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  1. #1
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    FTP super lousy?

    So I finally got a Power Meter to train with: Quarq Riken R. Been on a couple of rides and also done a ride to measure my FTP, which I did on the trainer with a Sufferfest video.

    From that test I got an FTP of 104w, which I find shockingly low. However, when I sprinted all out on the trainer, I hit about 256w, but when I sprint on the road (not even going all out) I get over 600w.

    I am relatively aware that I am being stupid somehow here, but I have no clue how. I am pretty sure I set it all up correctly, but the Quarq manuals are not exactly comprehensive.

    I'd really love some help here, and hopefully free of ridicule, but, yah, I put my numbers out there . . . so. . . . ;)

  2. #2
    have droids, will party
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    I think you might want to make sure it's calibrated...

    I don't know how big you are, but 104w as an FTP is crazy low. 256w as a "sprint" is also crazy low...

    So, unless you're 70lbs soaking wet, those numbers aren't good in the w/kg sense. I would say make sure it's calibrated and that you are approaching the test properly. I'm assuming you're doing a 20min, so remember to pace and don't try to hold bigger numbers early.

    104w is below recovery pace for most people. I'm inclined to believe the meter was off for your test.

  3. #3
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    It does not completely account for your very low number but even with an accurate PM you will get a low number on the trainer. It's very difficult to stay cool on the trainer even with fans, and overheating will lower your power output. It's also more difficult to stay motivated on the trainer.

    Find a road to use for your FTP tests.

    I find the quarqs need to settle in for a few rides. You should zero ("calibrate") the unit before every ride and at least initially keep track of the zero offset number. If it's changing a lot the unit is still settling in. If it's out of range, the unit is bad. The numbers can be found on the quarq web site.

  4. #4
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    Don't try testing when you first get a powermeter. Go ride with it for a couple of weeks and try all sorts of different efforts and rides and then check out the data afterwards. Then when you get a feel for how the data relates to your exertion levels, give a test a go (and not on a freaking trainer).

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    I find the quarqs need to settle in for a few rides. You should zero ("calibrate") the unit before every ride and at least initially keep track of the zero offset number. If it's changing a lot the unit is still settling in. If it's out of range, the unit is bad. The numbers can be found on the quarq web site.
    Geez. Cross Quarq off of my list for a potential future powermeter.

    That's ridiculous to have to deal with that on a $1,000 plus piece of equipment. My Powertap and Power2max are plug and plays from minute 1. My wired SRM has a more onerous pre-ride setup, but it's 11 years old, too.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedalbiker View Post
    Geez. Cross Quarq off of my list for a potential future powermeter.

    That's ridiculous to have to deal with that on a $1,000 plus piece of equipment. My Powertap and Power2max are plug and plays from minute 1. My wired SRM has a more onerous pre-ride setup, but it's 11 years old, too.
    You're supposed to calibrate your powertap before every ride too. I fail to see how Quarq is different.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedalbiker View Post
    Geez. Cross Quarq off of my list for a potential future powermeter.

    That's ridiculous to have to deal with that on a $1,000 plus piece of equipment. My Powertap and Power2max are plug and plays from minute 1. My wired SRM has a more onerous pre-ride setup, but it's 11 years old, too.
    I have powertap and power2max and love them both -- and I calibrate regularly. What's the problem?

    Power up the Garmin: power meter detected: Calibrate? No/Yes.

    If I have an extra 10 seconds and I am not hustling to get the ride going, I click yes.


    No big deal.

  8. #8
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    That's waaay too low for an FTP test. Something is up w your PM - if you haven't already, you should call Quarq service. I also have a Riken and it's been bullet proof for over 20000km. I also check the zero offset at the start of every ride - takes about 8 seconds.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by deviousalex View Post
    You're supposed to calibrate your powertap before every ride too. I fail to see how Quarq is different.
    Nope.

    You can't calibrate it anyway. And it autozeros when you coast. All set.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Local Hero View Post
    I have powertap and power2max and love them both -- and I calibrate regularly. What's the problem?

    Power up the Garmin: power meter detected: Calibrate? No/Yes.

    If I have an extra 10 seconds and I am not hustling to get the ride going, I click yes.


    No big deal.

    I don't know what you do (well, I probably do), but you're not calibrating them.

    Unless you're actually putting weights on the pedals and measuring all that mess and then changing slopes and all (is that possible? I didn't think it was). But yeah, probably not.

    Anyway, I was referring to letting the crank "settle in" and keeping track of torque values for a few weeks and all when you first get the quark. Pretty ridiculous to have to do that, imo.
    Last edited by pedalbiker; 08-27-2015 at 07:06 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedalbiker View Post
    I don't know what you do (well, I probably do), but you're not calibrating them.

