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aellis28

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I want to get a power meter, and the ones that appeal to me the most are the pedals like Garmin or P1s, but you can't wear mtb style shoes and that's all I wear.

Thus two questions:
(1) Do others use pedal power meters on their road / gravel bikes and thus wear road shoes for gravel grinders and other rides?
(2) If not, what do you use?

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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #2 
I've been a user of power meters for many years - both as an age group Masters road racer, and more recently as a non-competitive gravel fun rider. I personally believe that a good power meter is the best way to monitor and manage your training and riding effort, adn fitness level. But, just buying a power meter isn't enough - to get the most out of a power meter, you must know how to use the data that these devices give you. To that end, I would highly recommend the book Training With a Power Meter by Hunter Allan and Andy Coggan: https://smile.amazon.com/Training-Racing-Power-Meter-2nd-ebook/dp/B007WZ55XI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519958039&sr=8-1&keywords=training+with+power

This book will explain it all. That being said, and having used both hub based and crank arm based meters, I would suggest that you'll get your best combination of cost, accuracy, and convenience, with crank arm based systems such as systems from Stages, Pioneer, and 4iiii. If I had to chose one of these, then I would vote for Stages, because of the high quality of their firm ware, and great customer support. If you want more info. go to DC Rainmakers website for reviews of all of the popular brands and options.
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cheamhale

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Reply with quote  #3 
I've been quite happy with my Stages. Also their customer service is excellent.
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bobknh

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobknh
I've been a user of power meters for many years - both as an age group Masters road racer, and more recently as a non-competitive gravel fun rider. I personally believe that a good power meter is the best way to monitor and manage your training and riding effort, adn fitness level. But, just buying a power meter isn't enough - to get the most out of a power meter, you must know how to use the data that these devices give you. To that end, I would highly recommend the book Training With a Power Meter by Hunter Allan and Andy Coggan: https://smile.amazon.com/Training-Racing-Power-Meter-2nd-ebook/dp/B007WZ55XI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519958039&sr=8-1&keywords=training+with+power

This book will explain it all. That being said, and having used both hub based and crank arm based meters, I would suggest that you'll get your best combination of cost, accuracy, and convenience, with crank arm based systems such as systems from Stages, Pioneer, and 4iiii. If I had to chose one of these, then I would vote for Stages, because of the high quality of their firm ware, and great customer support. If you want more info. go to DC Rainmakers website for reviews of all of the popular brands and options.

https://www.dcrainmaker.com/product-reviews

Oh -- as far as I know, all the pedal based systems use road shoes, and are incompatible with mountain bike shoes. While there are some folks who ride and race gravel with road shoes and pedals, I prefer mountain bike pedals and shoes because they are more mud and dirt friendly, and of course make frequent hike-a-bike episodes easier and safer.

Here is DC's 2017 Power meter market review. Be prepared for a lot of info: https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2017/11/power-meters-annual-buyers-guide-2017-edition.html

My personal recommendation either Stages or 4iiii left only crank arm system. But most importantly, read the Hunter Coggins book. Otherwise you'll just be getting a lot of expensive and useless data.
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aellis28

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobknh


as far as I know, all the pedal based systems use road shoes, and are incompatible with mountain bike shoes. While there are some folks who ride and race gravel with road shoes and pedals, I prefer mountain bike pedals and shoes because they are more mud and dirt friendly, and of course make frequent hike-a-bike episodes easier and safer.


Thanks - this is what I was curious about, if people do use regular road shoes for those type of rides.  Most of my riding is on road and limestone trails, which I undoubtedly could use road shoes, but for when I do more gravel type rides I want to make sure I can use my powermeter.  So if no one else uses road shoes for those rides, then probably doesn't make sense to get a pedal powermeter.
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clarksonxc

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Reply with quote  #6 
I'm a big fan of the Stages PMs for the reasons mentioned above - cost, ease of use, and fantastic customer service.  You also have the option of running any pedals you want.  To answer your other question, I'll run road shoes on gravel if I know the route or have done the route before.  If I haven't done it and I don't know how much walking or hike-a-bike there'll be I use mountain pedals.  It is really annoying (and could potentially end your day) if your road cleats/pedals get gummed up with mud.  But if you never have to walk or put a foot down, road pedals are the way to go!
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TimmyR

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Reply with quote  #7 
Just to add to the discussion (which is a good one and I'm ordering the book), I like to run flats and have been curious what people like with respect to power meters.  I am already a huge DC Rainmaker fan so I was not surprised to see the rec's here.

Thanks!



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tim.wilson.chicago

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Reply with quote  #8 
I hear you. I’ve been using power meters for years but also elliptical chainrings, which throw off crank-based power meter readings. My solution has been to use PowerTap hubs, which I love and work great, but not without issues: 1, Limits wheel selection. I’ve resorted to having wheels built custom, but still, more limited options. 2, The PT disk hub is a bit of a pain—you have to remove the disk to change the battery.

PowerTap were smart to shift their focus to pedals. And they were doubly smart to do pedals that sample angular velocity and torque at the same frequency, making them a good choice for non-round rings. And you can move them from bike to bike easily. I’m sold... EXCEPT, road cleats only. D’oh!

