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Picture of Nate Koch using track power meters

Track Power Meters

A power meter is the single, most effective training tool you can use for improving performance on the bike. You probably already know this. Well, this is perhaps especially true for track cycling. In the words of Andrew Coggan, Ph.D., co-author and cycling scientist behind Training and Racing with a Power Meter, “Given that on the track the difference between winning and losing is often extremely small, it can be argued that track cyclists may benefit from use of a power meter to an even greater extent than road (or off-road) cyclists.” However, track cycling is a smaller niche of cycling in general, so there aren’t a ton of choices when it comes to equipment for track cyclists. This includes track power meters.

The good news is, we have recently seen a few new track power meters hit the market. In addition, when you combine the track-specific options that do exist…with some road options that you can make work, you should be able to find something that will fit your needs. In this article, we explore what these options are. Let’s dive in!

Picture of Nate Koch using track power meters

 

Track Power Meters: Types and Options

Track power meters are just like any other power meter. Power sensors (aka strain gauges) are located within the power meter and measure the power, or torque, the rider generates. On a road bike, you can locate a power meter in about seven locations. These are: crank, chainring, pedal, bottom bracket, crank arm, hub or handlebar (OFPM). As previously mentioned, some of these options don’t exist for the track. But depending on your situation, the road version might work. Below, we have listed all of the power meter types and discuss what your options are for the track.

 

1. Crank

Track specific power meter – Yes

Manufacturer – SRM

SRM makes perhaps the most popular and widely used track power meters, taking their ‘gold standard of power measurement’ to the track. SRM track power meters can measure up to 4,000 watts, feature 1,900 hours of battery life and come in a 144 BCD. The SRM Origin Track PM also features LOOK’s carbon crank arms and Trilobe Technology. Note the larger 144 BCD here. Standard road cranks are typically 110 (compact) or 130 BCD (standard). Track cyclists however run a larger size BCD and the SRM track power meter is manufactured to match.

SRM Origin Track Power Meter

SRM Origin Track Power Meter

SRM Science Track Power Meter

SRM ROTOR Track Power Meter

Does the road option work – Yes, with some caveats

A crank power meter for the road will work, but the largest BCD you could run is 130. This compares to the ideal track size of 144. In addition, road units typically have a 43.5 mm chainline. The optimal chainline for a track bike is 42 mm. (Note that you can attempt to address the chainline issue by moving the large chainring to the inner position.) If you are ok with these sacrifices, a crank-based road power meter is an option.

 

2. Hub

Track specific power meter – Yes

Manufacturer – PowerTap

PowerTap manufactures a track-specific version of their popular G3 hub. At $599, the PowerTap G3 Track Hub is the most affordable alternative for anyone looking for a dedicated, track-specific power meter. The G3 features +/- 1.5% accuracy, Bluetooth SMART technology, and transmits both speed and cadence data.

PowerTap G3 Track Hub

Image of PowerTap G3 Track Power Meter

Does the road option work – No

PowerTap also makes a road version of the G3, but due to compatibility issues, we recommend the G3 Track Hub.

 

3. Crank Arm

Track specific power meter – Yes

Manufacturer #1 – Verve Cycling

Verve Cycling, manufacturer of the Verve InfoCrank, makes a purpose built track version of the InfoCrank. The Verve InfoCrank Track Power Meter is accurate to +/- 0.5% and features independent left/right power measurement – the only track power meter capable of this. The InfoCrank Track Power Meter comes in a 144 BCD, is compatible with ISIS cartridge track bottom brackets, weighs 600 grams and can measure up to 3,000 watts and 200 RPM. In addition, the power meter runs off of SR44 batteries and gets approximately 500 hours of battery life.

Verve Cycling Track Power Meter

Verve InfoCrank Track Power Meter

Manufacturer #2 – Stages Cycling

Stages Cycling manufacturers its Stages Shimano DURA-ACE Track Power Meter, which is built using a Shimano FC-7710 crank arm. The Stages track unit measures left-side power and sells for $649. Like other Stages power meters, it’s accurate to +/- 2.0%, gets 200 hours of battery life and adds 20 grams of weight. In addition, it is both ANT+ and Bluetooth SMART compatible. If you have a compatible crankset and are trying to add power to your track bike without breaking the bank, it’s definitely a solid option.

Stages Shimano DURA-ACE Track FC-7710 Power Meter

Stages Shimano DURA-ACE Track FC-7710 Power Meter

Does the road option work – No

You can purchase a Stages or 4iiii road arm, however they will not be compatible assuming you are running a track crankset.

4. Handlebars (OFPM)

Track specific power meter – No

Does the road option work – Yes

Velocomp’s PowerPod isn’t a track specific power meter, however since it simply mounts to the bars and uses opposing force technology to measure your power, it serves its purpose regardless of where it’s being used – track included. Note that conducting the initial calibration ride on the track can throw the unit off, unless you’re careful to ride around on the lower level surface only. Therefore, to be safe, we recommend performing the initial calibration ride somewhere other than the track.

 

5. Pedal

Track specific power meter – No

Does the road option work – Possibly

Power meter pedals are perhaps the most popular power meter out (easy to install, dual-sided power, compatible with all bikes) – and you can indeed put one on a track bike. One consideration however is that some track cyclists like to use pedal straps. However, power meter pedals don’t lend themselves very well to these. If you do decide to use power meter pedals, we would probably recommend purchasing the optional 0 degree float cleats.

 

6. Bottom Bracket

Track specific power meter – No

Does the road option work – Not really

ROTOR makes the 2INpower and INpower DM power meters which use strain gauges located in the bottom bracket and crank arm (2INpower). You could run this unit on a track bike, however your BCD would be 110 and your chainline and Q factor not ideal.

 

7. Chainring

Track specific power meter – No

Does the road option work – Not really

PowerTap makes the C1 Chainring Power Meter but only for 110 BCD cranks. So unless you want to run a 110 BCD on a track bike, the C1 is a no-go here.

 

Summary

So when you combine the few dedicated track power meters that do exist, with road options that can be made to work on the track – you should be able to find something that works. Let us know if we can help. We want you to take advantage of the numerous benefits afforded by power data as you go around and around on the track! Until next time…!

Josh Matthew

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