General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Stages Power Meter Rss Feed  
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2013-12-12 8:03 AM

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Subject: Stages Power Meter

So, what are the BT-users saying about this device?  Who's using it and how how are you liking it?



2013-12-12 8:16 AM
in reply to: sbsmann

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Subject: RE: Stages Power Meter
Originally posted by sbsmann

So, what are the BT-users saying about this device?  Who's using it and how how are you liking it?




I would like to know as well, I was thinking of getting shorter crank arms on my bike so getting the Stages power meter makes sense if it works well.
Anyone using it?
2013-12-12 8:28 AM
in reply to: mike761

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Subject: RE: Stages Power Meter
Since I know nothing about the subject i went to the source.

http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2013/06/stages-review-update.html

2013-12-12 8:42 AM
in reply to: Mountaindan

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Subject: RE: Stages Power Meter

Originally posted by Mountaindan Since I know nothing about the subject i went to the source. http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2013/06/stages-review-update.html

I've definitely read his comprehensive review as well as other reviews.  In fact, DC's review is awesome and bodes favorably for the device, but I'm a bit more curious about real users out in the daily grind of training and their impressions of the unit.

2013-12-12 8:55 AM
in reply to: sbsmann

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Subject: RE: Stages Power Meter
I'm listening in as well.

....and I also read the DC review.
2013-12-12 9:31 AM
in reply to: sbsmann

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Subject: RE: Stages Power Meter
I don't have one (powertap myself), but one of my roadie friends got one in the spring. He rides about 5 days a week 10-12 hours a week. We talk about power and gear pretty frequently. He likes it and has had no issues with it. I've looked at a lot of his power data as well and it is pretty good. It's a solid option. Really dependent on your needs and what/how you ride in my opinion (ie. If you need a solution for different bikes, wheels etc).

You can find flaws in all the powermeters but I think for most people who are just trying to track power and progress and hit training intensities properly it is good. If you have some rare muscle imbalance where one leg is crazy powerful compared to the other one maybe it wouldn't be that good, but I don't think that applies to 99%.

I personally like the powertap option because it is proven to work long-term and I've had it for 3 years and it is still working without any maintenance except battery changes. While it is probable that Stages and other newer ones can work for a long time I haven't seen that prove itself out yet. If I had more money I may go the SRM route but like that the powertap prices have come down a lot.


2013-12-12 10:50 AM
in reply to: sbsmann

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Subject: RE: Stages Power Meter
All fingers point to that its a great product. Every power device will have its flaws but Stages seems to be the real deal. Long-term it hasn't been proven and it won't for 3 more years.

I ride a power tap right now but I am thinking about getting a stages next year so that I can have more wheel options when training/racing.

The price is very solid as well.

Only thing I have yet to hear about is their customer service, especially with cycleops and quara being top notch!
2013-12-12 10:53 AM
in reply to: JAYCT

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Subject: RE: Stages Power Meter

There's a pretty in depth discussion going on at ST about it.  It's not the first or the last thread about Stages.

I think the key points to take away is that nobody is sure, nor is there a proven pattern that your left and right leg efficiency remains constant throughout different efforts, when you are fresh vs. fatigued, etc.  You may very well be someone who always rides with say 56/44 ratio of left/right leg power, and if that's the case, then Stages may be a good power meter for you.  But if your ratio varies, then your power readings will vary as well.  And most times we don't know when our left/right power varies (if it does at all), so there is no real way to account for that.

IMHO, the biggest thing is that if you're investing in a power meter, you should be going after accurate and reliable second by second data.  It's why we view a power meter as a step above a HRM.  If you're getting a power meter and are only interested in making sure that your overall ride averages are in the ball park, and are not concerned with the second by second accuracy that a power meter should provide, then why spend the money on it in the first place?

Again, I'm not saying that Stages can't provide that type of accuracy, but there is a huge assumption that your left/right power distribution remains constant for it to make that claim.  Maybe it does...maybe it doesn't.  The difficult part is that you likely wouldn't know unless you were using a power meter that can read L/R power such as the new quarq or the vectors.

