One of the first upgrades a cyclist usually looks for when he goes up the pro ladder or moving onlt the competetive circuit is a power meter. A power meter is a device attached to your bike which measures your power output. There are different types of power meters in the market today and its an amazing piece of technology that you could buy. Its also exoensive gadgetery that may set you back by some number but a must have if you are willing to sacrifice
There are broadly five places on yoour bike where the power meters can be fixed:
• Rear Wheel Hub • Crank Spider
• Crank Arm • Pedals • Bottom Bracket
There are many brands available in the market for each of the above types. The Rear Wheel Hub Type simply replaces the hub of your rear wheel. One of its key advantages is that it doesn’t interfere with the drivetrain in any way. If you’re someone who doesn’t change wheel sets very often, this can be a good option for you. Another good thing about it is that when you’re coasting and not pedalling it knows and goes to zero automatically. This improves the accuracy significantly. The PowerTap G3 and GS Hubs are good examples
Crank Spider type of power meters which as the name suggests are built into the crank’s spider are mostly used by riders in pro pelotons. It gives you complete power and can be used if you’re planning for structured power training. It’s also more expensive than other types, so only go for it if you’ve really made up your mind. SRM, Quarq, PowerTap C1, Power2Max, Team Zwatt Zpider are dependable ones
The Crank Arm type of power meters which are usually single-sided ones. only measure your power from one of the legs (mostly left leg on the non drive side) and for total power, the number is doubled. It’s one of the cheapest power meters though it might not be the most accurate one as there is always power imbalance in both the legs. There resaonbale ones from Stages Power, Rotor INpower2, Pioneer LT, 4iiii, Team Zwatt Zimanox, WatTeam.
Then there are the Pedal type power meters, which simply replace your pedals. These are very easy to install and has ease of use. You can change as many bikes you want or wheel sets you want. It obviously measures power from both legs and does not interfere with the drivetrain in any way. It comes only for limited pedal systems and has no options for MTBs as yet
And finally, the Bottom Bracket types simply replace your bottom bracket. An additional advantage of them is that they’re able to measure stroke metrics as well. But they’re compatible with limited crank sets only. Also, it’s not recommended if you switch bikes very often, as you will need to switch the unit too. Examples: Rotor INpower, Ashton Instruments, Team Zwatt Zpindle, Dyno Velo.
At the end of the day, there is no right answer to what power meter is the best. It depends on every individual’s style, preferences and requirements. Based on the above pros and cons one should first narrow down which type suits them and then go on to choose from the brands available. The market is still new and growing constantly, so there will be price drops. It’s not just a fancy upgrade to have, but a necessary one if you’re serious about training right and becoming competitive – contributed by Mayank Tripathi