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Stages - reliability vs 4iiii or Pioneer

YellaBellyYellaBelly Posts: 130
edited September 2017 in Road buying advice
So my second stages power meter has gone belly up after the first went back under warranty. 2 dead units in 5 months. When I spoke to warranty they said Stages are having battery drain issues and it's affecting a considerable number of units, but others are fine. Either it'll develop the fault quickly, or it won't at all. So I could send it back again and hope for 3rd time lucky.

Or I get my money back, and look at Pioneer or 4iiii single leg meters. How do those two fair against the Gen 2 Stages performance and reliability wise? Anyone with experience of these units?
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  • Well I had a Stages G2 - had the dropout issue, eventually rejected it as unfit for purpose. Replaced it with a 4iiii (after a trial from my LBS) and it has been rock solid for me, even on an out-front mount that caused Stages issues.

    Didn't even consider Pioneer because it appeared to require a magnet for cadence... And of course requires cadence to derive the power.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    I don't understand the Stages issues - not that I disbeleive the people having the issues - I just can't understand how Stages have produced a power meter that doesn't behave in a uniform manner.
    My Stages G1 PM has been fine other than one glitch where I was connected via Bluetooth then walked out of range - had to reset the PM to get it to work on ANT+ again. Oh, I've replaced the battery once and it's due for another change now.

    I'll sell it for £5000 .... ;)
  • JesseDJesseD Posts: 1,961
    I have had my stages for around 2 months, it has been fine for the best part, then 2 weeks ago I changed my chain-set and left the PM off the bike as I didn't have a Torque Wrench to set it correctly so its been sat on the shelf in my bike store.

    Fitted it yesterday evening and the Garmin immediately told me the battery was low despite it not being used for 2-3 weeks. Seems pretty poor to have to replace a battery every 2 months especially as i have not been riding too much (8 hours a week max).

    Are others seeing this as well?

    Oh and its a Gen2 model.
    Obsessed is a word used by the lazy to describe the dedicated!
  • If I leave a battery in my gen 2 it drains a new battery over night. Seems fine during an actual ride but when it's idle, bye bye battery.
  • YellaBelly wrote:
    If I leave a battery in my gen 2 it drains a new battery over night. Seems fine during an actual ride but when it's idle, bye bye battery.
    One of the reasons I rejected after two replacement devices (so 3 in total) exhibited this behaviour on top of the dropouts when used with a head unit on an out-front mount. Didn't get to winter to see the low temperature performance others have noted.
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    JesseD wrote:
    I have had my stages for around 2 months, it has been fine for the best part, then 2 weeks ago I changed my chain-set and left the PM off the bike as I didn't have a Torque Wrench to set it correctly so its been sat on the shelf in my bike store.

    Fitted it yesterday evening and the Garmin immediately told me the battery was low despite it not being used for 2-3 weeks. Seems pretty poor to have to replace a battery every 2 months especially as i have not been riding too much (8 hours a week max).

    Are others seeing this as well?

    Oh and its a Gen2 model.

    Mine worked for about a month then battery died for no apparent reason. Replaced battery - dead the next day. Replaced battery again - dead again the next day. Numerous 'explanations' from Stages support later (e.g. I used the wrong battery, there are known issues when the weather turns cold, I should keep my bike in a heated room.....) and I returned it and got a refund. I'd recommend everyone do the same and avoid Stages until they can actually produce a power meter that's reliable.

    If you want reliable then get something that's proven like a Power2max.
    More problems but still living....
  • philbar72philbar72 Posts: 2,228
    comparison with a gen 2 stages and a pioneer.

    stages, dropouts were frequent, it didn't calculate peak power well and had the battery issues. not weatherproof.
    Pioneer, no dropouts, measures power more accurately, batteries last what they say they should last and the thing is weatherproof.
  • amaferanga wrote:

    If you want reliable then get something that's proven like a Power2max.

    Repeat to fade
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • philbar72 wrote:
    Pioneer ... and the thing is weatherproof.

    This is one of the things I'm interested in. Stages seem to have a lot of issues down to the British weather. Badly sealed. Batteries draining in cold. Pioneer I think are a Canadian company and have not been selling many units over here. Many reviews I've read have been US, or Australia...

