Stages Further Lowers Power Meter Pricing to $299

StagesPower2

No matter how you feel about single-sided power meters, there’s zero denying that Stages and their timing of the decade deal with then Team Sky, dramatically increased power meter consumption. In the rising tide lifts all boats department, they took with them not just (at the time) the budget end of the power meter spectrum, but also the mid and high end too. Not to mention aiding in the smart trainer realm by making it easier for people to train on the same power numbers inside and out.

These days of course, Stages is far more than just left-only power meters. They’ve got dual sided ones, as well as their Stages Dash lineup of GPS bike computers, and sometime in the next month or two – also their indoor smart bike. All of which ignores the bulk of their business in selling indoor non-smart bikes to gyms.

The point being, that despite the long term trend probably (most definitely) shifting away from companies like Stages making add-on power meters (and instead having them just built in the cranks), that day isn’t anytime soon. And today’s permanent pricing shift is basically Stages saying they aren’t going into the sunset quietly. And there’s no reason to – they’re likely the most used power meter company out there.

Today’s announcement brings the price of a Stages single-sided power meter to $299 from $529, and the dual-sided Stages LR units from $999 down to $729 for the Ultegra version.

● Shimano 105 R7000 Power L $299USD/ £299/ €299/ $549AUD
● Shimano Ultegra R8000 $349USD/ £349/ €399/ $649AUD
● Carbon BB30, GXP Road, and GXP MTB L $499USD/ £439/ €499/ $799AUD
● Shimano Ultegra R8000 Power LR $729USD/ £689/ €749/ $1199AUD
● Shimano DuraAce R9100 Power LR $999USD/ £939/ €999/ $1499AUD

Now one might think that Stages is trying to take money out of the hands of the Favero, Garmin, SRAM, and others of the world. And certainly, that’s true. But I suspect the goal here is actually also protecting against the less expensive and less well known brands that have crept in over the past couple of years. Companies like Avio, Tempo, and Magene. All of these companies are shipping units today, though some of them have some sort of ‘catch’. Be it limited availability to a specific region, no Bluetooth Smart support, or questionable technical support in a country half a globe away. Some of them *are* accurate though, and some of them might actually make a lot of sense for your needs.

Stages is basically pulling a ‘Men in Black’, waving their hands, and saying ‘You didn’t see those units’. Because at $299 – it’s hard to argue with that pricing or a well established company.

The units that get the price reduction are all Gen3 models, which has overwhelmingly seemed to have resolved all the waterproof sealing and signal issues of years past. These have dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, and use standard CR2032 coin cell batteries.

StagesLRDual

However, on the flip side, the Stages LR units are still Shimano R8000/R9100 crankset based, which means they’re still subject to some of the variability that all power meter manufacturers are struggling with, specifically on the right side of that crankset (which is why it doesn’t terribly impact the single-sided left variants). Even Shimano themselves has struggled – perhaps more than others – with instability of this crank arm design for attaching power meters to it. Shane Miller and Keith Wakeham have talked at length about this.

Still, I think the deal here is all about the single-sided crank arms. Now, I’ve discussed my concerns with single-sided crank arms for years (which simply double the left leg power to give total power). Most people aren’t actually balanced (which is fine), but more importantly, many people actually have variation in their power balance. You shift your leg balance as you fatigue, or even at certain levels. My power balance shifts the more wattage I put out – it’s different at 250w vs 500 vs even 125w.

But, I’ve also noted that training with a power meter that’s a few percent variable is definitely better than no power meter at all. If you can afford a full power or dual-sided power meter – great! But, if you can’t, or if this is perhaps for a bike that having perfection in your numbers isn’t as important, then that makes total sense. As always, do your research. I’ve written boatloads on this in the past.

(I know, I owe you a 2019…err…2020 power meter buyers guide, but honestly, nothing of note happened in 2019 in the power meter world. In fact, today’s announcement is the biggest shipping-focused power meter news of the last 12 months.)

With that – I’m back to CES related goodness. Stay tuned to the site, Twitter, and Instagram!

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85 Comments

  1. Robert

    The R7000 single sided is $529.99 😐
    So no price drop.
    Fake news.

  2. Dave Lusty

    This is great news for all of us.

