| Detailed Review | Favero ASSIOMA – Duo (Uno)
Favero surprised us with the BePro in August/Fall 2015 – out of nowhere came a dual-sided power meter pedal to rival the incumbent Garmin Vector 2 and PowerTap P1 pedal-based alternatives.
Fast forward two years and Favero have sneaked out an improved ASSIOMA power meter based pedal just ahead of the expected announcement of Garmin’s replacement Vector 3. There are no other realistic pedal-based alternatives to the P1 and Vector 3 and I would imagine that PowerTap will also release an improved version in 2018.
The bePRO was, and is, pretty good. I use a pair regularly and have very few issues. I would still recommend the bePRO BUT Favero have taken on board even the smallest of criticisms and have made several incremental improvements to create the ASSIOMA. As we shall see by the end of the review you may well wonder if there is ANY scope to improve it further in the years to come.
Favero were given a few small check boxes…and ticked them all with the ASSIOMA
- IN A SENTENCE
- WHAT’S NEW
- IS IT FOR YOU?
- UNBOXING & CONTENTS
- INSTALLATION, CONFIGURATION & PAIRING
- VERSIONS, SPECIFICATIONS, SPARES
- FIRST RIDES – GENERAL
- DATA METRICS
- OTHER TIDBITS
- POWER ACCURACY
- PRICE, AVAILABILITY & WARRANTY
- RECOMMENDATION & SUMMARY
IN A SENTENCE
If you want to change a power meter between several bikes then you should buy the ASSIOMA – it’s a simple and good recommendation that requires very little thought on your part.
But you are probably intrigued to learn a LOT more so please read on 🙂
There are lots of relatively small improvements compared to the earlier bePRO that together add up to a great package to keep the ASSIOMA up with the changes happening to power meters and their place in the market through 2018 and hopefully WELL beyond. Whilst these changes do NOT add up to a reason to upgrade from a bePRO they may well appeal to new PM users and PM users looking to switch brands for many reasons:
- Bluetooth SMART (dual) has been added. This might, at first, seem strange as most head units and watches are trending towards being dual band themselves. So surely ANT+ alone would have been good enough? No, because…
- Power dropouts: Several Garmin tri watches are experiencing power dropouts over several 3rd party sensor types. Having two protocols to connect through de-risks the purchase for you somewhat.
- Zwift – many of us have got very familiar with staring at the walls of our winter ‘pain caves’ and have watched every box set of ‘Breaking Bad‘ WAY too many times. Online training options like Zwift are starting to take our fancy and Bluetooth is the connection protocol-of-choice for that.
- STRAVA – apparently a few cyclists use this from time-to-time? 😉 It’s on your phone and will inevitably need a BLE connection.
- Simultaneous dual band transmission: you can transmit to your smart phone or tablet for the INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE of STRAVA or ZWIFT and, at the same time use a WAHOO or Garmin head unit in ANT+ to RECORD YOUR SESSION as you would normally
- App -based configuration – the smartphone ASSIOMA app is an improvement on the previous computer-based alternative for firmware updates and firmware settings.
- New proprietary charging connector – yep another one! This attaches magnetically and no longer requires the plastic flap that covered the bePRO’s micro USB port.
- The diameter of the black sensor pod was reduced to 33.5 mm (bePRO was 37 mm), this significantly reduces the occasional need for a shim with flatter bike shoes.
- The sensor covering is thicker and is made of a tougher compound which maintains the aesthetics for longer
- The battery life has been considerably increased
- Ease of movement between bikes has been simplified. It’s very much ‘switch and go’ when previously it was switch, align, calibrate and go. It now takes 1 minute to change between bikes with the ASSIOMA rather than 5 minutes with the bePRO
- Weight reduced from 156g to 150g per pedal
- Battery life increased from 30 hours to 50 hours.
- Waterproofing increased to IPx67 from IPx7 in the bePRO (and the chance of standing water remaining in the charging port has been eliminated). Definitions: wiki
- There are 2 product versions – dual-sided and left-sided power.
