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Obvious Choices Best Power Meter Pedals | Compare Garmin Favero

Favero bePRO Power Meter Pedals - Carbon Cranks

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Obvious Choices | The Best Power Meter Pedals?

The obvious choice of the Best Power Meter PEDALS are the Favero Assioma – either Assioma DUO or UNO, depending on your accuracy needs and budget.

As a cyclist or triathlete, if you want to TRAIN WITH POWER then getting the Best Power Meter Pedals are the most sensible first investment, especially if you have more than one bike. The initial hurdle to overcome when considering buying power meter pedals is their CONSIDERABLE COST and then numerous, detailed concerns like compatibility and battery life. Let’s assume you CAN afford a price tag of around £/$/Eu500 and upwards. This leaves the question “Which model to go for?“.

Don’t want pedals? Try this link to the ‘best power meter’ guide. Just got one bike? Get an accurate crank-based solution.

Back to pedals, let’s start of with this summary chart and then there is much more detail below

  • Wins on Price - Favero ASSIOMA - 95%
    95%
  • Wins on Accuracy - They are all similar enough - 100%
    100%
  • Wins on Aesthetics - Garmin Vector...just - 80%
    80%
  • Wins on Long Battery Life - SRM & Garmin - 85%
    85%
  • Wins on Extra Metrics - Garmin Vector has *ONE* MORE METRIC than Favero Assioma! - 80%
    80%
  • Wins on Ease of Setup & Calibration - They are all similar enough - 95%
    95%
  • Wins for Mountain Biking - SRM X-Power is the only choice - 95%
    95%

Background – Best Power Meter Pedals Through The Ages

Power meters are still expensive. Dial the clock back over 6 years and, unsurprisingly, they were even more expensive than now.

For cyclists who own several bikes, it just made theoretical sense to have one power meter that could be easily swapped from bike to bike. With pedals, you should get consistent readings from one, single calibrated device across several bikes AND also save yourself a pretty sum by not having to buy two, three or more power meters to cover all your bikes. Of course, you would expect to pay a premium for that one product ‘covers-all’ solution.

Garmin thought so.

Bring on Garmin’s Vector (1) at $1500 in 2013

There was clearly a big margin there for Garmin at $1500rrp but don’t forget the R&D cost. To counter that price tag, there were also many benefits from training with power and the market was steadily growing as a result. Such price tags in a growing market also sounded like a business opportunity to PowerTap, who already made bike power meters. And it also sounded like a business opportunity to Favero, who had little to do with cycling at all.

Before we knew it, the power meter pedal market had competition.

Favero bePRO vs. Vector 2

These are the timescales showing the new models:

Look KEO Power/Polar and shoe-based products excluded.

There are single-sided power versions available which you might want count as new models. They come with a power pedal and a non-power pedal, despite being otherwise identical.

Later in this post, we will look in more detail at some of the following points but what stands out to me the most in the evolution of the power meter pedal over recent years is:

  1. The designs have evolved to, err, look exactly like proper pedals. That means Garmin’s pods have vanished and are not on the Vector 3 and ASSIOMA’s hub has shrunk a little and doesn’t get in the way so much in any case.
  2. The designs have refined to be more easily moved from bike to bike – which, after all, is one of the key reasons why you might buy power meter pedals! Getting the pedals off was never much of a problem but aligning them on the new bike COULD take some time…but not anymore.

Current State of Play

There are still nuances between current power meter pedal models and their detailed compatibilities of advanced features with all flavours of head unit (cycling computers) and tri watches. However, the general state of play leading up to Christmas 2019 is:

Despite being a highly credible option, PowerTap P2 sales have not notably taken off in great numbers. ASSIOMA may even be the market leader over Vector 3 for online sales. ASSIOMA and Vector 3 are highly similar in most respects, except the price. Perhaps Garmin looks sleeker.

Power Meter Pedals Market Shares:

Source: Guestimates by my online partners & Me. DCR thought Vector 3 would be higher than my original estimate due to Garmin’s better retail distribution so I factored that in – that’s probably true to some degree and could well boost Garmin up to an 80% market share.

