The power meters are a great tool for cyclists to improve their speed and conditioning. Although a power meter is not necessary for beginners, it can be beneficial to advanced and intermediate cyclists as well as triathletes. It is easy to set up powermeters and they can be used with road bikes as well as tricycles. They can be used with almost any bike but most people using them are looking to improve their training and speed.
Without knowing the weight of each dumbbell, you wouldn’t be able to lift weights. Power meters work in the same way. You can measure what you can.
Many bikers and cyclists are gear snobs. However, power meters add an extra level of sophistication to their bike gear. It can be difficult to understand because there are so many options for measuring power. However, we will simplify the process with our guide below.
We will start by sharing our top power meter models and configurations for various situations. From the cheapest to the most expensive, we have listed our top 4.
Best Bike Powermeters For 2022
Garmin Rally 200 is the best entry bike powermeter
Garmin Vector pedal-based powermeter
>Click here.We are hesitant to pick one power meter model over another, as each type has its merits and it can prove difficult to compare them all. Below is a description of how power meters work. However, if you are looking for the most straightforward design, this is it. Garmin has a pedal-based powermeter that measures our output based on the force exerted by the pedals. That is quite amazing. Although you may not get the same accuracy as a full-on power-measuring device, pedal-based power meters provide all you need for performance
and incredible data. This is a high-tech product, and we have found that the readouts will be accurate.
We performed a complete GarminRally200 pedal review.
Garmin claims this power measurement is accurate up to 240 lbs. We aren’t sure what happens above that weight, but Garmin suggests it may not work as well.
The cleat type is an important aspect of the Rally 200. The Rally 200 is available in two styles of pedal: the RS, which is the SDPSL model, and XC, which is the SPD model. You can choose to have one-sided or double-sided power readouts. The dual is a great choice, despite the higher price.
According to the manufacturer, the battery can last for 120 hours. The easiest way to get your power readout is to download Garmin software onto your phone and log it that way. If you want to easily monitor your power while riding, mount the head-unit to your bike. However, your Garmin Connect is the best place to keep track of your data ride-to-ride.
This is not a cheap option, but it will amaze you if you have the funds. This is the easiest and most straightforward of all the options. It’s as simple as adding a new pedal. >Get it here for $1,100.
Runner-Up Power Meter Stages Crank Arm Based Powermeters
Stages crank-arm meters
The stages line of power meters is also available at the entry level but with a different concept. These are our favorite. They are similar to the Garmin and require a minor adjustment on one end of your power system. The Stages model, unlike the Garmin does this through a modified crank.
Your crank is made of carbon fiber and high-end materials. It weighs in at the same weight as other Campy and Shimano products. There are models for both mountain and road bikes, but we will be focusing on triathlon bikes (and road bikes) more. The powermeter is located inside the left crank. It has been sealed and installed inside. The only thing you need to do is put the crank on your bike with a torque wrench. These are delicate materials.
A crank-based approach has its cons. You are modifying something, such as the length or design of your cranks, that you may be comfortable with. While you won’t notice a significant difference in your performance if you swap hubs (see below), you might feel some difference when you change to new cranks. These cranks are well-made and will not cause any major problems.
The battery life will be much longer than that of the pedal model at 200 hours or greater. The battery can deliver up to 2500 watts. This is enough power for most cyclists on the planet. The weight of the device will add only 18-20g to a 170-200g setup. This is hardly enough to register. It is only designed to fit on one crank (usually the left), so you will only be able to read from that side. This shouldn’t be a problem for most cyclists.
Stages Crank Arm-based meters are available in Ultegra or Dura-Ace models to make them compatible with your bike.
We are unable to make this our top choice because 1) Stages’ digital head units cost $300 to mount a readout, and 2) it is more difficult to replace a crank than a pedal. We would recommend this product and use it on our bikes. Installation will be easy for anyone who is even slightly skilled in bike mechanics. Get it here on Amazon.
The best choice if you are in the market for new wheels: Power Meter carbon wheel with built-in powertap hub
Powertap’s G3 AMP tires integrate the power meter into a rear hub.
Shop Here at Amazon. If you’re looking for a new hub for your bike or bike, it might be a good idea to get rid of all the extra components and just buy new wheels. Powertap wheels are made by Shimano and have the same lightweight quality as other wheels.
Powertaps wheels have a hub-based power meter. This means the wheel can measure your power output without any additional parts. This is a great option for anyone looking to upgrade their wheels. The cost of the Powertap Wheels with the built in meter hub is less than buying a power meter, if everything is accounted for.
This option isn’t as useful for those who change their wheels frequently. There are people who use one set for training and one for racing. Another set is used for indoor cycling trainer. It’s much harder to place near tires on your wheel than to swap out the rims that have them. This option is great for people who already have a favorite wheel and can just leave it on their bike.
