Cycling Dynamics for Assioma Power Meter Pedals Released, New Pedal Bodies Too

Yes, the long and oft talked about day is finally here – Favero has pushed out a firmware update enabling Cycling Dynamics on their popular Assioma power meter pedals. It’s been a multi-year journey that first started in Garmin’s camp, then the ANT+ camp, and then ultimately culminating in the Favero camp. The update is available via the Favero Assioma smartphone app, which you can wirelessly update your pedals from.

Of course, at present this still requires a compatible bike computer to display/record the metrics, and despite ‘Cycling Dynamics’ being an open standard now for a year, only one company has implemented it in their products: Garmin.

And even that has some limitations, which we’ll dive into down below. Still, for those that want these advanced pedaling metrics (or know what to do with them), then your day has arrived.

The Tech Details:

I suppose I should start off with how you can benefit from a racing or training perspective from Cycling Dynamics. But since that explanation isn’t available from anyone in the industry, I’m going to just explain what is, and isn’t, Cycling Dynamics. First off, let’s start with what isn’t classified as Cycling Dynamics, as these baseline metrics have been around ages in the power meter world and despite occasional attempts by companies to rebrand them otherwise, they’re basically standard issue metrics on ANT+ power meters (more on Bluetooth in a moment):

Power (Total): Your total power being transmitted – e.g. 227w
Power (Balance, left/right): Your power balance between left and right side – e.g. 46%/54%
Cadence: Your pedaling revolutions per minute – e.g. 94rpm
– Torque Effectiveness: How much of the pedal stroke is actually contributing to going forward (versus lifting up on the pedal) – i.e. 74%
– Pedal Smoothness: How smooth your pedal stroke is all the way around – i.e. 82%

All of the above have been around prior to Cycling Dynamics and are available on many power meters and a number of head units. Again, standard issue stuff on the ANT+ side of things. Nitpickers corner note: Technically some power meters transmit torque, but from a user standpoint you see power/watts, not torque.

Next, we’ve got the things defined as ‘Cycling Dynamics’. By and large these mirror the same pedaling metrics that Garmin first introduced years ago with the original Vector pedals. Other players in the industry (most notably Pioneer) have similar metrics to these, in some cases leveraging the same names and other cases with slightly different names and metrics. Here’s the short version (and the long version):

Platform Center Offset: The position on the across pedal spindle (basically if your foot pushes on the right or left edge of pedal)
Power Phase: Where the majority of your power output is within the pedal stroke (phase)
Rider Position: Whether you are seated or standing

If you were to look at what a typical Garmin Vector pedal set would show from a Cycling Dynamics standpoint, here’s what it would show after the fact (you can also view these same stats mid-ride as well):

And here’s the greater graph view:

Oh, and a summary section in your ride summary:

But this isn’t about Vector 3. Which means you may be asking yourself: Is what Favero implemented the same as what Garmin implemented? And the answer is ‘no’ on two different accounts. The first piece to understand is that two years ago Garmin ‘handed over’ the Cycling Dynamics bits to the ANT+ Power Meter Technical Working Group (TWG). Basically the equivalent of giving that team the ‘code’ for cycling dynamics. The ANT+ Power Meter TWG is comprised of all of the industry players for power meters (or those with interests in power meters). This includes boatloads of companies, including Quarq, PowerTap, Favero, Garmin, and even Wahoo Fitness (since they have head units that would capture that data). There’s many more players than just those few, but just to understand it’s not a Garmin-only thing.

Once that hand-off occurred the ANT+ Power Meter TWG then spends ‘some time’ (read: like a year) figuring out how they might want to change that original ‘gift’ from Garmin to include things other companies are planning. For example, Pioneer might have wanted to add in specific metrics that better supported their power meter pedaling metrics. The companies then go back and forth until a true standard is agreed upon. Despite how absurdly long this process usually takes, it’s a core reason why the ANT+ power meter standard is so much more reliable from a spec standpoint than that of the Bluetooth Smart power meter variant.

