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  1. #1
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    Is a power meter necessary for effective training?

    Sometimes I feel like I am the only guy out there training with out one. I have done the GPS thing so I can use Strava. I kind of feel like seeing where I am on some local climbs is a good benchmark for how I am doing. Right now I don't have a heart rate monitor. But only becasue I want to upgrade my Garmin to a 500 or 510 so I can integrate it and not have 2 devices. The power meter feels like a huge leap and way to expensive. I don't even know what I would do with the info.

  2. #2
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    We were just having a discussion about this in another thread. I must say that because of my old school views I am not very popular there. While it might give you some feedback, power meter will not turn cranks for you. You will have to do it yourself.

    You are not alone. Gilbert and Woeckler are doing pretty well without power data too.

    See these links:
    training: Philippe Gilbert & the Luddite Way crankpunk
    inrng : the voeckler show

  3. #3
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    I'd say that its not a necessity, however, having that data, and being able to look at it on a PC, and analyze it can provide you better gains in the long run.
    I started to use one in late september, and comparing then to now, on the same ride I now average 20 more watts overall, and am definitely less winded after the ride.
    Part of that comes from getting used to the ride, and its ambient changes, and I honestly have obsessed over my power output a bit, and set a goal.. So, I'd say that some will call it a placebo effect, some swear by it.
    I use it to be more competitive with myself, and in doing that, noticed that my riding has become a bit more efficient.

    I'd be more concerned with power management...which I'm trying to do at the moment on all my rides. The fresher you are when a sprint comes to, the faster you will pedal, and be up there with the rest.
    It's all up to your abilities how long you hang up there though.

  4. #4
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    No.

    But, after using nothing then HR and now a PM, I feel it validates what training I do. It has easily identified where I am weak in my power profile. It has proved to be very useful for pacing. It has changed the way I do intervals.

    Overall, you can do everything you can do with a PM by feel. Problem is (for me) that I wasn't able to apply what I was feeling effectively. Like I said it validates training and being a full time dad, husband and full career it takes some of the mystery and wasted time out of the equation.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by perpetuum_mobile View Post
    We were just having a discussion about this in another thread. I must say that because of my old school views I am not very popular there. While it might give you some feedback, power meter will not turn cranks for you. You will have to do it yourself.

    You are not alone. Gilbert and Woeckler are doing pretty well without power data too.

    See these links:
    training: Philippe Gilbert & the Luddite Way crankpunk
    inrng : the voeckler show
    That's really interesting about Gilbert I had no idea he was old school. That really sums up how I feel about all that stuff. I am not a numbers person. I don't know that I would really pay them any attention. I ride hard when I am feeling good and I back off when I'm not. I have a friend that I ride with allot who has a coach and a power tap and a Garmin 800 and the whole thing. Every time he calls me to go out on a ride with some complicated plain to do workouts by the numbers my eyes glaze over and I go ride my bike. Is he a better rider them me? Yes but only becasue he can put 6 or 7 hours a day on his bike and I have to work. And hes gifted as a rider. Take all the fancy stuff away and hes still going to be faster then me. But in my class I hold my own. I can even put the hurt on guys when I want to.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodys737 View Post
    No.

    But, after using nothing then HR and now a PM, I feel it validates what training I do. It has easily identified where I am weak in my power profile. It has proved to be very useful for pacing. It has changed the way I do intervals.

    Overall, you can do everything you can do with a PM by feel. Problem is (for me) that I wasn't able to apply what I was feeling effectively. Like I said it validates training and being a full time dad, husband and full career it takes some of the mystery and wasted time out of the equation.
    I agree with this. I purchased fancy wheels before a PM. Wish I got the PM first. Wish I had it much sooner.

    I'd probably do without instead of getting Strava. Your Garmin 500 is more than adequate. I have no plans of switching computers, either.

  7. #7
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    I would say yes, if you are a Cat 2 or an upwardly mobile Cat 3. Otherwise, save your money for a winter training camp in some warm weather area.

    Another tip, is that you don't need a $6000 bike to do well in a Cat 5 race.

    If you don't race the season, it's even sillier to get a Power Meter.

