frame

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Sign In Register

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Starting immediately, all new users must be approved by a moderator (due to spam issues). #sworry
You can dismiss this message by clicking the little 'X' in the top right this box.
If you are a pro triathlete, please click here to DM AaronWebstey for access to the 'Pros-only' private forum. Don't forget to include your real name, and a link to pro race result would be great if you're a 1st-year pro.

Power Meter - let's open this can of worms

HSeeley14HSeeley14 Member, Rooster Endurance Member, POTM
We have been contemplating purchasing a power meter for a few years now.  I borrowed a PowerTap for most of 2013 and raced with it over several distances.  Personally I found the Powertap heavy and it didn't provide much in the way of options for racing, as in it's stuck on the wheel you put it on.  I have read the dcrainmaker blogs and several others and have come to the conclusion that the best options for us (my husband and I) are either Stages, Garmin Vector S or 4iii.  If we can only afford to buy one power meter then it has to be something we can move from bike to bike, hence Stages and Garmin Vector S, but the 4iii came onto my radar recently.  Anyone have any thoughts, experiences, etc. with power meters?  Specifically those I am considering?  If you have a Quarq that's nice, but it's never gonna happen for us due to price point.
«1

Comments

  • Options
    Listen to the podcast with DC Rainmaker, there's a brand that is coming out at a nice price point, can't remember the name.  But it is on the podcast.  I'd wait for garmin's 2nd generation stuff personally.  Have no clue when that'll be out though, they took 18 years (exaggeration) to release vector.  I am braindead and shouldn't be replying right now, but is the price different that big between the quarq vector etc?  
    Polletta ~ TRS West
  • Options
    HSeeley14HSeeley14 Member, Rooster Endurance Member, POTM
    @Jason41, the product DC Rainmaker mentioned in the podcast is likely the 4iii Precision (I listened to the podcast, but can't recall if that's the one he talked about).  He reviews that and a few others that are new to the market and have good potential.  The price point for the Quarq stuff is generally in the $1200 to $2000 range depending on components, etc.  Plus, hard to share the Quarq as it's the full crankset.  The 4iii is around $400, Stages is $700 and Garmin Vector S is about $900.  Now, these are all single sided systems, with options to buy both sides.  Clear as mud? :)
  • Options
    A used quarq can be had for the same price as stages or vector s. No harder to take off either. I would stay away from garmin. To me, havin your sensor in a wear heavy item like a pedal is prone to issues over time. No proof of that, just my initial thought.

    Stages honestly isn't bad. I have used it and it woris totally fine and isn't too far off my quarq.
    Zach Boring, Overly Average Looking Man
  • Options
    power2max is the name.
    Polletta ~ TRS West
  • Options
    @HSeeley14 I always think about buying a power meter then the confusion sets in and I decide to spend money on other things.  I feel like the price point on all of these will continue to come down... well I hope.  I'm a bike geek, data geek, etc, but I'm okay with my HR monitor for now :)
    Polletta ~ TRS West
  • Options
    Zach MillerZach Miller Member, Rooster Endurance Member, POTM
    I have stages, I love it never had any problems before, I have the ultegra version, I am looking into a new one because I want shorter crank arms, but the consistency of stages is great. Easy to install when I first purchased, but also has mentioned above take a whole crankset off is not hard once the one side is off
  • Options
    I have the Garmin vector - I got it because I wanted something that would be easily interchangeable between bikes, which it is. The other option I considered was stages, but there were issues with crank compatibility and my tri bike. Well it's generally pretty accurate, I found that some of the times it can be a little bit touchy, and there are calibration errors more frequently than I would like.  I also had to have both of the pods replaced shortly after I purchased them and consequently was without power for the first three races I did this past summer. 

    Long story short, I wouldn't recommend it. 
  • Options
    I trained and raced with one for a season, and realized I was becoming a slave to the data and having it wreck my perceived effort-o-meter (e.g., "oh, I'm above goal watts, I'm really suffering, I need to quit this") and wound up having my worst series of race results because of it. Dumped it, ran back on effort and making my own tactical decisions and improved immensely.