As a result of that, the spec changed slightly from what Garmin had initially handed over, to what’s been adopted as part of the general power meter ANT+ spec (cycling dynamics isn’t its own thing, but rather just part of the normal ANT+ power meter device profile). As such, it means that what Garmin implemented 5 years ago as part of the original Vector pedals isn’t the same. And in turn, for bike computers and such way back then, those won’t be compatible with the new spec, as Garmin has to update them to handle the new power meter spec.  But more on that in a second.

Again, the quick timeline overview:

August 2014: Garmin introduced Cycling Dynamics to Vector 1
September 2017: Garmin opens up Cycling Dynamics to ANT+ Power Meter Group (and TrainerRoad adds it in beta)
July 2019: Favero adds Cycling Dynamics to their Assioma pedals (this post)

First, let’s talk about what Favero has and hasn’t implemented with their slightly differently branded ‘IAV Cycling Dynamics’, here’s the three main components of cycling dynamics:

Platform Center Offset (PCO): Not implemented on Favero Assioma
Power Phase: Yes, implemented on Assioma
Rider Position: Yes, implemented on Assioma

So in this case, Favero isn’t providing PCO, but is providing the remainder of metrics. Platform Center Offset is typically used in bike fit type situations where you might adjust the cleat positioning slightly to get you more centered. It’s somewhat peculiar that Favero selected not to adopt this, since this is actually one of the aspects that’s had some uptake in terms of usefulness of the greater cycling dynamics suite.

To that end, Favero does have an explanation:

“For the moment, we have decided not to include the PCO Dynamic, since part of the resources that would be used to return
this parameter with such precision as to make it really useful for the analysis of the position of the foot are currently used in
the IAV Power accuracy assurance system.

 

So, even if technically possible, we preferred not to implement this metric. Instead, we kept all the resources employed to
ensure the accuracy of power measurement with any style of pedaling. We believe that this is the best choice and more faithful
to our motto “Ride Hard Facts”.  We certainly do not rule out the implementation of other advanced metrics.”

So, to translate that into simple English: “Our internal hardware doesn’t support it.”

They’re basically saying that the internal bits that would normally do that work are already busy maintaining accuracy, and thus they can’t dedicate that capability to PCO.

Thus, here’s what those same charts look like for the Favero Assioma pedals instead:

And again, the graph view. Here you’ll notice that it does record zeros across the board for the red/orange lines of platform center offset, rather than a null figure. By the way, here’s a simple indoor activity showing that data on Garmin Connect in case you want to zoom around, and another outside.

And the ride summary section:

So which head units support the ANT+ Cycling Dynamics variant that Favero is using? At this point, just newer Garmin units – not the broader list of units that Garmin has supporting the older version of Vector-based cycling dynamics. They are as follows as of today (these may change/be expanded):

– Garmin Edge 520 Plus
– Garmin Edge 530
– Garmin Edge 820
– Garmin Edge 830
– Garmin Edge 1030
– Garmin Forerunner 935
– Garmin Forerunner 945
– Garmin Fenix 5 Series
– Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Series
– Garmin MARQ Series

Additionally: One person has since reported success with a base (non-Plus) Edge 520 and another reported success with an Edge 1000. I have not independently confirmed that or seen those files, but I have requested confirmation from Garmin if those should be working.

Now you may be asking – why not some other older units? Well, as noted – while the name ‘cycling dynamics’ remains the same, the underlying code isn’t. In fact, even Garmin started changing their own Vector pedals last fall to dual-transmit on both the legacy Garmin-only Cycling Dynamics and the newer ANT+ spec Cycling Dynamics (ensuring that if customers had older head units they originally bought for Vector 3 usage, it’d still work just fine).

On one hand, it’d be easy to get mad at Garmin for not updating every older device to support the new ANT+ variant of Cycling Dynamics. But one has to remember, Garmin handed over the spec two years ago. It’s basically taken Favero (or anyone else) that long to adopt it. Had Favero moved quicker two years ago, Garmin likely would have updated older units at that time (since most of the units listed above weren’t even out then). At this point though, that water has kinda passed under the bridge.

