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Tour Down Under 2020: Power Meters Of the WorldTour Men’s Teams

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The Tour Down Under represents the first race of the UCI WorldTour season, and as such, establishes what we’ll see in terms of equipment as the baseline for most tech on the teams this year. This has more or less been the case for years, and this year is no different.

The men kicked off their festivities down here on Sunday with the People’s Choice criterium, but the actual Tour Down Under Stage 1 doesn’t begin till Tuesday. The ladies meanwhile actually finished Sunday, after racing over the past week. I’ve got an entire post on them too – so fear not, that’s coming tomorrow (and we’re seeing some good movement there too in full team sponsorships this year compared to last year).

Note that I’m mainly focused on sports tech goodness – primarily power meters, groupsets (which, in 2020 basically drive power meter selection), bike computer mounts, and bike computers themselves. Whereas things like bike frames and wheels and such are just a bit outside my focus. CyclingTips has a good overview of that side of the house in their multi-part series.

So, as a quick recap, here’s the tech posts you’re looking for:

– Men’s WorldTour Teams: Power meters & groupsets (this post)
– Women’s WorldTour Teams: Power meters, groupsets, and other cycling tech tidbits (tomorrow)
– Men’s WorldTour Teams: GPS Bike Computers and Bike Mounts (probably tomorrow)

Plus, there’s some other tech goodness coming out tomorrow, and a few more things that’ll fill up the schedule the rest of the week. Also, when I say ‘tomorrow’, I’m talking Adelaide (Australia) time. With their wonky half-hour time-zone offset, that’s all my brain can figure out these days. Unless you’re in New Zealand, then just consider me from the future.

Oh – and finally, some of you might ask about trainers. There aren’t any stages at the Tour Down Under that require warm-ups on trainers (meaning, there are no time-trial stages). As such, there are essentially no trainers taken here by teams, aside from perhaps 1 or 2 to have handy on an as-needed basis. These are usually just stashed under 237 nutrition packets and dirty rags in the back of a team car somewhere.

It’s All About the Sponsorships:

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Now before we get too far down into the tech goodness – remember that *everything* you see is sponsored. Everything. These sponsors dictate exactly which gear is used, and as we’ll see with power meters this year, that’s got some pretty interesting implications. Even GPS cycling computers (which I’ll cover in another post) are sponsorship items in 2020 (it started becoming the case in 2019, but I think we’re at 100% team sponsorship in 2020).

Given the very nature of sponsorship is showing off one’s brand for payment (or free equipment), it shouldn’t be assumed that any product is inherently ‘better’ because a WorldTour team is riding it.  Instead, it’s just there because they were paid to ride it.  You’ll see power meter brands change year after year with the wind (or the payment as it may be).  You’ll also see cases where a brand may be sponsoring a team, but the team isn’t actually riding the commercially available product.  In the past, we saw then Team Sky riding unreleased Stages LR dual-sided units for years, or other teams riding Specialized units well before public availability (or even announcement).

The point being – look at these products as “Oh, that’s interesting”, more than “Oh, I should immediately go out and buy this product because X rider is on it.” Make sense?  Good.

The Power Meters:

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As a general rule of thumb, Shimano spends the most money of any bike-related parts supplier on ensuring the pro peloton is equipped on their gear. There are and were exceptions to that, such as a few years ago when SRAM was introducing eTAP, they spent a boatload of money for a year or two to have a significant quantity of teams on SRAM RED eTAP, to ‘prove’ it was capable of the grand tours. With that mission accomplished, SRAM saved some cash and Shimano spent more.  No matter how much internet chatter you read, that’s the hard reality of it: Sponsors equip what the teams ride. End of story.

However – it’s important to note that while Shimano directly sponsors the most teams in the peloton, they don’t actually directly sponsor all the teams riding Shimano. Instead, what can happen is that the bike sponsor ends up equipping a given team with a Shimano bike. That can be for any number of reasons from only having a Shimano option available, to the team requesting Shimano, to a random dude in an office building flipping the coin.

