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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, when you combine the track-specific options that do exist…with some road options that you can make work, our guess is you can find an option that will be suitable to you. In this article, we explore what these options are. Let’s dive in!

Picture of Nate Koch using track power meters

 

Track Power Meters

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 on the crank, chainring, pedal, bottom bracket, crank arm, hub or handlebar (OFPM). As previously mentioned, many 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.

 

Power Meter Types and Track Options

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 units can measure up to 4,000 watts, feature 1,900 hours of battery life and come in a 144 BCD. In addition, there is no need to re-calibrate when changing chainring sizes. 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 Science Track Power Meter

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SRM ROTOR Track Power Meter

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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, vs. the ideal track size of 144. In addition, road units typically have a 43.5 mm chainline, whereas 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 should be fine.

 

2. Hub

Track specific power meter – Yes

Manufacturer – PowerTap

PowerTap manufactures a track-specific version of their popular G3 hub. At $799, the PowerTap G3 Track Hub is the most affordable alternative for anyone looking for a dedicated, track-specific power meter. Like all G3 hubs, the G3 Track Hub 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 – Coming

Manufacturer – Verve Cycling

Verve Cycling, manufacturer of the Verve InfoCrank, is in the process of designing a track specific version of the InfoCrank. It is expected to feature a 144 BCD that is compatible with standard ISIS cartridge track bottom brackets. We expect that it will measure up to 3,000 watts and 200 RPM. If their track unit is anything like their road versions, it’s going to be a winner.

Does the road option work – No

You can also purchase a single-sided crank arm power meter such as the 4iiii. However 4iiii does not currently manufacture a version for the track.

 

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 – Yes

Power meter pedals are perhaps the most popular power meter out (easy to install, dual-sided power, compatible with all bikes) – and you can definitely put one on a track bike. All power meter pedals (Assioma, PowerTap, Garmin) ship with Look Keo style, 6 degree float cleats. 0 degree float cleats are also available, so let us know if you prefer this option instead. In addition, you can run Shimano cleats with the Garmin Vector 2 pedals if you prefer.

 

6. Bottom Bracket

Track specific power meter – No

Does the road option work – Not really

ROTOR makes the INpower and 2INpower cranksets 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 small (110) and your chainline and Q factor would not be ideal.

 

7. Chainring

Track specific power meter – No

Does the road option work – Not really

PowerTap makes the C1 Chainring Power Meter 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 how we can help. We want you to be able to take advantage of the numerous benefits afforded by power data as you go round and round on the track! Until next time…

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