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Power Meter Comparison Tool

Step 1. Bike – Road

Step 2. Select Power Meter Type

There are 8 types of power meters for your road bike. Review and select the best option.

 

1. Crank (Spider)

Crank-based cycling power meters are located on the cranks of the bike and measure torque using a strain gauge positioned inside the crank spider. These units require specific cranks or cranksets, but can be interchanged between bikes, depending on compatibility. A typical crank-based power meter adds approximately 150 grams to the crankset. Crank-based cycling power meters are some of the most common power meters and are the most heavily adopted system by professional athletes.

Advantages:

  • Dependable, reliable and accurate
  • You can find a crank-based power meter to fit just about any bike (road, MTB, track, cyclocross, etc.)
  • You don’t have to make any compromises to your component selection. For example, you don’t have to use different pedals (as with a pedal-based power meter) or a different hub (as with a hub based power meter)

Considerations:

  • Can cost more than some other options
  • Servicing crank-based cycling power meters can be more expensive and time consuming. For example, SRM requires you to send your unit in to the factory when it’s time for a new battery

Price Range:

  • $1,599 – $2,499

Installation/Transferability:

  • Crank based power meters take more time to install and are generally not transferred from bike to bike

Select Crank

 

2. Pedal

Pedal-based systems incorporate strain gauges inside the pedal itself. bePRO, Garmin and PowerTap all make pedal-based power meters. Due to the fact they are convenient, easy to use and compatible with a wide range of bikes, pedal-based power meters are very popular.

Advantages:

  • This design typically allows for easier installation and pedals can often be easily moved between bikes
  • They are compatible with almost any bike since they attach to the crank arm similar to a normal pedal
  • You can measure each leg’s power independently (left vs. right power measurement)
  • You don’t have to mess with your drivetrain (don’t have to change cranks, chainrings, etc.)

Considerations:

  • You must use the cleat system that is specific to your power meter. Currently, all pedal-based power meters use cleats that are similar to LOOK Keo cleats. However Garmin recently announced their Vectors can be modified to fit Shimano pedals with the purchase of a DIY kit
  • Speedplay pedals remain unsupported by existing pedal-based power meter offerings
  • Currently, no manufacturer offers a pedal-based power meter for your mountain bike

Price Range:

  • $549 – $1,199

Installation/Transferability:

  • Pedal-based power meters are some of the easiest power meters to install and transfer between bikes

Select Pedal

 

3. Crank Arm

A crank arm-based power meter measures the forces in the crank arm. Companies such as 4iiii sell a left side only power-equipped crank arm (4iiii PRECISION).  The left side crank arm doubles your left leg power in order to get a total power figure. This method of calculation assumes that both legs produce the same force.

Some say that crank arm-based power meters are more accurate because sitting on the crank arm, the strain gauges are able to measure the forces that propel you forward – making the crank arm the best place to measure power. However, a potential drawback can be the fact that because the electronics sit on the inside of the crank arm, there exists the possibility of clearance issues with your bike frame (the chain stay). So pay special attention to frame compatibility when purchasing a crank arm-based power meter.

Advantages:

  • More affordable than most cycling power meters since you are just buying the left side crank arm (4iiii’s PRECISION is the most affordable direct force power meter you can buy)
  • This design can allow for easy installation and swapping of the power meter between bikes

Considerations:

  • You should always be sure your bike frame is compatible before buying a power meter. This is especially true with crank arm-based power meters as there can be clearance issues with the frame and the crank arm
  • If for some reason (perhaps due to a previous injury), you produce more power with one leg versus the other, these cycling power meters can lead to less accurate results. For the majority of riders however, this is not a problem

Price Range:

  • $399 – $599

Installation/Transferability:

  • Since you are just removing your left crank arm, installation is very easy

Select Crank Arm

 

4. Crank Arm – Dual-Sided

Like the crank arm-based power meters above, dual-sided crank arm-based power meters also measure the forces in the crank arm. However unlike the left-only crank arm-based power meters such as the 4iiii PRECISION, manufacturers such as Verve Cycling sell the InfoCrank, which is a complete crankset (crank arms, spider and chainrings). In addition, the InfoCrank has a power sensor on both the left and right crank arm. With a power sensor on both crank arms, it can measure power from both legs independently. Data from both power sensors is combined to give you total power.

Advantages:

  • High level of accuracy as the crank arm is an ideal place to measure power (this is especially true for the InfoCrank which has been certified as the most accurate power meter)
  • You can measure each leg’s power independently (left vs. right power measurement)

Considerations:

  • You should always be sure your bike frame is compatible before buying a power meter. This is especially true with crank arm-based power meters as there can be clearance issues with the frame and the crank arm
  • Cranksets are not as easy to swap out as say a pedal or rear wheel, which makes moving the power meter between bikes more work

Price Range:

  • $1,399

Installation/Transferability:

  • Crank based power meters take more time to install and are generally not transferred from bike to bike

Select Crank Arm – Dual-Sided

 

5.  Opposing Force Power Meter (Handlebars)

Opposing force power meters attach to your handlebars and measure your power through wind measurement – the forces that oppose the rider. For example, Velocomp’s PowerPod uses an accelerometer, a wind pressure sensor, an elevation sensor and a speed sensor – all to measure power.