2013-12-12 12:17 PM
in reply to: Jason N

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Subject: RE: Stages Power Meter
Originally posted by Jason N

There's a pretty in depth discussion going on at ST about it.  It's not the first or the last thread about Stages.

I think the key points to take away is that nobody is sure, nor is there a proven pattern that your left and right leg efficiency remains constant throughout different efforts, when you are fresh vs. fatigued, etc.  You may very well be someone who always rides with say 56/44 ratio of left/right leg power, and if that's the case, then Stages may be a good power meter for you.  But if your ratio varies, then your power readings will vary as well.  And most times we don't know when our left/right power varies (if it does at all), so there is no real way to account for that.

IMHO, the biggest thing is that if you're investing in a power meter, you should be going after accurate and reliable second by second data.  It's why we view a power meter as a step above a HRM.  If you're getting a power meter and are only interested in making sure that your overall ride averages are in the ball park, and are not concerned with the second by second accuracy that a power meter should provide, then why spend the money on it in the first place?

Again, I'm not saying that Stages can't provide that type of accuracy, but there is a huge assumption that your left/right power distribution remains constant for it to make that claim.  Maybe it does...maybe it doesn't.  The difficult part is that you likely wouldn't know unless you were using a power meter that can read L/R power such as the new quarq or the vectors.




What Jason said ^^^

If you do read that thread and you don't know the players, let me help you by saying listen carefully to RChung. On these forums it's hard to know who is knowledgeable, who states fact and who states opinion. This dude knows his stuff.
2013-12-12 9:53 PM
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Subject: RE: Stages Power Meter
Originally posted by toodamnbroke

I'm listening in as well.

  • ...and I also read the DC review.


  • @Justin
    Considering a PM!!! cool cool!!! Bicycle World and Fitness carry them 12 mo to pay no interest. Justin going for the IM plunge!!!


    @OP

    Stages have good reviews here in Houston,Texas sells alot , the only feedback i heard with the STAGES it does not read the dominance of either left or right leg.

    Edited by strykergt 2013-12-12 9:55 PM
    2013-12-13 7:23 AM
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    Subject: RE: Stages Power Meter

    I used a Quarq from January 2010 until fall of this year either on my old Felt B2 or my 2011 Trek Speed Concept.

    I bought the new 2014 Trek Speed Concept and received it in September.  I had two issues when it came to putting a power meter on the new bike.  My old Quarq wasn't compatible with the new 11-speed setup and I love the new Dura-Ace 9000 crankset since it can be both a standard and compact with just a swap of the chainrings as opposed to a swap of the whole crankset (brilliant move by Shimano).

    Stages sells their PM on the new Dura-Ace 9000 crank arm so I decided to give them a try.  I'm pretty finicky about my bike equipment.  I knew the initial launch reviews for Stages weren't so great but they had fixed those problems and everything seemed fine (DC Rainmaker's revised review).  I knew the inherent issue of just doubling left leg power which may or may not be an issue.

    I received the Stages PM before my new bike.  I decided to test it to see how closely it measured to both my Quarq and the Wahoo KICKR.  So I did an hour long ride running all three power meters at once with the KICKR set on ERG mode at 200 watts.  The Stages and Wahoo KICKR were almost identical.  They were like a watt or two apart.  The Quarq measured 1-2% higher.  I think the AP numbers were KICKR 200W, Stages 202W, Quarq 204W.  Good enough in my book and consistent with what I would expect in that there's some loss in power at the wheel (KICKR) compared to the strain gauges you'd find on the crank (Stages) or spider (Quarq).  FWIW, my Quarq was generally always 2% higher than the KICKR.

    I put the Stages PM on my new bike once I got it and I had nothing but problems.  Basically, I got a bad unit that kept losing signal and was eating up batteries.  Stages sent me a new PM within two days once I contacted them.  New unit works great.

    I know several people that have a Stages PM.  One other person had an issue with a unit losing signal as well and Stages replaced his right away.  The other people have had zero issues.