    I do all my solo training with my old trusty Polar X-Trainer plus that's gotta be 10-15 years old.
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  8. #8
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    I am a 5 on the road but going to be a 1 on the mountain bike this year. I do the spring road races and a crit here and there. I am totally focused on mountain racing. I just do most of my training on the road like any good XC racer. 4 or 5 years ago I thought I would get high tech and get a cadence sensor for the Mavic computer that I had. After a week I took it off becasue I realized I just didn't care about it. I can see the value of power. I just don't think its really much value with out someone to tell you whats really going on like a coach. I feel like power is an all or nothing tool. You have to go all in with a coach, VO2 and lactate threshold testing and all that comes with it. Its just out of my price range.

  9. #9
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    No power meter here (except on TrainerRoad). A good performance indicator for me is whether or not I can stick with the local Hammersquad group ride.

  10. #10
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    No.

    But if you're time limited, weather limited or motivation limited it sure helps.

    Its probably the most effective place you can spend money for racing other than good tires and good fit.

  11. #11
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    I don't use one because they're too expensive for me to justify the investment. The only one I'd remotely consider at the moment would be the iBike Newton+ since it's relatively cheap compared to most power meters and still has excellent reviews. In some ways I feel like the inclusion of a power meter is "nuking" things, and I'd rather just get on the bike and ride.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SauronHimself View Post
    I don't use one because they're too expensive for me to justify the investment. The only one I'd remotely consider at the moment would be the iBike Newton+ since it's relatively cheap compared to most power meters and still has excellent reviews. In some ways I feel like the inclusion of a power meter is "nuking" things, and I'd rather just get on the bike and ride.
    If you want to get an iBike to do iBike things, go ahead and get a Newton, but don't expect it to do the same things as a Powertap comp would for nearly the same price. iBikes are cool, but they're not as consistent or accurate as a true powermeter.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by perpetuum_mobile View Post
    We were just having a discussion about this in another thread. I must say that because of my old school views I am not very popular there. While it might give you some feedback, power meter will not turn cranks for you. You will have to do it yourself.

    You are not alone. Gilbert and Woeckler are doing pretty well without power data too.

    See these links:
    training: Philippe Gilbert & the Luddite Way crankpunk
    inrng : the voeckler show

    Your "old school views" are stupid: "ride lots." That works for n00bs and people who don't have jobs (or ride for a living, and even THEY don't just "ride lots" and hope for improvement.)

    OP, you don't NEED a power meter. You don't NEED to train via HRM. You can very easily make excellent gains by dialing in your ability to rate your exertion on the RPE scale. Most athletes are surprisingly good at knowing their limits and where they're working at within those limits, and you can build an effective training program from RPE alone.

    Does power make it FAR simpler to determine training zones and allow you to dial in your efforts with extreme precision? Yep. But you don't NEED one. If you want one, the Stages power meter looks pretty intriguing.

    Quote Originally Posted by pulser955 View Post
    That's really interesting about Gilbert I had no idea he was old school. That really sums up how I feel about all that stuff. I am not a numbers person. I don't know that I would really pay them any attention. I ride hard when I am feeling good and I back off when I'm not. I have a friend that I ride with allot who has a coach and a power tap and a Garmin 800 and the whole thing. Every time he calls me to go out on a ride with some complicated plain to do workouts by the numbers my eyes glaze over and I go ride my bike. Is he a better rider them me? Yes but only becasue he can put 6 or 7 hours a day on his bike and I have to work. And hes gifted as a rider. Take all the fancy stuff away and hes still going to be faster then me. But in my class I hold my own. I can even put the hurt on guys when I want to.
    Oh, and Gilbert is no longer old school. He's using an SRM just like everyone else.
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  14. #14
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    Most of the value of a power meter lies in its use off the bike, not on the bike to set training intensities, etc (something non-users tend to under-appreciate). It provides quantitative metrics for training volume, training stress, and recuperation. These are the cornerstones of a training program with power. Strava is beginning to add some of these (based on trimp and heart rate) but does not have good analytics for using them.

  15. #15
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    With daily use PMs offer a new unit of measurement, and to some people, validation or motivation. That's about it. I wouldn't mind borrowing one occasionally to test equipment or position, but I'm not interested in training with one. Meanwhile, I've read and reread "the book" on training with power and didn't find a single technique that couldn't be accomplished without a PM -- an assertion I think Andy Coggan would agree with.
    For what it's worth, I race on road, TTs, and cyclocross. At 48 years old, I take it at least as seriously as I should. And any more I don't even bother with a speedometer or HRM.