With that said, here’s the breakouts by team:

AG2R La Mondiale: ROTOR 2INpower
Astana Pro Team: Shimano R9100P
BORA-hansgrohe: Shimano R9100P
CCC Team: Shimano R9100P
Cofidis Solutions Credits: SRM Power
Deceuninck – Quickstep: Shimano R9100P
EF Education First: FSA Power2Max NG
Equipe Cycliste Groupama-FDJ: Shimano R9100P
Israel Start-Up Nation: 4iiii Precision Pro (R9100-based)
Lotto-Soudal: SRM Power
Mitchelton-SCOTT: Shimano R9100P
Movistar Team: SRAM RED AXS (Quarq)
NTT Pro Cycling: ROTOR 2INpower
Team Bahrain-McLaren:  Shimano R9100P
Team INEOS: Shimano R9100P
Team Jumbo-Visma: Shimano R9100P
Team Sunweb: Shimano R9100P
Trek-Segafredo: SRAM RED AXS (Quarq)
UAE Team Emirates: Stages left-only Campagnolo crank arms
UniSA-Australia: [Composite team unsponsored*]

*UniSA is a composite team created solely for the Tour Down Under, of top Australia up and coming riders. As such, there’s no official team sponsor anything – bikes, power meters or otherwise. By pure happenstance however, a number of the riders were from Team BridgeLane, which is using Argon18 bikes with 4iiii power meters on them.

And organized slightly differently, by power meter brand:

Shimano:

Astana Pro Team: Shimano R9100P
BORA-hansgrohe: Shimano R9100P
CCC Team: Shimano R9100P
Deceuninck – Quickstep: Shimano R9100P
Equipe Cycliste Groupama-FDJ: Shimano R9100P
Mitchelton-SCOTT: Shimano R9100P
Team Bahrain-McLaren:  Shimano R9100P
Team INEOS: Shimano R9100P
Team Jumbo-Visma: Shimano R9100P
Team Sunweb: Shimano R9100P

SRAM/QUARQ:

Movistar Team: SRAM RED AXS (Quarq)
Trek-Segafredo: SRAM RED AXS (Quarq)

SRM:

Cofidis Solutions Credits: SRM Power
Lotto-Soudal: SRM Power

ROTOR:

AG2R La Mondiale: ROTOR 2INpower
NTT Pro Cycling: ROTOR 2INpower

4iiii:

Israel Start-Up Nation: 4iiii Precision Pro (R9100-based)

Power2Max/FSA:

EF Education First: FSA Power2Max NG

Stages:

UAE Team Emirates: Stages left-only Campagnolo crank arms

And here’s a complete gallery of them all (you can hover over one to see the team name):

This gets us to the elephant in the room: This year is *by far* the least accurate year for power meters in the pro peloton. Seriously, it’s crazy.

As shown in review after review, the Shimano power meter is simply not accurate. There’s no two ways around it. It’s just not. It’s still not, and it won’t be, due to the way Shimano casts their right-side crank arms in the 8000 & 9100 series. That’s a reality. And yet, the majority of pro peloton are on it for sponsorships.

Heck, we could actually take this a step further and note that the ROTOR 2INpower is also not the most accurate duck either, something teams in the past have noted to me. And then we have the non-active temperature compensation SRM units out there, which by SRM’s own admission desperately need temperate compensation to handle any sort of temp swings (it’ll handle it if you stop and zero offset, which of course no pro rider will do mid-climb).

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On the bright side, it sounds like ROTOR is planning to change to the INspider crankset for the pro teams I talked with, which may eliminate the accuracy issues there. And then both SRAM and Power2Max offer very solid and reliable products for the teams left.

As with the Tour de France last year, and the WorldTour teams for a few years now you’ll notice that once again there are no pedal-based power meters.