    On the subject of L/R etc. it occurs to me that at $299 we’re now in the realm of having a PM on every bike purely for the purpose of more accurate fatigue tracking. For that purpose, left only is perfectly adequate if you’re never looking at the numbers and just using it to guide training patterns. As FirstBeat et al get better at working out when to/not to train it will be way more important to have a reasonably accurate number all of the time than a very accurate number some of the time. Of course, you’ll still want to have the very accurate device for power training, but that’s a different thing entirely. This kind of thing makes it sensible to have a PM on the cargo bike permanently, for instance, so your devices and platforms can add that accurately to their models of recovery and stress.

  3. Richard Owen

    I ended up selling my Stages PM mainly due to the LR imbalance issue. I’m normally 53R:47L so doubling up the left value meant I was significantly down. Also I spend a lot of time on the trainer which is where almost all of my proper ‘work’ gets done, the bike is for rides and fun, often in groups, so power is much less important there.

    It would definitely be more useful for triathlons but I still find HR a better metric for pacing as most of my rides involve hills. Getting a reliable signal to my 935 when in the aero position was also difficult.

    I can’t see me going back to a PM in the future unless it’s dual-sided or I just happen to have loads of cash lying around!

  4. C Gui

    I think you mean to reference Star Wars Jedi mind trick “this is not the droid you are looking for.” MIB had the little click button pen thingy that erases memory.

    Cheers and thanks for the great reporting!

  5. Richard G

    Sort of off topic, but I’m hoping someone might be able to help.

    I recently sustained a major hip injury which resulted in surgery. This left me with nerve damage and whilst I’m back on the bike now (yay!), I’ve noticed that my pedal stroke has changed significantly, and it’s has surges / peaks at certain parts of the stroke on my right hand side.

    Are there any particularly good L/R power meters that do pedal stroke analysis? Ideally live or slightly delayed so I could make modifications and see their effect. I think I’m going to have to put some real effort in to fix this, and I’m assuming proper pedal stroke analysis will be a big help.

    • Meredith

      Garmin Vector pedal power meter or Favero Assioma pedal power meter.

    • Richard G

      Thanks Meredith.

    • JimC

      Favero won’t tell you about cleat position, apart from that it does all the same stuff as the Garmin Vector (and I’ve got some and very happy with them). You’ll need at least an Edge 520 or Fenix series watch to capture the data, though – I’ve got an Edge 130 and it’ll show the power output but won’t capture the cycling dynamics details you’re looking for.

  6. Graham R

    I’m still running a SRAM Rival – would love to see if this somehow extends out to those- the SRAM closeout g2 prices are higher. and the “factory install option” for the rival is 399…

    at that rate it would just be easier/more economical to pick up a new crankset/pm combo.

    • Fred Stig

      This is what I did. You can still get Shimano FC-6700 cranks with honest-to-goodness 110BCD spiders on eBay for around $120.00 (there’s pretty much no difference between 10 and 11 speed for cranksets). Right now there are a couple from Germany for US$117. They’re pulls from new bikes where the customer didn’t want the stock crankset. I then bought a 4iiii Precision 6700 left crank arm when they were still available and cheap ($289 if I recall) from Clevertraining. Was well worth the effort and I could get rid of the SRAM S350 crankset that was stock on my bike (I have a strong dislike of GXP as a crank spec – watch Hambini’s videos for the reason why). And since it was a 4iiii, I didn’t have to worry about all of the dropouts and incorrect data that previous versions of the Stages had. But if the Stages is now actually $299, it’s worth a punt.

    • David

      My road bike also has Rival. This saved me wondering if I could put one on it.

      Bigger is trying to figure out if my MTBs will take one.

    • Graham R

      Looks like they have Factory install on Rival now down to 299.

      Still US only.. so there is that issue for me up in the great white north.. but thats one thing at a time to figure out 🙂

  7. Bart

    Nice! Would love to see some price drops on the Campy cranks as well. Currently 699 for the Record 11sp.

    And choices for a Campy powermeter are pretty limited afaik…

  8. Easycamper

    I suppose this signals the end of all the cheap Kickstarter power meter projects.

  9. Luis R De Freitas

    left side only is not accurate power data (the doubling thingy)
    r+l with shimano crankarms is not accurate power data (right side issues)

    at the end of the day assioma and quarq are still better options .2c

    • No doubt Quarq & Assioma are better solutions, but they’re also double the price.

    • Luis R De Freitas

      how good is a cheap watch that doesn’t give you the right time? 😛

    • Except, as you know – it’s not actually like that.

      For most people, the differences in a left-only solution are at most 4-6% out, compared to a dual-sided solution. For some people that don’t actually care about 1-2% gains each year, getting them in the ballpark is more than enough. There’s a lot of the market (as in, almost all of it) that’s not trying to podium every race. Heck, that doesn’t even race. This is perfect for them.