    I have no problems recommending a Stages PM.  Do I think it's as good as a Quarq or SRM?  No, I don't but it's 1/2 to 1/3 the price plus they had the DA-9000 crank (which was a big selling point for me).

    My $.02.



    Edited by GMAN 19030 2013-12-13 7:24 AM


    2013-12-13 7:47 AM
    in reply to: GMAN 19030

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    Subject: RE: Stages Power Meter

    Originally posted by GMAN 19030

    I used a Quarq from January 2010 until fall of this year either on my old Felt B2 or my 2011 Trek Speed Concept.

    I bought the new 2014 Trek Speed Concept and received it in September.  I had two issues when it came to putting a power meter on the new bike.  My old Quarq wasn't compatible with the new 11-speed setup and I love the new Dura-Ace 9000 crankset since it can be both a standard and compact with just a swap of the chainrings as opposed to a swap of the whole crankset (brilliant move by Shimano).

    Stages sells their PM on the new Dura-Ace 9000 crank arm so I decided to give them a try.  I'm pretty finicky about my bike equipment.  I knew the initial launch reviews for Stages weren't so great but they had fixed those problems and everything seemed fine (DC Rainmaker's revised review).  I knew the inherent issue of just doubling left leg power which may or may not be an issue.

    I received the Stages PM before my new bike.  I decided to test it to see how closely it measured to both my Quarq and the Wahoo KICKR.  So I did an hour long ride running all three power meters at once with the KICKR set on ERG mode at 200 watts.  The Stages and Wahoo KICKR were almost identical.  They were like a watt or two apart.  The Quarq measured 1-2% higher.  I think the AP numbers were KICKR 200W, Stages 202W, Quarq 204W.  Good enough in my book and consistent with what I would expect in that there's some loss in power at the wheel (KICKR) compared to the strain gauges you'd find on the crank (Stages) or spider (Quarq).  FWIW, my Quarq was generally always 2% higher than the KICKR.

    I put the Stages PM on my new bike once I got it and I had nothing but problems.  Basically, I got a bad unit that kept losing signal and was eating up batteries.  Stages sent me a new PM within two days once I contacted them.  New unit works great.

    I know several people that have a Stages PM.  One other person had an issue with a unit losing signal as well and Stages replaced his right away.  The other people have had zero issues.

    I have no problems recommending a Stages PM.  Do I think it's as good as a Quarq or SRM?  No, I don't but it's 1/2 to 1/3 the price plus they had the DA-9000 crank (which was a big selling point for me).

    My $.02.

    This is very good, real world stuff and thank you for the input.  I am aware that Stages doubles reading based on one side and I know that could potentially be an issue.  That issue could obviously inflate or deflate power readings, but my guess is most people with leg imbalance issues probably have such minor differences those skewed numbers would be fairly negligible (and would stay consistent to the particular rider).  It was interesting to hear the issue of the head unit struggling to pick up the device because I hadn't heard that before.

    I ride FLO wheels so I am in a similar boat where my power choices are limited and Stages seems like a good potential fit.  From DC's revised review and from what I have heard, most people seem happy with the product & it seems like a good choice at a solid price point. I guess time will also tell if the product holds up and continues to perform well after a few years of riding.

    2013-12-13 8:18 AM
    in reply to: Jason N

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    Subject: RE: Stages Power Meter
    I want consistency overy accuracy. It doesn't matter to me if it is 50watts different from X powermeter. As long as it gives me close to the same wattage for the same workout.
    2013-12-13 8:59 AM
    in reply to: GAUG3

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    Subject: RE: Stages Power Meter
    Originally posted by GAUG3

    I want consistency overy accuracy. It doesn't matter to me if it is 50watts different from X powermeter. As long as it gives me close to the same wattage for the same workout.


    I think the argument some are making is that some people will not see consistency even within a workout never mind across workouts.
    It may not be important to some but they should at least be aware of it.

    2013-12-13 9:02 AM
    in reply to: strykergt

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    Subject: RE: Stages Power Meter
    Originally posted by strykergt

    @Justin
    Considering a PM!!! cool cool!!! Bicycle World and Fitness carry them 12 mo to pay no interest. Justin going for the IM plunge!!!



