Stages Cycling displayed the first fully functional, direct-measurement power meter to cost as little as $699. Like more expensive versions from Quarq and SRM, the Stages system ($699-$949, Stagescycling.com) embeds strain gauges in the crank to directly measure power created by the rider. While the others can measure power from both legs, the Stages’ unit can only record power created by the left leg. The company embeds the necessary hardware into a non-drive crank arm, and you swap your existing arm for the instrumented version to turn it into a power meter. They will be available later this year. Budget a few dollars for an ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart computer to display data.
For truly affordable power measurement, Kinetic created a power measurement add-on for the company’s Road Machine trainer ($229, Kurtkinetic.com). This indoor training system accomplishes the most important goal of a power-based training system: data repeatability. With a quick spin-down test, it factors in tire and pressure differences so the effort you put out on a workout this week can be exactly the same as next week’s session.
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