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Powermeter advice on a budget

burnthesheepburnthesheep Posts: 675
edited June 2017 in Road buying advice
I frequently read the DC Rainmaker reviews. They seem thorough and fairly unbiased.

Essentially, if new, I'm between a 4iiii left only unit at $400 or a new non-direct measure Powerpod.

If used, I'd either get a used 4iiii left only OR a set of Garmin pedal for one side only.

I don't have the talent nor ever will to justify $800 or more on a power meter. I can train with power on a trainer at the gym at my workplace.

I don't need it to be super accurate, just somewhat consistent.

DC reviewed the Powerpod fairly well and the data followed direct measure units pretty well. But, I somehow find the concept a bit......lame (uninteresting, silly). But......they claim to have their own pedal stroke analysis.....somehow. Also you could I guess hope for their upgrade at some point to analyze cD for TT positioning if they agree on an ant+ field for it.

Given I'm no trained pro, I'm sure some tool like that may help for pedal stroke and aero.

My goal is to have a meter to be able to effectively work myself on the road without guessing on effort.

I'm not into expensive stuff as I'll only ever probably hit an ftp of about 250w and 5 min max of maybe 320. Nothing impressive worth blowing $1000 on.

If the Powerpod gets a nod, I'd spend the $300 soon.

Posts


  • I don't need it to be super accurate,

    Then riding on PE will probably be the best money you can spend
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 5,102
    I advise against the powerpod. Old versions were universally panned. I can't see newer versions being anything other than less bad.

    Has dcrainmaker reviewed one of these yet?

    http://road.cc/content/tech-news/221643 ... er-launch-£250
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Get a turbo that has power. You can do better sessions on there and so long as it's consistent....
  • gethincerigethinceri Posts: 1,106
    BePro
  • Get a Stages. Everyone I know who has bought the Garmin Pedal has had issues.
    "You really think you can burn off sugar with exercise?" downhill paul
  • super_davosuper_davo Posts: 568
    I really can't see the point of the Powerpod. It's never going to be as accurate as a direct force measurement. You can't use it on the turbo. It's a hideous big box sitting under your bars. And it's only £100 or so less than a 4iii or Stages.

    There are also whacking great big limitations of single sided systems but if you can pick one up second hand and decide you can't live with those limitations then at least you should be able to sell on for not much loss.
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    I've got a powerpod, it's fine.

    Not sure where you are getting universally panned from?

    Main problem is that most of my miles are either commuting or club runs, on neither of which do I really get a chance to target power intervals or otherwise pay that much attention to it, so it mainly just provides some extra data to look at after the ride.

    It does beat regular power meters on that though, as it records wind speed and much more accurate elevation than any Garmin can.

    Ultimately, there are limitations to the accuracy of the power data, but those limitations are arguably less than single sided meters, and you can make an argument that seeing real time aero data is worth the compromise.
  • burnthesheepburnthesheep Posts: 675
    I have no need to ever put a bike on a turbo for anyone pointing that out. At work we have several Cycleops 400 Pros with powertap pedals on them.

    The point of it on the bike is pacing for longer efforts. Also, any future attempts at an Ironman putting out level power for a couple hours is very important. So HRM or just physical exertion won't cut it. I've come to love training on the Cycleops with power. Especially if I do a relay Ironman to get my feet wet in the sport and pull the bike leg. They'll be expecting me to put out optimal for sure for my leg. Also for any dabbling in ITT that I may try at some point.

    No votes for 4iiii in that price range?

    Thank you for any info there on the Garmin pedals, that is a lot of money for used pedals if people have issues with them.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    Hunt for a 2nd hand Power2max
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Or second hand pro tap wheel.
  • ...any future attempts at an Ironman putting out level power for a couple hours is very important. So HRM or just physical exertion won't cut it.

    Not necessarily true. I did a sub six hour ride as part of an Ironman (my 4th triathlon ever, my 1st that wasn't a supersprint and within a year of starting cycling for anything other than transportation) on HR alone. I had done 6 sessions on a turbo beforehand to establish my HR at FTP and just worked off that. Did a 3hr45min run afterwards too, so I can't have gone too far wrong.

    It might not work for everyone and if you find power more useful then great, go with that - but don't discount HR out of hand.
  • Man Of LardMan Of Lard Posts: 903
    No votes for 4iiii in that price range?
    I'd certainly go 4iiii over Stages. Had 3 Stages G2 cranks - all failed in the same way, total battery discharge in under 4 hours... Have one 4iiii on the bike now, the other one (very early model) died in a firmware update, 4iiii immediately offered a replacement outside warranty or full refund because they couldn't supply the replacement in a reasonable time frame.
  • skmarkskmark Posts: 29
    No votes for 4iiii in that price range?
    I'd certainly go 4iiii over Stages. Had 3 Stages G2 cranks - all failed in the same way, total battery discharge in under 4 hours... Have one 4iiii on the bike now, the other one (very early model) died in a firmware update, 4iiii immediately offered a replacement outside warranty or full refund because they couldn't supply the replacement in a reasonable time frame.

    I've had my 4iiii single sided for about 4 months.....couldn't be happier. No need to look anywhere else 8)
  • BobbinogsBobbinogs Posts: 4,928
    ...any future attempts at an Ironman putting out level power for a couple hours is very important. So HRM or just physical exertion won't cut it.

