After over a year of using Favero’s bePRO dual-sided power meter pedals it seemed like a good time to update some thoughts on their long-term suitability.
This post is a SUMMARY update to the short review <here>. If you are thinking about buying some then you will need to read the detailed review in conjunction with this post.
ESSENTIAL READING: (Here) is an updated *DETAILED* review of the Favero bePro covering carbon cranks, elliptical chain-rings, accuracy, durability, off-road/trail use and many other aspects from over a year of use and 1,000s of miles over several bikes.
Overview: Favero’s bePRO power meter (PM) pedals are a relatively low cost solution for providing accurate power data when cycling. They will work with most modern ANT+ triathlon watches and bike computers.
General Usage: I’ve covered thousands of miles with the bePRO on road, TT, turbo/indoor-trainer and MTBs (trail) this has been either as the only power meter or in conjunction with another non-pedal PM. The bePRO has a plastic cover to its USB charging port, this looks a little flimsy but I am still on the original cover with the spares originally provided still in their little plastic bag.
The pedals have suffered from the usual scrapes and shoe-induced scratches but on the whole they have held up excellently and I have no doubt that they will be working as well in another year’s time. The only area of concern I have on the durability of the device is concerning how it interacts with the shoe cleats.
- This does not apply to me: If your cleats cause either your shoes or cleats to touch the circular housing of the pedals when pedalling normally then this contact will give you problems. Normally you would buy a SHIM or SPACER to move the shoes a mm or so further away from the pedal. This information is in the installation manual!!
- What did apply to me was that when I was pushing HARD, an injury I had caused my right toe to point outwards on the downstroke.I wasn’t especially aware of that BUT it did cause contact with the cleat and housing at around the 2 o’clock position. Quite quickly this caused noticeable wear to the housing. HOWEVER this has not damaged the functioning of the power meter, including waterproofing, it’s just a bit of an unsightly scuff. A shim/spacer may have sorted this out but instead I bought some GREY (semi-floating) cleats and put one on my right side, I could have gone for a non-floating (BLACK) version too. This stopped the problem and may, or my not, have helped my pedalling technique rehab.
I probably change the pedals fro one bike to another on average once a week. It’s easy
- On my MTB I do NOT have a bePRO alignment sticker and the mark I originally made there has long since worn off. It is still easy to align the mark on the housing with the centre of the crank by sight. OK it’s a few degrees out but the back-pedalling/ride-calibration accounts for that. I’m usually 1-3degrees out.
- I tighten the pedals by hand to what I would consider to be ‘TIGHT’ – that works fine every time.
- The only other issue with moving between bikes is that each of my cranks requires a different number of spacers – either 0, 1 or 2. It is ESSENTIAL that the correct contact is made between the bePRO’s locknut and the crank. If you used 2 spacers/washers on each side you’d probably be Ok on every single crank that exists but you would be 1 or 2mm per side wider that you need to be in some instances as a result. Luckily I’m able to remember and visually see how many spacers/washers each crank needs. Again, it’s super simple and in the manual.
SPECIFIC USAGE CASES:
I’ve not had a crash where I have come off and hit the pedals on the road.
It’s been fine in every ride condition I’ve used it in. I have mentioned using it on my MTB a few times and I need to clarify that. I only ride on trails and I essentially don’t fall off or hit trees. If you are a proper MTB rider (I’m not) then you run the risk of damaging an expensive pair of pedals.
When riding down steps the power readings go through the roof. So WELL over 1000w whilst not pedalling as the back wheel on my hardtail lands. It is what it is and probably reflects the force on the pedal but it can skew your data a bit. This doesn’t particularly bother me…but it might you!
I’ve ended up pedalling through streams about 60cm high (?). anyway high enough to completely submerge the pedals. A few weeks later one of the pedals did not spin freely as well as the other one. I used an allen wrench/key and re-greased the innards and all is good.
ACCURACY DRIFT: They’ve been good on the whole. However I noticed a skew in the L/R balance and slightly higher overall power when comparing the bePRO to other units. For several months I just put this asymmetry down to: A. My use of elliptical chain rings and B: The aforesaid injury. I finally found some time to delve a little further and this is what I discovered:
- Converting my 2-sided bePRO to left-side only increased my power readings more than I would have expected. IE THE LEFT-SIDE MIGHT BE OVER-READING or the right-side under-reading.
