Cycling Power Meter Review: Everything Cyclists Need to Know about This Part!
In recent years, many gadgets have appeared that provide cyclists with information, heart rate monitors, various applications with GPS tracking, smartwatches, and more. But the power meter for cycling is in a special position, certainly due to its high cost, but also due to the nature of the data it collects. This may be necessary not only for professional athletes but even for those who often like to just ride. We decided to make a small cycling power meter review for you, as well as show what speed meters you can take for your bike.
What Is a Power Meter on a Bike?
First, let’s deal with the concept of power. Power is the energy required to move a mass a certain distance per unit of time, measured in watts. For power analysis, some programs and applications use the distance traveled, speed, and some other parameters. However, such calculations have a very large error, so the use of a separate device becomes preferable.
The bike power meter allows you to take power readings in real-time and save data for later analysis. Power meters are sold with or without a head unit. Some cycling computers are supposed to be connected to them via ANT+ or Bluetooth communication protocols. If you go a little deeper into the technical features of the meters, then they simply measure the amount by which the connecting rod or any other component where it is built is bent. Yes, the bending of the connecting rod isn’t visible, but precise instruments can fix these values.
It is easy to guess that you can embed the best bicycle power meter not only in the connecting rods but in any element that stands in the way of energy transfer from the legs to the tire. It is important to remember that the device needs the power to operate and transmit data to the head unit, and the weight of the device should be minimal because it is located on rotating elements, which increases the mass of the flywheel. The types of devices are divided according to the method of placement:
Placement in connecting rods is the most common. Most manufacturers, such as SRM, Stages, and Quarq, follow this path, since there is no need to come up with new designs, they are built into standard systems with some modifications. More budget options involve the location of the sensor in the left crank and rely on data obtained from only one leg. But again, precise calibration at the factory allows you to take readings quite accurately.
The bottom bracket placement of the meter allows you to use old standard square cranksets or Shimano’s OctaLink. There was such a design at Ergomo, and it worked with its head unit, communication with which was carried out using wires. This design is considered the most complex, since the installation requires the dismantling of many elements, however, such placement at the same time provides a high level of protection from environmental influences.
Measuring power through the pedals is the most versatile, as an expensive component can be easily transferred to any other bike in a matter of minutes. To do this, you only need a pedal key. The flip side is vulnerability. After all, even if there are no scratches anywhere on your bike, they are sure to be found on the pedals. Precision electronics don’t like this attitude. Yes, and falling on the operation of the device is unlikely to have a positive effect.
Putting fine electronics in the rear hub is probably a very difficult task because in almost 20 years only one manufacturer has appeared on the market that knows how to do this. It is believed that this method is the easiest in the context of rearranging between bicycles because it doesn’t even require wrenches, as is the case with the location of sensors in the pedals. However, then you would have to train on racing wheels, and the hub would introduce its limitations since you would no longer have to choose its weight and the bearings used. How Do Power Meters Work in Cycling?
How Do Power Meters Work in Cycling?
The rationale behind using power meters is that training and times on a familiar stretch of road can be impacted by wind direction and strength, tire pressure, and many variables. The device helps to weed out all unnecessary information and see the real indicator of your physical form. It doesn’t matter how fast you go through the wind due to the wind, you must give out the necessary level of power on it.
The device is suitable as an expensive toy, but it is important to understand that it would require funds to maintain it because this is an accurate and delicate electronic device that loves tenderness and attention. With power meters you can:
- achieve high results in a fairly short time, if you set yourself clear goals;
- scrupulously examine their capabilities and identify weaknesses;
- competently and evenly distribute the load at the competition, so as not to run out of steam ahead of time, and so on.
There are many possibilities. It is also important to understand that to correctly determine your cycling performance, it is important to choose the best value power meter cycling that would show accurate data.
Best Power Meters
Here are some examples that you can buy for yourself:
These are practically the first pedals to have Shimano power measurement. It is worth noting that the measurements would be as accurate as possible, but the measurement would be made after a few seconds after the start of the movement. This can be a problem for track and mountain trips when time is of the essence. Yes, the price can hit, but it’s still the best option in its class.
This is the best bike power meter with the ability to install it on the left or right side. By the way, you can simply forget that it is installed on a bicycle (after all, it doesn’t interfere in any way and practically doesn’t stand out from the whole structure), but you would still receive data from the part. Batteries can be replaced directly without removing the part from the bike.
This is the most durable and simple meter. The best cycling power meter has almost no erroneous data and works stably without interruption all the time. Unlike other types of meters, they are relatively heavy, but at the same time of the highest quality and reliability. It is important to know that the batteries here can work for 500 hours, which would be very convenient in any situation. Now you know exactly everything about this detail, from how do bicycle power meters work to what to choose for your bike. We recommend that you choose a speed meter based on your preferences and convenience. By the way, pay attention to the price, because the more complex the installation, the more its price would be. And which of all the options from our list will be the best power meter for a road bike?
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