General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Power Meters Rss Feed  
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2008-07-20 8:40 AM

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Subject: Power Meters

I'm in the market for an accurate power meter and can not seem to make up my mind. I currently train with a computrainer, which I love, and a Polar CS 600 w.i.n.d. w/power, whose accuracy (for power) I question. I want a power meter that I can use for both training and racing, but use different wheels for both. If anyone could give me their $.02 on Power Tap, SRM, Ergomo, etc... I would be very appreciative.

Thanks,

Rick



2008-07-20 11:51 AM
in reply to: #1542980

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Veteran
230
10010025
Douglasville GA
Subject: RE: Power Meters
Good question. I am also researching to purchase a power meter in the next few months. I have narrowed down to ergomo based on my needs and $$$ budget but I have read a few negative post on other forums about ergomo's customer service etc. Now I am back to square one. I think for flexibility use of PM -- SRM or ergomo is best. But SRM is too expensive ..... it look like I have to starve a few more months to save up $$$ for SRM. No an expert here, still looking for an answer. Any one in here can help out?

Cheers

2008-07-20 3:44 PM
in reply to: #1542980

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Pro
3883
20001000500100100100252525
Woodstock,GA
Subject: RE: Power Meters

Ah the conundrum of "Do I want the flexibility of switching my PM from bike to bike (Power Tap, iBike, Polar WIND) or do I want to be married to one bike and switch out my wheels (Ergomo, SRM)?"

First off you need to make sure that you know how a power meter works and how to interpret the data (or hire someone who does) or you are buying an expensive bike computer that has alot of numbers on it. I recommed Racing and Training With a Power Meter by Allen and Coggin.  You can get a copy on Amazon or at a local book store, read that and it will help you decide if you want to continue into the world of power.

Having said that I coach many athletes that use PMs and have all different makes and models. The following is what I have observed:

Power Tap-very accurate, measures power through strain gages at the rear hub, user friendly, portable from bike to bike (and extra bundle is about $50). The cons are, when it needs to be serviced it has to go back to Saris (to be fair this is the case with most PMs), you have to decide to either race with your training wheel or train with your racing wheel (or buy two, or put a disc cover over your training wheel). We also have a program where we rent out a Zipp 808 with a Power Tap hub to our local athletes for a nominal fee.

SRM-the "Gold Standard" in power meters. Measures power at the crank arms which is the most accurate. Allows for different wheels to be used. Wired version is most common right now although they do have a wireless coming out from what I read and hear. Cons-married to one bike, very expensive.

Ergomo-Measures torque at the bottom bracket, accurate but not as accurate as the SRM or Power Tap since it only measures on one side of the crank. Allows for use of different wheel sets, shows Training Stress Score on the computer screen Cons- No US distributor so customer service is non exsistant, susceptable to moisture if you ride in the rain or on wet roads, has to be replaced as a unit (one of our athletes severed his cable and had to replace the entire thing.)

IBike-This unit uses opposing forces to figure the wattage that the rider is producing. It's not really a bad unit for the money. If you are serious about power then this isn't the tool for you, but if you just want to play around then you might invest in a used one.

2008-07-20 3:57 PM
in reply to: #1542980

Subject: RE: Power Meters

oh shoot nevermind... I see you already have a CS600.  Sorry!



Edited by DMW 2008-07-20 4:00 PM
2008-07-20 8:42 PM
in reply to: #1543533

Member
67
2525
Melbourne, Australia
Subject: RE: Power Meters
SRM-the "Gold Standard" in power meters. Measures power at the crank arms which is the most accurate. Allows for different wheels to be used. Wired version is most common right now although they do have a wireless coming out from what I read and hear. Cons-married to one bike, very expensive.


Learn to swap your crank arms. Have BB installed on both bikes with a chain and everything ready to go on the second bike. Literally takes about 2 minutes to remove, and about 5 minutes to install. With the advent of SRM Wireless or Quarq CinQo wireless, there is then no extra messing about.

2008-07-20 8:54 PM
in reply to: #1542980

Champion
9430
50002000200010010010010025
No excuses!
Subject: RE: Power Meters

I was in the same boat. I had a Computrainer for about a year and wanted to use the knowledge of power on the road. I went with the Ergomo and love it. No issues as far as accuracy or any issues with being out in the rain.

Love it. A bit pricey but worth every penny to me.