- Using on a normal circular chainring (either my MTB or the inner ring of one of my road bikes) did not change the asymmetry. IE OVAL CHAINRINGS NOT THE PROB
- There is a special calibration check described by Favero in their troubleshooting guide in Section 2.12 Verification of the static torque. Following this 15 minute procedure on a cycling computer (it won’t easily work on a 920xt) I determined that the left pedal was over-reading by 1%.
- So I used the firmware tool from Favero to downgrade the left-side power by 1% (grrrrr hate making anything lower!)
- However there is still asymmetry. More than there was in ‘the good old of days’ of my athletic prime. To a degree I believe the asymmetry figures as in the gym it is pretty obvious that my left quad is more powerful. I’m not convinced though. Anyway, I’m having a play with some Vector 2s later this month so we shall soon see.
SOFTWARE/FIRMWARE/DATA RELATED ISSUES
I was contacted by a MIO 505 user who had the single-sided bePRO. He had issues that I could not replicate with the same MIO on my dual-sided bePROs. There was some sort of issue with the MIO which MIO fixed pretty quickly.
I have hard-coded my bePRO’s ANT+ ID into a Lezyne GPS unit. Yet the Lezyne insists on finding whichever PM it can. I strongly suspect this is an (unresolved) issue with the Lezyne.
When riding with multiple PMs and using Garmin devices, the Garmins always find the bePRO first and then ask if I want to change to the other PM once they’ve found that. As it should be.
I experienced power dropouts with a 920XT to the point of being REALLY annoying. My fourth 920XT does not have power dropouts and it is the same bePRO. Go figure.
Favero’s firmware updater has not had any updates since March 2016. That’s probably a good sign. That March update did address some LR balance issues (didn’t affect my readings AFAIK) and also enabled transmission power to be boosted at the expense of battery life – I’d imagine the latter might be useful in some unusual scenario where your receiving device was off your bike.
I still haven’t managed to remember what the flashing LED’s mean.
I’ve completed 9/10 hour rides with absolutely no problems; well, not from the bePRO at any rate. I seem to charge them up when I remember and VERY rarely run out of juice. The bePRO does transmit battery status but none of my Garmin’s seem to show it, either that or I’ve never looked (the latter probably – Edit: 2017, does now show up on my Edge 820). But it would be nice to be warned to charge the battery. The battery info does go into the FIT file too and SportTracks gives me that reminder when it imports the ride data and power is low. But I’m a 1-3 hour ride person normally so battery life is no concern to me, you may well have different needs.
Would I recommend them? Absolutely YES.
- No doubt, from time to time, there will be better deals from the directly competing offerings of Garmins Vector 2s and Powertap’s P1s but I suspect that the bePRO will normally be the cheaper of the 3.
- Any other dual-sided option you go for will be harder to move between bikes – some more so than others
- There will always be cheaper, single-sided options available on crank based solutions such as 4iiii and STAGES. If you check the various forums you will see that there have been issues with STAGES although the people I know and myself have had good experiences with STAGES on the whole, so I’d say that was a viable alternative. I’ll be looking at the 4iiii soon but from my dealings with them in the past I am expecting an awesome product 🙂 But you have to decide if you want one- or two-sided power. Obviously you can get cheaper one-sided power from pedal based solutions too but remember that one sided crank/pedal power, by definition, will never be as accurate as a solution that measures the full power. But if it’s consistent then that’s good enough for me – the argument that you need accurate data over many years doesn’t wash with me; I’m only interested in the last 3 months data on the whole ie reflecting my actual fitness (or lack thereof). If you are going for a relatively inexpensive solution then I would imagine it is unlikely that you will have lots of power meters…again, consistency not accuracy.
- It’s just a shame that they are not Bluetooth as well 😦
Alternatives: The alternatives (link) are all good too but it’s just that they are, on the whole, more expensive for similar products.
Verdict: At US$519 (single) and US$814 (dual) it’s a BUY with the 15% discount below!
15% discount until 31 November 2016 with the code 5KNOV16 at our trusted partner PMC: