HR / Cadence or Power Meter

mr_eddy Posts: 830
I ride for 2 reasons only - general fitness/joy of riding my bike.

As per my other post I am not doing so well with the first reason 'general fitness' being constantly tired and just not feeling it on the bike. To that end maybe I should be consider throwing in some structure to my riding - I don't like the word 'training' because this implies that I am an athlete (95kg and 5'11 so defo NOT) and nor am I building up to some big race etc.

That being said I think given the fact I have much less time to ride now (having a 6 month old will do that) maybe I should be boxing a bit clever with the rides I do have.

To that end I am considering investing in some tech that can give me a bit more structure. I already have a Lezyne Mega XL GPS unit which can sync to Ant + devices but not sure what I should get between the below:

* Heart rate monitor
* Cadence Sensor
* Single sided Power Meter (the stages 105 left crank version)

I would like to have funds for all three but with a budget of about £200 I can either get Heart rate+cadence OR power meter.

Which would be best to track my riding and ultimately allow me to maximise my limited time on the bike - At the moment I can realistically squeeze in 3 x 90 mins rides per week.

Again I am just looking to improve my fitness whilst on the bike with some structure and have some data to quantify / track progress. There is no end goal I am training for other than improved riding ability (better climbing / higher avg speed etc)



  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,298
    Power is a better indicator than HR. Heart rate varies for a number of reasons and it really doesn't say a lot about your form.
    Ultimately, if you want to get better, you want to build a greater power output, so you might as well measure the correct metric.
    I have stages left crank and it's brilliant... it' a great motivator too
    left the forum March 2023
  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    Technically, you don't need any kit in order to improve. If you only ride for 'general fitness/joy' then save your money, ride to RPE and do some research on intervals, sweet spot, threshold and base miles.
  • mr_eddy
    mr_eddy Posts: 830
    Thanks for the advice, I would like to quantify my efforts tho so RPE is not really going to work as mood etc all plays a part. I have since done some more digging and power seems to be the way to go. Assuming my overtime comes in this month I will probably go for the Stages job.

  • kingstongraham
    kingstongraham Posts: 26,740
    You can get a HRM from decathlon for £30. I'm currently finding having both power and HR useful to monitor how my body is responding to a given effort - it may be useful to have both if you are concerned about your general tiredness. Power is much more useful for structured sessions though (to make sure you aren't riding too hard or too soft, dependent on the purpose).
  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,651
    Power meter for sure.
    I'd add cadence on though, I bought one recently from Halfords for something like £15, Bluetooth and Ant+ options.
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  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,298
    daniel_b said:

    Power meter for sure.
    I'd add cadence on though, I bought one recently from Halfords for something like £15, Bluetooth and Ant+ options.

    Don't all power meters measure cadence?
    The way power is measured is torque (as measured by the strain gauge) times cadence, without the latter information you can't get power
    left the forum March 2023
  • slowmart
    slowmart Posts: 4,488
    A power meter will provide the structure and data you need to ensure you benefit from each ride.

    Heart rate has too many variables when compared to a power meter.

    The only aspect I’d be wary of is becoming to focused on data which then tips the balance from enjoyment to chore. Setting yourself fitness goals will help mitigate that aspect while a goal focused aim provides a sound base for improving your fitness.
    “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring”

    Desmond Tutu
  • fenix
    fenix Posts: 5,437
    I think a power meter is overkill for your requirements.

    A HRM would help you if you monitor it. Eventually you'll be going faster at a lower HR.

    But you need to act upon it.

    If you're tired you rest up. It's as important as the training.

    Set some goals with Strava. Do the monthly 100km ride challenge etc.
  • itboffin
    itboffin Posts: 20,061
    PBK have a left crank 4iiii power meter for £239 I have the same model and it’s ace, yes power meters have cadence built in plus the 4iiii has a tracker feature if your bike is stolen included for free.
    Rule #5 // Harden The Feck Up.
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    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
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  • tompo1
    tompo1 Posts: 12
    A power meter will record cadence but you will also need a speed sensor.
  • dannbodge
    dannbodge Posts: 1,152
    tompo1 said:

    A power meter will record cadence but you will also need a speed sensor.

    You don't "need" a speed sensor.
    Built in GPS will give you a speed reading.

    I'd go with power meter and tbf I'd get a HRM and cadence sensor too (if the PM doesn't do it) too. They aren't massively expensive. HRM are sub £30 and cadence sensors are cheap now.
  • StillGoing
    StillGoing Posts: 5,211
    For your riding type and goals I wouldn't waste money on a power meter. A HR strap and let Strava Premium do an estimation of your power.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • florerider
    florerider Posts: 1,112
    I think you need to decide what sort of structure you want first and then decide if you need anything to make it work.