Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 26
  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: plag's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    261

    Power meter for beginner weekend warrior ? overkill?

    Tried searching but did not find much. would a power meter be overkill for a recreational rider club ride or just overkill .

  2. #2
    gazing from the shadows
    Reputation: QuiQuaeQuod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    24,846
    Do you have a current training plan? Do you actually stick to that training plan?

    If so, then a power meter would be useful to maximize the benefits of your training time.
    .
    Stout beers under trees, please.

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: mtrac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    690
    I got one after tiring of dragging my ass around on long rides. They produce lots of data, call BS as needed, and are generally invaluable for a recreational rider, IMHO. Note the older PowerTap alloy wheelset is occasionally available under $500.
    It ain't bragging if you can do it.

  4. #4
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: plag's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    261
    Quote Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod View Post
    Do you have a current training plan? Do you actually stick to that training plan?

    If so, then a power meter would be useful to maximize the benefits of your training time.
    no I do not train or plan to do serious training.

    just looking to improve

  5. #5
    tlg
    tlg is online now
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: tlg's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    9,273
    Quote Originally Posted by plag View Post
    no I do not train or plan to do serious training.

    just looking to improve
    What do you think a power meter will do to help you improve if you're not planning on training?
    Custom Di2 & Garmin/GoPro mounts 2013 SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Team * 2004 Klein Aura V

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: plag's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    261
    Just want to get better overall fitness strength and endurance .


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    gazing from the shadows
    Reputation: QuiQuaeQuod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    24,846
    Quote Originally Posted by mtrac View Post
    ...and are generally invaluable for a recreational rider, IMHO.
    Invaluable to be able maximize benefits, I can agree with that.

    If someone can't/won't stick to a structured training program without a power meter, they won't with one either. For such a person, there are other ways to get improved performance that would be better than a power meter. My wife would hate truly structured training, for example. She would ride less if I tried to impose it on her, even for a couple months to get ready for a cycling trip. For her, a power meter would have negative value. $500 spent other cycling ways would be far more incentive to ride more for her.

    So we have a series of rides we use at the start of the season, middle, and late. There are options both flat and hilly at all those times. I just try to make sure we get a couple non-flat routes in a week, and we ride a bit more in terms of time week to week. Admittedly, we've been riding for a few decades and don't race*, so we are pretty chill about these things.




    *I admit I will contest any sprint with any person at any time, so be ready if we approach a city limits sign!
    .
    Stout beers under trees, please.

  8. #8
    gazing from the shadows
    Reputation: QuiQuaeQuod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    24,846
    Quote Originally Posted by plag View Post
    no I do not train or plan to do serious training.

    just looking to improve
    I suggest you do this:

    Do 2 "hard" rides each week. Some really fast sprints, or some climbing will do this. Make sure the "hard" part is 20 minutes at least to start. For many, a good MTB ride on singletrack will count for a hard road ride.

    Do at least 2 easy rides, 3 is better. Steady on flat terrain.

    Take at least one day off the bike, but two is likely better for you at this point.

    Add 10% in terms of total time each week.

    You will get stronger, you will get faster. Simple, free, easy to do.
    .
    Stout beers under trees, please.

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: plag's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    261
    Quote Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod View Post
    I suggest you do this:

    Do 2 "hard" rides each week. Some really fast sprints, or some climbing will do this. Make sure the "hard" part is 20 minutes at least to start. For many, a good MTB ride on singletrack will count for a hard road ride.

    Do at least 2 easy rides, 3 is better. Steady on flat terrain.

    Take at least one day off the bike, but two is likely better for you at this point.

    Add 10% in terms of total time each week.

    You will get stronger, you will get faster. Simple, free, easy to do.
    That's that's pretty much what I was looking for, I can do it without getting too technical .

  10. #10
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: plag's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    261
    Quote Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod View Post
    Invaluable to be able maximize benefits, I can agree with that.

    If someone can't/won't stick to a structured training program without a power meter, they won't with one either. For such a person, there are other ways to get improved performance that would be better than a power meter. My wife would hate truly structured training, for example. She would ride less if I tried to impose it on her, even for a couple months to get ready for a cycling trip. For her, a power meter would have negative value. $500 spent other cycling ways would be far more incentive to ride more for her.

    So we have a series of rides we use at the start of the season, middle, and late. There are options both flat and hilly at all those times. I just try to make sure we get a couple non-flat routes in a week, and we ride a bit more in terms of time week to week. Admittedly, we've been riding for a few decades and don't race*, so we are pretty chill about these things.




    *I admit I will contest any sprint with any person at any time, so be ready if we approach a city limits sign!
    im pretty much the same way, mixing it up is good.