    • Dr_LHA

      Luis: A cheap watch that gets the time slightly wrong is better than no watch at all!

    • Heinrich Hurtz

      One thing I learned from my Assioma Duo pedals, I could have easily gotten by with single sided measurement. My impression before getting them was that I was not balanced, strongly favoring my right leg. The pedals showed that I’m generally only a few percent imbalanced, and it switches between sides more or less balancing out over a ride or trainer session.

      That said, I’m enjoying all the Assioma Duo metrics, though not sure they contribute anything to my training.

    • Tosin

      The benefit of the Assioma is purely the ability to swap out at anytime to another bike, and great if you have to travel and can rent a bike somewhere, or like someone on youtube, put it on a spin bike.

      That being said, at this price point, a Stages L PM could be a relatively impulse add-on to any new bike, and could be stocked easily in bike shops.

    • Ryan Jones

      Or just throwing on a MTB/Gravel Bike for general TSS use. I’ve got a set of Assomia’s that I transfer between TT and Road bike, but if I ride anything with SPD cleats, no power 😔 so having something on those bikes for cheap (even if it’s off slightly) still gives me that option

    • Bruce Burkhalter

      Check out the hack to add SPD pedals to your Assomia:

      link to youtube.com

    • Martin

      Expensive watches aren’t actually that great at telling the time, my omega loses 1min/month. Perfectly acceptable in the world of luxury watches!

    • Ryan Jones

      @Bruce
      Have been tempted but don’t really want to pedal strike with expensive power pedals

    • Tobias

      Luis, the cheap watch example is right, but I think you draw the wrong conclusions.

      For me, a single-sided power meter is like an analog watch with just hour and minute hands: Useless if your goal is timing a 100m sprint, but if you run a marathon it’s fine for most non-professionals. Especially if the alternative is relying on the sun’s position to estimate your time :).

    • Trent

      The Assiomas are only double the price if you’re thinking about buying left-only 105 cranks. Anything other than that and they are cheaper. The Unos are currently €364 and the Duos are €569. I got a set of the Duos (at that price) a couple of months ago, and they are fantastic!

    • Drshelo

      This is exactly my scenario. I bought some Assiomas to hack for my spd Cannondale Topstone. However, with this news, I’ll probably just go left only for gravel, keep my vectors for road and TT and give the new pedals to my wife.

    • adaro

      actually Unos are 445€ and the Duos are 695€, favero’s website

    • MedTechCD

      Where did you find them at that price??

    • MedTechCD

      Where can you get them at that price?
      Can’t seem to find anything under 412€. DCR code no longer works on Clevertraining UK.

    • zscs

      Hi Ray, for those people with balanced left/right leg power you are right, but… If your left/right leg power differency is more than 3-4% then the situation with one-sided power meter measurents are more difficult. I believe most of the people (including quite a few cycling coaches) believe that, if a Stages or 4iiii measures 5% less for left leg then everything is okay and accept all Capacity Power test values as it is: they calculate training zones based on that CP curve. So, this can be wrong, since if someone produces – let’s say – 5% less Watts with his/her left leg in Zone2/aerob extensive zone, that does not necessarily mean his/her *real* Z4, Z5, etc. power will be also a 5% less Watt value, compared to a dual-sided measurement. This can come from the different muscle fiber type I/II distribution in left and right legs. (Okay, let’s excude the case, if this differency comes from an injury, that’s an another story.) Therefore, if muscle fiber type I/II distribution is different in left and right legs then it can happen, in Z4, Z5, etc. the left leg is actually stronger than the right leg (and vice versa)! Therefore, in this case the CP curve (based on Stages-measured data) provides false data, a false CP curve. (In the explained example: provides less Watts for Z1, Z2, low-mid Z3, nearly accurate Watts in low Z4 and higher Watts in high Z4, Z5 and up.)
      This can be also misleading for non-racing hobby riders who would anyway expect accurate data (even if Watts ‘shifted’ by a few percents).
      Just wanted to share this information – however, I know that, this topic still needs more investigation, only a few people takes care about it and also not a generally accepted fact. But, too many signs show in that direction, this can be the situation with left-only power meters. 😉

      I hope sport science will pick this topic up and will share more information about it.