    Unless you're actually putting weights on the pedals and measuring all that mess and then changing slopes and all (is that possible? I didn't think it was). But yeah, probably not.

    Anyway, I was referring to letting the crank "settle in" and keeping track of torque values for a few weeks and all when you first get the quark. Pretty ridiculous to have to do that, imo.
    And the in other thread you claim I'm splitting hairs. Yes, technically you are "zero offsetting" the device. But it's under the "Calibrate" menu on the garmin.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedalbiker View Post
    Nope.

    You can't calibrate it anyway. And it autozeros when you coast. All set.
    While Powertap's auto zero is a nice feature*, it does assumes the torque zero is close to the actual zero. If it's not then the Powertap's auto torque zero feature fails to operate.

    It's always a good idea to do a manual torque zero check before starting, as that ensures the auto zero will mostly likely operate as intended.


    * save for one element common to all power meters and torque zero values, and that's the complete lack of an audit trail for torque zero changes

  13. #13
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    In cases like this, it might help to have a local buddy who uses same meter check the head unit settings for you, or visit the shop where you bought it.

  14. #14
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    Your FTP does seem very low and I would agree with the others that it is most likely that you're doing something wrong with setup....

    But, your numbers aren't completely out of the realm of possibility for being legitimate numbers for someone that is very new to cycling and doesn't have a high level of fitness. Without knowing you or more about your riding its hard to say for sure.
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  15. #15
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    What type of trainer do you have? I have ridden on some cheaper trainers where it's impossible to break 400w. And that's at a full sprint.

    The issue with trainers and power #'s if it doesn't have enough resistance the power just wont go up. Better trainers like the road machine, lemond, and cycleops fluid 2, have more road like resistance numbers. They can easily hold 400w+ of you pedaling hard all day long.

    If you can't find a long road to do an hour or 20 min ftp test , just go do 5 min if on a flat road to slight grade take off about 20% of power and if steep uphill take off about 30%. It just much easier to put out higher power when you have to, on the uphill. Those numbers wont be exactly right but they will be in the rough ball park.

    104W is indeed very low. I'd say average for a non fit, new to cycling person.

    How fast do you ride on the flat road? 100W is probably about 16 mph in a fairly aero road position.

  16. #16
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    This forum needs lots more information here and there is a lot of guessing going on until we get those details... Age, height, weight, how long you've been riding for, avg speeds for your rides... would be the basics. Calibration sounds like a realistic issue though but again, I'm guessing. There is also a wealth of help and information in these forums for you as a power meter user so get the information posted so you can get the help you need!

    On the calibration note... I own multiple power2max type S power meters on multiple bikes that I ride currently and have NEVER needed to calibrate. Zero issues. Not sure where calibrations fit in for these units but if you're doing it, you're wasting your time or have OCD...
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rackerman View Post
    On the calibration note... I own multiple power2max type S power meters on multiple bikes that I ride currently and have NEVER needed to calibrate. Zero issues. Not sure where calibrations fit in for these units but if you're doing it, you're wasting your time or have OCD...
    Trust but verify.

    I would never trust until I had verified the slope of a power meter.

    Don't forget that the meter can be fine but the head unit setting not be.

  18. #18
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    Yea, something sounds off. I have 2 Rikens and they read just about the same, calibration numbers aren't to far off from one another either.

  19. #19
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    I am not sure the PM is off.

    OP is female.

    It is not outside the realm of possibility that her ftp result was just over 100W. A 100 lb female with a ftp of 2 w/kg is about 90 watts. A 120 lb female with a ftp of 3 w/kg is about 163 watts. Chances are good that OP is somewhere in that range.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by crit_boy View Post
    I am not sure the PM is off.

    OP is female.

    It is not outside the realm of possibility that her ftp result was just over 100W. A 100 lb female with a ftp of 2 w/kg is about 90 watts. A 120 lb female with a ftp of 3 w/kg is about 163 watts. Chances are good that OP is somewhere in that range.
    That's true.

    That said, numbers from power meters may well be plausible, but can still be wrong. As you say, you are not sure either way and as has been mentioned there are various plausible reasons for getting different numbers in different riding scenarios.

    Hence checking the validity of the power meter is a sound action to take for anyone with a power meter to eliminate this possibility.

    Unfortunately not all meters make that process as easy as SRM do, or indeed possible at all. Quarq does provide a means to do it but it requires an iphone with the Qalvin app installed and a Wahoo ANT+ dongle attachment for the phone, plus of course an accurately known mass of 20+kg to hang from the pedal spindle axles.

    I calibration checked a couple of Quarqs the other day. One's slope was only 0.3% different to the factory setting, the other was 2% off.

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