  16. #16
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    I raced for 7 years without one and never felt like I was really missing out. That said, I even jettisoned my HRM and my speedometer and rode all by feel. Now that I am coming back to the sport though, and have a coach, I am taking the opposite angle and pairing my Garmin 500 with a powertap. Really, it's mostly for my coach and less for me when on the bike. Ultimately, my power numbers are going to dictate my plan all season.

    And when doing intervals, it seems easier to shoot for a power number and maintain that number than it is to take a shot in the dark on your heart rate.

  17. #17
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    I ride with guys that have power meters, I think they are cool and all but I don't get dropped. I do a lot of trainer and roller work in the winter and summer tons of K, mix in hill repeats, and sprint outs. Seems to work for me. I just can't justify a power meter but do use a HR monitor.

  18. #18
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    No. A power meter is not necessary for effective training. You can train very effectively without one. With one, and the appropriate knowledge and analysis of the data, you can use it find tune your training and make it incrementally more effective. There are additional factors as well, such as your personality and level of motivation. Some people do better with very quantitative measures and goals and find that a power meter can help provide that.
    ... 'cuz that's how I roll.

  19. #19
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    I dont have a power meter, only because I don't have the money or the desire to put it on the credit card.

    The next best thing; ride with fitter riders and don't get dropped. Free, too.
    Just ride.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclesport45 View Post
    The next best thing; ride with fitter riders and don't get dropped. Free, too.
    Good advice. Not only free but more fun too.

  21. #21
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    Perhaps the better question is this:

    Does a power meter enable you to train with such effectiveness that you can go from a 10th place to 1st place? Or does it only enable you to go from 10th to a 9th given that you are already close to 9th in the first place?

    If the answer is the later, i.e., a power meter serves only as a marginal tool, then I'd no it's not worth it, unless you are on a pro team and it's free equipment for you to use.

    But I think for most regular Joes, the real value of a power meter is that it gets them motivated to train, it gives them a goal to aim for, and forces/motivates them to do routines that they would otherwise be too lazy to do. I know so many guys with power meters who use them more for motivation then data analysis. If you're going to get a power meter, then make sure you get a coach who knows how to use one too. Otherwise, it's just another pretty toy to play around with.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by perpetuum_mobile View Post
    Good advice. Not only free but more fun too.
    Ok if it's more fun to ride in a group w/o a PM that implies you have one. But why are you so against them?

    Riding in a group ride that's meant to be tough, forget RPE, HR, cadence, temp, altitude, % grade, power and all the other metrics people track from time to time as well. Just have to follow the wheels and move on instinct. I've never not gone on a move because I looked down at the PM as saw some ungodly number and thought there was no way I could hold it. Now perhaps some with power actually do look at the meter and gauge whether or not to move. I don't know anyone that does this but I guess it's possible and probably central to why you are saying a PM is bad. Like Stevesbike said in these situations it's more about looking over the data after the ride that can yield some good info.

    If you have actually given a PM an honest try and feel it is not beneficial to you then that's one thing. But to keep implying that as a tool it is not the most effective and objective devise out there today is like putting your head in the sand. To keep implying that those who actually train with power are slaves to it is a bit disingenuous and makes me wonder if you have actually used one. I know more guys that look at HR or cadence and don't have a clue what or why they are doing it. No change in training is ever considered. It just is. At least most who use power seem to understand that if you're going to record it you might as well try and decipher what the data is telling you to help you improve going forward.

    As to the OP, again, a PM is no more necessary than STI shifters, 10 or now 11 speed, carbon frames and wheels, etc...over time you will easily know when it's time you want to try a PM. From reading your posts I don't think your close. Keep riding and reading up on the subject and make a good informed decision later. I'd bet my house if a PM was $29.99 every last one of the nay sayers would have one. So to me it's always been a cost issue more than a training tool issue. Just like any data keep in mind the real value is interpreting the data and adjusting your training going forward. If you are not willing to put in the time to understand what it's telling you then certainly you are not ready for one. Anyone who says that a PM makes riding not fun has issues and the PM isn't the problem. It's the rider.

  23. #23
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    $29.99?? Where? Sign me up!!
    Just ride.

  24. #24
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    I used to argue that they are a waste of money. Now I accept their value, especially during a TT or for a person who needs to make the most of limited training time.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Local Hero View Post
    I used to argue that they are a waste of money. Now I accept their value, especially during a TT or for a person who needs to make the most of limited training time.
    If you can do a little recon on a TT course with a PM, it almost feels like it's cheating.

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