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Power Meter Recomendations
CREATED: 02/28/14 by raybearly REPLIES: 5
raybearly's ravatar raybearly    JOINED: 12/28/11    POSTS: 9
Power Meter Recomendations
POSTED: 2/28/14 9:52 PM

I currently have a Kinetic Inride trainer. I am in need of getting a second trainer and am looking at the Kickr - which I understand is better to have because of the power meter and resistence (and probably many other reasons).

I don't currently train using power meter data, but was thinking maybe I would. What do you all good folks recommend for a power meter?

I have seen a garmin and a few others. I wish I could say reading DC Rainmaker made this easy (he would have the Kickr's babies) so I am still a bit lost.

Any recommendations would be appreciated.



jmunchak's ravatar jmunchak    JOINED: 3/24/12    POSTS: 34
RE: Power Meter Recomendations
POSTED: 3/01/14 9:26 AM

First, you need to think about what it is you expect to learn from the power meter, and how will that improve your riding. For me it was most useful in helping to pace medium to long duration efforts (5+ minutes) without going too hard at the beginning especially. This enabled me to have more effective interval workouts and probably gave me a 10-20% boost in what I could sustain over an hour once I knew how to train with the data and use it during races. Keep in mind that this was after 5 years of pretty consistent training and racing already, so it's not a given I would have made these improvements anyway.

As far as brands, I have always been a fan of Powertap. They are the most affordable of what I would consider the set of power meters accurate and reliable enough to give you useful information on your training, and just had a big price drop last year. They are pretty resistant to wild changes in calibration and the ANT+ protocol lets you use it with any head unit which is also a plus and pretty much a requirement these days. That being said, you are locked into using the same wheel for everything if you go that route. Obviously, if you have already invested a lot into race wheels this would be a downside, since racing with power is just as much a benefit as training with it (at least for me). In the past I had just used a heavy training wheel with a disc cover for racing but I just got a 2nd PT hub built into a HED Jet 6 since the recent price drop made that option much more affordable.

If I didn't already have a PT though I would take a strong look at the Vector pedals. Left/right data intrigues me but I'm not sure what I would do with it. Ultimately the advantage there is if you have several bikes (cross, road, TT) it doesn't get much easier than swapping pedals to get power data across the board, and with any wheel set you choose. In my opinion, the other options (quarq, SRM, stages) don't really offer any benefit above these but I'd like to hear what others think.

raybearly's ravatar raybearly    JOINED: 12/28/11    POSTS: 9
RE: Power Meter Recomendations
POSTED: 3/01/14 10:42 AM

Thanks for the reply! I appreciate the comments. I am still a newbie (IMO) to tri sporting. This is technically my third year, but I would say that my first year I didn't try all that hard. I did better on my second year. Now I have hired a coach and I am really seeing the benefits of that effort. So, I think I am going to improve with my baseline and core and then maybe move on to power meter.

Its all a bit much for me now but comments like these help me understand how this type of training could benefit me.

Thank you!

karlaj's ravatar karlaj    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 215
RE: Power Meter Recomendations
POSTED: 3/01/14 11:46 AM

I would add that trainerroad (TR) is an option to train with power using your current trainer; so no need to get a 2nd trainer, or spend the money on an actual powermeter. TR uses "virtual power" by estimating power with the resistance curve of the trainer, or it can read your powermeter signal. It's about $10/month unlimited (subscription) plus a few gadgets (ant+ usb stick, cadence/speed sensor). Eventually, you probably still want a power meter, but you can do a lot of proper training at appropriate intensities using this approach, which is really where the value of the powermeter is. And I'm not a shill, just a satisfied customer. -Jason

HappyRunner's ravatar HappyRunner    JOINED: 1/15/11    POSTS: 281
RE: Power Meter Recomendations
POSTED: 3/02/14 8:20 PM

Your question is a little confusing. So you are in the market for a second trainer and want to know whether the $1,100 KICKR is a better option than just getting another Kinetic trainer ($300) and getting "power" readings from adding the Inride sensor ($299) like you currently have? Or are you saying get a second trainer and add a power meter to your bike? That clarification would add a lot to give you the info you seek.

The main advantage to the KICKR is that it will hold a specific wattage regardless of cadence or gearing. So if you want to do X minutes at Z3 intensity, that's exactly what you will do. The KICKR has a true power meter measuring actual output.

The Kinetic Inride sensor and Trainer Road are "virtual" power meters. Each provides an estimate of your power based on speed and cadence based on an equation.

Your other option is to get a standard trainer and then get a power meter for your bike. The advantage would be accurate power readings on the trainer, plus you could use the power meter on outdoor rides/races.

Not sure what you didn't like about DCRainmaker. I've found his reviews and explanations to be spot on. There are also a couple of books you might want to look into: Power Meter Handbook (Joe Friel) which introduces the basics and Training and Racing with a Power Meter (Allen Hunter/Andy Coggan), which is actually useful.

raybearly's ravatar raybearly    JOINED: 12/28/11    POSTS: 9
RE: Power Meter Recomendations
POSTED: 3/02/14 8:45 PM

My question may be a bit confusing. Partly because I'm not sure what I masking and partly because I don't really understand power meters. I'm a little more knowledgeable now.

DC Rainmaker has really good reviews and clearly knows hi stuff. My only issue is he doesn't tend to give a final recommendation but gives several. In the Kikcr example, he really really loves that machine. And because I trust DC Rainmaker I want to buy one. That is how my journey to power meters began.

I have the power meter stuff on my Inride but I don't use the data and don't train using power. If I use the power meter on my trainer then would need to also get some type of power meter for my bike (off the trainer) and then the idea of power meter stuff got complicated. I think I am just not ready yet.

I think for now I am going to not use power and focus on how I am doing my training now (HR). Maybe next year (or winter) start looking at training using power.

Thanks happy runner for the reply!

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