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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5 thoughts on “Power Meter 101 – ‘Cheap’ Enough for Everyone – Almost

  1. 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?

    1. yep things that I am looking at now. it comes with replacement covers. 2 year guarantee. wall hugger – not an issue for me as recharge is quick. but yes the limited load cycles is a great point – eg I sell my watches after 11 months whilst still in guarantee and whilst battery still fairly good. so you could sell these after 18 months and buy a new pair. thing is no-one is going to have done SUCH LONGTERM tests to verify this for, well, 18-24 more months. then again why should other options be better unless changeable batteries. I will also check if the batteries are replaceable.

      1. I’m currently searching for two power meters… one for my GF and one for me.

        I find this market extremely difficult, not by the technical aspect – this is easy for me as I’m in IT – , but on marketing oriented limitations.

        The P1 is in the same price league like the GV2, but does not deliver additional metrics GV2 delivers. And I can’t buy it at my local store. The GV2 I can buy from my local store – and in case that it does not work like charm, I can insist on service.

        E.g. my GF don’t need the additional metrics of a GV2, so this price tag would be too hefty. The fbP would be “well enough” (left/right balance & pure power), but the charging thing is not very compatible to her usage abilities (we even use smartphones with user interchangeable batteries).

        For me e.g. the additional metrics of the GV2 would be of beneficial as I do data analysis.

        Currently I’m thinking to opt for a GV2S (left only) for her and see how it develops, maybe later then upgrade to a GV2.

        Difficult. ??

        (As I’m not a native english speaker, I hope it’s well understandable what I’m writing – hope you don’t mind that I possibly don’t find the right words.)

      2. not all the ‘dynamics’ metrics are ACTIONABLE. The bePRO supports some of them 🙂 I think you have to consider ‘WHEN it goes wrong, what do I do?’ Garmin have that covered well IMO but Favero might have to think how they are going to sell in the US.

      3. “I think you have to consider ‘WHEN it goes wrong, what do I do?’”

        Thanks for pointing out this topic. I’ll never forget the many visits of my good old friend Murphy. ???Well… this inevitably leads to GV2(s) from a local shop (in Switzerland).

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