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At what point do you get a power meter?

Last post 10-12-2017 1:07 PM by Kronan. 20 replies.
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  • 09-18-2017 9:16 PM

    • apwndwest
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on 09-11-2014
    • Vancouver, British Columbia
    • Posts 260

    At what point do you get a power meter?

    Riding my R3 now for three years almost to the day. Tracking for 5000 Kms this year which doubles my mileage over last year. Next year is going to be a big year. Trying to double the 5000K. Seeing weight loss and fitness gains for sure. Prices are dropping for meters. I wonder how much I will get from one as I am happy just building up the kms each year. BUT to take it to the next level I am wondering why I don't see power meters listed on a bunch of high end bikes on the pics of your cervelo thread. Maybe you could give me your single primary reason for buying one or considering one. I get the stats and training benefits but question why all these high end bikes on the thread don't seem to have them. Maybe they do and just not worth the few extra keystrokes to include them. TIA
    2014 R3 (Hills bike)
    2012 Roubaix SL3 (Endurance bike)
  • 09-19-2017 7:15 AM In reply to

    • Kookie
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-04-2012
    • Toronto
    • Posts 401

    Re: At what point do you get a power meter?

    I have the Rotor 2Inpower on my R5 and the Quarq Dzero on my S5. I recently got them just to see how "fit" I am and comparing the power numbers I hear on the Internet. I found averaging 300w over 10-15 minutes is pretty hard!
    2013 Cervelo R5 SRAM Red
    2017 Cervelo S5 SRAM eTap
  • 09-20-2017 9:54 AM In reply to

    • racewatcher
    • Top 100 Contributor
    • Joined on 09-09-2011
    • Newfoundland and Labrador
    • Posts 213

    Re: At what point do you get a power meter?

    Power meters. I think that if you want it and you can afford it, go get one. For me, I used to ride about 3500 km per season, ran a bit and entered a few races. As long as there were more guys behind me than in front of me I was fine. I'm in my late 40's now, and I don't compete. I dropped the heart monitor, I train by what I call "perceived exertion" (haha). I go as hard as I feel like for as long as I can. My clothes still fit and I ride around 1500 km per year now. I'm much more relaxed on the bike, I dont train, I ride. Sometimes I even leave the Garmin home. But if you want it, just go get one.
    racewatcher
  • 09-20-2017 5:55 PM In reply to

    • apwndwest
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on 09-11-2014
    • Vancouver, British Columbia
    • Posts 260

    Re: At what point do you get a power meter?

    Nice POV racewatcher. Problem is I have two bikes and ride both regularly and PM's are not transferable easily and I look at some of the wheels I could get for the same $. I think this will be a 2018 decision for me and just focus on getting to 5000 Kms this year.
    2014 R3 (Hills bike)
    2012 Roubaix SL3 (Endurance bike)
  • 09-20-2017 11:03 PM In reply to

    • maustin
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on 04-06-2010
    • Hobart, TAS
    • Posts 38

    Re: At what point do you get a power meter?

    There's two main reaons to have a power meter (beyond the obvious "because I want one") 1. It gives a definitive measurement of how you are performing that is independent of weather, terrain and whether you are riding solo or in a bunch. 300W is 300W, whether you are putting it out with a tailwind or on a descent. Of course, unless you actually want to know how you are performing, and then want to feed that information into a program to improve your performance, this information is really just stuff you can stare at and go "ooooh, look at that pretty graph" 2. Its a great way to assess how hard you are pushing yourself and whether you need to back it off, or take it up a notch. This information is useful to know if you are racing, or doing a Gran Fondo in which you want to make sure you finish in a particular time and don't want to cook yourself early. You can get fitter and faster without a power meter. But you probably can't get fitter and faster as efficiently without one. But then, how efficient do you need to be? If you're chasing World Tour glory, probably as efficient as you can be. If you're just trying to get a few Strava PR's, the money is probably better spent on wheels and post-ride coffee ;-)
    That's what you get when you suffer - you get results
  • 09-21-2017 9:36 AM In reply to

    • bw987
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 07-19-2015
    • Posts 14

    Re: At what point do you get a power meter?