Again, don’t overthink this. The reasoning is super simple: There’s only four pedal-based brands on the market these days (PowerTap P1/P2 now owned by Quarq in turn owned by SRAM, Garmin Vector, Favero Assioma, SRM EXACT), and none of them really want to spend the cash to put pedals on pro teams bikes.  But there is a secondary aspect: Pro riders are notoriously finicky when it comes to their pedal choices. With all of these pedal-based varieties currently on Look & Look variants, that’s super limiting.

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If we harken back to the days of Garmin trying to equip their tour teams in Vector 1/2, there were two issues there. The first was that both of those still required the clunky pods – which pro team mechanics hated dealing with. And second, there were prior pedal-based contractual obligations otherwise for some riders. It was never an accuracy thing.

Here’s my random bet: Eventually Quarq will come out with a PowerTap P3 (they’ve said as such, whatever the name ends up being). And I wouldn’t be surprised to see SRAM/Quarq spend a bit of money the following year on having some Pro teams use it. Just like they did in the initial SRAM eTAP launch. Especially if multiple or different pedal types are an option.

Wrap-Up:

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As with most years, these units will stand as the power meters and gear of record on these teams for the remainder of the season.  Sometimes you might see some minor fluctuations around the April-May timeframe, if new models come out (e.g. I expect to see the ROTOR teams move over to INspider any week now).  But beyond that, I wouldn’t expect much in the way of power meter changes.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the women, as well as a round-up of the bike computers (where you’ll see an even greater domination of sponsorship) and bike computer mounts (which is almost universal in adoption). Fun times ahead!

With that – thanks for reading, and I’m looking forward to sharing more Tour Down Under tech goodness over the coming days!

Oh, and if you’re in Adelaide for the Tour Down Under, both myself and GPLAMA will be at the Rapha Pop-Up shop Tuesday at 4PM to do a live studio audience recording of the FIT File Podcast. Plus, there’s free beer arranged!

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43 Comments

  1. Elmered

    How come UAE is using single sided stages, is there no dual sided available for their drive train? Seams strange otherwise!

    • Stages only has a left-leg Campagnolo solution, not a dual-sided one. And the team is sponsored by Campagnolo.

    • Malcolm

      I can understand them racing with left only as it’s what the public will see and riders may not pay too much attention to their power during a race. I’d be curious whether they also use left-only in training as well, when they are away from the public’s eyes and likely training to power.

  2. Mark Thorburn

    So is the Rotor Inspider more reliable than the 2Inpower?

  3. Shai Simchi

    Ineos is done with stages?
    Also you didn’t mention the accuracy (or lack there of) of the 4iiii that ISN is using.

    • Yup, they officially changed last year, though in reality they used a blend of both companies.

      As for 4iiii, it’s based on the same Shimano 9100 crankset as the Shimano power meter and is subject to the same issues.

    • Rhys

      Can you expand on the 4iii shimano issue? I have a dual 4iiii on DUra Ace (pre 9100 DA group) and find it compared to previous PT HUB used. That said, theres a 5-7% gap to my Wahoo kickr when i ran both at same time. Assumed it was the Kickr.

    • Anton Peterson

      If it is the 9000 series variant it should be ok/better than the 9100 series due to the way the 9100 cranks are manufactured/constructed. Keith Wakeham explains in more details in his YouTube video. In terms of the comparison to the kickr, it is ok for it to read a little higher due to it measuring closer to your feet but maybe that 5-7% discrepancy is a bit too much. I am assuming that you zero offset the 4iiii and spindown calibrated the kickr?

    • Rhys

      Yes on Kickr. No on 4iiii. Good point

    • Indeed, this explains it here well: link to gplama.com

    • Jordan

      Any ideas why my stages LR doesn’t seem to exhibit any differences between Left and Right on a DA 9100. I know it shouldn’t be accurate but seems to be just fine? I have power2max and stages L and the power balance is always near 50/50.