    I would have bought a Stages, but with so many stories of people going through 2 or 3 units before giving up... Really don't want to chance that. But I'm hoping Pioneer are not going to show the same issues if they start selling thousands of units over here because at the end of the day, on the surface, they're a very similar product.
  • Pioneer is Japanese... 4iiii are Canadian. But you'd expect either to be more on top of weather than Stages in Colorado: :D
  • Sorry, yes. I meant 4iii. Head is swimming with so many options!
  • I have a 2nd gen stages crank on my winter bike and it's been working ok but has dropped its signal on two rides. Ordered a 4iiii for my CAAD12 last week as the pioneer one seems to be out of stock at the moment from 5 online retailers I looked at. A friend of mine has the dual power 4iiii power meter and has used since last year without any problems at all and changed the batteries once.
  • philbar72philbar72 Posts: 2,228
    philbar72 wrote:
    Pioneer ... and the thing is weatherproof.

    This is one of the things I'm interested in. Stages seem to have a lot of issues down to the British weather. Badly sealed. Batteries draining in cold. Pioneer I think are a Canadian company and have not been selling many units over here. Many reviews I've read have been US, or Australia...

    I would have bought a Stages, but with so many stories of people going through 2 or 3 units before giving up... Really don't want to chance that. But I'm hoping Pioneer are not going to show the same issues if they start selling thousands of units over here because at the end of the day, on the surface, they're a very similar product.

    look into IP ratings and the surrounding issues of why stages went for a generic not quite IP67 rated product and you'll see the issue. least that's my perspective. fundamentally I doubt they did enough harsh weather based testing.
  • philbar72philbar72 Posts: 2,228
    I have a 2nd gen stages crank on my winter bike and it's been working ok but has dropped its signal on two rides. Ordered a 4iiii for my CAAD12 last week as the pioneer one seems to be out of stock at the moment from 5 online retailers I looked at. A friend of mine has the dual power 4iiii power meter and has used since last year without any problems at all and changed the batteries once.
    if I were going for one of these now I would go 4IIII because they are cheaper and are absolutely fine. they just work...
  • courtmedcourtmed Posts: 164
    Think I'll be picking up a single leg 4iiii soon. They seem to be the best value option with few, if any, problems.
  • I have had a Pioneer for 2 months now and it's brilliant. No real issues at all. It does require a magnet for cadence but that comes in the form of a frame mounted one with a plastic are or a sticker magnet. Ive had unit totally soaked and cacked up a few times & it still works fine. Only grumble is you need the Pioneer head unit to upgrade firmware and mess around with the diagnostics, but if your a technophobe there is no need for this feature.

    My mate has a 4iiii and he told me it needs to calibrate for 1st 20 mins of a ride before the reading settles down. Thats is no good on a turbo trainer with limited training time.
  • philbar72philbar72 Posts: 2,228
    I have had a Pioneer for 2 months now and it's brilliant. No real issues at all. It does require a magnet for cadence but that comes in the form of a frame mounted one with a plastic are or a sticker magnet. Ive had unit totally soaked and cacked up a few times & it still works fine. Only grumble is you need the Pioneer head unit to upgrade firmware and mess around with the diagnostics, but if your a technophobe there is no need for this feature.

    My mate has a 4iiii and he told me it needs to calibrate for 1st 20 mins of a ride before the reading settles down. Thats is no good on a turbo trainer with limited training time.

    Glad to hear the pioneers working well.

    your mates 4IIII sounds odd. none of my friends that use them need that to happen...
  • Yes it sounded odd to me too but he's not very technically astute with things like this so he may have his setup wrong I don't know.

    On the subject of the Pioneer, the power readings translate well between the turbo & road. I had BePro pedals before this & I put out approx 15-20 more watts on the road that I did on the turbo. No such problems with the Pioneer.

    Also you can upgrade to a dual leg at a later date if you like
  • Man Of LardMan Of Lard Posts: 903

    My mate has a 4iiii and he told me it needs to calibrate for 1st 20 mins of a ride before the reading settles down. Thats is no good on a turbo trainer with limited training time.
    They say it needs recalibrating if the temperature changes dramatically (so from a centrally heated house to outside at 5°C for example) - not as a general rule... Obviously if you're on a turbo, you presumably keep your bike where you're about to use it on the turbo in most cases.
  • imafatmanimafatman Posts: 351
    My Gen 2 Ultegra Stages power meter lasted about 30km. About half way into my first ride I was feeling warmed up and sprinted as hard as I could. Hit 1800 watts peak and soon afterwards it just stopped reporting power. Pretty sure I've managed to break the strain gauges because it now calibrates at 4092 and doesn't report any readings.

    I don't know if this is normal but I leg press about 320kg and myself weigh 130kg. I would have thought the pro's can put out more total power but perhaps I put out too much torque?