Product Issues:

Whilst many might note how difficult it is to bring out a new power meter that works. I’d point out that Favero did it with the bePRO and with the ASSIOMA – both of which pretty much worked as described from day 1. Yet it is Garmin’s Vector 3 that has hardware issues that require a redesigned battery cap (May 2018). That kinda negates the premium for the Garmin name, in my opinion. That just leaves its looks. Is it $280 prettier?…probably not.

Product Pricing (2019-20):

This gives you a flavour of what to expect

PowerMeterCity Rei.com Wiggle UK

 

Wiggle PowerMeter 24 PowerMeter 24
USA USA UK EU UK EU
Favero ASSIOMA $719 £537+ Eu625+
Garmin VECTOR 3 $999 $1000 £759-789 908 £644+ Eu749+
Garmin Vector 4 ?
PowerTap P2 $899 (-10%=$810) £649 775 £644+ Eu749+
SRM EXACT Single/Dual $749-$1799 (-10%=$675) Eu715-1259+
Favero Assioma Single $459 £343+ Eu399
Garmin Vector 3 Single $599 $600 £427-439 511 £386+ Eu449+
SRM X-Power
includes GST+ delivery includes vat+ EU delivery

platinum level gives 0-17% off

excludes vat+ EU delivery

club deal gives up to 20% off

Import Taxes/Duties always Excluded

I had a quick look in the UK at SigmaSports, Evans, SingleTrack Bikes and BikeFast and the prices are near-identical. Except for PowerTap.

Pricing in the USA tends to be more controlled by the manufacturers whereas in the EU it is more controlled by the manufacturers lowering the dealer margin, making discounting difficult. You can get a 10% store credit from here on some Garmin lines at PowerMeterCIty and your local bike shop may even give you a slightly larger discount if you bought your bike there or if you are part of a loyalty scheme like those offered by Sigma and Wiggle where you can get 12-17% respectively on some models. There is very little point in devoting too much time to shopping around in the market as it is now.

L+R, BLE+ANT+

Wherever you live I would DEFINITELY buy from a dealer in your country/region. You might save $/£/eu10 by shipping from overseas but if ever a return is needed you will have notable costs.

Future of the Best Power Meter Pedals

It’s unlikely there will be an ASSIOMA 2 or a Vector 4 until 2020. Perhaps 2020 might also see a PowerTap P3, although I suspect we will have to wait until 2021 for those.

I can’t see any great new ‘invention’ to materially change pedal power meter functionality (famous last words) – although Shimano cleat support would be great.

Otherwise, I expect the evolution new models to chip away at the relatively small number of issues that need addressing, which range from: accuracy & frequency of data recording; cleat compatibility; battery type; support for carbon cranks; support for elliptical chainrings; battery life; durability; special metrics (yet more cycling dynamics); and dimensions (stack height and Q-factor).

There will be new entrants to the market. In 2018 it started with SRM and there will be more, perhaps following Wahoo’s acquisition of Speedplay.

There will also be some going out of business (WatTeam) and others merging (PowerTap).

I’d say that, for most people (including myself) that all those issues are sufficiently sorted out in the 3 major products as of now. But there ARE differences so let’s come back to the present and look at the differences that exist in more detail.

Cleat-ASSIOMA Clearance

The Details

Best Power Meter Pedals – cleat choices

I like Shimano cleats. They just seem to clip in better for me and spin less when clipping in. Unfortunately, only the older Garmin Vectors supported Shimano and that was via a kit. Grrr. Cleats are going to be your biggest compromise 🙁

Because of the non-Shimano compatability, I now use the KEO GRIP grey 4.5-degree floating cleats. They seem a tad tight on the ASSIOMA and a tad looser on the Vector, although cleat wear is also a factor in any apparent tightness or looseness. They seem fine on the P1 although other reports suggest the degree of wear of the cleat might be a factor in the snugness of the fit here too.

0 degrees and 9 degrees (red) float are also available on LOOK. The meaning of the colour varies on other brands (eg Shimano red has no float whereas an Xpedo red has 6 degrees

There are probably a lot of people who would rather not use LOOK/KEO cleats but would it be a sufficiently compelling feature to get us to switch brands if someone produced an otherwise inferior but Shimano-cleat compatible alternative? Probably not.

Summary – pretty much the same across the 3 offerings: ASSIOMA and Vector are LOOK/KEO compatible. P1/P2 effectively is too.