    I will put another slant on this. I have been riding for a little over 4 years, about 4000 Miles a year. I'm 60 and over weight for my size, I lost some pounds my first year (237 to 221) of riding and have maintained that weight the next three years. (between 218-225). This year I added a power meter and started doing my intervals not by heart rate (as in the past three years) but by power based on my Functional threshold power. Since May 1 I have lost 25 pounds. The power meter helps me stay in the proper zones for both high intensity work but just as important, my endurance miles. I feel better recovered between rides. My goal is not to race but to be healthy and to move up in the club rides. I think the power meter helps motivate me and helps me to not overdo it.
    2015 R3
  • 09-21-2017 2:32 PM In reply to

    • apwndwest
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on 09-11-2014
    • Vancouver, British Columbia
    • Posts 260

    Re: At what point do you get a power meter?

    bw987:
    I will put another slant on this. I have been riding for a little over 4 years, about 4000 Miles a year. I'm 60 and over weight for my size, I lost some pounds my first year (237 to 221) of riding and have maintained that weight the next three years. (between 218-225). This year I added a power meter and started doing my intervals not by heart rate (as in the past three years) but by power based on my Functional threshold power. Since May 1 I have lost 25 pounds. The power meter helps me stay in the proper zones for both high intensity work but just as important, my endurance miles. I feel better recovered between rides. My goal is not to race but to be healthy and to move up in the club rides. I think the power meter helps motivate me and helps me to not overdo it.
    BW987 what PM did you put on your R3? And you lost 25 pounds since May 1 2017? That is just plain stellar weight loss. Did you change your diet as well or that's purely from riding with a PM?
    2014 R3 (Hills bike)
    2012 Roubaix SL3 (Endurance bike)
  • 09-21-2017 8:45 PM In reply to

    • trex021
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on 01-11-2013
    • Minneapolis
    • Posts 268

    Re: At what point do you get a power meter?

    I bought mine because I got hooked on training with power using TrainerRoad's virtual power during a long winter here in Minnesota. It was very motivating to see measurable improvement in my power and I didn't even need a real power meter to achieve it. I missed it when I was able to finally ride outside so I bought one. You get out of it what you put in to it, of course. If you're disciplined and workout by doing intervals you'll see the most value.

    By far the best non-training application for me is a climbing TT. It is a weapon for balancing your effort and not killing yourself in the first third.
  • 09-22-2017 9:45 AM In reply to

    • bw987
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 07-19-2015
    • Posts 14

    Re: At what point do you get a power meter?

    I put a power2max on. Actually my first weight lose was with absolutely no diet changes. I was still eating the same. I started seeing a weight lose after about three weeks with the power meter and no diet change. The early weigh lose helped me get motivated to eat better. Near the end of May I started not dieting, just trying to make better food choices. I am convinced that the power meter helps you tune into training you need to make physiological changes to you body better than a Hr monitor.
    2015 R3
  • 09-22-2017 12:33 PM In reply to

    • Kronan
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on 11-15-2012
    • Alberta, Canada
    • Posts 294

    Re: At what point do you get a power meter?

    Part of seeing (or not seeing) power meters is about where they hide. It's easy to miss the pods on pedal based systems (Keo PowerMax or Garmin Vector pedals), crank based systems (like Stages) or hubs (i.e. PowerTap). Sure, some systems like Pioneer and Quark are more obvious on the crank spider, but sometimes the meters can be easy to miss. Most folks, though, show off the bike, then the group, maybe the wheels....but I don't find most folks bragging about the power meters.

     

    If you're into racing or hard-core training and have a primary bike you use for training and riding, pretty much any "good" power meter will do you. Cost is a factor, but it's easier to aim for certain training goals with more metrics to aim at and/or measure after rides. It you're riding Campy, like me, the options are a bit more limited.

