmberg

    I’ve read your power meter buyers guide, and there’s one thing I don’t understand. Do I have to buy a head unit? Why can’t I use my phone and an app, since it already has GPS and Bluetooth? Does no one make an Android app that does everything a Garmin 820 (for example) does? Am I just being too cheap trying to avoid sending $400 to Garmin?

  159. Karim

    hello
    I apologize in advance if this is the wrong thread for my question…with that…

    I have a pair of P1 pedals (the dual power L/R) and up until recently they worked perfectly. I recently took a bike trip to Boone NC and packed the pedals (FYI I removed the the batteries during the flight) and they worked flawlessly on the trip. When I got back home I experienced some really wacky power numbers which I know were not accurate-new FTP of 400+ watts etc and numbers bouncing everywhere…in other words they were very erratic. I checked the firmware and they were current and every time I ride I calibrate the pedals on my Garmin head unit.

    Fast forward to last weekend and when I went for a ride the power numbers seemed to normalize and make more sense. My question is as follows:
    1 has anyone experienced this erratic behavior that has self-corrected themselves?
    2 I have a Wahoo Kickr 2nd gen and wanted to ask if there is software or website to compare the power numbers/files so see if the pedals are relatively accurate compared to the Kickr in other words are the pedals preforming properly?

    Any suggestions on how to set up the test/experiment and software or websites (preferably free) that you would recommend would be appreciated.

    FYI I recently replaced the stock batteries with new energizer lithium batteries…prior to my trip so the pedals were working properly prior to my trip with the new batteries….

    Thanks for reading.

    • Osman Isvan

      In my experience, when I move PowerTap P1 pedals from one bike to another, or when I replace the batteries, although the head unit detects the power meter, it takes several miles of pedaling under power for everything to function normally. During those few miles the head unit displays 0 watts or __ watts, or an erratic behavior such as you describe.

  160. Yves

    Hi,

    I just bought a Stage power meter but returned it because the bluetoothe connection is not working consistenly with my smartphone.
    Sometimes is it deconnected .

    Am I the only one that have that connectivity problem with Stage bluetooth ?

    Thanks

  161. Ben

    Anyone else have a 4iiii? I ordered a left-side only power meter from them and it appears to read about double the power I actually put down (based on strava estimated power and a short session on a trainer).

    Customer service wasn’t great – I have average-ish activity levels, and have been cycling for 3 months, and their support folks thought that a 350W FTP seemed reasonable. It took me getting to my bike fitter (who had a trainer I could use as a benchmark) to get them to suggest a return and replace.

    Unfortunately, I’m in the US and they ask you pay return shipping for a product that was defective from the factory – and claim that you can return a product for any reason, as long as it hasn’t been used.

    Hopefully I’m an outlier, but I’d hesitate to recommend this product to anyone.

    • Nathan B

      I’ve had one for over 6 months now, and I’ve been really happy with it. I’ve used it outdoors and on the trainer. The numbers seem to match up fairly similarly to my old man’s Tacx Neo.

      The one bug I had, was when I first got it, the 4iiii app showed the battery as 85%, which gradually reduced over months as expected. I then did a firmware update, and the battery showed 100% again, and didn’t decrease. Not a huge issue, I’ve just made a note to replace it every 3-4 months.

      What head unit are you using to display the wattage?

    • Ben

      I’ve been using Wahoo’s exercise app, but also tried the 4iiii app. (both on iphone)

      We’ll see if the replacement unit is any good, the readings were so far off that I have to think it was significantly miscalibrated in some way.

      One odd note for me perhaps is that I’m using a 105 arm on my sora groupset, but I’ve been told that shouldn’t be an issue.

  162. Osman Isvan

    Ray points out that the term “calibration” is often used instead of “zero offset”. With my PowerTap P1 pedals, I check zero offset with the following procedure: when riding at a high enough speed that would allow me to coast for several seconds, I pedal forward while the freewheel cassette is still ratcheting backwards relative to the wheel hub (obviously this can be done most easily when going downhill). During this time the propulsion power is 0 watts for sure; and the power displayed on the head unit fluctuates in a range between 0 watts and something like 7 watts (typically the higher the cadence is, the higher is this number). I take this as a confirmation that “zero offset” is correct, since the only power transmitted through the pedals is due to the friction in the unloaded drivetrain.
    I have never seen this test to show a different result. Is there still a benefit in performing the static “calibration” procedure with the Garmin head unit?

  163. Minchia

    Interesting and good in-depth review of all the power meters. I’ve used the 4iiii left only power meter for a while, and have since transferred the crank to my missus’ bicycle. I was pretty happy with it, considering the price point and accuracy (ignorance is bliss). Recently, I was very fortunate to get the Look/Keo dual sided power meter for an absolute steal (AUD 500, which is less that USD 400), and decided to buy the latest Polar M460 to suit (less than AUD 200, and gave my Garmin 510 to my missus). Couldn’t be happier with my great value power meter. Dual sided pedal based gives an interesting insight into leg imbalances across the my efforts, though it doesn’t mean an awful lot to me as quite the amateur. Also, I’m always fearful of stomping on one of those pods as I try to clip in. I have to agree with your comments about it, the limited bluetooth support, the pods, and it is a bit fiddly to set up. Cannot complain about the price I paid for it, but wouldn’t fork out full RRP for it.

    In all seriousness, I think the best value power meters are the crank/spider based ones, as they will last considerably longer than pedals or the PowerTap C1, which will eventually wear out as they’re normally consumable parts. It’s an exciting time for this market, cannot wait to see what’s in store for the future.

  164. Scott Griffith

    I see that Nashbar has the Vector 2 for $800. With one of their frequent 25%-off sales, that means $600. Ray, you mentioned above that you would not recommend these partly due to the price compared to other units. What do you think for this price??