2008-07-20 11:02 PM
in reply to: #1542980

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Master
2406
2000100100100100
Bellevue, WA
Subject: RE: Power Meters
The price difference between PowerTap and SRM may not be that great, if you already own race wheels and you don't mind buying used off eBay.

If you already own race wheels, then if you go with a PowerTap you have to replace them or lace in the PowerTap hub. I was told by one local Zipp dealer that they wouldn't lace in the PowerTap hub into used Zipps wheels - anything with more than 100 miles - because they risk of cracking the carbon was too high. YMMV, of course.

I went with a DuraAce Pro SRM off eBay. I train on my race wheels (they're the only wheels I own for my bike) but I could switch to any wheel I want. Yes, it was pricey, but it's rock solid and the Gold Standard in accuracy. And I can always sell it; I'm sure the depreciation isn't too bad.

If you want power on both your race wheels and training wheels, you could go Ergomo. Lots and lots of negative press on the Ergomo. My coach had one and it was absolutely nothing but trouble. She dumped it and went PowerTap. If it can't stand up to wet weather, it's useless in Seattle and probably many other places.

I'd love to see one of the new Quarg units and hear from people who own them. I'm not sure if they're really available yet.
2008-07-21 6:34 AM
in reply to: #1542980

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Master
1811
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Nashville, TN
Subject: RE: Power Meters
I use the powertap set up with a race wheel in the back and train on it. I love it and got a sweet deal.

chris
2008-07-21 7:06 AM
in reply to: #1542980

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Elite
4235
2000200010010025
Spring, TX
Subject: RE: Power Meters

Has anything heard any more about the Quark?  I've heard whispers but nothing definite. 

 I've started the process of looking for an affordable SRM.  I don't want to have to train on my race wheels and figure if I'm going to spend the money I might as well go for the "gold standard."  Good discussion though.

2008-07-21 8:11 AM
in reply to: #1544847

Member
21

Blacksburg, va
Subject: RE: Power Meters
Check out slowtwitch, they had a good thread going over there.

http://forum.slowtwitch.com/Slowtwitch_Forums_C1/Triathlon_Forum_F1...

Sounds pretty nice, uses the same measurement method as SRM, supports ANT+ so you have options for head units, especially once this becomes the standard, and is alot cheaper than an SRM
2008-07-21 8:22 AM
in reply to: #1544970

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Pro
3905
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St Charles, IL
Silver member
Subject: RE: Power Meters

The reason for all the different types of PMs is due to each company holding patents on their particular implementation.  SRM, the first power meter on the market, has their patent now expired.  Enter the Quarq, which measures power in the same method.

I'm liking where things are going in the powermeter world, with most moving to support ANT+ wireless protocol.  This means that finally, you won't have 8 different gadgets that don't talk to each other.

If you want a future proofed PM, look for one that supports ANT+.  Not only will it save on wiring, it'll let you use different head units ( like the Garmin 705 ).  From what I know at the moment, the following support ANT+

SRM Wireless ( the most expensive, though competition from Quarq may bring it down )

Quarq ( same idea as SRM, but at the moment, less expensive, and very new )

Powertap 2.4 ( Saris is saying current 2.4's can be upgraded to ANT, and new ones coming out shortly will support ANT out of the gate )

 

I personally use a wired Powertap.  PT Pro hub laced into a Mavic open pro for training, PT SL laced into a 404 for racing.  This gives me great versatility, especially since I have two bikes now ( and plan on adding a third ).  It also makes it easy to keep training with power while my race bike is in transit to/from a race.

You just need to add up a list of the pros and cons for each one, and decide which one fits what you want.

 



2008-07-21 9:20 AM
in reply to: #1542980

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Not a Coach
11473
5000500010001001001001002525
Media, PA
Subject: RE: Power Meters
I went with a wired PT laced into a Velocity Deep V rim.  It's a training wheel.  But a disc cover converts it to a race wheel on race day.  Unless I find myself in the fortunate position of having to worry about racing at Kona, this works for me.
2008-07-21 9:47 AM
in reply to: #1542980

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Elite
3223
20001000100100
Hendersonville
Gold member
Subject: RE: Power Meters
I am also a Power Tap user. I have two PT Pros, one laced into Velocity Deep Vs that I have had for about 2.5 years and one laced into DT Swiss 1.1s. They are on my tri bike and road bike. They work fine, but I really wish they had a better interface and were more intuitive to use (I am talking about programming it, resetting torque, things like that). I do use a disc cover when racing.
I was talking to a friend about how I wish Apple would make a power meter, and he named it the iPower, lol. If only...my life would be complete.
2008-07-21 11:20 AM
in reply to: #1543533

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Champion
8766
5000200010005001001002525
Evergreen, Colorado
Subject: RE: Power Meters
Rocket Man - 2008-07-20 11:44 PM

Ah the conundrum of "Do I want the flexibility of switching my PM from bike to bike (Power Tap, iBike, Polar WIND) or do I want to be married to one bike and switch out my wheels (Ergomo, SRM)?"

