Interbike Day Two | Powermeters
There are a lot of interesting powermeter developments for 2013, so on day 2 of Interbike we focused on what was going on with the established brands and what’s completely new in the market. If you’re a powermeter buff like me, this should get you excited…
The new “Keo Power” is a partnership between Polar and Look to produce a simple pedal based power measurement. The electronics for measuring power are within the pedal axel which uses eight strain gauges. The attachment on the crank arm contains an accelerometer to measure cadence therefore allowing the for power measurement which is transmitted to the CS500 (shown) or CS600x (with GPS – not shown) head unit (not ANT+ compatible). Independent leg and pedal stroke analysis can be done along with many other features on their “ProTrainer 5” software. They claim 2% accuracy and no calibration necessary. RRP is $2300 USD for the pedals $2500 USD with the CS500 head unit and will be out in time for Christmas.
For more information go to the Polar Website.
Garmin had a booth to feature all their products at Interbike but most notable was the absence of their Vector Powermeter. The PR representative didn’t let out much except that they’ve had some design issues and aren’t ready to release the Vector until it’s 100% ready and accurate. They’re wisely not communicating a timeline, but they’ve assured me that we won’t be seeing it in 2012 (last year at Ausbike they set a release date of March 2012).
The price was rumoured for a long time to be under $1,000, however $1,495 AUD is what Garmin communicated last year at Ausbike. (don’t forget that you need to spend $300-$500 on an ANT+ head unit to go along with it).
The pedal itself was to be a Look KéO-compatible carbon injected pedal built by Exustar. There’s no word if this has changed or not. For the initial launch this is the only pedal available, however in the future Garmin will look at providing other platforms as options (e.g. Shimano, Time, etc).
A Silicon Valley upstart called MetriGear originally developed the technology for measuring power via the pedal axel. They started showcasing it at Interbike back in 2009 and originally used Speedplay as their pedal. It was due to be released in Q1 of 2010 but then Garmin acquired MetriGear and began productising it. Here we are two and a half years later.
Stage One is probably the most interesting power meter development at Interbike. The pricepoint of $699-$899 USD (depending on crankarm type) is the most appealing attribute (don’t forget you need to buy an ANT+ headunit). The way it works is that a small strain gauge and accelerometer is bonded onto any regular left crankarm which measures power and is sent to the head unit. They will not modify your existing crankarm as the installation needs to be done at the factory. Installation is as simple as replacing your crankarm and calibrating it with your head unit. Accuracy is said to be 2% and adds only 20g to your crankarm weight. It has active temperature compensation so you don’t need to recalibrate during your ride, and a battery life of 200+ hours (just a CR2032 battery which is easily replaceable).
Note: Carbon crankarms cannot be used with Stage One powermeters.
For more information visite the Stage One website.
SRM is known as the gold standard of powermeters and their high accuracy is their value proposition. They’ve developed a new Dura-Ace 11 speed crankset as well as SRAM, Campy and FSA models. The way SRM works is basically by four strain gauges connecting an inner and outer ring within the spider. There are some new head unit colors available and everything is ANT+ compatible.
Find out more at the SRM website.
I’ve owned two Quarq powermeters and only have positive things to say about them. SRAM acquired Quarq in March 2011 and they are gradually phasing out support for other cranksets. The new development on display was the Quarq with the new SRAM Red cranks. They claim +/-1.5% accuracy, ANT+ compatibility, and easy battery replacement. The cost is $2045 USD for the BB30 model.
Quarq had an excellent interactive display where you pushed on the powermeter to see how much instantaneous power you could generate with the result displayed on an ipad. It gave a good appreciation for how hard your legs are working when generating pushing a high wattage (I could only push 750 watts and pulled a peck doing so!).
Check out the SRAM Quarq website for more details.
Powertap could be credited with bringing power to the masses with their affordable rear hub-based powermeter. They are phasing out all of their other hub models and simplifying things by only producing the G3 hub going forward. This can be purchased as a hub alone, a hub with their Joule head unit, or with an healthy variety of pre-built ENVE wheelsets. The hubs come with spoke hole configurations from 20, 24, 28 and 32H and adds only 325g to the weight of your wheel. They have a new Joule GPS head unit (ANT+) which essentially takes on the Garmin 500. Also new is their entry level HR monitor which calculates an estimated power for about $100 USD (this can’t be very accurate, but is meant for someone wanting to dabble in seeing what training with power is all about). Lastly, their Powerbeam trainers will measure power and provides a virtual training experience.
For more info visit the CycleOps website.
An interesting development in the market is this Wahoo Kickr indoor trainer with powermeter. It’s similar to the LeMond Revolution but uses a magnetic flywheel and doesn’t sound like a Harrier jet about to take off. It has a very realistic feel to it and can simulate gradients up to 15% in the lowest gear. The trainer will measure power, cadence and speed and relay it to your iPad via bluetooth (4.0) with a good interface with all display information. The interactivity that the software provides as well as open platform allowing other companies to develop Apps is what could shake up the industry. For example, they have developed an App with Strava which will allow you to simulate segments and compete with your mates for Leaderboard dominance. Also, their virtual training software which allows community uploads of helmet cam footage is a cool feature that could really take off.
On the bottom right photo, you can see that Wahoo have also developed a $100 USD head unit which communicates with any iPhone app to display the info on your handlebars via bluetooth 4.0. This allows you to keep your iphone in your back pocket with the screen turned off so you don’t need to waste battery power and have an iphone on your handlebars.