  11. #11
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: pittcanna's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    1,412
    Quote Originally Posted by plag View Post
    Just want to get better overall fitness strength and endurance .


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    More riding will do that. Increasing duration and miles as you go along.

    I used to want an external powermeter. For a recreational rider that is doing it for general fitness, i don't see it as a necessity now.

  12. #12
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    3,028
    As you follow the plan QQQ laid out for you, find a group to ride with that, when you first ride with them, is faster than you so you can't hang on to the end of the ride. Be sure you know the way home though. In between group rides, train by yourself to get to the point where you can hang with the group to the end.

    You don't need a power meter for that since, on rides like that, your level of power output doesn't really matter, you have to put out whatever power is needed to not get dropped. Trust me, you will get stronger and, ultimately, have fun doing it.

  13. #13
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    89
    Overkill. But so is a carbon bike with Zipps. I'm a fast Club rider with no aspirations to race or train seriously, but I'm a data geek and enjoy the metrics provided by my Garmin Vector 2s.

  14. #14
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    7,264
    A power meter will provide data that will track your fitness improvement and deterioration. If you use strava, for example, next year you'll be able to track your fitness and compare it to your level at the same time a year earlier.

    For most people, a semi structured training program with a power meter will allow you to see your fitness as the year progresses and that is typically a real motivator.

    "why can't I just time my rides" you ask? Two things. Doing the same ride day after day is boring as hell. Further, If you have a 2mph tail wind one day and a 2mph headwind the next you will not notice it except that data will tell you that your fitness is moving backwards. The power meter doesn't lie.
    Quote Originally Posted by plag View Post
    Just want to get better overall fitness strength and endurance .


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  15. #15
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    2,032
    As someone who got 'stuck' last year, riding nearly 10k miles and not really improving, I did some research into how to better make use of my time on the bike in such a way as to improve my endurance and speed/power.

    I invested in a Stages PM and determined some baselines, then found some good guides for improving.

    The suggestion to do a couple of 'hard' rides and several easier rides a week is a pretty good one. The idea is that if you are riding hard, you are pushing your threshold up, and if you are riding easy and long, you are pushing your endurance out. Both good things.

    My mistake was doing many many hours/miles in between - kind of a no-mans-land. "Zone 3" - often called (inappropriately in my opinion ) Junk Miles. Riding in this zone is fine - it's good exercise, you'll get relatively fit and maintain it as well. It's just not a good way to improve.

    Coming to understand these things has helped tremendously - and having a powermeter on my road bike, and a smartrainer at home for the dark/cold/rainy months makes it easier to optimize.

    As far as how to use the data, you can use tools like Strava (there are many others that do similar things) to review your data post ride. Here is an example of a Zone Distribution chart in Strava - it was for an indoor Sweet Spot (SST) ride, where I was doing long sub threshold intervals with lots of recovery in Z1/Z2. Notice the lack time spent in Zone 3.

    If you were doing sprints, you would see a little more Z5 and up. If you were strictly doing endurance or recovery, all Z2.



    Note that this was done on a smart trainer indoors using ERG mode, where it's really easy to control your efforts into specific zones like this.

    Outdoors, it's a little harder. Without a power meter, you pretty much go by feel and heart rate - with a power meter you can program your head unit to display your current power zone and try to follow similar principles.

    By learning to optimize my rides using these 'zones', I've increased my FTP considerably, and improved my endurance, and done it in a relatively short period of time (i started this in earnest around the first of the year).

    To specifically answer the OP's questions. Is a power meter needed? Nope. Is it nice to have, and will it help make 'improving' easier? Absolutely! And it doesn't have to be an expensive unit - one of the simple single sided units is fine - hub based, crank based or pedal based all work great - doesn't really matter - all you need is a good idea where your power is averaged over 3-5 seconds and you can use this information to improve your riding.

  16. #16
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    7,100
    Most beginners end up discovering they need/want a lot more stuff than they initially expected. More clothing, lights, new/different tires, home trainer, pumps, different gearing, tools, the list goes on and on. Most people calling themselves beginners probably don't have everything yet and probably didn't budget for future want/needs.

    I don't know if you'd like a power meter or not but as a beginner I'd wait until you're sure you have the basics before allocating your money to the luxury stuff like a power meter.

  17. #17
    Forever a Student
    Reputation: MMsRepBike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    4,176
    Boy am I happy that I've had a power meter for years and years.

    Got one well before I knew how to use it effectively.

    Now I can look back over those years and make graphs and chart progress and analyze how I felt vs. how I performed. I can see my weaknesses and strengths (which are opposite to what myself and all around me thought).