With the gravel segment being as hot as it is, you gotta think they’re hard at work on a mountain-style variant. One can only hope.


-Tim
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bobknh

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tim.wilson.chicago
I hear you. I’ve been using power meters for years but also elliptical chainrings, which throw off crank-based power meter readings. My solution has been to use PowerTap hubs, which I love and work great, but not without issues: 1, Limits wheel selection. I’ve resorted to having wheels built custom, but still, more limited options. 2, The PT disk hub is a bit of a pain—you have to remove the disk to change the battery. PowerTap were smart to shift their focus to pedals. And they were doubly smart to do pedals that sample angular velocity and torque at the same frequency, making them a good choice for non-round rings. And you can move them from bike to bike easily. I’m sold... EXCEPT, road cleats only. D’oh! With the gravel segment being as hot as it is, you gotta think they’re hard at work on a mountain-style variant. One can only hope. -Tim

Interesting. I use round rings and wasn't aware that crank arm meters are thrown off by oval rings. I'm wondering if the boys at Stages have some sort of work around for the issue. I agree, a power meter built into a mountain bike pedal would be very attractive offering for me. Right now, I'm stuck with Shimano Hollowtech crank sets if I want to use my Stages meter. The Shimano 6800 cranks - while very good -- have very limited chain ring combinations and options. I would love to replace them with a White Industries R30 VBC; but I'd have to give up my power meter. A pedal based mtn bike meter would solve the problem.
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tim.wilson.chicago

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobknh

Interesting. I use round rings and wasn't aware that crank arm meters are thrown off by oval rings.


Power is torque times angular velocity. Power meters measure torque many times per revolution via the strain gauges, but don't actually measure angular velocity, instead calculating it from RPMs, which is fine when angular velocity is constant as it is with round rings. But the whole point of elliptical rings is to vary angular velocity through the stroke. A crank or pedal-based system that assumes constant AV will over-report power by a few percentage points. According to PowerTap, the P1 actually measures AV at sufficient frequency to avoid this problem.


-Tim
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The_JSM

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Reply with quote  #11 
fwiw, i have a few Stages arms but they've been relegated to the "B" bikes.  While their customer service is great and repairs are handled quickly, my issue is with the frequency of the repairs.  Recently went out the week prior to Breck Epic (repaired thanks!!!) and 3 days before 24 hrs in Old Pueblo - the timing is impeccable.  OTOH, my Power2Max setups have been flawless since day one - i recently took advantage of their Summer trade in program and swapped a Gossamer based "classic" setup for the Sram spider NG (saving nearly a pound in the process).  I'm eagerly awaiting their mtb spiders since my SRMs are a little long in the tooth and use magnets for cadence (which comes with its own set of issues).

I've heard the newer (v3) pedals are solid (finally) but can't fathom "racing" gravel events in road cleats.  Good luck!
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kklasman

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Reply with quote  #12 
Like most everyone else here, I prefer mtb shoes (SPD cleats in particular) for all my riding, not just gravel, so power meters are a frustrating subject. Clearly the perfect solution, at least for SPD riders, is an SPD-Pedal based PM. Given the profile of the Garmin Vector 3's, I see no reason why an SPD pedal version couldn't be built, especially if the base pedal is flat on one side (which is what I ride).

I ride multiple bikes, most mostly my Seven Evergreen which can handle up to 44c tires so it's my go to. It has White Industries crank with 44x30, which is my preferred setup, although lately I've been thinking 46x30 would be fine, and those are beginning to be offered, but I find no complete, affordable solution presently. It's possible to cobble together bits from various companies, but mostly that's Shimano cranks with AbsoluteBlack 46x30 oval chainrings and I don't know if I want to go there.

So, I may go with Garmin Vector 3S for the time being, as a pedel based PM I can move it between all of my bikes, and as I ride pavement the vast majority of the time, i don't really need my SPD shoes.

Assuming an SPD pedal doesn't come available in the next year, FSA Powerbox with Adventure rings at 46x30 would be my next choice, but they won't be available until fall 2019 per FSA rep.

Easton EC90 SL crankset with CINCH power meter is possible now, but there's so little written about it that I'm not confident about it.

2 thoughts on oval rings. Chris Froome rides them, with Stage dual power meter and it seems to work for him. And here's an interesting article about that:

https://powermetercity.com/2016/07/24/power-meters-oval-chainrings/
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kklasman

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobknh
I've been a user of power meters for many years - both as an age group Masters road racer, and more recently as a non-competitive gravel fun rider. I personally believe that a good power meter is the best way to monitor and manage your training and riding effort, adn fitness level. But, just buying a power meter isn't enough - to get the most out of a power meter, you must know how to use the data that these devices give you. To that end, I would highly recommend the book Training With a Power Meter by Hunter Allan and Andy Coggan: https://smile.amazon.com/Training-Racing-Power-Meter-2nd-ebook/dp/B007WZ55XI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519958039&sr=8-1&keywords=training+with+power
...


