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2014 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide: Bike Computers And Power Meters

The cycling computers featured in the 2014 Triathlete Buyer's Guide.

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The 2014 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide magazine is out on newsstands now (and check out the digital version), and we’re giving you a sneak peek right here. Check out the cycling computers from the guide below and check back to Triathlete.com for more Buyer’s Guide content.

Quarq Elsa 10R

$1,995, Quarq.com
The draw: Fully capable, easy to use

[buynowbutton:http://www.nytro.com/quarq/quarq-riken-10r-power-meter-crank-1725-10368]

For a significant price bump from the Stages unit (reviewed at right), the Elsa 10R records the entire picture of energy output, not just one leg. Factor in the cost of the right arm needed to complete the Stages system and the difference becomes minor. Features like an easy-to-change battery and optional short crankarms make this power meter universally appealing for triathletes. For those who train on more than one bike, swapping this crank becomes simple with just a little practice.

Wahoo RFLKT

$100, Quarq.com
The draw: Lots of data, small price

Why pay for a powerful piece of electronics for the front of your bike when you already have one sitting in your jersey pocket? If you ride with a smartphone, Wahoo has a way to display your data—GPS, power, heart rate and anything else with a Bluetooth connection—without putting your phone at risk or dropping another large sum of cash. The RFLKT displays all the data collected by a few popular cycling apps. It won’t work for races, but is a worthy option for a training bike.

Stages Power Meter

Shimano Dura-Ace 9000
$900, Stagescycling.com
The draw: Cheapest crank-based power meter

Measuring power at the crank allows for the use of race and training wheels on a single bike. Stages, a small startup out of Boulder, Colo., created the most affordable crank-based power meter by a wide margin by measuring only left leg power. This isn’t a laboratory-grade tool, but it provided more than enough consistency compared to two-leg systems to accurately control and measure effort level while riding, both during steady efforts or variable interval workouts.

PowerTap Mobile

Free, Virtualtraining.cycleops.com
The draw: Instant upload

Powertap understands triathletes. The company created an app that seamlessly captures and loads training data into a plethora of popular apps, including Strava and Training Peaks, so iPhone users can upload without having to plug into a computer. It’s the perfect accessory for any athlete who can’t wait to assess and share his or her workout data on a variety of sites. Upgrade to the pay version ($5 or $10 per month, depending on features) to guide your indoor cycling training with pre-planned workouts and courses displayed on a tablet or computer.

Garmin Edge 810

$500, Garmin.com
The draw: Every feature you can imagine, intuitive interface

[buynowbutton:http://www.nytro.com/garmin/edge-810-bike-computer-10094]

Want to track every detail of your rides, including any and all data collected by other sensors such as a power meter? The Garmin 810 can do that. It also provides turn-by-turn directions, leading you through any new route you pre-program before hitting the road. It’s a perfect tool for anyone traveling with a bike or exploring somewhere new. The real draw of this device is the way it puts a giant list of features into an intuitive system that’s easy to learn.