Indoor training has seen a dramatic increase in popularity in recent years. Not only are there some distinct advantages to riding indoors, but the advent of popular training apps such as Zwift, TrainerRoad and Sufferfest (just to name a few), has also contributed to its rise. And whether you’re using one of these popular apps or are just crushing some intervals, a power meter can make all the difference!
While there are several options for an indoor power meter, in this article we want to focus specifically on the PowerPod power meter and its ability to measure power when indoors. In addition to being highly affordable, most folks are surprised by what this little device is capable of. So let’s learn a bit more, shall we?
Direct vs. Opposing Force Power Meter Recap
Most power meters are located somewhere in the drivetrain (pedals, crank arm, crank, hub, etc.) and use strain gauges to measure the direct force the rider generates. These power meters are appropriately referred to as direct force power meters (DFPM).
However, the PowerPod works differently. It’s an opposing force power meter. That means the PowerPod measures power by calculating the forces that oppose the rider. These opposing forces are wind, gradient, acceleration and friction. It’s a nifty little power meter, offers some great advantages compared to a DFPM and once set-up and calibrated, provides reasonable accurate data. However this begs the question…can you use the PowerPod indoors on your trainer or rollers?
The answer is yes. However, since there are obviously not any opposing forces to measure when you are training inside (as your bike is stationary), the PowerPod measures power a bit differently when you are indoors.
Known Power Curves
Every trainer or set of rollers has what is called a known power curve. The power curve just determines how much force (measured in watts) it takes to ride at a given speed. The faster you ride, the more force it takes. However, since every trainer or set of rollers has its own resistance characteristics when under load, it’s power curve will also be unique.
Take the CycleOps Fluid 2 Trainer for example. The image below illustrates its unique known power curve. As you can see, it takes 200 watts to ride at 27.5 km/h. Or it takes 400 watts to ride at 36.5 km/h.
How the PowerPod Measures Power Indoors
Ok, so why is a known power curve important? Well, if a program or in this case a device, knows both (a) the known power curve of your trainer or rollers and (b) your speed, it can compute your power.
Velocomp (the manufacturer of the PowerPod) has painstakingly programmed the known power curve of dozens of the most popular trainers and rollers into the PowerPod – thereby allowing you to use the PowerPod Power Meter indoors.
Specifically, if you want to use your PowerPod inside, you simply set it to ‘Indoor Mode’. Next, just select your trainer or rollers from the list provided in its software. Then, based on your speed (which is knows from your speed sensor), it will compute your power – voila!
This method of indoor power measurement actually works quite well as it’s pretty foolproof. To be fair, this technology is not unique to the PowerPod. TrainerRoad for example uses it’s VirtualPower which is the exact same concept.
The only consideration here is that you need to make sure your trainer or rollers is on the list. Velocomp doesn’t publish this list that we are aware of, but if you want to check with us we can confirm for you. Oh and one last tip – when it’s time to head back outside, make sure you turn off Indoor Mode – otherwise your outdoor readings will be wacky.
Happy indoor training!
Is the Lemond Revolution (direct drive non-smart fan trainer) on the indoor supported list for the PowerPod? Thanks for checking.
Hi David, thanks for the question. Only the Lemon Pro Wind is listed. Thank you!
Hi, can you tell me if the Elite Qubo Digital Smart + trainer is on the list ?
Hi there, the Elite Qubo Fluid is. Elite should be able to tell you how close the power curve of this unit is to the one you own. Thank you!
Is the power curve for the Saris Aluminum rollers available with the powerpod lite and/or the powerpod V4 power meters?
Hi Josh, Unfortunately, no. Sorry. We are here if there is anything else we can do! Ride safe!
Hi, Is Lifeline TT- 02 on the list?
Hi Jussi. Unfortunately, there is no power curve for that trainer to be used with the PowerPod.
I want to use my Powerpod Lite with trainer on Zwift. Where do I go to change to indoor use? My trainer is the Saris Mag Plus. Is it on your list?? Thanks a ton, anxiously awaiting your reply!!
Hi Tim. Thanks for the question – happy to help! Set your PowerPod to ‘Indoor Mode’. Next, just select your trainer or rollers from the list provided in its software. Unfortunately, there’s no Saris Mag Plus on the list. We are here if there is anything else we can help you with!
Hi. Will this work on a spin bike? I have the Schwinn ic4 / ic6
Hi Edward. This only works indoors on trainers and rollers, not on spin bikes. Thanks
Are Kreitler Rollers on the list?
Hi Chris. Unfortunately, there’s no Kreitler Rollers on the list. We are here if there is anything else we can help you with!
Is the Livestrong LS9.9IC on the Power Pod list of compatible spin bikes? Thank you.
Hi Martin. I don’t see the Livestrong LS9.9IC on the list at the time being. We are here if there is anything else we can help you with!
Hello, great article. Thanks for breaking this subject down in simple terms. Please would you advise if the Elite Superchrono Mag trainer is compatible with this Powerpod. Thank you for checking.
Hi Kurien. Thank you! Yes, “Elite Superchrono” is listed. We are here if there is anything else we can help you with!
My computer (IGPSport50E) does not support power meter data, Question: Does Powerpod display on its own head unit for outdoor riding? In case not, does powermeter data eventually get uploaded to apps such as Strava, nevertheless? I’m guessing it will display on indoor head units such as laptop, tablet, TV.
Hi Kurien. It works just like any power meter. It must be used with a bicycle computer (head unit), such as a Garmin, and your real-time power metrics are visible on the Garmin. After your ride, you can upload your data to any 3rd party site including Strava – again, just like any power meter. Thanks!
Hi there, Im currently using a Jet Black Mag pro. Is this compatible? Thanks for the article!
Hi Ryan. The Jet Black Mag Turbo is, which should have a similar power curve. Thanks!