     

    If you're not a racer, then the expense may not be as much of a value. I'm personally a numbers geek and I want to be able to compare my winter / trainer efforts to my "in the wild" rides. I don't need left/right power info and super accurate numbers for what I do, and I'm also not looking at spending $1200 US for a Campy Chorus Stages PM. Instead, I went for an inexpensive "power meter" based on heart rate (CycleOps / PowerTap PowerCal). It's a good HR strap and pretty much crap for instantaneous power measurements, but does far better for longer averaging times...so if I want overall for a ride, or am going steady state on a long hill or long flat, I can get a pretty good idea where I am at. I just find it helps me maintain my output for the long haul and see if I was having a bad day or if I really was putting more effort out on a ride. The meter is on me, so it doesn't have the transfer issues that most meters do.

     

    I'm actually considering the PowerPod Power Meter. As a pilot, I understand how it works (like a pitot and static tube set up...combined with speed and cadence sensors it should be quite accurate, though I know some folks will bash it as it uses a different direct measurement using air pressures vs. the traditional strain gauges on a crank or in a hub). It's a cheaper option that would be able to do more instantaneous measurements and be a little more accurate compared to my PowerCal. It also can be transferred a lot more easily...though the calibration after a transfer takes longer (10-15 minute ride).

     

    Just some thoughts ;)

    '12 Cervelo S2 (full Chorus, upgraded bars, saddle, wheels and tires)
    '09 Knolly Delirium T (frame up custom)
    '?? Mercury road bike
    '06 Gary Fisher Cake 2DLX (signed frame)
  • 09-22-2017 1:34 PM In reply to

    • apwndwest
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on 09-11-2014
    • Vancouver, British Columbia
    • Posts 260

    Re: At what point do you get a power meter?

    trex021:
    I bought mine because I got hooked on training with power using TrainerRoad's virtual power during a long winter here in Minnesota. It was very motivating to see measurable improvement in my power and I didn't even need a real power meter to achieve it. I missed it when I was able to finally ride outside so I bought one. You get out of it what you put in to it, of course. If you're disciplined and workout by doing intervals you'll see the most value.

    By far the best non-training application for me is a climbing TT. It is a weapon for balancing your effort and not killing yourself in the first third.
    Agreed Trex and intervals both flat and hills are a part of what I do. The PM is what Froome uses to his advantage and it obviously works..You can see him staring at it on those killer climbs then he goes cus he knows he can based on outputs. Thanks for your input
    2014 R3 (Hills bike)
    2012 Roubaix SL3 (Endurance bike)
  • 09-22-2017 1:53 PM In reply to

    • apwndwest
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on 09-11-2014
    • Vancouver, British Columbia
    • Posts 260

    Re: At what point do you get a power meter?

    Kronan:

    Part of seeing (or not seeing) power meters is about where they hide. It's easy to miss the pods on pedal based systems (Keo PowerMax or Garmin Vector pedals), crank based systems (like Stages) or hubs (i.e. PowerTap). Sure, some systems like Pioneer and Quark are more obvious on the crank spider, but sometimes the meters can be easy to miss. Most folks, though, show off the bike, then the group, maybe the wheels....but I don't find most folks bragging about the power meters.

     

    If you're into racing or hard-core training and have a primary bike you use for training and riding, pretty much any "good" power meter will do you. Cost is a factor, but it's easier to aim for certain training goals with more metrics to aim at and/or measure after rides. It you're riding Campy, like me, the options are a bit more limited.

     

    If you're not a racer, then the expense may not be as much of a value. I'm personally a numbers geek and I want to be able to compare my winter / trainer efforts to my "in the wild" rides. I don't need left/right power info and super accurate numbers for what I do, and I'm also not looking at spending $1200 US for a Campy Chorus Stages PM. Instead, I went for an inexpensive "power meter" based on heart rate (CycleOps / PowerTap PowerCal). It's a good HR strap and pretty much crap for instantaneous power measurements, but does far better for longer averaging times...so if I want overall for a ride, or am going steady state on a long hill or long flat, I can get a pretty good idea where I am at. I just find it helps me maintain my output for the long haul and see if I was having a bad day or if I really was putting more effort out on a ride. The meter is on me, so it doesn't have the transfer issues that most meters do.