    • Martin

      But if you are using the same PM to measure in training and racing, why does it matter if it is (consistently) off by 2%,5%,10%? You are still in the right zones, based on the tool you are measuring with. If you want precision, do an FTP test on something with a known accurate PM, then you will know your actual power is off by X watts.

      But if you are desparate for accuracy you can pick up a used SRM for $299 with a bit of searching.

  10. Grant

    Looking at the pricing on the 105 one sided, is that correct that the same GBP/EUR and USD price?

    • Dr_LHA

      It pretty much works out.

      $299 is £230 right now. However, the British price will include VAT, whereas the US price does not include sales tax. So the exact dollar to pound price is £230 * 1.2 = £276. They round that up to £299 because (a) that’s a nice round number and (b) the value of the pound varies constantly, and they need to put in a buffer for this.

    • Dave Lusty

      Well, until end of the month when the WTO tariffs kick in (thanks Brexit!) and then it’ll be around £399. There are almost certainly import duties in the price already fwiw so really it may be that they’re charging us less in the UK.

    • Sc77

      It’ll be Dec 2020 at the earliest that wto terms kick in not end of January

    • Dave Lusty

      Ah good point. Plenty of time to decide whether we’ll kowtow to the USA or EU demands for “fair” trade with no power of our own :o/
      At least the pound will be worthless so my stock will be worth more ;o)

  11. Ismo

    I hope they introduce better options for the Sram Eagle dub too.

  12. Brendan O'Regan

    It will be interesting to see if the likes of 4iiii and others follow suit and reduce their prices as well.

  13. Anton Peterson

    it’s hard to argue with that pricing or a well established company.

    Ray I think ‘or’ needs to be changed to ‘on’.

    Also I’ve just acquired a left sided Stages power meter for this reason. I’m no racer but I like to know numbers and I think this is why Stages is still prominent in the business despite set backs, like transmission issues, dual sided power meters and instability in cranks.

  14. Andrew

    Assuming the other retailers (Clever Training) will eventually follow suit with the price drop?

  15. Michael

    When will we see pedal-based, power meters that use a Shimano pedal/cleat? Assioma?

  16. James Crawley

    Don’t think 3rd gen has all issues sorted. Rode a Super Record left hand crank for 3 weeks and it won’t calibrate now…. However this was a warranty replacement for a 2nd gen that failed after 10 months.. Awaiting the South African agents response…

  17. Dave

    Sir,
    Excited to see the price of PMs drop!
    Do you know if there is a MTB-specific pedal-based PM. i have an off brand crank for my MTB, And I don’t want to pay for a new crank, BB, etc.

  18. Leo

    I just installed my R8000 lr stages late last week. Contacting power meter city to see if they can just price adjust so I don’t have to return/buy again.

  19. Dennis

    No drop in Europe, 499€ for the cheapest L option. 🙁

  20. Chris

    But not on Campagnolo units! So annoying as there are no options sub £600.

  21. Mark

    Interesting price drop, hopefully we’ll see a few others do the same to regain their price positions.

    I also see Garmin Vectors have been discounted by 15% here in the UK at one retailer which is unusual given Garmin’s usual no discount strategy. May be a coincidence, or could signal a price drop or new model?

    I’m sure we’ll also see a lot more new bikes with stock stages, etc.

    Interesting times!

  22. Dan Cooper

    Any idea if they will be reducing the price of the Dura Ace 7710 track power meters?

  23. Brett C

    Australia tax again.

    $299usd to AUD is $430. Add 10% GST it’s $473. Yet the Aussie price is now $549…

  24. Robert Velez

    Does this include the left only meters? I’m kind of bummed to see this as I got the greenlight to buy one just a few weeks ago for Christmas, but maybe could’ve waited and saved a few more pennies. I wonder if they will

  25. Mark Rebuck

    Feels more like they were trying to match 4iiii, no? My 4iiii left-only 105 crank has been absolutely flawless, and it has been $299 for a while now.

    • dizpark

      THIS was my first reaction as well – without actually checking the numbers. I have always been able to buy left only 4iiii quite a lot cheaper than stages. Technically I also prefer 4iii over stages – a) no worries about signal strength, b) 4iiii is quite a bit slimmer and less bulky and c) 4iii cranks don’t have the prominent branding the way Stages do – looks more discreet.

      The reason this is still big news is that I suspect that Stages ship WAY more units than 4iiii, so the effect this price lowering will have is more pronounced. Stages PMs are also way more available distribution-wise than 4iiii.

    • Pete

      Thanks you guys just sold me on the 4iii for my MTB !

