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  1. #1
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    Wheels "or" Power Meter

    Looking for wisdom on some sound advice on buying a crank based power meter OR new wheels. Here's the deal. Ideally, I'd like to get BOTH but not exactly in the budget right now. For wheels I was pretty well set on Enve 3.4 smarts. Crank Based power meter I was leaning toward the newer SRAM Quarq. I just started road biking for the first time around my 40th BD. Be 42 in July. To say I'm hooked is an understatement..more like an obsession. Going to do some racing this year, currently ride with some cat1-5 racers. They really make me push the envelope..especially the cat ones. Just bought a 2013 CD SS EVO & lovin it. I really want to know what would be the most beneficial for my situation. For me It ALL boils down to increasing speed. I believe the power meter will help my training but too new at this point to know EXACTLY how. Pounding out the miles seems most logical to me. My current wheels I'm running are HED Ardennes SL and I really like them but don't think they are even close to the 3.4 Enves. Thanks ALL for your help!

  2. #2
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    Wheels "or" Power Meter

    You are 2etream or not? You should go then for both, aren't you?..! I think you will benefit from power meter first for your training and with the pals around you, quickly you'll learn it.. You would go for wheels 2nd since the difference will be more noticeable by improving training riding using the power meter data

  3. #3
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    Depends on our priorities/goals. If all you want is to go marginally faster with same level of fitness - wheels. If you are looking to train diligently to increase fitness then power meter hands down.

    How- read training and racing with a power meter by andrew coggan

  4. #4
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    This is entirely dependent on you. If you like to geek, then the cranks are a good bet.

    On the other hand, the Enves will enhance the ride quality of your bike.

    I'd go for the wheels, but that's simply because I don't really care how many watts I'm putting out.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carverbiker View Post
    Depends on our priorities/goals. If all you want is to go marginally faster with same level of fitness - wheels. If you are looking to train diligently to increase fitness then power meter hands down.

    How- read training and racing with a power meter by andrew coggan
    Will by it and study it. Thanks for taking the time to give me advise.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2Extreme View Post
    Will by it and study it. Thanks for taking the time to give me advise.
    I just noticed this is your second post, welcome and your welcome. Good luck, lots of good advice on training on other parts of the forum as well (training,racing,nutrition and coaching)

  7. #7
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    While I realize you stated a crank based power meter but, have you considered a powertap built on a enve hoop? Just a thought. That is what I did a couple years ago when I was in the same situation. It didn't last that long though, my 404's with a P/T sl flexed, I sold 'em. If you do the Enve purchase I think you'll be pleased with them.

  8. #8
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    agree with the previous post, why not get a powertap wheel instead of crank based? Less issues with zeroing etc and very reliable - you can have your cake and eat it too.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    agree with the previous post, why not get a powertap wheel instead of crank based? Less issues with zeroing etc and very reliable - you can have your cake and eat it too.

    I like how you guys think! Who does'nt want to EAT the cake he has?
    One concern with the powertap is that I thought when I was researching them in the past that the hubs were not as good as Chris kings or DT240, DT180. Last concern is weight. Since increasing my fitness through cycling I've dropped 20lbs (down to 150). New EVO is 3lbs LIGHTER(even with using the SAME wheels I had on my previous Trek Madone 3.1). What I'm trying to get at here is I'm becoming a bit of a weight weenie and thought power tap would weigh MORE than new SRAM Quarq Crank. Also, Trying to stack the deck in my favor. From what I have learned so far..when you can DECREASE weight and INCREASE your POWER you gain MORE power to weight ratio. I DO indeed feel my power increasing and KNOW if I had a power meter I would be able to actually SEE it and use it all for the sake of more effective training. Now here are some words of wisdom for ANYONE who is receptive to hear them. I certainly don't know very much when it comes to cycling but when it comes to succeeding in life in general I'd say I know a little something. I've been a Blessed Business owner for the past decade and applied what I know to business and it worked. Applied the same principles to martial arts..it worked. Golf..it worked, Cycling it's working. Anyone who read this far may think I'm trying to toot my own horn and I'm NOT. I'm simply trying to do my PART to inspire others to greatness (something that seems lacking in this day and age). A pastor friend of mine says everyone decides WHAT they want to be good at. Then, they make that a priority in their life. The #1 thing I've done is that when I approach something I want to excell at is this..HAVE A HUMBLE HEART and know I'm Ignorant about this subject. #2 Become an EXCELLENT student and learn from people better than me, Become a sponge like a child and soak it all in. (one reason why I'd prefer to ride with cat1 racers but understanding I can learn from ANYONE. #3 Work Ethic. Gotta have it to be successful in ANYTHING. My feeling is this..most people always look for an excuse of a way OUT of work, why not look for ways to work MORE. What I've always found is when I Disipline myself to work/train/study/learn/grow even when I don't FEEL like it..I'm conditioning my mind to do what others are NOT willing to do. This creates a feeling of acheivement and moving FORWARD. I know I will never win the Tour De France but I WILL eventually Stay with my Cat1 buddies and even win some races in my level. It's ALL about becoming BETTER in Whatever you do. Let's face it.. Better always FEELS Good. Knowing that we are making progress is a VERY REWARDING thing. Thanks once again to ALL who are responding to my original post.

  10. #10
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    I would go for new wheels. I know that powermeter is really important to improve your training skills and others but new, cheap power meters started to produced. I'm pretty sure that in 2 years we all will be able to buy a power meter without thinking about its price.
    So in that case, I would go for a good wheel and wait for new powermeters

  11. #11
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    Go for a power meter first, then when the budget allows, go for a nice wheel set. Once you ride with power, you will never go back. I put a power meter on everything I ride and if I had to choose again, it would always be the pm first, then other upgrades such as wheels. With a pm, you get instantaneous feedback and reporting on how much horsepower you are laying down. Think of it as a dynometer constantly running on your car, allowing you to track, measure, and gauge your improvement as you get faster times on climbs, sprints, training intervals. It's priceless if you ask me.

    It's very good if you're curious about things such as, I.e.,

    1) "I just shed 10lbs off my body...how much of my faster time on a climbing segment is due to increased fitness in my legs as opposed to my weight savings"
    2) "Man, I have fresh legs today and I think I'm just able to hammer it like no tomorrow, I wonder how much power I was able to put out over a segment, or how long was I able to hold and sustain 500 watts for 1min?

    The stats and reporting of a PM is really awesome, of course only if you're interested in tracking that info.
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  12. #12
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    The new powertap G3 hub is better than the old ones. I've had 2 powertaps - both have been bulletproof. I'm on the 2nd only because the first was wired. I handed it down to a junior racer who is using it now. You will go through multiple rims before you wear out a powertap hub. The G3 is probably the lightest power meter now too. You can find good deals on them with nice hubs on ebay - my latest was an enve tubular wheelset demo with powertap for @1k!

    Definitely get the book and look it over before deciding if a powermeter is right for you. It's main virtues (in my experience) is in structuring training and using the metrics from it (training stress, training load) and measuring fitness over time.

    Not sure about the newest quarq, but I recall there being issues with them (temperature sensitivity, drift, etc).

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2Extreme View Post
    Last concern is weight. Since increasing my fitness through cycling I've dropped 20lbs (down to 150). New EVO is 3lbs LIGHTER(even with using the SAME wheels I had on my previous Trek Madone 3.1). What I'm trying to get at here is I'm becoming a bit of a weight weenie and thought power tap would weigh MORE than new SRAM Quarq Crank. Also, Trying to stack the deck in my favor. From what I have learned so far..when you can DECREASE weight and INCREASE your POWER you gain MORE power to weight ratio.
    Weight is important most certainly, but the hub weight difference you are talking about here is way less than a pound. In my case the wheels that came with my Domane were within a few grams of the Zipp 101s I bought with the G3 powertap hub, and the OEM rims weren't heavy in my book. The amount of weight you are talking about here is something that you can fix with a single drink from your water bottle or making a slightly harder effort reducing your caloric intake for a couple days.