  4. RICH LOVELOCK

    Wonder if we’ll see Campagnolo’s own integrated power meter on the sexy Super Record chainset before the season is out!? 🤔

  5. Matthew

    Ray,

    I think you have a typo, as you say both of the following, which are contradictory
    * Heck, we could actually take this a step further and note that the ROTOR 2INpower is also not the most accurate duck either, something teams in the past have noted to me.
    * On the bright side, it sounds like ROTOR is planning to change to the 2INpower crankset for the pro teams I talked with, which may eliminate the accuracy issues there.

    On another note, do you think so many teams on Shimano power meters will force Shimano to fix their crankset design to enable accurate power meters based on it?

    • I strongly suspect we’ll see Shimano fix the issue on their next DuraAce version, which the rumors point at probably next year (assuming usual very consistent Shimano release cycles). There’s no way to fix it for existing cranksets as it’s a mechanical issue driving.

      Thanks on the catch, should say INspider.

  6. Justin B

    In addition to your points on pedal-based power meters, there are a lot of crashes in pro cycling and the chances of damaging a pedal vs crank power meter are probably a lot higher.

    • Yeah, it honestly wasn’t an issue for Team Garmin back a few years ago when they ran the Vector 3 pedal bodies (some of which were sans-pods). At least from what I heard. The main issues were more just around cleat selection and mechanics being annoyed at all the parts (as there were pods back then).

  7. Charles Anderson

    Do you mean “Drive train”? Drive chain to me is the 11/12 speed chain on the bike.
    Your list is basically the spider or arms of the said team since none of the teams use a pedal or hub based PM.

  8. AS

    “Again, don’t overthink this. The reasoning is super simple: There’s only four pedal-based brands on the market these days (PowerTap P1/P2 now owned by Quarq in turn owned by SRAM, Garmin Vector, Favero Assioma, SRM EXACT), and none of them really want to spend the cash to put pedals on pro teams bikes. But there is a secondary aspect: Pro riders are notoriously finicky when it comes to their pedal choices. With all of these pedal-based varieties currently on Look & Look variants, that’s super limiting.”

    I dont think this really properly explains it. The majority of the teams are sponsored by Shimano and with them releasing a power meter, they’ve added the requirement for the teams to run their entire component line – power meter included. This takes away the option for other brands to sponsor these teams. Changing component sponsorships isn’t easy either, as it requires a large investment of chagning out the entire year’s bikes (and any from last year they might need to use in a pinch if they’re on the same bikes).

    • Totally agree on the Shimano bit, but I think I covered that explanation a bit earlier on. This was sorta the catch-all pedal explanation, since I see questions every year on it.

  9. Ben

    Interesting about the power meters.
    More importantly, New Zealand is two and half hours ahead of Adelaide, so you’re not from the future at all!
    Yep, it’s old news by the time we read the blog. Just sayin’.

  10. Chris Capoccia

    No wonder so many racers don’t even display the power number on their head unit. If I was stuck with an inacurate power meter, I’d ignore it too. Would be interesting seeing if any teams train with different equipment

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Weird that Specialized (or the teams themselves?) wouldn’t insist on Deceuninck-Quick-Step and/or Bora-Hansgrohe to ride the Specialized Power Cranks. Presumably the 4iiii/Specialized product is more accurate than the Shimano offering, but perhaps that’s not a meaningful difference to the teams? So maybe “Train to numbers, race to feels” still holds in the pro peloton?

    • I found the Specialized solution very solid (via 4iiii).

      I don’t think there’s any hint from pro teams that the race and train using different tech. They’re just using whatever they’re stuck with from sponsors.

  12. P Kady

    Is there a similar list of which head units they use?

  13. MattyP

    It was you running past Adelaide Shores caravan park the other evening!

  14. the Bearded Cyclist

    I would love to know more about the reported inaccuracies on Rotor. Currently using 2inPower. Bought on the recommendation of this blog and others which gave it good reviews (outside)

    Any info would be much appreciated.

    • Largely as noted within the review around indoor issues, though some pro riders/teams I’ve spoken with over the last couple of years have found abnormalities outside too.