  26. Richard H

    A remanufactured Gen 3 105-5800 PM is only $199. Seems like a great deal

  27. giorgitd

    OK, perhaps this is not the right place for a tech Q, but….I have DA 7900 on my race bike. Could I replace the left crank with the Stages 105 and get single sided power for $299? Or would the available 105 not fit on the DA 7900 BB spindle (or whatever we are calling the part that the crankarm attaches to)…

    • Anton Peterson

      It will work fine as both use the hollowtech 2 bottom bracket design. You just need to make sure that the power meter will clear the chain stay of your bike.

    • Yup, agree with Anton. I actually routinely have had to test variations of Shimano left-only power meters, and have always mixed and matched with no issues.

  28. GPSIG

    I owned PowerTap P2s for a couple of years (dual sided) and then various forms of Quarq spider meters. I have never been able to use the extra data from dual sided meters — finding that I ride 53/47 or 52/48 power split L/R is fine, but what are you going to do about it? Pedal 2 percent harder on the left? The big gain is from no power meter to a power meter (that is consistent and accurate). I don’t economize when it comes to fitness equipment but see zero reason to spend for dual sided power meters based on my experience (and instead re-direct my money into other fitness gadgets that Ray brings us so very often…). Getting another good power option for $299 is great news.

    • dizpark

      It does NOT have to be dual, as long as it captures both sides (like spider based) thus giving you correct TOTAL power number. With left hand only , your total number may be off if your left/ right balance is off. Not a big deal for me, though.

      Left/right balance is useless for most people –

  29. Jesse J

    Ray,

    How does the Right side inaccuracy on Shimano Cranks impact L/R pedal balance? Should one be skeptical of their coveted 50:50 power balance?

    • dizpark

      It is not the LR balance that is the problem with Shimano dual per se, but the total (both sides combined) numbers are off, because the right side reports wrong power numbers

    • Jesse J

      If the right side reports off then the L:R balance should in theory be off, no?

  30. Find anyone you know, ride with, at a bike shop that owns a stages this simple question: “Is that your original stages unit?”. The answer will be one of the following: “no this is my 2nd one, the first one had to be warrantied” “no this is my 3rd one, the previous 2 had to be warrantied” etc, etc.

    I would not be surprised if 90% of stages owners are on their 2nd or 3rd devices. I used to work at a bike shop that carried stages and it was a weekly call to them with warranties.

    I wanted to like them, but they truly just don’t last /buggy/etc. Horrible product.

  31. ian oliphant

    My stages dura ace 9000 gen 2 doesn’t work properly. It is out of warranty and according to Stages unrepairable. So a POS or a very expensive crank arm. Avoid!

  32. Constantino L Lozano

    4iiii for the win!

  33. GH

    This is great. I’ve been waiting for this for some time. Felt like PM prices were stagnant in 2019, even without a lot of new features.

    As noted above in a few places, Stages has a wobbly reputation. That said, I would hope that others (Garmin, 4iiii, Pioneer, Assioma, P2M, Quarq) feel the pressure to follow suit. SRM and Shimano seem to be on their own planet so we wont hope for much from them.

    Between Quarq, P2M and Assioma, there seem to be plenty of solid options out there. Prices should and will come down, hopefully soon.

  34. arnold

    Well no lower prices in Europe (yet)

  35. JB

    Thanks for the info just placed my order for the commute bike – this is good news. What are your thoughts on 4iiii vs. Stages left side only regarding accuracy and value?

  36. Artur

    Does anybody know if one can adjust the readings of a left only stages pm with a known L/R balance? So if i know based on my assiomas i have a 52/48 balance can i offset the Stages to read 4 % lower ?

  37. LUIS SM

    I have stages dual for Ultegra and it works HORRIBLE!! Power drops to zero many times for too long on every ride. Very dissapointed with this powermeter that sucks 🙁

  38. Andy from Embsay

    I gave up on Stages after terrible issues with battery drain/water ingress (including G3 L/R meters), but yesterday dug out an old Ultegra G3 left crank as I wanted power on my 1×11 GRX bike – put a new battery in, fitted the meter, next morning – flat. New battery – 2hrs later get the “power meter battery low” on my Garmin – so it seems these things are allergic to me/the UK/Yorkshire. I must have had 10 or 12 units if you include all the various replacements – so I now have a 4iiii Precision on order to see if that’s any better!

  39. alanyu

    IMO stages is just an e-junk. At this price I can get some chinese dual side PMs which are more stable with way better water resistance.