    Or I just got a duff unit...... Will have to wait and see when I get another one.
  • JesseDJesseD Posts: 1,961
    I seem to be having the same issues with my stages PM as some others on this thread, constant power and cadence drop outs, sometimes together and sometimes independently of each other, for example I was climbing the other day and the power was reading 420w and my cadence was zero, and my speed showed I was still moving forwards/upwards!

    Oh and the battery life is pretty short on it too, maybe get a month from a battery, I do about 1100-1200 km a month.

    Its going back for a new one shortly and if that one starts doing the same then I may look at changing to the pioneer PM if my LBS can get them.
    Obsessed is a word used by the lazy to describe the dedicated!
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,407
    JesseD wrote:
    I seem to be having the same issues with my stages PM as some others on this thread, constant power and cadence drop outs, sometimes together and sometimes independently of each other, for example I was climbing the other day and the power was reading 420w and my cadence was zero, and my speed showed I was still moving forwards/upwards!

    Oh and the battery life is pretty short on it too, maybe get a month from a battery, I do about 1100-1200 km a month.

    Its going back for a new one shortly and if that one starts doing the same then I may look at changing to the pioneer PM if my LBS can get them.

    I have two gen 2 Stages 5800s on the go (one 1.5 yr, one 0.5 yr). Both are behaving fine... at the moment. I did have battery drain issues, but on current firmware, and everything is OK. I wonder whether they are just a bit fast and loose with firmware updates???
  • Man Of LardMan Of Lard Posts: 903
    Given at least part of the battery drain issue was put down to the cold (battery less efficient in the cold, unable to supply the necessary startup power) - that may be the reason for your battery drain issues vanishing (like the winter snow).

    Something to throw into the 4iiii mix - one of my 4iiii's has gone back after becoming uncalibratable - it went back in January and warranty replacement was agreed pretty much instantly. I'm still waiting for any stock to appear in the UK to replace it. (You can imagine how happy I am)
  • imafatmanimafatman Posts: 351
    For fark sake. I just bought a 4iiii from ProBikeKit.

    Are there any crank meters which actually work.
  • imafatman wrote:
    For fark sake. I just bought a 4iiii from ProBikeKit.

    Are there any crank meters which actually work.

    Quarq, P2M.
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    imafatman wrote:
    For fark sake. I just bought a 4iiii from ProBikeKit.

    Are there any crank meters which actually work.

    Quarq, P2M.

    What he said.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • curto80curto80 Posts: 314
    4iii works fine. One person having an issue does not mean the product doesn't work.
    Rose Xlite Team 3100 Di2
    Kinesis Tripster ATR
    Orro Oxygen
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,407
    Given at least part of the battery drain issue was put down to the cold (battery less efficient in the cold, unable to supply the necessary startup power) - that may be the reason for your battery drain issues vanishing (like the winter snow).

    Something to throw into the 4iiii mix - one of my 4iiii's has gone back after becoming uncalibratable - it went back in January and warranty replacement was agreed pretty much instantly. I'm still waiting for any stock to appear in the UK to replace it. (You can imagine how happy I am)

    Don't think there's a correlation with cold in my case. But will certainly keep an eye out for it now.
  • JesseDJesseD Posts: 1,961
    Alex99 wrote:
    JesseD wrote:
    I seem to be having the same issues with my stages PM as some others on this thread, constant power and cadence drop outs, sometimes together and sometimes independently of each other, for example I was climbing the other day and the power was reading 420w and my cadence was zero, and my speed showed I was still moving forwards/upwards!

    Oh and the battery life is pretty short on it too, maybe get a month from a battery, I do about 1100-1200 km a month.

    Its going back for a new one shortly and if that one starts doing the same then I may look at changing to the pioneer PM if my LBS can get them.

    I have two gen 2 Stages 5800s on the go (one 1.5 yr, one 0.5 yr). Both are behaving fine... at the moment. I did have battery drain issues, but on current firmware, and everything is OK. I wonder whether they are just a bit fast and loose with firmware updates???

    Firmware was updated not long ago but the battery draining quickly has always been there, on my 3rd battery in 4 months now and I have not been doing massive miles either?

    My LBS said the drop out in readings may be from having an out front mount instead of having the Garmin mounted on the stem, apparently that's what Stages have told him, but as he says, who mounts their Garmin on the stem?

    Will wait for my replacement and see if that sorts it.
    Obsessed is a word used by the lazy to describe the dedicated!
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,337
    I use my Stages on a load of different Garmin mounting configurations including out front mounts from various suppliers and on aero bars - never once had a drop out.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
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