    Boy I'm happy that as a newbie I had a power meter, even if I wasn't "using" it the right way at the time. Seeing how the wheels were less than $500 from performance with a power meter included, it didn't even cost me much of anything. What a great decision that was at the time.

    People were telling me it was just a luxury item I didn't need or wouldn't be useful. Glad I didn't listen to them.
    use a torque wrench

  18. #18
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: kiwisimon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    4,930
    Quote Originally Posted by plag View Post
    Just want to get better overall fitness strength and endurance .
    In that case save the money for a PM and use it to enter in a few events each month for a year, doesn't matter what, just enter. Club rides twice a week will do more for your performance than anything you can buy. Good luck.

  19. #19
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    20,321
    Quote Originally Posted by SwiftSolo View Post
    "why can't I just time my rides" you ask? Two things. Doing the same ride day after day is boring as hell. Further, If you have a 2mph tail wind one day and a 2mph headwind the next you will not notice it except that data will tell you that your fitness is moving backwards. The power meter doesn't lie.
    Yes, but this guy is just getting started. Unless he is bringing major fitness from some other sport, he will be able to easily see improvements over the year and season to season. No "need" for a power meter to see this.

  20. #20
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    7,264
    That would be true if training and fitness were linear--but they are not for most folks. Winter and other distractions cause setbacks.

    Beyond that, comparing last years data to this year for the same time period confirms that the setbacks are related to the lack of similar training time. That should be encouraging for most folks to get with it. Memory is often too vague to have a good handle on what happened last year.

    Since he has to recharge his computer anyway, I can't see any rational reason to avoid gathering power data?
    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    Yes, but this guy is just getting started. Unless he is bringing major fitness from some other sport, he will be able to easily see improvements over the year and season to season. No "need" for a power meter to see this.

  21. #21
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: BCSaltchucker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    1,123
    Quote Originally Posted by mtrac View Post
    I got one after tiring of dragging my ass around on long rides. They produce lots of data, call BS as needed, and are generally invaluable for a recreational rider, IMHO. Note the older PowerTap alloy wheelset is occasionally available under $500.
    not sure in invaluable, but a handy tool even if you're not doing structured workouts. I use mine for long tough climbs. Does a great job letting me know where I am riding at despite the emotions involved. Can do a much better time on the climbs staying around my target power than trying to do it by feel without blowing up. And it informs me if I am sick or fatigued under the weather if I can't hit those targets on the same climbs.

    can't do it nearly as well with bpm due to the significant cardiac drift I get.

  22. #22
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: plag's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    261
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    Most beginners end up discovering they need/want a lot more stuff than they initially expected. More clothing, lights, new/different tires, home trainer, pumps, different gearing, tools, the list goes on and on. Most people calling themselves beginners probably don't have everything yet and probably didn't budget for future want/needs.

    I don't know if you'd like a power meter or not but as a beginner I'd wait until you're sure you have the basics before allocating your money to the luxury stuff like a power meter.
    I find this pretty spot on, end up buying more and wanting more then actually riding.

  23. #23
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    134
    This really isn't a yes/no question really. All of the comments above provide insight to what might be the right answer for you.

    First and biggest thing is how easy you can afford one? If cost isn't really an issue then go for it.

    I think a PM was half what my bike cost and the most I have spent on a single item for cycling since. For me it was a great purchase not just as a training tool but I love it for a pacing tool. All the things people use a PM for cane done via other metrics like heart rate. I just think a PM is better at it then those other metrics.

  24. #24
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Wetworks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    791
    Quote Originally Posted by plag View Post
    I find this pretty spot on, end up buying more and wanting more then actually riding.
    I completely agreed with that part Jay wrote about, but I ride more now because of a lot of that stuff.

  25. #25
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: plag's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    261
    Quote Originally Posted by Wetworks View Post
    I completely agreed with that part Jay wrote about, but I ride more now because of a lot of that stuff.
    It's a disease lol I have that same problem with golf.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Train with power meter = race with power meter?
    By obiwan kenobi in forum Racing, Training, Nutrition, Triathlons
    Replies: 57
    Last Post: 10-06-2010, 01:52 PM
  2. Weekend warrior shoes
    By rickshaw#1 in forum Beginner's Corner
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 08-05-2009, 10:51 AM
  3. Commuter/Weekend Warrior Vintage Cross
    By PHeller in forum Cyclocross
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 05-03-2009, 04:33 PM
  4. Replies: 5
    Last Post: 08-18-2007, 07:59 AM
  5. Racing/Weekend Warrior clubs...
    By TurboTurtle in forum General Cycling Discussion
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 09-29-2004, 06:58 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •