Help me with picking a power meter...
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  1. #1
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    Help me with picking a power meter...

    I upgraded my bike from an older Roubaix to a new one with disc brakes. On my my old bike, I had a power tap rear wheel hub power meter.

    Used it mostly for indoor training, I have a vortex smart trainer than I connect to trainer road and the power meter. While I thought I would use it outside, it was really not as much as indoors.

    Fast foward to the new bike. Which I didn't realize that I couldn't use my old powertap hub on! Damn.

    So now I need something that will control the resistance to the vortex. I think there is virtual power, which might be ok, but am thinking of a real power meter.

    If so, looking for an inexpensive model with as little work as possible. (which is why I loved the power tap solution). I have spd pedals, so a pedal meter is no go. Possible crank arm meter?

    I have read DC rainmakers blogs, evaluations, comparisions, etc, and now think I have analysis paralysis. So posting up here for suggestions on what worked for others. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbinbi View Post
    I upgraded my bike from an older Roubaix to a new one with disc brakes. On my my old bike, I had a power tap rear wheel hub power meter.

    Used it mostly for indoor training, I have a vortex smart trainer than I connect to trainer road and the power meter. While I thought I would use it outside, it was really not as much as indoors.

    Fast foward to the new bike. Which I didn't realize that I couldn't use my old powertap hub on! Damn.

    So now I need something that will control the resistance to the vortex. I think there is virtual power, which might be ok, but am thinking of a real power meter.

    If so, looking for an inexpensive model with as little work as possible. (which is why I loved the power tap solution). I have spd pedals, so a pedal meter is no go. Possible crank arm meter?

    I have read DC rainmakers blogs, evaluations, comparisions, etc, and now think I have analysis paralysis. So posting up here for suggestions on what worked for others. Thanks.
    A PowerTap rear wheel is still one of the cheaper options for a power meter, and that will work indoors or out. On the other hand a PT wheel costs about as much as a wheel-on Smart trainer with power so that is an option if you dont ever need it outdoors. I dont know anyone that has one but the pioneer single side cranks meters are "inexpensive"

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveG View Post
    I dont know anyone that has one but the pioneer single side cranks meters are "inexpensive"
    I own them and think they are terrific. No problems with any of them since day 1.

  4. #4
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    I see used PT wheels all the time here for sale for around $350 to $400, that's hard to beat IMHO - they are very reliable. Stages or Pioneer single sided PMs are cost effective - they don't work well for me because of my power balance left vs right.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    I see used PT wheels all the time here for sale for around $350 to $400, that's hard to beat IMHO - they are very reliable. Stages or Pioneer single sided PMs are cost effective - they don't work well for me because of my power balance left vs right.
    If you know what your power balance is, why wouldn't a single sided meter work for you? Unless your balance changes from ride to ride (which it doesn't) a single sided meter would work great.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by masont View Post
    If you know what your power balance is, why wouldn't a single sided meter work for you? Unless your balance changes from ride to ride (which it doesn't) a single sided meter would work great.
    Yes it absolutely changes from ride to ride and can be significantly depending on how fatigued I am as well as changes with how hard I am pedaling, and throughout a ride depending on how hard/long I am riding. I've tried a single sided stages and found it just not helpful at all. I only use PMs that measure total power for that reason, extrapolations don't work well for me at all.
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  7. #7
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    One of the problems I see with a Powertap hub (other than the weight) is the issue if you have more than one set of wheels which makes a crank, crank arm, or pedal based solution more affordable. Crank arm options are getting quite cheap even for dual arm set up and I've seen a set of Garmin Vector pedals go for under $500 second hand. The only problem with Vector pedals is if you have some sort of other clip system than Keo, your shoes and cleats will have to be Keo compatible. The good news for you is that Keo and SPD-SL shoes are compatible you just need new cleats.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    Yes it absolutely changes from ride to ride and can be significantly depending on how fatigued I am as well as changes with how hard I am pedaling, and throughout a ride depending on how hard/long I am riding. I've tried a single sided stages and found it just not helpful at all. I only use PMs that measure total power for that reason, extrapolations don't work well for me at all.
    Interesting!

  9. #9
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    Its pretty well known that a one sided power meter wont give you accurate readings due to the disparity in muscles in your leg and of course tiredness. Dual sided crank arm power meters are now affordable, as are pedals, and of course hub based options if you want one. If I had a choice I'd go with crank arm power meters. I've heard about Vector pedals randomly disconnecting for no apparent reason.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1500SLR View Post
    I've heard about Vector pedals randomly disconnecting for no apparent reason.
    yeah, I was toying with the idea of getting the new Vector pedals but decided to wait a while due to some people having intermittent connectivity issues. Once they are more reliable I'll probably get a pair.
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  11. #11
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    Too old to ride plastic

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1500SLR View Post
    Its pretty well known that a one sided power meter wont give you accurate readings due to the disparity in muscles in your leg and of course tiredness. Dual sided crank arm power meters are now affordable, as are pedals, and of course hub based options if you want one. If I had a choice I'd go with crank arm power meters. I've heard about Vector pedals randomly disconnecting for no apparent reason.
    I know how they work. I've got a Stages on my gravel bike, Quarq on my cx bike, and a Wahoo trainer. I've used the FSA Powerbox and powertap hubs too. I'm about a 52/48 right/left split. Pretty much always right around a 52/48 split. If my reading on my gravel bike is 2% off, I'm ok with that, and I know that. My Stages may not be as accurate, but it's just as precise, and that matters more to me.