Best Power Meter Pedals for Accuracy

There’s a whole can of worms waiting to be opened on this topic that I discussed in more detail here

Most Accurate Power Meter?

With ASSIOMA’s new firmware for Q2.2018, here are current, claimed manufacturer accuracy levels which are now

Even if you’ve trained hard enough to get your FTP over 300w then I reckon that 1-1.5% level of accuracy will be alright ie +/-3w to +/-4.5w. Can you spot a 3w difference on the road? I can’t. (Naturally the absolute +/- numbers get bigger with higher than FTP efforts).

Sure I could spot -3w one day and +4.5w (ie 7.5w difference) the next day. But that hasn’t happened in my experience. My experience is that the accuracy seems consistent on calibrated power meter pedals.

Favero claim with their ASSIOMA pedals that their new IAV power algorithm can deliver further increased accuracies for the vagaries of ‘normal’ cyclists’ pedalling and riding characteristics. That sounds at least plausible and therefore, by inference, you might wonder if the stated accuracies of PowerTap and Garmin are actually correct for your style.

No doubt you trust a crank-based power meter better than a pedal-based solution. Really? Then you’d better do some more detailed research on the topic of RIGHT-side power meter crank accuracy. You will be surprised at what you find and then you will probably come back and buy the Assioma.

Summary: A Pedal-based solution is fine for nearly all of us.

Power Meter Pedals – Battery Type & Battery Life

Battery life is self-explanatory and I suspect even 50 hours is sufficient for most of us. Not for all though. Garmin nails the uber-battery life with SRM being a nice second. But PowerTap wins on the practicalities of being easily able to buy a spare battery in a random French Alpine village in the middle of summer.

Summary: Generally alright for everyone but Garmin wins for those with special battery needs.

Best Power Meter Pedals for Clever Metrics & Basic Metrics

In reality and after the novelty wears off you will probably only look at POWER and CADENCE. Nevertheless, all the vendors offer you more than that.

Total/L/R power and cadence are going to be most useful and a pedal PM will save you having a pesky additional cadence sensor. In the ANT+ world, all should be good to display your power data from any pedal on devices ranging from the humble Lezyne Super GPS up to the Garmin Edge 1030. However in BLE world, even Suunto’s top-end tri-watch will only read one-side of your power (and double it) but a 3-year-old Polar V650 will happily read right and left power over BLE from the ASSIOMA, so you need to research your BLE device more carefully if you intend to send it dual-sided power data.

Most of you won’t have that problem. Phew.

The clever ANT+ metrics like Torque Effectiveness and Pedal Smoothness can be useful to spot an anomaly and, if you trust the numbers to be correct, can be further use if you can hone in on that anomaly in the Left/Right balance of the same metrics. What to do about such an anomaly is another matter entirely!! These metrics are well-supported on ANT+ compatible head units and watches but not on BLE ones.

PowerTap has some special additional metrics and Garmin + Favero have even more super-clever ones. I would say that most of these are of little use to most people. But having said that if you have a specific bike fit need or if you are contemplating setting up OCP Q-Ring positions then some of the additional metrics (PCO and Power Phase respectively) will be super-useful for very narrowly defined use-cases. IF that applies to you, you will almost certainly know what I am talking about already!

PowerTap will work on supporting additional ANT+ metrics (Advanced Cycling Dynamics) for the P2 once the AWG makes them public.

Summary: Generally alright for everyone but Vector 3 and Assioma win for those with special data metric needs.

The Dangly Bit – even the old Vector 2 pods never hit the floor

Power Meter Pedals – Sizings, Spacings, Form

These differences range from the obvious to the very subtle. For example, Garmin has dropped the pods from the Vector 2. Also, if you look closely, ASSIOMA now effectively has an inbuilt spacer compared to the bePRO – the bePRO nearly always needed one or two washers whereas the ASSIOMA occasionally needs one washer to ensure its hub does not touch the crank arm.

The Allen key/wrench or spanner is now all that’s needed. It’s now easy to fit your power meter pedals – just like a regular pedal in fact. Apparently having the exactly correct torque is no longer as mandatory as it was with previous versions, so I just make mine ‘quite tight’ and off I go. It’s fine.