     

    I'm actually considering the PowerPod Power Meter. As a pilot, I understand how it works (like a pitot and static tube set up...combined with speed and cadence sensors it should be quite accurate, though I know some folks will bash it as it uses a different direct measurement using air pressures vs. the traditional strain gauges on a crank or in a hub). It's a cheaper option that would be able to do more instantaneous measurements and be a little more accurate compared to my PowerCal. It also can be transferred a lot more easily...though the calibration after a transfer takes longer (10-15 minute ride).

     

    Just some thoughts ;)

    I am a solo rider so far. No clubs, no racing, no hassles. This info plus what others are posting is accelerating my interest. Knowing exactly what output is required for incremental performance gains and weight loss is fascinating. BTW I found this after reading your stuff. Likely you have seen it. https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/03/powerpod-depth-review.html and perhaps its a bit dated. Thanks for the input...
    2014 R3 (Hills bike)
    2012 Roubaix SL3 (Endurance bike)
  • 09-23-2017 12:38 AM In reply to

    Re: At what point do you get a power meter?

    I've been riding about 10 years and with a Stages PM since the beginning of 2014. I move my PM easily from bike to bike (gravel/road) as I'm lucky as both cranks are FSA's. I ride about 9,000 km's per year. As a keen rider the PM has improved the quality of my ride seasons. By that I mean I can train to a high fitness level maintain it consistently by balancing my riding/training and rest. I don't really look at it while riding but more to track my fitness by downloading my ride data to a training program Golden Cheetah. Once you build up a "history" your profile will show your personal strengths and weakness allowing you to determine what style of rider you are, T Trialist, All arounder, sprinter etc. Then you can more expertly tailor your training/interval work to build to your strength's etc. For me I find this rewarding. I get to a good place for the majority of the season where I ride strong quite consistently something I could not achieve pre - PM. Knowledge is power.
    COR Co-organizer 2015
    2010 Cannondale Rush MTB
    Kona Jake The Snake Cross bike
    2011 Cervelo R3 Red - sold
    2013 Cervelo S5 Red
    2014 Cervelo S3 Red 22
  • 09-25-2017 1:30 PM In reply to

    • Don
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on 11-24-2014
    • Kansas City, Mo
    • Posts 306

    Re: At what point do you get a power meter?

    I have been using a power meter for 2 years. I started with my P5. In 2016 my first race with it I did not pay any attention to it. I earned the bronze medal in the 5K. There was a mix up for the 10K race at the MO Senior games. The organization thought I withdrew. That was not the case but... They moved me to the very end of the competition. I was behind the 85 year old racers. We were on 30 second intervals on the start. I kept an eye on my speed and I passed 5 or 6 riders and thought i was doing Great! Not so much... After I was done my power numbers were very weak. I did take the bronze in the 10K also. I would not have won but... Second was very doable.

    I then moved to the 2016 KS Sr games. I had done some reading about power and it is suggested that you ride with in 10-20 watts of your number that you can sustain. I went and test rode the course. I thought my first ride would be to ride it like "I felt" it should be. 100 meters in there was a 5% hill for about 1/2 mile. I ran the power up to 120watts more than I should have. As you might have guessed... I blew up before the end. I made a second hit at the course an hour later and did MUCH better.

    When the event came I changed my computer to only read Watts, HR, current elapsed time and the time of day. (For the start time) I kept the power where I needed it to be even though I felt like I needed to hit that up hill a lot harder! The difficult part was on the return going down the hill at that power! I hit 41MPH on the downhill. I won the 5K and 10K for my age group.

    For 2017 I only raced the KS Sr games. This happened 10 days ago. I still only read my "Race set up" This time the event was held on a very flat course. There was 9 turns and some pretty stiff head winds when were headed on the long straight. I went to the site on 2 different days and learned the route... Where I had to brake and how hard to drive out of the corners without overtaxing me. I came out of the event winning the 5K and the 10K but better yet... I was the fast time of the event of the 5K and the 10K for all age groups by over 14 seconds for each. My power numbers were exactly what I planned.

