Cheapest Cycling Power Meter
Having the ability to see and record your power allows for tremendous insight into your fitness. A power meter is the single, most effective tool you can use for improving performance. It is for this reason that power meters have become essential tools for cyclists of all levels. The catch…well, they can be expensive. That’s why we want to introduce you to the cheapest cycling power meter. And as it turns out, it’s a really good one too.
It wasn’t long ago that you might have to spend several thousand dollars to get a quality power meter. Heck, you can still spend this much if you are looking for a top-notch offering from SRM for example. However in the last few years, the power meter market has seen rapid growth. This growth has largely been due to the increased awareness of the numerous benefits power meters provide. More power meters mean more choices and cheaper prices. This is a great thing for consumers as you no longer have to spend a lot in order to put a quality power meter on your bike. In fact, you can now get pedal, crank, hub and bottom bracket power meters for less than $1K.
However when it comes to the cheapest cycling power meter of all, the winner is the Velocomp PowerPod. At only $299, the PowerPod is not only affordable, but is remarkably accurate, convenient and easy to use. How do they do it – opposing force technology.
Opposing Force Power Meters
Traditional or direct force power meters (DFPMs) measure torque using what is called a strain gauge. A strain gauge is a small, electronic device whose electrical resistance varies depending on how much force (or torque) is put on them. In the case of a crank arm-based power meter for example, the strain gauge measures how much the crank arm flexes when you push down on the pedals. The strain gauge converts this flex into a power number, measured in watts.
Opposing force power meters (OFPM) however take a completely different approach to measuring power. An opposing force power meter measures power by calculating the forces that oppose the rider. So in the case of cycling, the opposing forces are wind, gradient, acceleration and friction.
Velocomp’s PowerPod – Cheapest Power Meter for Cyclists
The Velocomp PowerPod uses accelerometers, dynamic wind pressure sensors, elevation sensors and speed sensors to measure a rider’s total opposing force. The total opposing force is multiplied by bike speed in order to calculate power.
The PowerPod’s accuracy is on par with the more expensive, traditional type power meters. In some testing done against an SRM power meter, the PowerPod was shown to be within +/- 3% of the SRM. This is not too bad considering the PowerPod costs of fraction of what an SRM power meter does.
In addition, the benefits to the PowerPod are numerous. Compared to a more traditional power meter, it’s much easier to move between bikes, there are no compatibility issues, it works on both road bikes and mountain bikes, it’s simple to set up, you don’t have to change out any of your prized components, and perhaps best of all, at $299 it’s the cheapest cycling power meter on the market.
But it gets better…
The PowerPod comes with its free Isaac software. Isaac allows you to do in depth ride analysis in order to get the most out of your training. You can model aerodynamic drag (CdA), rolling resistance and lots more. Furthermore, PowerPod offers PowerStroke, an upgraded software package for $99. PowerStroke allows you to analyze your entire pedal stroke in great detail. With this data, you can experiment with changes to your pedal motion, bike position and bike fit in order to improve your riding efficiency – and therefore your power and speed.
If you’re on a budget or simply want to start training with power at the lowest possible cost, I would strongly consider giving the PowerPod a look. It’s without a doubt the cheapest power meter for cyclists.