    • the Bearded Cyclist

      Thanks for the response. I have not had any issues with mine but don’t have a way to really see if there are abnormalities as I don’t have another PM to compare it too and only ride it on mountain bikes.

      Hopefully, I have a good one 🙂

  15. GH

    Wow no Pioneer! Really too bad to see so few teams using what I consider to be the best options for accuracy and value: Power2Max and Quarq. Obviously the shimano hegemony means that there is little to no chance for either one to make inroads.

    Seems like Shimano Di2 works best with Shimano front chainrings. And if you want shimano front chainrings, then your alternatives to the 9100P are:

    1) 4iiii / Specialized
    2) Stages
    3) Pioneer
    4) SRM Origin (dinosaur)
    5) Power2Max Rotor
    6) Quarq dZero (old)
    7) pedals (discussed above)

    With 1/2/3 having similar accuracy issues, 4 being a bit of a dinosaur, and 5 & 6 frankensteins.

    Even with accuracy issues the 9100P is a plausible option for non-pros. Shimano cranks work (or can be made to work) with all BB formats, and can be found for <$US1,000 if you look hard enough. Not everyone likes the power pedal options out there right now.

    I guess we're all waiting for shimano to come out with their next gen version.

  16. Rhys

    For a minute I thought that this meant only one team (Team UAE) were running Campagnolo gear, which is sad to me. But a closer inspection of the photos revealed that the SRM equipped teams have Campagnolo drive trains as well.

  17. AndrewC123

    Aren’t we overdue for an updated power meter buyer’s guide? I thought they usually come out in November, did I miss it? I’m thinking of moving up to a strain-gauge-based PM! after my PowerPod died [out of warranty, they offered me a discount on a new one but if I’m gonna spend that much I’d like to go a different route this time].

    I guess the tech may not have changed that much in the last year, but I suspect the pricing may have, and it would be good to have the insider’s knowledge of which ones are due for a refresh or price drop.

    • Definitely overdue. Though, as you noted, honestly nothing changed in 2019. It was only in the last few weeks Stages dropped pricing down to $299, which will impact things medium to long term.

      But otherwise, there was basically no power meter shifts (product or pricing) in 2019.

    • AndrewC123

      Thanks, Ray!

  18. Bene

    It totally makes sense for Shimano to sponsor there inaccurate PowerMeter to the teams. If the product is not good enough to advertise itself, you need to help.

  19. Andrew

    Hey Ray, why no pedal based meters? Pedal preference for the riders or are they not quite up to specs with the crank based competition? I would think a dual Garmin or Favero would perform better than stages only left….

  20. Deena Blacking

    Hi!
    Thanks as ever for the latest views on power meters. I have been persuaded to purchase Favero Assioma Duos thanks to all of your various reviews, but I have one question before I buy – do you foresee a newer model coming out in the next six months or so? I don’t want to invest and find that my version is outdated zircon the year.
    Thanks

  21. Chris

    Hi DC Rainmaker,

    Thanks for everything that you do – I really appreciate your reviews.

    TWO questions for you:

    1) have you had a chance to try out the INSPIDER (from Rotor yet?) any info?

    2) Reason I ask is because I recently got the INPOWER power meter and I’m a bit concerned about my numbers (it’s about 10% higher than my wahoo kicker (indoors obviously)…. I know you had reviewed the 2INPOWER and also mentioned higher numbers indoors, but outdoors was pretty accurate. Did you ever get a chance to test the INPOWER indoors and outdoors? I’m hoping the outdoor numbers are accurate (I used to have a P2M and it was inline with my wahoo kickr numbers)

    thanks

    Chris

    • Hi Chris-

      Thanks!

      1) Still no unit. Everytime I ask the answer is ‘in three weeks’. I asked a few weeks ago, still three weeks. Not really sure what to say, other than at this point I can only assume if they’re not sending one to me it’s for a very specific accuracy related reason.

      2) I didn’t test the singular inPower, just the 2INpower variant. I would note that the Inspider is an entirely different beast/tech – so it’s hard to say there.

      Cheers!