Of those reasons perhaps only simultaneous BLUETOOTH and ANT+ support and the extended battery might tempt some bePRO users to upgrade.
IS IT FOR YOU?
The best way to try out riding with power for the first time is either with a relatively inexpensive POWERPOD or with a virtually free way to convert indoor trainer speed to power using an ANT+ dongle and PC software (eg Sporttracks/others). But when you have the option of a single-sided ASSIOMA UNO for £450/$450/Eu500 then that is not so much more to pay for most people compared to the entry-level alternatives.
The ASSIOMA is much more simple to self-install than crank-based, spider-based and some other unusually-located alternatives. OK a wheel is easier to change but many of you might have a trainer wheel, a race wheel and a disc wheel. And even if you did have 3x power meters on 3x wheels, would you get the same readings across all 3?
To me it’s just feels obvious that most cyclists should get a decent pedal-based solution
There are a few counter cases where you might need something else such as: a seemingly more consistently accurate offering that can handle higher power levels (>2000w…ahem); or maybe you use elliptical chainrings where the readings would be slightly out; or maybe you want the ability to change a battery during a ride like with the PowerTap P1; or maybe you have a high degree of power asymmetry; or maybe you HAVE to use non LOOK/KEO cleat types; or maybe you are concerned about drivetrain power losses affecting your readings.
UNBOXING & CONTENTS
SEPARATE SECTION: UNBOXING AND CONTENTS – click to read
If you’ve just bought a pair and want some more detailed guidance on what’s in the box and what to do with it, then that is all (here) in the UNBOXING AND CONTENTS SECTION as a separate post. It’s not that interesting unless you already own the ASSIOMA. Even then the words ‘paint‘, ‘interesting‘, ‘watching‘ and ‘dry‘ seem to conjure up the need for a sentence to describe the Unboxing and Contents section.
INSTALLATION, CONFIGURATION & PAIRING
In most cases the installation is really as simple as changing a normal pedal. No proprietary tools or alignments are required (large, standard allen key/hex wrench is provided). No special manual calibration is required and there are no special tricks-of-the-trade to pair the device.
Probably about 1% of you might have: head units that can’t set crank lengths; sports watches that can only accept single channel Bluetooth power meter signals; or different length cranks on different bikes. For you (here) at the end of the UNBOXING SECTION are two sections that cover the unusual configuration and pairing issues .
Changing between bikes will take less than a minute and all that is left to do is the daily zero offset calibration on your cycling head unit.
VERSIONS, SPECIFICATIONS, SPARES
The ASSIOMA comes with a dual-sided power option (the ‘DUO’) and a single-sided power option (the ‘UNO’).
The UNO has one ‘blank’ pedal and one real PM pedal – it is NOT firmware upgradable from a UNO to a DUO.
The UNO can be upgraded to a DUO with the purchase of a new pedal at just over half the price of the DUO. ie upgrading later will probably cost you £/$/Eu100 more than just buying the DUO in the first place.
You could probably firmware DOWNGRADE your DUO to a UNO in some strange scenario that I can’t think of.
Many cyclists don’t really care much about the specifications of pedals. Others do really care about pedal specifications that include; weight, stack height, Q-factor/pedal centre, lean angle, float angles of compatible cleats. So here goes:
- ASSIOMA – 300g per pair
- Vector 2 + POD – 358g per pair
- Powertap P1 – 430g per pair with batteries
- ASSIOMA – 50 hours (internal, rechargeable)
- Vector 2 – 175 hours (CR2032)
- Powertap P1 – 60 hours (AAA lithium only)
Consider: will you carry 2 spare batteries? If you get a flat power meter battery is this important to you or just a shrug of the shoulders? Does your head unit reasonably reliably indicate remaining battery charge to enable you to plan for recharging?
Many of us seem to really mean the PEDAL CENTRE which is the distance from the crank to the centre of the pedal when fully inserted.
