March 17, 2015 – Power. It has certainly been a hot category lately with a slew of brands jumping in. It’s not surprising, since power is undoubtedly the gold standard of metrics. If you are serious about riding fast, you ride with power – period. We’ve seen crank based power, dual sided power, pedal based power (although none have been truly successful yet), spider based power and talk of shoe based power, virtual power or peel and stick power you can apply at home. In the background of all of this has been PowerTap and its hub based power, a little forgotten in the cacophony. Well, they won’t be ignored any longer.
PowerTap just announced a massive initiative giving the company a new attitude to go along with three new power measurement tools. It has been developing hub based power for 15 years and now, in addition to continuing to push hub based power, it is bringing power measurement to two new locations, the pedal and the chainring, as well as adding Bluetooth compatibility to its head unit, the Joule GPS+. This has the power to truly redefine the power category. Until now, brands staked out a location to measure power and then claimed it was the best. PowerTap’s plan is to deliver accuracy, consistency and simplicity in these three locations, and then let riders decide where they want to measure power.
A New G3 Hub
Hub based measurement has been PowerTap’s bread and butter with the G3. Based on DT Swiss internals the hub features +/-1.5% accuracy, ANT + connectivity and a rider replaceable CR2032 coin battery. An optional Bluetooth cap makes it Bluetooth Smart compatible to. To the road G3, the light weight G3C and the track G3, PowerTap is adding a G3 Disc, shaving 180grams off the original and compatible with QR’s and through axles in 24 or 28spoke options. Retail is $790.
The P1 Power Pedal
LOOK has tried, Garmin has tried, Xpedo has tried, and we’re not sure anyone of those brands can say they have fully succeeded in putting power in the pedal. What all those companies have in common is none were power companies before. Now PowerTap is throwing its hat in the ring. If successful, the P1 pedal, based on a Look KEO, could be the true holy grail of power. It requires no separate pod, no calibration and no angle adjustment. Just slap them on and ride, they will talk to both ANT+ and Bluetooth devices. At 398grams the weight penalty is not too onerous either, only 118grams heavier than KEO Classics. Of course, that is if PowerTap has managed an engineering feat the others have not. We have yet to ride the pedal, but images suggest it may suffer from a lack of cornering clearance while pedaling, similar to the Xpedo Thrust-E. Estimate retail is $1200.
The C1 Power Chainring
Of all the products announced, for our money, the C1 Chainring is the most exciting. Any five-bolt 110BCD cranks can be used, simply attach the C1 and ride. Available in 50/36, 52/36 and 53/39 configurations the C1 uses a CR2032 battery and is both ANT+ and Bluetooth compatible. It adds about 150grams to a set of regular chainrings. Retailing for approximately $700, PowerTap is taking on Stages Cycling for the title of most cost effective and convenient power solution with the C1.
Stay tuned to peloton for an upcoming test and hit up powertap.com for more info as the new C1 and P1 meters become available.