    Pretty much why I don't bother to look at the watch while on the run anymore, either. Don't want to know. Just go like my hair is on fire.
    Resident Gear Guru
    Bike Crash Free Since August 4th, 2014
  • Options
    HSeeley14HSeeley14 Member, Rooster Endurance Member, POTM
    I don't think it's hard to take take the crankset off, but considering my husband and I generally ride 3-5 days per week while training and often either at the same time (so definitely can't share a power meter then) or I ride in the morning and he rides after work, etc. It would be a bit of a hassle to be constantly exchanging the Quarq or a similar meter and also having to calibrate it all the time.  I hadn't thought of buying used however, so perhaps if the price is right we could look at the Quarq.  Thanks guys!
  • Options
    @Jason41 i also second the power2max. I have read up on it and it seems to be comparable to the quarq. As long as you are training on the same PM then you will have the same consistent data, vs training on a PT and quarq and switching youll always be off by 'x' watts every ride. Power2Max is wallet friendly and ant+ compatible. I have a PT, well 2 of them one to race on and one to train on. people would think it gets old swapping wheels, not so much but when or if you have to do it every day its probably the easiest to swap. I usually will swap the week or 2 before a race and ride the race wheels leading up to the race.
    now for free speed/racing wheel, using a regular training wheel with a PT on it, grab a disc cover. Aero>weight wins every time.
    village idiot
  • Options
    Same as @espej09 for me. PT with a disc cover. I have two but rarely use the trainer wheel anymore since the HED race wheel seems to hold up to anything. I just slap the cover on the rear for a race to get the full disc benefits.
  • Options
    yournotuniqueyournotunique Member, Rooster Endurance Member
    I have the Vector, but only because I have 3 bikes with 3 different bottom brackets, so a crank based meter wasn't an option for me. I've had it since April....or maybe last April? Whatever. It's been rock solid for me. Even survived a nice spill in the rain. Calibration issues are pretty much cleared up with the recent firmware updates, too.
    -I know it's wrong. Blame old AOL character limits. Illadelph |
  • Options
    We have two Quarq Riken PM's and one SRM.  My wife hates her SRM.  Wish I had known she was gonna hate that shit before dripping 2,350 on the damn thing.  Her old Riken is brand new (warranty replacement) and is just sitting unused. THe other Riken is on mine and it's pretty damn consistent.  Battery life isn't wonderful, but then again maybe I just bike a lot. 
    Living life in pursuit of triathlon greatness and not pissing off my wife. Also trying to understand Dark Mark and why he's left New York yet again, but this time for Oklahoma. At least it's not Florida.
  • Options
    I have the power tap hub going, but they are kind of a pain. This past summer I bought a new bike which of course has 11 speeds and my power tap is setup with a 10-speed. So to get the power tap wheel on the new bike, I believe you have to get an attachment that makes the power tap 11-speed compatible. Can be done, but the bottom line is my wheel stays on the road bike and i'm powerless on the tri bike.  It's a damn scam . . . I'm sure my next bike will require twelve speeds!  
    Brinz - TRS East - Boston Chapter
  • Options
    _MurMan_MurMan Member, Rooster Endurance Member
    So let me come in on this with the Newb question, I have been looking into this as still being relatively new to the cycling side of the sport and haven't quite figured out the bells and whistles side yet.  With a power meter what exactly is that adding to your training or racing?  I still am in the phase of going balls to wall, giving each discipline my maximum perceived effort. Am I missing out on something that could make me perform better or is this a luxury for those that have money to spend on a "luxury"? Sorry for the stupid question but figure I'd ask everyone on here rather than trust a bunch of strangers on the internet... 
    Sean Murnane - East Coast Hooligan
  • Options
    yournotuniqueyournotunique Member, Rooster Endurance Member
    @_MurMan this is one of the questions that Slowtwitch is actually decent at answering. But, short version: it's a (generally) consistent measurement of effort. It removes outside influences like wind, tires (rolling resistance can be a big slow-down), clothing, etc. Relying on speed is a bad indicated of what you're doing, or what you've done.

    A power meter can help you train in particular, and specific, zones. Much like running. Think, 5k pace vs marathon pace. On the bike you can say "5min in Z2, then 2min in Z5". And that effort is easily measured and compared to previous (and future) efforts regardless of outside influences.
    -I know it's wrong. Blame old AOL character limits. Illadelph |
  • Options
    _MurMan_MurMan Member, Rooster Endurance Member
    @yournotunique oh perfect answer, short and sweet. thank you! something for me too look into to spend my Christmas bonus on! haha But follow up question on that, exactly what is it measuring then? RPMs, force of a pedal stroke or what? That would really be my only other qualm about the technology. 
    Sean Murnane - East Coast Hooligan
  • Options
    yournotuniqueyournotunique Member, Rooster Endurance Member
    @_MurMan it's measuring watts. So, yes, force, among other measurements. But that's a wiki-hole for you to fall in on your own, if you need ;)

    Although, I suppose it's not *measuring* watts, per se. Rather, it's calculating watts. But, for simplicity's sake, yeah, it's reading watts.
    -I know it's wrong. Blame old AOL character limits. Illadelph |
  • Options
    PreachSwansonPreachSwanson Member, Rooster Endurance Member, Rooster Endurance Officers
    "When an object's velocity is held constant at one meter per second against constant opposing force of one newton the rate at which work is done is 1 watt."