And to that end, it’d be just as easy for Wahoo or anyone else  to add it too (Lezyne, Stages, etc…). After all, Wahoo added support for Pioneer’s advanced pedaling metrics last fall, which has the vast majority of the core concepts of Cycling Dynamics. Albeit, it doesn’t sound like Pioneer participated in any of the ANT+ Power Meter TWG meetings around the topic, from talking to them last fall. So they might be the odd man out right now.

I’ve reached out to Wahoo to see if they still plan on supporting the ANT+ variant of Cycling Dynamics, I’ll post back once I hear back.

Oh – and remember this is all only over ANT+. The Bluetooth Smart power meter device profile doesn’t have an equivalent standard on it. Some vendors have done vendor specific things, such as ROTOR and Polar together, but nothing industry standard at this point. Which is also a good reminder to ensure that if you’ve got your Favero Assioma pedals paired to your Garmin, to be sure it’s over ANT+, else you won’t see these metrics over Bluetooth Smart. It lists the pairing type in the sensor settings (it’ll say ‘ANT+ or BLE’).

New Pedal Bodies:

Oh, this is a quickie – but Favero has also released new pedal bodies for the Assioma lineup. These are just the pedal shell portion, not the entire spindle/etc. There are precisely two differences with them:

1) They’re now painted black (specifically, the springs)
2) The units have a widened tension adjustment range from 8Nm to 20Nm.

The first change was made by Favero to have a “more elegant look”, while the second change was basically made to address concerns that sometimes the Assioma pedals were a bit hard to clip in/out of. While I personally never had that complaint, I’ve certainly seen numerous comments to that effect.

Here’s my holding the new pedal body (left) compared to my well worn older pedal body at right. You basically pop out the spindle of the old body and place it in the new body. You’ll still have the small pod just like before. This is only swapping out the body portion.

Favero now lists the black pedal bodies (as they are referred as) on their site under accessories, for 49EUR per pedal (so basically 98EUR for the set).

Wrap-Up:

I suspect for most Favero Assioma users that don’t read this post, they’ll probably never even know to update their firmware on their pedals. But for those that do – you’ve now got some new metrics to play with. Still, even for that subset – I don’t see this as life changing for most people. Just like Garmin Vector’s Cycling Dynamics, I haven’t really figured out how to actually use it from a training and racing standpoint.

Sure, there are some fun tidbits around seated and standing power averages and such – but ultimately the novelty mostly wears off on those bits. I’d have loved to see either Favero or Garmin (or anyone) fully document how to use these metrics in a training standpoint (in terms of specific workouts that do improve your overall strength). TrainerRoad had seemed like they might do that two years ago when they first added Cycling Dynamics into a beta app for Interbike 2017. But their support today wouldn’t likely work for Favero Assioma, since it’s based on the old Vector code and not the ANT+ standard (best I can tell). It’s also limited to the iOS app with an ANT+ adapter. TrainerRoad has indicated they plan no future Cycling Dynamics expansions or functionality (as of publishing, but they are active in the forum on that thread).

Still, it’s a good checkbox sales item for Favero. It’s been two years since the Assioma pedals came out, and they are without a doubt the best value on the market for a power meter pedal – coming in at $649 for the dual-sided Duo, or a bit more than half the price of dual-sided Vector 3 ($999). Really the only complaint left on the Assioma pedals would be aesthetic, in getting rid of the external pod and going to a sleeker looking single-component pedal. I don’t foresee that happening near term, but it gives us something to aim for. Or they could shift directions and focus on another pedal type – but that road is fraught with 3rd party challenges.

In the meantime – go forth and get your pedals updated. I’ve been running the new firmware for about two months now with Garmin head units (since it’s the only one that supports it) without any apparent issues. I haven’t recently tested other head units.

With that – thanks for reading!

