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Thread: Affordable Power Meters

  1. #1
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    Default Affordable Power Meters

    thinking about getting a power meter with all of the affordable to me options spurring in the last few years.

    this one has really caught my eye, and not because of the godawful looks.

    Power Pod Opposing Force Power Meter

    PowerPodSports |

    I like the idea of being able to use this on both my road and cross bike vs a Stages or 4iiii. Also i believe there is a dual mount for Garmin up top and this gadget down bottom.
    justin rogers.

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    Default Re: Affordable Power Meters

    It looks like it's a power estimator, similar to the (inaccurate) Ciclosport HAC4 computer from about 15 years ago. (I'm not comparing the Ciclosport and PowerPod.)

    I guess you'd just get a couple of brackets and move it between bikes, which would save five minutes' work over say an Ultegra Stages or 4iii crank arm swap.

    I only skimmed the DCRainmaker article. How does the unit account for changes in your weight? Seems like that would be important for something using math rather than math and strain gauges.
    Geoff used to race around on a Brodie Sovereign
    Geoff Morgan

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    Default Re: Affordable Power Meters

    I've been more than happy with my Stages
     

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Affordable Power Meters

    There's a good podcast about power meters on Cycling Tips. It's the most recent one IIRC. Worth the listen.

    FWIW, I was impressed with the Pioneer single leg PM but couldn't justify pulling the trigger.

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    Default Re: Affordable Power Meters

    Quote Originally Posted by GonaSovereign View Post
    How does the unit account for changes in your weight? Seems like that would be important for something using math rather than math and strain gauges.
    I just got a PowerPod, and haven't formed a strong opinion yet. I was looking for something that was more time-responsive and more consistent for interval work than the Powercal HR strap I have. That criteria it certainly has met for me.

    In terms of rider/bike weight, there are a number of parameters that are user-selectable in the Isaac software which support the Velocomp devices, including total bike/rider weight, primary road surfaces, tire size and type (you can directly input CRR for a specific tire if you know it) as well as other items. The customized profiles (you can have multiple profiles) are uploaded to the PowerPod with a couple of clicks. Since you download ride files via micro usb, sending the profile is easy to do. fyi, if you have different magnetless speed sensors on different wheelsets the PowerPod automatically recognizes that and selects the profile associated with the sensor.

    I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss it as an "estimator." As you point out, there are different algorithms for calculating power for all meters, including direct force PMs using strain gauges. There appears to be quite a bit of good science and R&D work behind this device. What's important for me is consistency more than accuracy.

    A Stages Campy crankarm (I'm a Campy guy), just becoming available, is at least $400 more (Chorus level) than the PowerPod. For $300 I can use it on multiple bikes (road, TT, CX, mtn, even fat) and multiple wheelsets.

    Having said all that, I'm not the guy to get into a technical discussion of the science behind and precision of the PowerPod because I am a bear of very little brain. I'm just looking for something at a reasonable cost that helps me train consistently better. I can provide more thoughts after I've used it for a while.
     

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    Default Re: Affordable Power Meters

    I have a stages, it's been good for me but I know a lot of people that had issues. The best thing about the stages is how much it disrupted the market. The real deal going right now is a quarq. You can pretty regularly score one on Competitive Cyclist/Backcountry for ~$600. They almost always have a 20% a full price discount code. Then you can do activejunky to get another 6-10% cash back.
     

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Affordable Power Meters

    I've owned a lot of them, and for someone who wants to just not worry about it and keep price under $750, buy a used SRM and be done with it.
    Sub 500, buy a newer-gen powertap.

    Otherwise, there's lots of decent options - but the one you linked to isn't one of them.
     

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    Default Re: Affordable Power Meters

    A used SRM is hard to beat, it does help if you live relatively close to a service centre. Makes the turn around pretty quick when it needs a battery change. My power2max has also been super reliable for 3+ years.

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    Default Re: Affordable Power Meters

    I have read a decent snippet of information on it, as I didn't realize how it would work without strain gauges. Something about Applied Force=Opposing Force per Newton is what i gathered.

    I thought at first, rubbish. How could this thing work?

    DC Rainmaker ran an test with like four different PM's at the same time and four headunits. he had something like, crank based, chainring based, pedal based and the opposing force PM. All of them were right in the ballpark of each other with a little bit of expected tolerance.

    Ideally I'd like a Quarq, and I suppose I could just run it on my road bike during the summer and throw it on my cx come fall. I'd be fooling myself if I said I'd swap my crank and chainrings over all the time, that would get really old really fast.

    The price is appealing though, for $300 bucks heck it's the cost of a set of carbon bars.

    I'm interested to see an update after you've had some time to ride your Teleguy, I won't be in a position to get one until sometime this summer anyway.
    justin rogers.