The wheels are very reliable and perform well. We recommend the G3, which is a lightweight, light-weight wheel. It will cost you less than $2,000 if it’s a complete set or $1,200 if it’s just the rear wheel.
Powertap is a long-standing company that knows what they’re doing. Although they started their career with the rear hubs, which are still available as an add-on product, we believe that the pedal-or crank-based products listed above are more straightforward to install. If you are looking to purchase an entire wheel, the G3 is your best choice.
This is the best option if you only need a hub (no complete wheelset).
We also discussed the Powertap setup as a hub-only option. Powertap did a great job with the new G3 hub. It is compatible with all types of bikes: tri, mountain, gravel, and tri bikes. This makes it easy to swap between bikes. It takes some time and knowledge to swap them out, but it is easy if you have the right tools and skills.
In the past, you needed a Powertap hub that was different for your road or mountain bikes. But Saris changed the design and solved the problem.
You can also buy the hub without a wheel here on Amazon
SRAM Powermeter is the best if you want to be top-of-the line
The SRAM (also known as SRM — the same company) is the best integrated crank/crankset meter on the market. They started making power meters back in 1986. In the past, an SRM was only purchased if it was accurate. Fortunately, this is no longer true with the precision of crank-based power meters and pedal-based power meters.
SRM’s power meters have been proven reliable and are great options for advanced cyclists.
Many people today feel the need to have an SRAM. They feel the pedal-or crank-based system would not work with their components so they update the whole crankset. We like the fact that it is as precise as possible – this crankset is as accurate as you can get with your power. This product has been tried and tested, and you can see why many pros use it.
These power meters can be expensive. These power meters used to cost over $2,000, but are now available for as low as $1,500. The cost of these bikes is not prohibitive for the right cyclist. There is a lot of engineering involved. It might not seem that much if you already own a $5,000 bike.
The SRAM Red AXS model is our favorite, as it’s the lightest power meter the company has ever made. It comes with a compatible 12-speed chainring that is comparable to the stock gear for high-end bikes. You simply need to choose the right size chainring (with the power meter integrated) and size it according to your bike’s intended chainring. There are models available for mountain and road bikes.
You can pair the SRM Powermeter with any modern workout tracking device, even the most recent Garmin products, and electronics. SRM has several “Powercontrol” displays that can be mounted on your bike. However, they cost over $300, and SRM insists that you don’t have to use them. You can monitor your power on your watch, or after-the fact on many apps.
>The SRAM can be found here and. While you may spend quite a bit, it will not disappoint. You can measure your power within 1.5% accuracy, even in the most difficult and varied road conditions.
Types of bike power meters
It is easy for your head to spin when you first glance at the power meters on the market, even if you’re a triathlete or a cyclist. What parts are needed? Is it possible to use a crank and a pedal together? What about the hub? How can I see my power? We know you have many questions.
Powermeters are not like other bike parts that you can compare. You can choose from Saddle A, Saddle B and Saddle C when you’re looking for a new saddle.
It is more of an “either/or, or” approach in the world of power meters. It is important to choose a power meter you like and that you stick with. It is best to be able to track your power over time. This will allow you to gauge your fitness. Short of performing regular VO2 max tests. These are the most common types of power meters you’ll find on the market.
- Chainring-and-Crankset. This is the original Power Meter, the one that SRM recommends above. This type of power meter allows you to replace your crankset and chainring (including cranks) with the product. It then measures your power. They are highly accurate and can be mounted on any bike. These require a complex installation.
- Hub-based. This type of powermeter measures power through the hub of the rear wheel. A hub can be purchased as a standalone item or as part of a larger wheelset. These hubs are compatible with almost all of the most popular wheels. They are very stable from ride to ride. They are not easy to swap between bikes once they have been installed, unless your a good mechanic.
- Crank Arm Based. A crank-based power monitor is an easy addition to your bike. Simply place a crank arm (the shaft that runs between the crankset/crankset and your pedal) on one end of your bike and it will measure power. It is simple, straightforward, and it works regardless of whether your bike has a wheel or any other components. These are usually less expensive than a crankset/crankset system but, because they sit near the powertrain center of your bicycle, crank-based powermeters tend be more accurate.
- Pedal-based. The most common pedal-based systems, made by major manufacturers, such as the Garmin Rallyrecommend, are the easiest to set up and use. It’s as easy as adding a pedal to your bicycle. It takes only a few minutes to swap out your pedals. Together with the crank arm-based systems, these have helped to lower the cost of power meters. They are now affordable for intermediate cyclists and can be used as a basic product. These meters can be used on any bike, and are therefore the most user-friendly.