STANCE = “how far apart the cleats are horizontally on your bike” = TREAD/Q-FACTOR + PEDAL CENTRE + SPACERS
- ASSIOMA – 54mm (Source: Favero)
- Vector 2 – 55mm (measured, approx)
- Vector 3 – 53mm (measured, approx)
- Powertap P1 – 53mm (Source: Powertap, others say 54mm)
Consider: Your cranks might require spacers for the ASSIOMA (see INSTALLATION). This may increase the distance by 1-4mm (1mm per washer, 1 or 2 washers per pedal).
- ASSIOMA – 10.5mm (Source: Favero)
- Vector 2 – 10.5mm
- Vector 3 – 12.5
- Powertap P1 – 14.5mm
Vector 2/P1 Not verified.
SUPPORTED CRANK WIDTHS
Garmin’s standard Vector pedals might not work at all on thicker cranks and come in a separate version with a longer thread just because of this (12-15mm and 15-18mm thread). This is not an issue for Powertap P1 or ASSIOMA.
Shimano cleat-philes beware
- ASSIOMA – LOOK Keo-compatible
- Vector 2 – LOOK Keo-compatible
- Powertap – Powertap own-brand 6 degree cleat float or 0 degree float (anecdotally KEO compatible)
Consider: 0 degree float (typically black coloured) may contribute to knee problems. I use 3 degree float (grey) and usually you are supplied with 6 degree float (red). I used to turn one of my feet on the downstroke and this caused the shoe to contact the sensor body and hence affect power reading with the earlier bePRO. A grey cleat stopped this movement sufficiently to avoid contact.
OTHER – SENSOR DIAMETER
They key physical difference between the bePRO and the ASSIOMA is that the black sensor body/POD that is next to the crank is reduced in size from the bePRO. Whilst that’s probably part of the reduced weight the main benefit is the significantly reduced likelihood of your cleats or shoes then catching the sensor.
- ASSIOMA – 33.5 mm
- bePRO – 37 mm
OTHER – DATA SHEET
To consider other technical data, such as IP67 waterproofing, look at the DATA SHEET.
Whoever sold you the pedals should also sell spares. Or you can buy them directly from FAVERO. I have disassembled a bePRO when I considered replacing a bearing. The ASSIOMA, below, looks VERY similar in construction. It’s not hard. But you would be better cautioned to make use of the 2 year warranty if possible prior to a piece of DIY.
Some people wear out the spindle/pedal bearing on one side more quickly than the other. Some people may damage the pedal with a serious ‘knock’. Smaller components, such as bearings to replace the effects of the above, are replaceable at a sensible cost (here) in Favero’s online shop.
FIRST RIDES – GENERAL
Check: Are your crank lengths set? You can do it in the updater utility.
No big surprises were expected when using the ASSIOMA. It is ‘just’ another power meter after all. After generally straightforward pairing, we move on to pedalling! And my Garmin nicely started off by asking me which power meter I would like to use and then if I would like to calibrate the chosen one. As expected.
The initial auto calibration period of the ASSIOMA passed and the data appeared. Ta Da!
The first ride was on my TT bike. That’s nicely setup with some rather awesome carbon cranks on ceramic bearings.
Moving onto other bikes and I will get some use on Cannondale Hollowgram, cranks, ULTEGRA, 105s, various ROTORs and a few flavours of Deore on my MTB for trail rides.
Other than specifying crank length, if necessary, there shouldn’t be any issues with most of those cranks. The only one I will watch out for will be the TRI-MAX carbon cranks. Favero say that carbon cranks should be OK.