    It is just an idea roaming around in my head for now. I called BWofH (where I got my bike and wheels) and heard they have them, but I would like to free up all the funds before buying them. IE: must pay those wheels off first!!!! I'm all about free money (0% financing) but I don't want to get too out of control, 1 thing at a time.

    The main thing for me to consider is: will I actually use the power meter properly, or just look at numbers after the ride. I want to make sure before I pay for any meter that I'll be disciplined enough to use it. Right now I'm marathon training and only riding once a week with a group, so power wouldn't do me much good there, atleast I think.
    2013-12-13 10:08 AM
    in reply to: marcag

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    Subject: RE: Stages Power Meter

    Originally posted by marcag
    Originally posted by GAUG3 I want consistency overy accuracy. It doesn't matter to me if it is 50watts different from X powermeter. As long as it gives me close to the same wattage for the same workout.
    I think the argument some are making is that some people will not see consistency even within a workout never mind across workouts. It may not be important to some but they should at least be aware of it.

    Correct.  Since Stages measures power from only one arm and doubles it, the power values will only be consistent or precise if your L/R distribution stays consistent or precise.  Nobody has really made an argument against the quality of Stages strain gauges and their ability to measure power on that one arm...it's just if doubling the power measured by that one arm is an accurate and or precise way of determining total power.  As GAUG3 mentioned, accuracy may not always be necessary for some people, but I think we all agree that precision is important.  And here are some examples where it is possible that measuring from only one arm and doubling it will lead to imprecise total power readings.

    At 100 rpms, you might be 55/46, and at 70 rpms you might be 65/35.
    At 150 watts you might be 52/48, and at 300 watts you might be 54/46.
    When you are fresh, you might be 51/49, and when you fatigue, you may drift towards 60/40.
    When seated you may be 53/47, and standing you may be 62/38.

    Or it could be possible that you're always 52/48 no matter what.  But how do you know? 



    2013-12-13 10:14 AM
    in reply to: Jason N

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    Subject: RE: Stages Power Meter
    So just to clarify in my mind. I do get that Stages doubles the one leg power, but wouldn't that also be a fault of the powertap? Not to say the PT doubles one leg, but you still won't get a L/R reading, just a single power reading from the hub right? I could see where the numbers would still be different if you had the 60/40 scenario with the stages, and you were doubling either of those numbers to get the total, you would be more at a 80% or 120% of actual total power, whereas with the PT, you wouldn't get L/R distribution, but you would see actual total power. Just want to make sure I am understanding everything correctly.

    Thanks
    Justin
    2013-12-13 10:35 AM
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    Subject: RE: Stages Power Meter

    Originally posted by toodamnbroke So just to clarify in my mind. I do get that Stages doubles the one leg power, but wouldn't that also be a fault of the powertap? Not to say the PT doubles one leg, but you still won't get a L/R reading, just a single power reading from the hub right? I could see where the numbers would still be different if you had the 60/40 scenario with the stages, and you were doubling either of those numbers to get the total, you would be more at a 80% or 120% of actual total power, whereas with the PT, you wouldn't get L/R distribution, but you would see actual total power. Just want to make sure I am understanding everything correctly. Thanks Justin

    I think you're on the right track.  There is huge debate as to whether or not having L/R power measurement from your PM is even useful.  That simply knowing total power is good enough and that we shouldn't even bother trying to balance out our power equally.  So just to be clear, I'm not saying that having L/R power measurement is important...I'm just trying to emphasize that if a power meter only reads one side and doubles it...there is potential for lack of accuracy and precision when reporting total power.  And that a power meter that calculates total power from both legs, even if it doesn't calculate them individually, has a much better chance of being accurate and precise.