    Not necessarily true. I did a sub six hour ride as part of an Ironman (my 4th triathlon ever, my 1st that wasn't a supersprint and within a year of starting cycling for anything other than transportation) on HR alone. I had done 6 sessions on a turbo beforehand to establish my HR at FTP and just worked off that. Did a 3hr45min run afterwards too, so I can't have gone too far wrong.

    It might not work for everyone and if you find power more useful then great, go with that - but don't discount HR out of hand.

    Yepp, worth bearing in mind that PMs were only available relatively recently and no one can say that Jacques Anquetil, Big Mig, Eddy or Lemond, etc., were censored at TTs before they came along. HRM does have its disadvantages but, if used correctly, it can still offer big benefits for most riders where getting the last x.xx% doesn't really matter.
  • thomasmorristhomasmorris Posts: 373
    I terms of pacing for an event or a ride there's not much you can do with a power meter that you can't with perceived effort and HRM.

    Sure, HR will drift over a ride but you'll have a feel for how much. If can vary slightly day to day too, but again you often get a feel of this when you do your warm up. For efforts over 10 minutes it's pretty much fine for pacing.

    Perceived effort is also key. In the later stages of a interval / race / long ride all that matters is perceived effort. It doesn't matter what any of the numbers on computer says, it's just about what your body and mind can tolerate.

    So, if you're short of cash, I'd always say buy things that allow you to train more often or for longer. You'll get a larger performance gain from them (winter clothes, comfy saddle, a winter bike with guards, good lights, etc.).

    Obviously, if you have cash to splash, then get a power meter for the data interest. Out of the ones you've suggested I'd get the 4iiii as it seems to have the least reliability issues but I haven't used one myself.

    Where power is useful is measuring training load, short duration intervals, accurate fitness tests (in absence of long sheltered climbs). But non of it is essential and it sounds like yo have indoor trainers at the work gym which can be used for this anyway?

    Now, if you planning to do other things; aero testing, evaluating TTT pacing, reviewing race performance of multi climb races, or following an incredibly specific training plan; then a power meter would be a worthwhile investment. If that is the case, and you're on a budget, i'd look at the second hand market and either get a crankset or rear wheel device depending on your specific requirements.
  • pashdapashda Posts: 99
    I bought a powerpod this year for similar reasons as you. Its ok very small and hardly noticeable on the bike. Data looks steady and reflects the amount of effort I am putting in but not had chance to compare against a crank or pedal based system to see how accurate the figures are. review from DCRainmaker rated it and he tested against others so I went for it. To be honest it hasn't really changed my riding its another toy that lets me see how hard I am working.
  • joe2008joe2008 Posts: 1,919
    You won't go wrong with a BePro
  • PalladiumPalladium Posts: 81
    Just to add my two cents, just ordered a 4iiii left side only. For me I had to choose between stages G2 and 4iiii, I took these factors into account: reliability of data, price, data collection method, customer service (seems like a lot of power meters become faulty soon after it's been purchased.
    Reliability of data: I think both are pretty solid when they work, although it seems that Stages has massive battery issues, which very much put me off buying one!
    Price: 4iiii wins hands down, I paid $400+30 (~£347), stages comes in at £360, or if you don't like silver £450 for black.
    Data collection: Both use LHS only, but if you go on the 4iiii website you will notice they also do dual sided, so if you change your mind & want to upgrade later on, that should be possible (when they release 105, ultegra etc)
    Customer service: Both are pretty good I've heard.

    Can't comment on any other comparisons.
  • burnthesheepburnthesheep Posts: 675
    Good points, all of you. Thanks!

    I do accept that to some level, given I'll only ever FTP in the 200's for power and never the 300's, that this will be a toy.

    I do wonder if for someone only ever up to 250w or maybe 270w ftp if it would be more fun to just use HRM and blow money on wheels instead.

    If I'm already at 230w after 1 year of training, that gained me 70w of power in that year WITHOUT a HRM or PM. Just riding and using the gym trainer with power.

    If I only want another 20 to 40w, I'm guessing HRM and wheels are easily worth that over another full year of the same level of training volume.
  • burnthesheepburnthesheep Posts: 675
    Right now on Slowtwitch triathlon forum am PM'ing a guy/gal selling a 2nd gen Stages in 105 for $225. Working out a deal on paypal/payment and shipping.

    I feel $225 is worth a try.
  • Man Of LardMan Of Lard Posts: 903
    Good luck (you may need it when temperatures drop)
  • burnthesheepburnthesheep Posts: 675
    Good luck (you may need it when temperatures drop)

    Too late, it's on it's way along with a proper crankset to match the arm length. All-in, it's $300 US for both. So now the bike has a full matching 105 group including the meter. Except for the aero brakes of course.

    I live in the south in the US. So your idea of "cold weather" is probably a little different than mine.

    We only get measurable snow once every few years. This 2016/2017 winter my average night-time ride temperature was probably 45 deg F. A cool night ride in winter might be 35 deg F.

    Almost never below freezing. If it is, it's only for a week per winter and then you just ride the trainer in the gym.
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