- Smart Trainer-based. The smart trainer is an option not many people consider when it comes measuring power. This is how it works: A smart trainer is the best option if you are looking to measure your power indoors and do precise interval trainings on your trainer. Smart trainers can measure your power accurately and do not require you to install any new equipment. Smart trainers are for those who want to be able to ride hard outside but have the ability to control your bike when inside.
Power Meter Displays, Readouts and Statistics
Example of SRM’s proprietary power-control display
Installing the power meter on your bike, be it one of the ones listed above, is just part of the equation. Next is the ability to read and receive the data. There are many ways to do this, and they are becoming more Bluetooth-enabled. This is why a new powermeter is better than a used one. Older models needed wires that are almost obsolete.
Once you have installed a power meter, there are several ways to access your data.
- Get a compatible monitor to fit your bike. In the past, the only way to see your power statistics was by buying the monitor from the person who made the power meter. This would often cost $200+. This is an option. We like the fact that these monitors have a clear, large readout and are purpose-built. It’s safer to look at large numbers while riding than to try and find them on a smaller watch. The new bike computers have amazing functionality and displays.
- You can use a compatible device already installed on your bike. If your device is new and bluetooth-enabled, you should be able to connect the powermeter to your device to track your speed, mileage and time.
- Wear your watch. You may be a triathlete like many others who use an all purpose triathlon watchsuitable to running, cycling and swimming. You can also download your power stats and log your workouts with other Garmin data if the watch is not yet used, such as the Garmin Forerunner models.
There are other things you should consider when using your Power Meter
Although we’ve covered quite a bit of ground, there are still some things you should keep in mind when using your power meter. These are some of the key points that we have already covered, but they still bear repeating.
- Easy installation. Make sure the power meter that you select is easy to install and use. If you require professional installation (such as a hub or chainring-based system), it will be installed professionally.
- Battery life. With their Bluetooth technology, power meters require some battery life. Some batteries can last for a whole season, while others will not. It is important to ensure that your battery life is sufficient and that you know how to replace a battery.
- Today’s power meters are capable of integrating with most bikes. It is worthwhile to do some research to ensure that the device is compatible with your bike and its components.
- costis always an important factor in any component of a bike. This is not so much about the price of an item as it is about how the product compares to others.
- For many cyclists,interchangabilitymight be a factor. It is easier to swap between a pedal-based and a hub-based powermeter if you want to use it on multiple bikes.
- If you plan to only use your power meter indoors, but still want to be able to ride on a trainer, you might consider a smart bicycle trainer setupinstead. All of them have some type of power meter, with most of them able to accurately measure your actual power within 1-2%. This is a great way to keep track of your indoor workouts.
FAQs about the Bike Power Meter
Because power meters are an expensive investment, buyers are often careful to ensure they get the right one. We receive lots of questions about them. These are just a few examples of power meters we frequently see.
Is it worth adding a power meter on your bike?
Your training will be a lot easier if you can measure your power
We are certain that it is. To improve your performance, precision is one of the most important things that you can do. This is easier if you’re riding a stationary bike or smart trainer indoors, but it can be a bit more difficult if you’re outside.
There is no substitute for knowing exactly how much power you are using while riding, as evidenced by the numerous studies. A power meter is the only way to know that exact wattage.
What accuracy are bike power meters?
While they can be very accurate, the true test is how responsive they are in tracking your power changes. Today’s power meters work well once you are stable.
The meters shown above track to within 1.5% actual power. Compare this to the Tacx Flux2 at 2.5% or the Saris HTML3 smart trainer at 2%. A power meter, except if you have a laboratory, is the best way to track power …. for non-professional bike riders.
Is it possible to use a power meter with a triathlon app or watch, such as a Garmin or Polar?
You can be sure that the watches and power meters will work well together if you buy the most recent models. While it may take some time to set up, you can get into trouble if you try pairing an old meter and a new watch. If in doubt, make sure to read the specifications for the model you are interested in. It’s usually in the specifications.
Can the crank-based power meters be used with different groupsets or cranksets?
No. No. The most compatible components with crank-based power meters are the Shimano parts. However, make sure to check the specifications on your product before purchasing.
Is a power meter bulkier or heavier than my bike?
No. No. Nowadays, power meters blend seamlessly into the components of your bike. All of the above are seamless, almost invisible (once installed), additions to your bike.
Is it possible to use any cleat when using the pedal-based powermeter?
No. A Look cleat is the best for Garmin. It is the most popular cleat system for cyclists so it shouldn’t be a problem. Garmin also includes pedal cleats.
These power meters are compatible with Strava
They all are. Strava does a great job of integrating most power meters, provided that the meter isn’t too old.
Are you required to have a power meter to enjoy a hobby like cycling or to train for a triathlon. Not at all. However, we have found that adding a power meter to your bike training can yield major benefits if you’re willing to make the investment. It will make your training more precise than a good Triathlon watch. You will see a significant improvement in your bike speed and time if you use a power meter.