I have a mixture of round chainrings and elliptical chain rings (ROTOR Q-rings). With the earlier bePRO, Favero stated that power could be over-estimated by 1-4% but with the ASSIOMA they are now saying 2-4%. For a reason, known only to myself, I have one bike setup with a round inner and an elliptical outer chainring so I should be able to do some interesting direct comparisons on one ride from one ring to the next. (Edit: What Favero say about the oval chainrings appears to be true…slight and consistent over-estimation)
Moving then to some old MTBs, I tend not to do technical rides with them. The only serious MTB rides I do tend to be very long trails rides of 5-11 hours (Note: Favero have specifically asked me to point out that the ASSIOMA is not recommended for MTB). It’s always good then to collect some power data to add to the higher duration end of my power duration curve. I found that the power levels I can put out on my MTB are pretty much the same, probably due to a more upright and comfortable position, however on those long rides I never seem to be able to get anywhere near the CPs that the CP models say I should. Most probably due to the stop start nature of trail cycling.
I would just add that I would NEVER risk the ASSIOMAs with a technical MTB ride. I would imagine they do not like being whacked by a stone or tree.
One great thing I’ve found with the ASSIOMA is that they look quite cool. But it’s obvious to potential bike thieves that they might also look cool. If I carry the large hex wrench then I can easily take the pedals off at the destination. This eliminates the chance of the pedals being stolen entirely AND make the bike harder to steal and cycle away with. I would never have done that with the bePRO as the 5 minutes required to tighten those up would be a little too much for my impatient self.
A viable commuting option perhaps?
I have paired the following and they pick up a power (w) signal with ANT+: Garmin Edge (520, 810, 820); WAHOO ELEMNT & BOLT; LEZYNE SUPER GPS; MIO CYCLO 505HC; Garmin Forerunner (920XT, 935); Garmin Fenix 5.
Using BLE I’ve also paired with the following and received a power (w) signal: WAHOO ELEMNT; Suunto SPARTAN (SPORT, SPORT WHR, ULTRA, TRAINER); Polar M450/M460.
I am actively using a WAHOO ELEMNT, Garmin Edge 820 and WAHOO ELEMNT BOLT. So I am NOT specifically saying all the above models that I paired with are fully and totally operationally correct.
There are obviously vagaries in how each head unit interacts with a power meter to make the experience better or worse than others. That is not in the scope of this review.
There is one big compatibility issue and then I will add to the list of smaller issues as they come up:
- A Dual sided BLE power meter is only as good as the head unit/watch. Specifically Polar’s M460 is also dual sided and a pairing is required to both the left and right channel. However Suunto’s SPARTAN’s are single-sided and can only pair to one side and double it.
- I have found quite a few times that head units (WAHOO) seem to prefer to pair in BLE. That’s fine but bear in mind that when you try to additionally and simultaneously pair your smartphone/tablet it won’t work. Pair and open the smartphone + app FIRST and then pair subsequent devices by ANT+ (the only method that will be available). WAHOO will give a message saying which protocol was used in the pairing in this scenario.
As we’ve seen, the 2x long, USB cables can be used to charge both pedals simultaneously either on the bike or off. It’s a standard USB cable with a proprietary end connector piece. The dual-adapter plug even has a light on it which glows when plugged into a wall socket.
The charger connects to the pedal body magnetically. It’s a strong enough magnet for the cable to hold the entire weight of the pedal. There are two copper connectors which complete the charging circuit.
The battery in each pedal is rated for up to 50 (fifty) hours of use. That’s enough for me.
Favero state that, “After 500 full recharges, battery capacity is reduced by only 20%; 20 full recharges are equivalent to 1000 hours of use.” ie that is 25,000 hours of usage. But this relies on a full discharge (which is unlikely to happen) and Favero add (sic), “If the battery is recharged once not completely empty, the number of the recharges increases a lot.”
After more than two years with the earlier bePRO I get the sense that possibly the battery life has decreased from its stated 30 (thirty) hours. But it’s still more than 20 hours. That bodes well for the ASSIOMA but is not really conclusive of any aspect of the ASSIOMA’s future battery performance.
Some cycling head units will report the battery status of a sensor. This can be useful even though the information is hidden away in details about the sensor rather than on a data field. This information can be inaccurate.
ASSIOMA has 4x LEDs. this is a further minor improvement over the earlier bePRO as you can see the LED flashing from any angle. It sounds trivial but it has removed a slight annoyance!