    Another huge advantage of a power meter while riding is pacing yourself. The instant feedback on how much power you are putting down can make sure you don't burn out before topping a hill or burning down a straight stretch, as well as seeing the difference in how your position effects aerodynamics and speed at the same power output. You will likely also notice even when you think you are pushing hard down hill, how much less you are working vs your FTP which can add a bunch of speed if you can spin to your FTP downhill.
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  14. #14
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    Yeah, seriously, the g3 hub is 110g heavier than a C.king r45 rear hub, that is a pretty small price to pay for the training advantage of a powertap. If you use (or plan on using ) a garmin 510, you'll save 10g or 15g of that by using the joule gps computer... if you are that obsessive.

  15. #15
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    I know this old dude who used to hear me struggle with decisions like these and he's say I was lucky to have "Cadillac problems". Enve wheels, Crank based Pm or a powertap are all nice options.
    Put it into the universe and watch what happens, either a P/t will go on sale or you'll hear of a set of wheels (at a great price) being offered. This happened to me recently, grabbed a set of Enve's with 7800 hubs at a stupid price b/c my Reynolds 46's (240's) were not handling the bad weather rides very well.

  16. #16
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    Wheels "or" Power Meter

    You seem like you're pretty goal-oriented, OP. You've framed it as an either-or with the end result being an improvement in your riding/racing. So ask yourself, what's holding you back from becoming a better rider: your equipment, or you (i.e. your fitness)? The answer to that question will tell you which direction you should go.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kai Winters View Post
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  17. #17
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    Very rarely do a set of wheels make someone much faster and attain their goals that much better.

    A power meter, properly used, can net you huge dividends.
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  18. #18
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    I build wheels for a living, but I think the powermeter is probably the better choice for you. This is dependent on you actually using it to structure your training. I think one of the greatest benefits for me was that I learned how to pace my effort. It can also be used to do field testing for aerodynamics, which is nice.

    The new Powertap G3s only weight 330g btw, so not much weight penalty there. Maybe 120g or so.

    If you are set on a crank based unit, check out the Power2Max. They cost around $1k and they have gone through their couple years of teething problems. I disagree with what one poster said regarding PMs getting very cheap in a couple years. I believe the prices for a decent unit will be around ~$1k+ for good while. It isn't that easy to build one that is accurate and reliable.

    You already have a good set of wheels. Put some fast tires and latex tubes on them and they won't be slowing you down. People tend to have an inflated idea about how much difference wheels make (and weight). A fairly wide U shaped rim has proven to be quite aero even if it is shallow, so long as you also use minimal aero steel spokes. Your Hed rims could be a bit taller and rounder, but they are a decent approximation of this.

    If you really get into racing, then good carbon tubulars (not clinchers!) make sense, and the Enve 3.4s would be a top choice. If you get into TTs, the deeper clinchers are ok, but for road racing the lighter weight of the tubulars is important.

  19. #19
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    I had exactly the same dilemma back in January. I was thinking wheels, but saw Powertap wheelset on craigslist for ~$1k and it got me thinking about power meters (the wheels were already sold). Lots of research and thinking about it lead me to the conclusion that wheels would make me a bit faster now, but a power meter would help me keep getting faster, no matter what bike I'm riding. I found a really good deal on a Quarq and couldn't resist.

    I replaced the FSA gossamer cranks with the Quarq CinQo and the weights were exactly the same.

    While I haven't been on the road with it yet (New England winter just won't quit!), the trainer sessions have been extremely informative, and training with power is a lot better (for me anyway) than training with HR. So far, I couldn't be happier. I just can't wait to get to my favorite climbs and see what the wattage really is!

  20. #20
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    A power-meter did more for my cycling improvement in 12 months than all of the equipment upgrades I did in the last 10 years. I should have just bought a power-meter the first time I was tempted to get one.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by robdamanii View Post
    Very rarely do a set of wheels make someone much faster and attain their goals that much better.