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    Default Re: Affordable Power Meters

    ^ was there a breakdown on the powerpod's accuracy for short intervals (e.g. < 20 seconds)?

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    Default Re: Affordable Power Meters

    Most of them are accurate and reliable today.
    If you need only one that transfers between all your different bikes, consider pedal based ones - I think the PowerTap pedals are the easiest to use in this regard. While pricey, they don't need to be torqued perfectly and cheaper than multiple PMs for each different bike. Only real issue is if you are a Speedplay person.
     

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    Default Re: Affordable Power Meters

    You know, I can't recall. That is a good point though. I'll have to revisit his review tonight now and see if he touched on that.

    I can't imagine he didn't, his reviews are pretty thorough.
    justin rogers.

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    Default Re: Affordable Power Meters

    Quote Originally Posted by ffejeroo View Post
    Most of them are accurate and reliable today.
    If you need only one that transfers between all your different bikes, consider pedal based ones - I think the PowerTap pedals are the easiest to use in this regard. While pricey, they don't need to be torqued perfectly and cheaper than multiple PMs for each different bike. Only real issue is if you are a Speedplay person.
    This seems to be the conclusion i have come to for my uses. Campagnolo drivetrains and 2 maybe 3 bikes. seems the pedal option will be best
     

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    Default Re: Affordable Power Meters

    I think I'm going to do something dumb and go with the BePro pedals.
     

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    Default Re: Affordable Power Meters

    If I was starting over I'd likely go Power2Max with a Garmin, but would miss the interval feature on the SRM head unit. I've got a wired MkV and wireless MkVII, and the on bike performance is certainly better than my Stages + Garmin setup. Off the bike,the Garmin is easy: rest it near my iPhone and everything uploads to TrainingPeaks.

    On a budget, either go Stages or 4iii + Garmin, or find a used SRM.

    Moving the arms isn't that big a deal, but becomes a hassle if you're changing rings between road and cx regularly. Two or three times per year is NBD.
    Geoff used to race around on a Brodie Sovereign
    Geoff Morgan

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    Default Re: Affordable Power Meters

    Quote Originally Posted by ffejeroo View Post
    Most of them are accurate and reliable today.
    If you need only one that transfers between all your different bikes, consider pedal based ones - I think the PowerTap pedals are the easiest to use in this regard. While pricey, they don't need to be torqued perfectly and cheaper than multiple PMs for each different bike. Only real issue is if you are a Speedplay person.
    I've had a lot of power meters in the past and I'd actually say the easiest to move between bikes is the one-sided crank arm like Stages or the Pioneer arm. It does mean you need the same crank across bikes but it was easier to for me to move a Shimano arm than it was to change pedals. It also opens options for someone like me that doesn't use road pedals since I have the same pedal on my cross, gravel, and MTB.

    All this said, I found I hardly ever moved it because I like to grab my stuff and go ride versus messing with things every ride. If I wasn't moving things around, I'd go with a Quarq. You can find them at great prices and they are close to SRM in consistency across conditions.
    Nathan H

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    Default Re: Affordable Power Meters

    Quote Originally Posted by ffejeroo View Post
    Most of them are accurate and reliable today.
    If you need only one that transfers between all your different bikes, consider pedal based ones - I think the PowerTap pedals are the easiest to use in this regard. While pricey, they don't need to be torqued perfectly and cheaper than multiple PMs for each different bike. Only real issue is if you are a Speedplay person.
    I agree. My P1 pedals have been dead simple and reliable. Super easy to install and pair to my Garmin plus consistent from the get go. All that being said I'm actually about to start selling them but only because I'm not getting a lot of value since I'm really just enjoying the riding and not doing training specifically.
     

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Affordable Power Meters

    I have had good experiences with Quarq on my rides. This is both new and used.

    If you search around, the non DZero ones can be had for less than half price, new.

    Not sure if all your bikes are the same BB type, but if they are and the ring sizes are the same, swapping cranks is a matter of minutes.
     

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Affordable Power Meters

    Bringing this up again

    So I can almost justify getting a PM now. I'm really digging the Pioneer especially because I can start with single-leg power and, if I decide I need to, upgrade to dual leg.

    The question is this: which leg do I start with?
    Price difference isn't that huge ($80) and I don't see a reason to buy the head unit until I purchase both sides.

    FWIW, I'm right leg dominant. Tore my left hamstring (still hurts sometimes) and my right sartorius (no longer hurts).

    Thanks.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Affordable Power Meters

    So far so good with my powertap pedals. One thing I have learned having L/R data for a bit is that I'd be fine with a one sided powermeter.

    I do like how easy they are to switch around and don't have any impact on my drivetrain choices.
     

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