Hi Bob,

Since you're a long time power meter user, have you done structured power-based works using a PM and head like a Garmin? Using a Connect IQ app, you can download the workout, including the time and power targets, and it shows you in a nice display show below (from Garmin IQ website): Screenshot

I currently train with a PowerCal HRM based power meter, which has always been good enough for me. But the readings bounce around a lot...enough to make it hard to stay on target looking at this display. Especially on narrow ranges. Overall averages for intervals/rides seem ok though. Of course that variation may be more me than the PM, but I do suspect since HR is slow to respond to increased effort, and it drifts over a long ride, this is also a factor.

I'm wondering if using a "real" PM would be any different/better in this regard. I can understand some fluctuation, but how much is too much?

Thoughts?

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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kklasman


Hi Bob,

Since you're a long time power meter user, have you done structured power-based works using a PM and head like a Garmin? Using a Connect IQ app, you can download the workout, including the time and power targets, and it shows you in a nice display show below (from Garmin IQ website): Screenshot

I currently train with a PowerCal HRM based power meter, which has always been good enough for me. But the readings bounce around a lot...enough to make it hard to stay on target looking at this display. Especially on narrow ranges. Overall averages for intervals/rides seem ok though. Of course that variation may be more me than the PM, but I do suspect since HR is slow to respond to increased effort, and it drifts over a long ride, this is also a factor.

I'm wondering if using a "real" PM would be any different/better in this regard. I can understand some fluctuation, but how much is too much?

Thoughts?


Hi Kevin - Off hand, I would say any system that estimates your power based on your heart rate will have too much latency to monitor your power output during short intervals of under 5 min. duration. Even real PM's that measure power directly from estimates of torque and angular velocity will fluctuate quite a bit which make them hard to use for real time monitoring. If you use a rolling average power of between 5 and 30 seconds to display your power output however, I've found that you can use this display to properly monitor your effort in real time. Using a rolling average power display is particularly effective when doing intervals on a stationary trainer. In fact, during my racing days, I did most of my interval training on a stationary trainer. BTW, the best indirect power measurement system I'm aware of is one developed by Kurt Kinetic stationary trainers. Kurt uses speed on the trainer to approximate your power output based on their measurements of power vs speed. At least for high intensity intervals on a stationary trainer, you can develop your own table of speed vs power for your own wheel, tire, tire pressure. Of course, you will need a rear wheel speed sensor. Garmin makes a good wireless ANT+ speed sensor that is installed on your rear hub with rubber ties. If you use a Garmin Edge head unit, it will even automatically calibrate your wheel circumference for more accurate speed measurement. On a stationary trainer at least, speed is a very good approximation of power.
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Volsung

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Reply with quote  #15 

for the people who want mountain shoes, these should be released soon.  They add to your Q factor but SQLabs makes some low Q/short spindle spd pedals.

 

https://bikerumor.com/2018/05/01/iq%C2%B2-powermeter-promises-accurate-affordable-and-universal-single-or-dual-sided-measurements/

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kklasman

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Volsung

for the people who want mountain shoes, these should be released soon.  They add to your Q factor but SQLabs makes some low Q/short spindle spd pedals.

 

https://bikerumor.com/2018/05/01/iq%C2%B2-powermeter-promises-accurate-affordable-and-universal-single-or-dual-sided-measurements/



Seems too good to be true...and the Q factor issue will increase cost somewhat, if that's an issue for the purchaser. Here's DCRainmaker's post on the product:

https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2018/04/iq2-149eur-first-power-meter.html

Interested though to see how it goes.
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kklasman


Seems too good to be true...and the Q factor issue will increase cost somewhat, if that's an issue for the purchaser. Here's DCRainmaker's post on the product:

https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2018/04/iq2-149eur-first-power-meter.html

Interested though to see how it goes.

Hi Kevin - to get rolling average display on Garmin Edge -- go to Settings- Activities Profiles-(select an activity eg. Train)- Data Screens- (select an active Data Screen)- select number of items to display- select a specific item- Scroll though menu - Select Power - scroll through power options- select either Power 10s Avg. or Power 30s Avg.
As you can see, rolling avg. is hidden very deep in a nest of choices. No wonder you had trouble finding it. This is one of the reasons I've switched to the Wahoo Elemnt bike computer, which has a larger more readable display, and much easier setup, which you can do from any smart phone. I use my Edge 820 on another bike which I setup on my Kurt Kinetic stationary trainer. BTW, if you are looking for a stationary trainer, IMHO the Kurt Kinetic is the very best I've owned.


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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kklasman


Seems too good to be true...and the Q factor issue will increase cost somewhat, if that's an issue for the purchaser. Here's DCRainmaker's post on the product:

https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2018/04/iq2-149eur-first-power-meter.html

Interested though to see how it goes.

Thanks for the link to DCRainmaker review. My guess is that the Q factor is over rated; but the Kickstarter issues are significant. The bottom line is that power meter hardware is relatively easy; but making it work reliably is a lot trickier -- especially the firmware that ultimately converts low energy noisy signals into reasonably accurate power estimates on your bike computer. Even if these guys come out with something next year, it will take a few years for them to sort through all the problems.
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Volsung

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Reply with quote  #19 
Q factor's really only important to people with knee problems (like me). 
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