Advantages:

  • Since the power meter simply attaches to your handlebars, the power meter can be quickly transferred from bike to bike
  • Compatibility is a non-factor as the power meter can be used with any bike. In addition, you don’t have to worry about changing out your components
  • With an MSRP of $299, it is the most affordable power meter on the market

Considerations:

  • In some accuracy testing done against an SRM power meter, the PowerPod was shown to be within +/-3% of the SRM. While this makes it accurate enough for the majority of cyclists, it’s probably fair to say it’s not quite as accurate as a traditional or direct force power meter – which are often accurate to within +/- 1.5 or 2%

Price Range:

  • $299 – $404

Installation/Transferability:

  • The easiest power meter to install and transfer

Select OFPM

 

6. Bottom Bracket

Bottom bracket power meters are similar to crank-based power meters in that you typically change out your existing crank for a new one that is equipped with a power meter, however with bottom bracket power meters, the power meter itself is located in the bottom bracket as opposed to in the crank or chainring.

Advantages:

  • The axle-based design means that the critical components of the power meter are safe from impact, dirt and water
  • In the case of the INpower and 2INpower, ROTOR uses its 30 mm Universal Bottom Bracket which means the cranks are compatible with almost every bike frame on the market
  • The INpower and 2INpower are compatible with elliptical chainrings

Considerations:

  • ROTOR offers complete cranksets or left arm only power meters. The complete cranksets can take more time to install and are generally not transferred from bike to bike. However, with a left arm only ROTOR power meter, you simply swap out your current left arm for the new, power-equipped one. This makes installation easier
  • The INpower measures left side power only. Note however that ROTOR’s new 2INpower measures total power including left/right power independently

Price Range:

  • $779 – $1,500

Installation/Transferability:

  • ROTOR’s complete cranksets take more time to install and are generally not transferred from bike to bike. The exception to this is ROTOR’s left arm only option. If you already own a set of ROTOR cranks, you can purchase a left arm only power meter, whereby you simply swap out your current left arm for the new, power-equipped one. This makes installation easier

Select Bottom Bracket

 

7. Hub

With a hub-based power meter, the power meter is located in the rear hub. PowerTap remains the only manufacturer of a hub-based power meter.

Advantages:

  • Quick and easy installation if you buy a wheelset with the hub pre-installed (all you have to do is put in your new wheel!)
  • Since the hubs are built into the rear wheel, they are easy to interchange between bikes – as long as rear wheels are compatible
  • You don’t have to mess with your drivetrain (don’t have to change cranks, chainrings, etc.)

Considerations:

  • Hub-based power meters aren’t suited as well for racing. In the event of a flat or wheel change, you would lose your power meter. This is of course unless your back-up wheels were also equipped with a hub-based power meter
  • Somewhat limited rim and wheel options

Price Range:

  • $599 – $799 (assumes standalone hub. You can also purchase a completed wheel set with your hub built in. These cost more)

Installation/Transferability:

  • If you buy the standalone hub you will need to have your local bike shop lace it into your existing wheel set – or you can do it yourself if you’re handy with wheels. If you buy a completed wheel set, you will pay a bit more, but installation is as simple as swapping out your old wheel for a new one – and power meter installation doesn’t get any easier than that
  • Transferability is easy as long as rear wheels are compatible between bikes

Select Hub

 

8. Chainring

PowerTap manufactures the C1 Chainring. Similar to the crank-based cycling power meters discussed above, the C1 measures power at the crank. However the exact location of power measurement is different. SRM for example, measures power at the crank spider. PowerTap measures power on the chainring by locating a sensor on the outside of the small ring. The PowerTap C1 Chainring is the only chainring-based power meter.

Advantages:

  • You can keep your current crankset (spider and crank arms) since you’re only replacing your chainrings
  • One of the easier power meters to install and use
  • You don’t have to make any compromises to your component selection. For example, you don’t have to use different pedals (as with a pedal-based power meter) or a different hub (as with a hub based power meter)

Considerations:

  • Only fits 5-bolt 110 BCD compact cranks
  • Because of the nature of the C1 spider, it can’t take a ring smaller than a 36t. This is because the diameter on a 34t for example, is too small and would interfere with the pod on the C1.

Price Range:

  • $699

Installation/Transferability:

  • Chainring-based power meters typically aren’t transferred from bike to bike like pedal-based power meters and OFPM often are, however you could absolutely do it if both bikes were compatible and you had a few minutes to make the change

Select Chainring

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