- Fast and continuous blinking for 3 seconds – Assioma is being switched on.
- Short blinking every 3 seconds – Assioma is switched on.
Fixed light – battery is being charged.
- Short blinking every 0.5 seconds – battery charging has been completed.
Personally I would prefer a RED/AMBER/GREEN approach to indicate battery levels.
The data metrics that are provided by ASSIOMA are the same as the first tranche of Cycling Dynamics that were released for Garmin’s Vectors. WAHOO, Garmin and several others, support these metrics on their head units. The head units then produce various other additional metrics based on bits of maths – for example a 30second moving average of power or normalised lap power. Other things too.
Essentially most transmitted metrics are also usually available for both left and right side or combined. It doesn’t make sense to provide left/right version of some metrics such as cadence for example.
Measured data, linking to definitions on Favero’s website:
Ultimately someone needs to use a pair until they break and then tell us how long it took, doing what kind of cycling. That will take a LONG time.
The pedals certainly DO NOT seem flimsy and seem more robust than the bePRO model that I have been using for over 2 years and which are still going strong.
After 200 or 300 or 400 hours of use and loading into cars and vans and dropping against walls and hanging on bike/transition racks then I can only speculate what the ASSIOMA’s condition will be – I don’t know yet. Look at the condition of your regular pedals now – likely not a pretty sight. The ASSIOMA’s will have to handle that same level of inevitable long-term wear from even the most careful of us.
I changed the pedals between 4 bikes/5 cranks. I didn’t particularly notice any discrepancies and bedding in time for each new installation. I have completed two >50km trail rides and the pedals were probably periodically hit by grit and gravel. There are no specific signs of damage (Note; Favero have specifically asked me to point out that ASSIOMA is not recommended for MTB use)
- Elliptical chainrings/ovals/Q-rings affect power readings by 2-4% (Source: Favero). If accuracy is your thing (ass opposed to consistency) then this makes the ASSIOMA fairly INaccurate
- Favero are planning a firmware update in 2017 to better accommodate oval/elliptical chainrings (Source: Favero)
I am going to completely update this section in September as I pull together various combinations of ride types for power data comparisons. I already have some comparisons with products that are under NDA (exciting!).
My findings so far are that: they look accurate
Favero state a +/-2% accuracy.
Here are 3 good charts for starters showing ASSIOMA (duo) vs Watteam Powerbeat (dual) vs WAHOO KICKR. Compared to the WAHOO, the ASSIOMA was +/-0w on average and the Powerbeat +4w.
Along a similar vein, here the ASSIOMA was 3w over on average over the KICKR.
Yep, and more, this time around Watopia, again 3w over on average. Nothing particularly stands out for the ASSIOMA on these tests. It just looks pretty solid.
More comparison charts that will be included here might cover
- comparison to WATTBIKE
- comparison to ROTOR INPOWER 3D+
- I will probably add some sort of comparison to show the effects of round/elliptical chainrings (Edit covered here – link to: the5krunner.com)
I won’t include comparisons on
- trail or particularly bad road surfaces
- extremes of temperature
- Garmin Vector and Favero bePRO….not quite sure how I could do that comparison!
Over the long-term I will probably update accuracy stats if noteworthy.
The direct alternatives are as listed in this review. Namely the POWERTAP P1 and GARMIN VECTOR 2 (detailed review).
2017 is VERY likely to see a new VECTOR 3 but I would not expect a replacement to the P1 until 2018 at least.
The other alternatives you have are powermeters in other places on your bike. These are a few:
- CRANK – single- or double-sided solutions exist eg STAGES, 4iiii. These can be ones where you: buy the crank; have your crank retrofitted; or where you stick sensors onto your cranks (WATTEAM POWERBEAT as shown above is a great option). Moving a single-sided crank between bikes IS easier that you might think but changing pedals is much easier IMO
- CRANK SPINDLE – ie the bit that both cranks fasten onto that goes through your bike. Changing that requires compatible bike width and compatible bearing diameters. Can be simple…or not.