     



    Edited by Jason N 2013-12-13 10:36 AM
    2013-12-13 11:55 AM
    in reply to: Jason N

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    Subject: RE: Stages Power Meter
    Originally posted by Jason N

    Originally posted by toodamnbroke So just to clarify in my mind. I do get that Stages doubles the one leg power, but wouldn't that also be a fault of the powertap? Not to say the PT doubles one leg, but you still won't get a L/R reading, just a single power reading from the hub right? I could see where the numbers would still be different if you had the 60/40 scenario with the stages, and you were doubling either of those numbers to get the total, you would be more at a 80% or 120% of actual total power, whereas with the PT, you wouldn't get L/R distribution, but you would see actual total power. Just want to make sure I am understanding everything correctly. Thanks Justin

    I think you're on the right track.  There is huge debate as to whether or not having L/R power measurement from your PM is even useful.  That simply knowing total power is good enough and that we shouldn't even bother trying to balance out our power equally.  So just to be clear, I'm not saying that having L/R power measurement is important...I'm just trying to emphasize that if a power meter only reads one side and doubles it...there is potential for lack of accuracy and precision when reporting total power.  And that a power meter that calculates total power from both legs, even if it doesn't calculate them individually, has a much better chance of being accurate and precise.

     




    That does make sense. Now the question still begs for me, would I actually use it??? I have a feeling the good people on this board won't be able to help me with that! Too bad.
    2013-12-13 12:15 PM
    in reply to: toodamnbroke

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    Subject: RE: Stages Power Meter
    Of course, as you point out that's tough to say. I can share where I'm personally at with power meters as it may or may not help you. I've been riding without one in tris for a few years now, and have found I have no problem regulating myself for anything up to an Olympic distance. Beyond that, I simply hold back too much, worried I'll overdo it and not have anything for the run. I've only officially done one half, but recreated the back half a couple times since (ie 56 mile ride and 13 mile run after) and all 3 times I had a lot left to give at the end. Of course, it's a learning process, and I'll figure it out if I keep doing this, but quite frankly, I would rather be closer to getting it right the next time - so I need some hard metrics. The only way to get those metrics is the power meter. I am also training for a full distance next season, where i think it will matter even more.

    So will I use it? On the trainer, yes, because that's essentially my calibration lab. I've been happily using Trainerroad's virtual PM, but I can't bring it with me on race day. On outdoor training rides, no, probably not, save for course scouting. On race day? Yes, and I'll stick to it like glue. If I wasn't capable of turning in a top 10% bike, then I can't say I would bother, but for me, my key to success is the bike. I put my time into the field on the bike and force them to catch me on the run, where I'm weaker. If I race my race, I'm in contention. If that wasn't the case, I couldn't justify the expense of the power meter. To be fair, I'm not even sure I can justify it even with the story I just told; it's not as if I'm going to win overall or KQ...but somehow I've justified it to myself.
    2013-12-13 12:30 PM
    in reply to: toodamnbroke

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    Subject: RE: Stages Power Meter
    Originally posted by toodamnbroke
    That does make sense. Now the question still begs for me, would I actually use it??? I have a feeling the good people on this board won't be able to help me with that! Too bad.


    Yeah, only you know if you will use it or not.

    This is my experience

    I started using trainerroad with virtual power, I really liked how the workouts were structured around wattage, and you just have to try and keep your wattage target. It made training inside manageable. Not fun, but manageable. Once I got used to training with power indoors, it was hard to go back to pacing off just speed and HR outdoors. I got hooked on power, so I got a powertap. Now I don't even look at HR/Speed/Cadence anymore, I only pace off power and duration. Well actually in road races and crits I still look at speed, but that's another topic. For TT and training it's all by power.

    I am now looking at getting a Stages PM since I want to use my 404 in races. My powertap is built into a velocity training wheel. If I get a stages, I can use whatever wheel I want.


    2013-12-13 12:50 PM
    in reply to: jheathjr

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    Subject: RE: Stages Power Meter
    Originally posted by fisherman76

    Of course, as you point out that's tough to say. I can share where I'm personally at with power meters as it may or may not help you. I've been riding without one in tris for a few years now, and have found I have no problem regulating myself for anything up to an Olympic distance. Beyond that, I simply hold back too much, worried I'll overdo it and not have anything for the run. I've only officially done one half, but recreated the back half a couple times since (ie 56 mile ride and 13 mile run after) and all 3 times I had a lot left to give at the end. Of course, it's a learning process, and I'll figure it out if I keep doing this, but quite frankly, I would rather be closer to getting it right the next time - so I need some hard metrics. The only way to get those metrics is the power meter. I am also training for a full distance next season, where i think it will matter even more.

    So will I use it? On the trainer, yes, because that's essentially my calibration lab. I've been happily using Trainerroad's virtual PM, but I can't bring it with me on race day. On outdoor training rides, no, probably not, save for course scouting. On race day? Yes, and I'll stick to it like glue. If I wasn't capable of turning in a top 10% bike, then I can't say I would bother, but for me, my key to success is the bike. I put my time into the field on the bike and force them to catch me on the run, where I'm weaker. If I race my race, I'm in contention. If that wasn't the case, I couldn't justify the expense of the power meter. To be fair, I'm not even sure I can justify it even with the story I just told; it's not as if I'm going to win overall or KQ...but somehow I've justified it to myself.


    I think you justified right. It is yours to justify. I'm pretty much in the same boat, but I think I am burning myself out on the bike rather than under doing it on my half distances. Haven't done a full, none planned for now. But I do have a hard time self regulating on the bike. I'm okay on the swim and run, but just all over on the bike.


    Originally posted by jheathjr

    I started using trainerroad with virtual power, I really liked how the workouts were structured around wattage, and you just have to try and keep your wattage target. It made training inside manageable. Not fun, but manageable. Once I got used to training with power indoors, it was hard to go back to pacing off just speed and HR outdoors. I got hooked on power, so I got a powertap. Now I don't even look at HR/Speed/Cadence anymore, I only pace off power and duration. Well actually in road races and crits I still look at speed, but that's another topic. For TT and training it's all by power.



    I have a KK trainer, but really find it hard to use, even in bad weather (which doesn't happen too much in Houston) I still prefer to just go ride outside. I hadn't thought too much about actually using power on the trainer, AND that making the workout - bearable. It's a good thing to add to the plus side of the list for buying one!

    Thanks for all the input everyone.
    Justin

    2013-12-14 8:22 AM
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    Subject: RE: Stages Power Meter
    Justin

    Observing from your races the two Half iron ones you did this year that I also participated in you executed them well without a PM. I believe the Powermeter will best help more in stepping up to the Iron distance on your training and during the race. I think the best way to find out is if you can rent a powermeter , maybe a powertap rear wheel. I know BWOH rents bikes maybe comes with a rear wheel PT.



    Edited by strykergt 2013-12-14 8:23 AM
    2013-12-14 8:54 AM
    in reply to: toodamnbroke

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    Subject: RE: Stages Power Meter
    Originally posted by toodamnbroke

    Originally posted by strykergt

    @Justin
    Considering a PM!!! cool cool!!! Bicycle World and Fitness carry them 12 mo to pay no interest. Justin going for the IM plunge!!!



    It is just an idea roaming around in my head for now. I called BWofH (where I got my bike and wheels) and heard they have them, but I would like to free up all the funds before buying them. IE: must pay those wheels off first!!!! I'm all about free money (0% financing) but I don't want to get too out of control, 1 thing at a time.

    The main thing for me to consider is: will I actually use the power meter properly, or just look at numbers after the ride. I want to make sure before I pay for any meter that I'll be disciplined enough to use it. Right now I'm marathon training and only riding once a week with a group, so power wouldn't do me much good there, atleast I think.


    If you are riding and staying with the group, the powermeter is just gathering data. It is always amazing to me how much more power I need when I am out front vs. sitting back in the draft.

    The biggest benefit IMHO with the powermeter is indoor interval training. HR just doesn't respond fast enough. On the flip side, I think HR is fine for racing. Power may be better but I know a lot of very fast guys who don't use it to race.

    If you are on the fence, I would go with the Virtual power Golden Cheetah route. (<$60) If you use it and like it, then get something for outdoors. If you aren't using it, your not out too much cash.
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