    I was surprised that your power balance would vary significantly from ride to ride.

  13. #13
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    That's how your power varies and on average 2%-4% is fairly average. Overall power will vary from ride to ride. Of course it shouldn't in your legs by all that much unless you have an ongoing injury such as myself in that I have a bucket handle meniscus tear in one of my knees which can't be treated and invariably leads to one of my legs freezing completely and I've had that happen mid ride leading me to pedal home almost on one leg.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1500SLR View Post
    That's how your power varies and on average 2%-4% is fairly average. Overall power will vary from ride to ride. Of course it shouldn't in your legs by all that much unless you have an ongoing injury such as myself in that I have a bucket handle meniscus tear in one of my knees which can't be treated and invariably leads to one of my legs freezing completely and I've had that happen mid ride leading me to pedal home almost on one leg.
    Ahh, that makes a ton of sense. For you, a single sided meter doesn't make any sense because of your injury.

  15. #15
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    Did you end up making a decision? Stages and 4iiii both have affordable dual-sided options now. I just went with 4iiii in the last month, so far so good.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    Yes it absolutely changes from ride to ride and can be significantly depending on how fatigued I am as well as changes with how hard I am pedaling, and throughout a ride depending on how hard/long I am riding. I've tried a single sided stages and found it just not helpful at all. I only use PMs that measure total power for that reason, extrapolations don't work well for me at all.
    Similar issue here. Only a two-side PM works for me. One leg is much stronger than the other be it fresh or fatigued.

  17. #17
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    I'm interested know what everyone is using their power data for?

    For me, I'm mostly just using it for pacing long rides, and for that purpose, and single sided PM is more than accurate enough. For trainer rides, I have a smart trainer and don't use my PM's there, but for doing interval/workout sessions, again, I think single sided is plenty accurate enough to make sure I'm in the right power zones.

    I have several stages PM's, a 4iiii on a Praxis crank, a powertap hub on my track bike, and a set of Assioma DUO pedals. They all work fine. The Assioma's are great, and the price is excellent for a dual sided PM, but I personally can't stand the XPedo (similar to Look KEO) cleats. I've been riding speedplay zero pedals for years, and really don't want to move away from them. I have too many bikes and wheelsets to consider the hub PM solution, and so I just stick with a single sided left crank arm variety.

    I also have a 1%--2% variance between left right power. But honestly, I watch Shane Miller and Ray Maker analyze the power files from these PM's. Honestly they are all so close that, at least for my personal use case, I can't see justifying the cost of the more expensive options any more. My power imbalance is due to an arthritic left knee that is the result of being hit by a car. Knowing I have this imbalance doesn't really help me. I do some exercises that help. For the most part, my imbalance is nearly within the margin of error/accuracy for these types of device anyway, and it's not like they are going to cure my arthritis.

    I saw on one of Shane Miller's videos, that 4iiii is working on building a "Tile" style bluetooth tracker chip into their PMs, which I think is bloody brilliant. I have a small "Tile" bluetooth tracker hidden on all of my bikes, so in the event they are stolen, I can hopefully track them down, or at least follow the trail until the thief finds the Tile and destroys it. Having it built into a PM would make it less likely someone would even realize it's there. 4iiii prices are appealing as well, and per the reviewers, they are just as accurate as more expensive options. And in fact, their dual setup is about the same price as the stages single sided unit's used to cost (~$800).

    They also provide the service of attaching their PM to your crank arm(s)...

    https://4iiii-innovations.myshopify....s/power-meters

  18. #18
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    That's what I did... sent in my FC-9000 cranks to 4iiii and they did factory install.

    For me it's really more of a toy than anything, the price went down enough for me to justify it and I plan to educate properly on how to get useful information from it. Ultimately want to improve power for climbing a little bit.

    My legs are very asymmetrical (likely a combo of genes and tennis/soccer growing up) so I wanted to get a dual-sided solution. So far, several rides on the thing and I'm pretty much 50-50 overall, ha ha! Although it's interesting to see the conditions in which one leg puts in more than the other for short amounts of time.

    I have slight concerns about durability and customer service based on some reviews I've seen but again, so far so good.

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