First off you need to make sure that you know how a power meter works and how to interpret the data (or hire someone who does) or you are buying an expensive bike computer that has alot of numbers on it. I recommed Racing and Training With a Power Meter by Allen and Coggin.  You can get a copy on Amazon or at a local book store, read that and it will help you decide if you want to continue into the world of power.

Having said that I coach many athletes that use PMs and have all different makes and models. The following is what I have observed:

Power Tap-very accurate, measures power through strain gages at the rear hub, user friendly, portable from bike to bike (and extra bundle is about $50). The cons are, when it needs to be serviced it has to go back to Saris (to be fair this is the case with most PMs), you have to decide to either race with your training wheel or train with your racing wheel (or buy two, or put a disc cover over your training wheel). We also have a program where we rent out a Zipp 808 with a Power Tap hub to our local athletes for a nominal fee.

SRM-the "Gold Standard" in power meters. Measures power at the crank arms which is the most accurate. Allows for different wheels to be used. Wired version is most common right now although they do have a wireless coming out from what I read and hear. Cons-married to one bike, very expensive.

Ergomo-Measures torque at the bottom bracket, accurate but not as accurate as the SRM or Power Tap since it only measures on one side of the crank. Allows for use of different wheel sets, shows Training Stress Score on the computer screen Cons- No US distributor so customer service is non exsistant, susceptable to moisture if you ride in the rain or on wet roads, has to be replaced as a unit (one of our athletes severed his cable and had to replace the entire thing.)

IBike-This unit uses opposing forces to figure the wattage that the rider is producing. It's not really a bad unit for the money. If you are serious about power then this isn't the tool for you, but if you just want to play around then you might invest in a used one.

I've heard the OPPOSITE...that the PT doesn't stand up to weather but the Ergomo does.  I've ridden with my Ergomo in the rain before...didn't phase it.

But yeah...I am not very happy that Ergomo doesn't have customer service stateside anymore.  I had one issue with it...my cable to connect it to my computer broke...and I was able to send it in and they sent me a new one.  It was AFTERWARDS that the customer service went away.  They were always very nice to me though.

Otherwise, I do like my Ergomo.

From another's post:

Good to know about the "race wheels PT installation" though.  In the future I had thought about getting race wheels and obviously at some point my Ergomo will die...so these are all good things to think about!  It would suck to buy TWO sets of race wheels because you bought one then a few years later decided you wanted to put a PT in...

2008-07-23 12:25 PM
in reply to: #1545238

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Champion
9060
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Charlottesville, Virginia
Subject: RE: Power Meters

If I pick up a wheel with a PT Pro what else do I need to make it work besides the head unit?

Will the current head units work with one that is 3+ years old?

2008-07-23 1:35 PM
in reply to: #1545006

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Champion
19812
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MA
Subject: RE: Power Meters
coredump - 2008-07-21 9:22 AM 

I personally use a wired Powertap. PT Pro hub laced into a Mavic open pro for training, PT SL laced into a 404 for racing. This gives me great versatility, especially since I have two bikes now ( and plan on adding a third ). It also makes it easy to keep training with power while my race bike is in transit to/from a race.

You just need to add up a list of the pros and cons for each one, and decide which one fits what you want.

 

I have same set up as he does. I bought Zipp 404s with power tap hub for a great price for racing. I have a tri bike, road bike and ordered a cyclecross bike that I'll use this year as my winter bike, bad weather, cyclecross bike.

You can get a good deal at Performance bike for Powertap...$1000 and wait for a 20% coupon and with being a performance member you get a $80 credit to future purchase so it ends up net $720 plus shipping.

I find having a power meter most helpful in doing good indoor trainer rides in the winter, doing intervals outdoors, pacing time trials and tris but more so tts, and gathering data from tris and having my coach help me train and race better after reviewing my files.



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