DC Rainmaker:

View Comments (225)

  • Did anybody figure that pedaling efficiency Assioma was providing prior this firmware upgrade is gone with cycling dynamics update? Does this mean the efficiency data provided before is irrelevant with nee cycling dynamics?

    • Posted a few times above. You have to activate cycling dynamics once pedals connected to your Edge unit. You have to make sure your pedals are connected or it won’t display.

      Settings-sensors-Assioma-sensor

      Didn't have to activate it before, but now you need to when you have the new firmware. Once activated it shows full details again.

  • Interesting article. I am also not sure what the benefits are, but nice to get a split of standing and sitting as well as power achieved in those positions. In regards to the new pedal body, it does appear that the spring is not only black, but a smaller gauge of wire used, hence a wider range of tension setting available. I do have mine set to the easiest right now, so could be quite interested in a set.. Thanks JB

  • Wow, I guess I got lucky. Reading this post I thought "shoot, new body/spring now that mine are approaching 45 days old..." Then on a whim I go out to the garage and bingo -- Clever Training had sent me the new pedals! Kudos to them.

    Coming off DuraAce it took me all of three rides to get used to the pedal/cleat interface, and now I do find myself wondering about my previous commitment to the SPD-SL design. And besides, now my Campag bike has Italiano pedals too -- yeah!

    Would love to have pedal offset. I vascilated between Uno and Duo, and went Duo. Glad I did as I regularly have a 45-55 imbalance that I can work on. I'm thinking PCO would help with that too.

    Also looking to see how the power metrics can help me confirm the position of my Rotor Q-Rings.

    All is good in my pedal world. Now if they'd just come out with an SPD and/or a flats body for this spindle it would be the cat's meow.

    I'm a fan of the design with the electronics in the pod -- out of sight, out of mind, and protected.

  • I have opened a ticket with Garmin in order to attempt to remedy my issues with rider position reporting. Namely, the problem of no seated/standing times and discrepancies in the seated/standing graph on the Connect web portal and the Android mobile app. One platform shows I was seated the whole time while another shows I was standing for the same activity.

    My initial conclusion is that it is simply not supported on older watches as it would be mentioned in the firmware change log if it was added, just like it is for the edge 1030. My stats tab page does not have a third toggle for Position like Ray's image, and the Cycling Dynamics tab has blank seated/standing times.

    We'll see what resolution Garmin brings, but it looks like the data is being recorded in the .fit file in a different manner on the older units.

  • Hi,

    got my new Assioma Uno, updated it out of the box to firmware 4.04, installed with no issues, and then! - it sends normal power numbers to Edge 520, but only half the power to F935. And that's at the same time, on the same ride - both on screen and in the file. Any ideas? Searched the web, but so far I see "half-the-power" cases were mostly about apps (Zwift / Trainerroad) connected over Bluetooth and a setting in "app compatibility", not ANT. Reported to Garmin support, and they are looking into it, but no results so far. Anyone had any similar issues and knows how to solve? Thanks!

    • In the Edge you can disable rather than remove. I don't know what the effect is of removing a BLE sensor from the FR935 in terms of what happens during subsequent startups. However, you really can just ignore it once you toggle past it and configure the ANT+ signal. It won't bother you after that. Go ahead and remove it and then when you start up a new session again make sure you ignore any power sensor that doesn't have the same ID that was automatically suggested on the Edge 520. When my FR was new it was on FW version 8.00 or something in that range and the ID # was prefaced with "BLE." I'm not sure whether it still does that. Right now my Assioma is ID 18228 and my Vector 3 ID is 585718 on both head units.

    • Thanks for the idea, Chris - will check! Do you know if there a way to "force" FR935 not to see a BLE sensor, and to go ANT+ first?

    • My guess is that (and I didn't realize this was possible with the Assioma) you connected to the FR935 in BLE and to the Edge 520 with ANT+ (since it can't connect to sensors via BLE). The fastest way to check this is to look first at your Edge 520 at the Assioma sensor configuration for the ID. Write it down or keep it handy when you do the same on the FR935. The BLE ID will be different unless you overwrote the default to make them the same. FWIW, it is possible to connect to Vector 3 pedals with Edge 520 in ANT+ and FR935 in BLE in the same work session. From what I recall, the FR935 will try to connect to BLE first if it sees both.

