Power Meter 101 – ‘Cheap’ Enough for Everyone – Almost

Favero bePRO Power Meter Pedals - Carbon Cranks

Favero bePRO Power Meter Pedals – Carbon Cranks

Middle-aged guys and gals across the land have ditched the putting greens of pristine golf courses in droves over the last few years to splash around in lakes and generally ‘do triathlons’. All very worthy and good from a health point-of-view. From a wallet point-of-view it’s not so good as competitive cycling equipment is either expensive or very expensive.

To make matters worse some of that VERY expensive equipment is actually useful and really does make you faster. One such thing is a power meter. Whilst your speed will vary throughout a course and, indeed, from course to course your average maximum/’flat out’ power for a given distance will not. Amongst other uses, a power meter can significantly help cyclists to maintain a certain effort level regardless of gradient or weather.

The cyclist/triathlete can undertake a CP30 test which, simply, is going as fast as you can for 30 minutes. From this you can relatively easily work out training levels and training durations as well as likely, sustainable power levels for differing race distances. All very clever stuff.

Those of an engineering persuasion will understand the intricacies of construction. However, from a buyer’s point of view, you just need to know that you can stick them in a variety of places on your bike. They can be the hub of your wheel or the crank arm that you pedal with or a few more unusual places. More usefully, however, there are a small number of power meter products that are built into the pedal.

The main advantage of this location for the meter is that you can very easily swap them from bike to bike. A second advantage is that any imbalance in your pedalling style from left-to-right can be flagged up as something to work on in your training. Other data is supplied too such as your pedalling cadence which, again, is an important factor in determining optimum performance.

I would assume that every single pro rider will train with power meters.

Until now the only real pedal-based options were VERY expensive and from POWERTAP (P1) and GARMIN (VECTOR 2). However September 2015 sees the release to the world of the Italian-made Favero bePRO. The bePRO is expensive and comes in at just over GBP500 – compared to prices over GBP1000 for the Garmin. But it’s half the price of the Garmin if you do the maths.

Bargain. I’ll have two.

Actually you get two. One power meter for each pedal!

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At first glance I find this powermeter price wise VERY interesting.

I imagine that two little things could be very annoying or a “dealbreaker”…

USB port:
– The covers seems to get lost quite easily.
– Are they 100% watersafe (e.g. the port of my M400 got rusty after ~6 month of usage.)?

Rechargeable batteries:
– Swapping CR2032 batteries (after ~150-180h of riding time) or swapping AA (after ~40-60h of riding time) batteries could be more convenient, than being a “wall hugger” (after about 20-30h of riding time).
– Rechargeables have limited load cycles and they get older with time and usage. What about them in 2 years – the pods needs to be exchanged?