Monday, February 2, 2009

Power Meters

There are several power meters on the market now.

SRM Training System, a torque-measuring crankset that replaces your present model

PowerTap, a torque-measuring hub that you build into a wheel
Ergomo Sport, a torque-measuring bottom bracket available in Campagnolo square-taper or Shimano OctaLink

Polar S-710i or CS600, uses a chain vibration sensor that mounts on the right chainstay

iBike Pro, a handle-bar mounted power meter that measures the cyclist's output by measuring opposing forces

Quarq, a torque measuring device that mounts on the crankset spider

Brim Brothers, a force measuring system mounted under the cyclist's shoe

Each model has unique benefits.

I was very interested in getting a power meter, but my Scots blood [I’m frugal – or as some have been known to say – cheap!] was extremely averse to shelling out the cash for either of the two highly rated models – the SRM or the PowerTap. A PowerTap (which requires a specially built hub/wheel combination) costs more than many people will ever spend on a complete bike. That just seemed silly to me. Also, there is a significant weight penalty with either the SRM or PowerTap.

After doing some research
, I settled on the iBike Pro. I just received it in the mail on Wednesday evening.

The iBike measures:

power [avg. & max values];
calories burned [or kilojoules];
wind speed;
hill gradient;
elevation gained;
trip distance;
trip time;
bike speed [avg. & max values];
and temperature.

That’ll bring out the number geek lurking inside me!

The device appears easy enough to install, but it has a few calibration steps that need to be performed before I can use it. You need to set:

your weight – you+bike+gear;
tilt angle;
and do a “coast down” to measure frictional forces.

I'll report on how the calibration/installation goes in my next post . . .

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