  • Had an issue today using Edge 510 & Assioma Duo with 4.04 (not sure which one is the culprit but I suspect the edge). My power was quite low even after warming up. It felt like a large effort to even reach my FTP; and while I trained a lot last week, I shouldn't be that tired. I stopped to recalibrate and then looked at the DUO's settings: Crankarm length was somehow set at 110mm! Changeing it back to 172.5mm solved the issue and perceived effort matched the wattage displayed.
    This is almost a 1.6 ratio and I remember changeing a device setting from imperial to metric - it might be a bug on Duo v4.04 on an interaction between the two devices.
    I suspect my Edge 510 more because a couple weeks back, all 4 fields on a display window showed Cadence: it's weird when your cadence, your 3sec-pwr, 10sec-pwr and your HR are all at 84.
    My 510 is getting old. A 530 is on order.

  • Since the new firmware update, my garmin 1030 no longer displays information about pedaling efficiency.
    Is it better to use other Garmin informations ?

    • You have to activate cycling dynamics once pedals connected to your Edge unit. There was post above showing how to do it. You have to make sure your pedals are connected or it won't display.

      Settings-sensors-Assioma-sensor

      The new dynamics show up ok on my FR735XT too. :)

  • So, my first FTP test after upgrading to fw 4 yielded a 5% increase.

    Has anyone noticed readings being higher after the update before I pat myself on the back too much?

  • I bought my Assioma pedals last summer and it's easily the best cycling upgrade I've made to my bike. I never have to think about them, other than charging (which happens a lot less frequently than I anticipated). This is coming from Stages, though, where I had to constantly babysit the damn thing - drop outs, battery cover problems, etc. I've been on the new firmware about 2 weeks now and have had no issues.

    Very happy to see they continue to update them while also being confident in the hardware part of it. I might update the pedal bodies for next year.

    • The practical difference is that when you do reach the limits of cornering clearance, you scratch off some injection molded plastic from the Faveros (and enjoy slightly more clearance the next time), whereas on Vector 3 you would be messing with the all-important battery cap that Garmin is apparently struggling to get right even before a violent tarmac rubbing.

    • Whilst i agree with most of what you said I believe that the cornering clearance is actually better on the vectors due to the rounded shape....

      Rather have rechargable battery and accurate data though!

    • Yes, I agree, it really is a great product as in the months that I've owned them I have not had one issue.

      I've also owned the latest version of the Vector 3 with revised battery caps which I returned, Ray and others say they are fixed but I still had spikes and problems on two sets despite lubing the batteries. I just think most people gave up and the ones that remain don't care and prefer aesthetics over accurate performance.

      If you think about it, this Assioma design is superior anyway as the spindle is thinner and cornering clearance is better, while the pods blend in with the crank arms.

  • I just got a pair of Assioma pedals and I configured them on Android no problem. I updated them to FW version 4.04 (after registering and pairing the pedals to one another) and then added them as new sensors to my FR935 and "old school" Edge 520. They recorded the power as expected (No PCO, of course). I had more trouble with my Vector 3s recording the Cycling Dynamics meta-data. The Vector 3 problem was eventually traced to the battery cap issue and my pedals did not pair properly every time I restored power. If anyone has trouble with the Assioma pedals on Garmin head units that support any version of Cycling Dynamics I'm going to assume that those with trouble did not pair the pedals with each other properly. I've heard they will try to join as one or two "Uno" pedals if that happens. Make sure the pedals are configured properly in Android (or iOS, I assume) for two-channel "Duo" Ant+ mode before you blame differences in CD implementations.

    The one thing I need to find out is how to exploit the extra data that Assioma claims to record under "IAV Cycling Dynamics." The only thing that I know for certain is that they claim better accuracy. Which makes sense. But I want to see how to also get better reports, if possible.

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