    IMG_3449

    This strategy also works on group rides. If there is a break... I know what I can hold and for how long. Our Saturday Morning ride is "lively" for the first 31 miles. There is a stop and a regroup. It goes "easy" for a mile or so... Then it is on... I hit my lap button on the Garmin... and watch the Power for the lap. I know what I can cover and what I cannot. The last section is 10 miles. I am not the first guy in but... I am with the first group. And I am seeing improvement every week.

    I have been so happy with my power results... My store has started to offer power meter rentals. The rental price will be credited against the purchase. We have 4IIII single sided power meters for rent. 3 time World Road Race Champion Peter Sagan with Bora and Quickstep both use 4IIII.

    2015 COR participant
    2015 S3 Sram Red 11 Speed
    2015 R2 Sram Red 11 Speed
    2013 P5 Dura Ace Di2 11 Speed
    2009 S1 Sram Red 10 speed (sold)
  • 09-25-2017 3:09 PM In reply to

    • apwndwest
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on 09-11-2014
    • Vancouver, British Columbia
    • Posts 260

    Re: At what point do you get a power meter?

    Don:
    I have been using a power meter for 2 years. I started with my P5. In 2016 my first race with it I did not pay any attention to it. I earned the bronze medal in the 5K. There was a mix up for the 10K race at the MO Senior games. The organization thought I withdrew. That was not the case but... They moved me to the very end of the competition. I was behind the 85 year old racers. We were on 30 second intervals on the start. I kept an eye on my speed and I passed 5 or 6 riders and thought i was doing Great! Not so much... After I was done my power numbers were very weak. I did take the bronze in the 10K also. I would not have won but... Second was very doable.

    I then moved to the 2016 KS Sr games. I had done some reading about power and it is suggested that you ride with in 10-20 watts of your number that you can sustain. I went and test rode the course. I thought my first ride would be to ride it like "I felt" it should be. 100 meters in there was a 5% hill for about 1/2 mile. I ran the power up to 120watts more than I should have. As you might have guessed... I blew up before the end. I made a second hit at the course an hour later and did MUCH better.

    When the event came I changed my computer to only read Watts, HR, current elapsed time and the time of day. (For the start time) I kept the power where I needed it to be even though I felt like I needed to hit that up hill a lot harder! The difficult part was on the return going down the hill at that power! I hit 41MPH on the downhill. I won the 5K and 10K for my age group.

    For 2017 I only raced the KS Sr games. This happened 10 days ago. I still only read my "Race set up" This time the event was held on a very flat course. There was 9 turns and some pretty stiff head winds when were headed on the long straight. I went to the site on 2 different days and learned the route... Where I had to brake and how hard to drive out of the corners without overtaxing me. I came out of the event winning the 5K and the 10K but better yet... I was the fast time of the event of the 5K and the 10K for all age groups by over 14 seconds for each. My power numbers were exactly what I planned.

    IMG_3449

    This strategy also works on group rides. If there is a break... I know what I can hold and for how long. Our Saturday Morning ride is "lively" for the first 31 miles. There is a stop and a regroup. It goes "easy" for a mile or so... Then it is on... I hit my lap button on the Garmin... and watch the Power for the lap. I know what I can cover and what I cannot. The last section is 10 miles. I am not the first guy in but... I am with the first group. And I am seeing improvement every week.

    I have been so happy with my power results... My store has started to offer power meter rentals. The rental price will be credited against the purchase. We have 4IIII single sided power meters for rent. 3 time World Road Race Champion Peter Sagan with Bora and Quickstep both use 4IIII.

    Thanks Don for the time and thoughts. Obviously there is a case for power data and gains. Is that a cervelo bus or yours LOL. Now which one to buy. I have a connection at Power2Max here in Vancouver. Likely will go that route.
    2014 R3 (Hills bike)
    2012 Roubaix SL3 (Endurance bike)
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