Garmin Edge 810 GPS-Enabled Cycling Computer
SRAM QUARQ Power Meter Double BB30 Chainset
Find cycling power meters Online
Cycling power meters can help you push your limits by calculating your power output while riding, and keeping track of your performance. The sensors are mounted on different locations on the bike, depending on the type of power meter.
Tip: Take time to review your power meter data after every session.
If you're going to shell out money for a power meter, make full use of your investment by conducting a performance review after every training session. Make sure you record your power output data regularly so you can get a better idea of your progress. Set realistic targets for yourself based on the empirical data and try to conquer them!
Your training needs should dictate the type of power meter that you buy. There are four major types of cycling power meters on the market right now, and each one differs depending on the method it uses to measure the power output:
Note: some newer cycling power meters measure power through handlebar-mounted units, that senses the cyclist's opposing forces, rather than the traditional method, that is to use a strain gauges to measure power.
Why Using a Bicycling Power Meter
Cycling power meters can give you a huge incentive to increase your overall power output. This is especially useful for mountain biking or long-distance endurance training. Those who do train consistently and monitor their progress with cycling power meters, report increases of around 5-10% in their heart rate or RPE (Register of Perceived Exertion) in comparison to those who don't use cycling power meters.
Why NOT Using a Bicycling Power Meter
Buying a power meter does not automatically make anyone a better cyclist. You shouldn't commit yourself to a cycling power meter unless you are serious about racing or improving your cycling power over time. If you do not have a consistent training program, you might end up demotivating yourself when you realize your performance is decreasing due to lack of practice.
What Factors You Should Take Into Account When Buying Power Meters for Cycling?
- First the budget, keep in mind that you will not find good options for bicycle power meters under $1000. High-end models could easily reach more than $4000, which is roughly the price of a decent road racing bicycle.
- One factor that is often not mentioned is technical aptitude. Installing and operating bicycle power meters are not rocket science but it does require a decent level of technical skill. If you do have problems using advanced features on devices like a smartphone or PC, then you will find it difficult to operate bicycle power meters. The best option would be to read some material on power meters or work with a professional trainer who could help you monitor and analyze your performance on a power meter.
- Finally, you must decide on the type of device you want. There are four major types. Each system features a different method of measuring your power-output and depending on your cycling habits; you might be more inclined to use one particular type.
Which Device Will Suit You Best
|Hub||CycleOps - PowerTap||With some models you can use external GPS device||One per rear wheel
Easy to change wheels
|Pedal/Chain||Polar||Polar Computer (Selected models)||Measures force on each pedal
Can be moved easily from one bike to another
|Bottom Bracket||Ergomo||Use Ergomo-pro computer||Measures power during cycling in the bottom bracket
One per bike
|Crank||SRM||SRM Powercontrol VI or the Garmin 705 as a head unit||Power output is recorded continuously at the transition between the crank and the chainrings|
While the Power Tap (Hub) is significantly cheaper than the SRM (Crank), you will need to buy two Power Tap wheels; one for training and one for racing, because racing wheels are not suitable for daily use. Interestingly, even if you do buy two power tap wheels, you will still end up spending less than what you would on an SRM power meter.
If you are using multiple wheel-sets you should look towards bottom bracket (Ergomo), pedal (Polar) or crank based (SRM) bicycle power meters. Use the hub power meters for if you are using a single wheel-set. Just note: while the bottom bracket system by Ergomo is both reasonable in price and quality, it has a poor reputation for customer support and technical assistance.
Where to Buy Cycling Power Meters?
If you are interested in buying cycling power meters you can buy them in one of these trusted online stores:
Buying a Power Meter Computer Online
Books About Training With a Power Meter
More information about bicycle training with a power meter can be found on several informative books. Take a look at these selected books:
Bicycle Power Meters on YouTube
You can also view some interesting video reviews on YouTube:
For more information about bicycling power meters you can visit:
- CyclePowerMeters.com - a great source of information about power meters for cycling.
- Wikipedia - as usual, a great source of background information about power meters.