- An insert between pedal and crank eg LIMITS
- REAR WHEEL HUB – eg Powertap
- NOVEL solutions – eg POWERPOD (opposing forces) or shoe-based systems.
I have been given excellent and detailed support as and when requested. Then again Favero knew I was doing a review so it is not possible to extrapolate that to the full customer base.
I’ve tried to put the battery charger on the wrong way around (sigh) but that’s about it. After only a few weeks of use I’ve not encountered any problems of note. As and when and if I do then I will update this section.
These are things I will be specifically watching out for
- Durability – the previous bePROs were fine for well over a year but then started to look a bit ragged after the cumulative effect of numerous knocks started to show (but still worked fine). The ASSIOMA are supposed to be MORE durable. Let’s see.
- Power Balance – I have an asymmetry issue but I also noticed some inconsistencies with the bePRO’s power balance over the years. Maybe that was due to recalibrations through firmware and dangling weights from the pedals! – I did those with the bePRO but they are not required for ASSIOMA.
PRICE, AVAILABILITY & WARRANTY
There is a 2-year warranty and in all my dealings with Favero, and in all the dealings with Favero that I hear other people have had, they are out to make friends.
Favero appear to only sell directly in Euros, converting to local currency at the time of purchase. The USA appears to be an exception. To avoid the vagaries of exchange rates, import duties and local taxes you would be best advised to buy from a reseller in your country. NB Some resellers appear to be quoting discounted prices for this new product that is in limited supply and likely to sell very well. I wouldn’t be so sure that they will get all their deliveries for you from Favero…just saying, you decide.
These are guideline prices but in the EU and even in the USA prices will vary because of local taxes. eg buying for the UK from Germany will be VAT-free but you will pay a higher carriage cost. Think about how you might return a faulty unit to an overseas country…expensive.
If you want to help support this blog, thank you, please use the PowerMeterCity or PowerMeter24 links below, to buy.
|Favero Prices:||Eu||UK Reseller Price||USA|
|ASSIOMA UNO UPGRADE||
RECOMMENDATION & SUMMARY
Whichever way you look at it, the price of a consistent/accurate powermeter is going to cost you the same as the price of a low-end bike, or top-end Garmin Fenix or Edge. If you are going to buy a power meter you are already happy with that fact.
The cost consideration then comes down to what you can afford; what you are willing to spend and if you have a specific need to require the powermeter to be situated in a specific place on the bike.
Next comes the accuracy criteria. Even if you can afford multiple, excellent power meters then ask yourself if they will all report the exact same consistent power. I doubt it. Similar, but I doubt the same.
Most power meters, including the ASSIOMAs, have stated accuracies of 2-3% or thereabouts. One brand could be +3% and your other -2%..that’s 5% difference or between 10w and 30w for most people.
So is accuracy really that important? For a multiple powermeter solution it probably is important. But for most people “consistency is king”. A transferable SINGLE powermeter, I would argue, is most likely to be consistently the best accurate solution. Especially one like the ASSIOMA that further claims to be consistent as temperatures change.
If you are looking for advanced cycling dynamics metrics then the Garmin Vector 2 or Vector 3 is your choice. Personally I don’t buy into the usefulness of the advanced cycling dynamics and, as I have pointed out, the ASSIOMA produce the base level cycling dynamics anyway ie L|R/TE/PS.
For the mass market at which ASSIOMA is aimed I HAVE NO CONCERNS
A personal area of concern for me is oval/elliptical chain rings. This reduces accuracy somewhat but does it predictably enough. For me that would be fine but not for some others.
It seems sensible to me that most of us to should rely on one technology that is readily transferable between your bikes. If you have the money you might go for the Powertapor or Garmin alternatives and if you are in need of super-accuracy and super-consistency then there might be a better choice for a powermeter located elsewhere on the bike.
For very many of us the ASSIOMA are a very convincing ‘buy’ – in my opinion.
This review took a considerable period of time to prepare and write. Hopefully you benefitted from it in some way.
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