    In other words a watt is a cosistantly measurable numeric expression of a fixed effort over a given distance.... Changes in any part of the equation effect the end numeric expression so that a consistent tool on a consistent device should alway give an accurate expression of your effort in total at any given moment.
    TRS Racing
    I'm an angel with an incredible capacity for beer
  • Options
    yournotuniqueyournotunique Member, Rooster Endurance Member
    Yes, a watt is one joule per second. A joule is the energy used to applying one Newton over one meter. A Newton is the force it takes to push 1kg at 1m per second squared.

    A power meter calculates the watts (or power) you are generating at a given moment and/or over a give time period.

    I figured he wanted a simpler answer, though.
    -I know it's wrong. Blame old AOL character limits. Illadelph |
  • Options
    PreachSwansonPreachSwanson Member, Rooster Endurance Member, Rooster Endurance Officers
    Thanks... Sometimes going from college memory helps, other times it is overly college complicated... Simple is better and that's what I should have said
    TRS Racing
    I'm an angel with an incredible capacity for beer
  • Options
    HSeeley14HSeeley14 Member, Rooster Endurance Member, POTM
    The SIMPLEST answer @_MurMan is that power=watts=literally how much force/energy you are exerting to ride and that same energy could power a lightbulb (100W) or even a small appliance. Similar to you, I have worked primarily with perceived effort, but when you start training for longer distance, recovery and effort level become crucial. Heart rate works if you know what you are doing and are meticulous about measuring, but power takes out the "human factor" I guess. That being said, sometimes all these fucking technical gadgets get in the way of just riding.
  • Options
    Like @HSeeley14 said a PM is crucial to training for longer distances. it measures your effort then and there every pedal stroke where as your HR takes time to get to its "zone" its also great for pacing in longer events, long rides, specific workouts. having a pm is critical if you ever want to improve on the bike.
    village idiot
  • Options
    Zach MillerZach Miller Member, Rooster Endurance Member, POTM
    For me a power meter is the only way I would finish an ironman and run as fast as i do.  the competitive nature in me would go way to hard on the bike and have nothing left for the run.  training wise i cant think of another way to train on the bike, there is too many outsides influences that effect bike speed to go by that,  i agree that you always need to adjust based on "feel"  but that power meter keeps me going hard in training when i dont want too  
  • Options
    I have a Quarq on each of my bikes and homestly cannot imagine training or racing without one.  It took me a few months to get used to it and once I got coach who sat me down and educated me.  I agree with @TheRunOBX in that it has helped me with my run off the bike.  I train with people all season who I know are must stronger than me but they blow up on the bike and have nothing left on the run at races and do not understand why.  Best money I ever investing in my training and racing!
  • Options
    HSeeley14HSeeley14 Member, Rooster Endurance Member, POTM
    Anyone with experience or first hand knowledge of the 4iii?
  • Options
    yournotuniqueyournotunique Member, Rooster Endurance Member
    @HSeeley14 I don't think its out yet.
    -I know it's wrong. Blame old AOL character limits. Illadelph |
  • Options
    HSeeley14HSeeley14 Member, Rooster Endurance Member, POTM
    @yournotunique it's out, but the first batch sold out and the next shipment will be in 2015.  They are also still working on the compatibility with carbon crank arms, but the tests look really promising and considering the various issues with some of the other single-sided units, the price point of this one and the engineering behind it make it a very interesting prospect.
  • Options
    HSeeley14 said:

    Anyone with experience or first hand knowledge of the 4iii?

    I'm supposed to get one in for review shortly. I'll keep you guys in the loop with my notes for writing it up - does anyone have specific questions about it that I can be on the lookout for?
  • Options
    HSeeley14HSeeley14 Member, Rooster Endurance Member, POTM
    @Duckies that's great!  Some of the things I have read in previous reviews, namely DC Rainmaker were regarding the accuracy and performance in extreme temps (nothing crazy, just outside of temperate) and being from the west coast I ride in the rain alot, is that thing really going to stay on?  For safe measure would it affect the pod to say put a layer of duct tape gently overtop to ensure it doesn't fly off?  I realize they have tested it, but that would be my big worry.  Everything else seems good.  The single leg thing seems fine, especially over long endurance rides as any small differences in each leg would even out.  Is it really as easy as DC Rainmaker makes it look to pair it with a Garmin or whatever?
    Duckies

Leave a Comment

Drop image/file

The Roost

@ 2018 The Triathlon Roost, All rights reserved.

Contact us

webstey@triroost.com

Get In Touch