Looking at the dimensions of the products and the overall size, some may say the P1 looks slightly chunkier. It looks fine to me. Then the key physical factors of the pedals that might have a bearing on your riding are weight, Q-Factor, and Stack height. If you don’t know what the last two are they are almost certainly of no relevance to you whatsoever. Again, just don’t worry about it.

PowerMeterCity – All stacked up and raring to go

Stated Q-Factors

Stated Stack Heights

Stated Weights

If you are under 100kg then the limits of rider weight will not affect you. If you are over 100kg then perhaps consider more closely the P1.

Most of us are weight-weenies to some degree. ASSIOMA & SRM EXACT are each about 305g/pair, the Vector 3 is 316g/pair (ie the same) but the P1 is over 100g heavier than the Vector 3 for a pair (The P2 is likely a tad lighter than the P1 but not as light as the others)

Summary: 95% of you will be alright with the physical side of the pedals. But even I would look twice at an extra 100g on the P1. Garmin &, possibly, SRM are the prettiest

Ah the joys of special tools – no longer needed

Best Power Meter Pedals by Price

Comparative prices are shown earlier but look at these headline low figures and compare those to the cost of a Stages or 4iiii left crank each at $350. There is a relatively small premium for pedals.

 

Favero Assioma Single $459
Garmin Vector 3 Single $599

PowerTap’s P2 has a price in between Garmin and Favero. Powertap is matching Garmin’s pricing when they should be matching that of the ASSIOMA if they want to regain market share. Even with the 10% discount that you will get for the P2s with PowerMeterCity, they are still more expensive than Assioma. It thus seems that PowerTap and Garmin think their brands command a premium. I don’t buy that, especially the level of premium that Garmin asks.

The consensus would be that general power meter prices will EVENTUALLY fall. When? Who knows? But price falls will probably be linked to Shimano and the main bike manufacturers (eg Specialized/4iiii) getting their act together with introducing own-branded power as a standard feature on all new, higher-end bikes/cranksets.

Competing power meter locations probably don’t affect the pricing of power meter pedals too much when it comes to periodic discounting but they will all trend in a broadly similar direction. A cheaper power meter product alternative like PowerPod/AeroPod, I suspect, has a near-zero bearing on a person’s likelihood to spend over $500 on a power meter pedal set. Whereas, a discounted single-sided, PM-Crank from 4iiii/Stages might switch the more cost-conscious buyer towards crank technology. However such price drops are hard to afford for a variety of reasons including the stock holding costs required to cater for numerous different cranks (models & sizes).

Summary Pricing: The prices aren’t going to change that much even in 2020. The SRM and P2 are still too expensive but less so with a 10% savings (below).

HOWEVER if we see a Garmin Vector 4 then the price of the Vector 3 will plumet to compete directly with the ASSIOMA with the Vector 4 probably selling from upwards of $999.

Power Meter Pedals – Other Factors

Magnetic Charger Fits To Standard Micro USB Cable but pin connection is proprietary

Conclusion – So, What ARE The BEST Power Meter Pedals?

Let’s say it’s Christmas. Santa has just bought you a new set of power meter pedals. You will be VERY HAPPY with any of these 4 options. You should be. Santa was very generous and you clearly avoided the naughty list this year. They are all good products and in some way or other could each be classed as ‘proven’.

>> HERE << Get Assioma or Vector >> HERE <<

If you have a VERY SPECIFIC & GENUINE requirement then the overview provided by this article might not be enough to help you choose (use the detailed review links above). However for the rest of us (99% of riders), with relatively general needs for a power meter pedal, the choice is potentially tricky only because they are all relatively similar products. 

Best Deals At A Local Country Retailer

 

 

 

 

If you want my opinion then I would say the compelling reason to buy the ASSIOMA is the price – ASSIOMA ticks *ALL* the boxes.

If they were all the same price I’d personally still be tempted to get the ASSIOMA. I’d think it MIGHT JUST be the most accurate. They are all great companies with generally good customer service. I might be tempted to go for the Garmin because it ticks quite a few boxes on my ‘nice-to-have-but-won’t-ever-use’ data metric list but that would only be if I already had Garmin-branded everything else – which I do, but I mostly use WAHOO now for cycling.

Summary: Buy the ASSIOMA. I find it very hard to see reasons to buy any other power meter pedal. To ME it’s a no-brainer, but we all have different needs.

Get an Assioma >> HERE <<

 

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