    A power meter, properly used, can net you huge dividends.
    Agreed. It's much more efficient for training.

    I got my fancy wheels before the power meter. Hands down, I wish I got the power meter first. I only wish I knew what my power was prior to purchasing one.

    I'm partial to crank based so I'm not tied to a wheel set.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by rruff View Post
    I build wheels for a living, but I think the powermeter is probably the better choice for you. This is dependent on you actually using it to structure your training. I think one of the greatest benefits for me was that I learned how to pace my effort. It can also be used to do field testing for aerodynamics, which is nice.

    The new Powertap G3s only weight 330g btw, so not much weight penalty there. Maybe 120g or so.

    If you are set on a crank based unit, check out the Power2Max. They cost around $1k and they have gone through their couple years of teething problems. I disagree with what one poster said regarding PMs getting very cheap in a couple years. I believe the prices for a decent unit will be around ~$1k+ for good while. It isn't that easy to build one that is accurate and reliable.

    You already have a good set of wheels. Put some fast tires and latex tubes on them and they won't be slowing you down. People tend to have an inflated idea about how much difference wheels make (and weight). A fairly wide U shaped rim has proven to be quite aero even if it is shallow, so long as you also use minimal aero steel spokes. Your Hed rims could be a bit taller and rounder, but they are a decent approximation of this.

    If you really get into racing, then good carbon tubulars (not clinchers!) make sense, and the Enve 3.4s would be a top choice. If you get into TTs, the deeper clinchers are ok, but for road racing the lighter weight of the tubulars is important.

    You ALL are very helpful and I'M soaking all this info in. I really feel after all this feedback I gotta have a power meter no question about it. I also like the idea of the powertap G3. The Enve 3.4 clinchers were my choice because I wanted the best all around wheelset for the climbs and the flats. Being settled on ONE wheelset I think the powertap WOULD be a good fit. I do feel the data from powermeter will be VERY helpful for training.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2Extreme View Post
    You ALL are very helpful and I'M soaking all this info in. I really feel after all this feedback I gotta have a power meter no question about it. I also like the idea of the powertap G3. The Enve 3.4 clinchers were my choice because I wanted the best all around wheelset for the climbs and the flats. Being settled on ONE wheelset I think the powertap WOULD be a good fit. I do feel the data from powermeter will be VERY helpful for training.
    I have three sets of powertap wheels that I use for training (multiple bikes) and will be getting a crank based PM to use for my nicer bike with Dura Ace wheels (c24, c50). One thing to consider is the fact that you will be putting all of your training miles onto your "A"wheelset. If that does not bother you then let r rip.

    Else I would suggest going crank based and holding off on the wheels. Structured training can have you riding TIME at a certain WATTAGE( 2hrs no more than power zone 3 or 2x20min 1 min zone 4 30 sec zone5 then repeat) for example. No mention of speed, faster wheels will not increase the wattage you are putting out. The wheels will make you faster on race/event day along with your new wattage!

    One size fits all rarely is the best option. Patience grasshopper!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2Extreme View Post
    Looking for wisdom on some sound advice on buying a crank based power meter OR new wheels. Here's the deal. Ideally, I'd like to get BOTH but not exactly in the budget right now. For wheels I was pretty well set on Enve 3.4 smarts. Crank Based power meter I was leaning toward the newer SRAM Quarq. I just started road biking for the first time around my 40th BD. Be 42 in July. To say I'm hooked is an understatement..more like an obsession. Going to do some racing this year, currently ride with some cat1-5 racers. They really make me push the envelope..especially the cat ones. Just bought a 2013 CD SS EVO & lovin it. I really want to know what would be the most beneficial for my situation. For me It ALL boils down to increasing speed. I believe the power meter will help my training but too new at this point to know EXACTLY how. Pounding out the miles seems most logical to me. My current wheels I'm running are HED Ardennes SL and I really like them but don't think they are even close to the 3.4 Enves. Thanks ALL for your help!
    If you use it correctly, a power meter will give you many times the speed increase of any wheel. If you don't use it right, its just an expensive speedometer.

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