“Which power meter should I choose?”
I asked myself this question when I was choosing a power meter for my bike. My friend, Wee Yen, was telling me how he could train better with the help of a power meter, and that he was using the Garmin Vectors, which gave him a whole lotta data!
Anyway, power meters can be quite a bit of money to plonk down for, so I kept in mind 2 things:
- They must be backed up with a good, no-questions-asked warranty for if and when things go wrong.
- Being in Singapore, I’d like my power meter to be covered by bicycle insurance (there’s one provider here) should I damage it in a crash or mishap. As of now, the provider here does not cover pedals.
- (Actually, I had 3 things in mind) Lastly.. It shouldn’t drain my wallet too much!
So, I did a bit of research, finally went with the Stages Cycling (will call ’em Stages from here) power meter, and swopped out my S5’s stock Rotor 3D+ crankset with a DuraAce ‘set, adding a Wheels Manufacturing BBright-to-Shimano adaptor in the process.
Stages has been very reliable for me so far, didn’t find any problems that would’ve given me cause for concern. That said, I have also seen a few Stages power meters come in to the shop with issues like fast battery drain, or the odd signal drop.
Good then, that Stages has also been very quick to respond and the shop has also replaced their units upon warranty claim approval. Which is great, what I like, and what I’d like to see more from other brands as well. Such support really inspires consumer confidence and in turn generates greater business, anyways! Remember, if you look out for your customers, your customers will look out for you in return!
To touch on the signal drop case that I mentioned earlier, our client was using the Garmin Edge 500, which didn’t seem to pick up the Stages signal… But that went away once he changed his head unit to the Garmin Edge 1000. So if you’re facing the same issue and are using the older Edge 500 series, try it with a friend’s higher end or newer Edge unit and see if that solves the problem.
A short summary on reasons which led me to Stages:
- I didn’t need two-sided power meters… Wouldn’t really know what to do with ALL that data and I’m just a casual cyclist (even if my bike seems to say otherwise) who wants to be able to train better or have something to benchmark against.
- Stages warranty was great, from reviews I read.
- At SGD$999 for the DuraAce option, price was within my budget, and I didn’t want to spend almost SGD$2k on a power meter crankset…
- Local bicycle insurance didn’t cover pedals, so the Garmin Vectors were out for me.
- Didn’t add much more weight. Not that I’d mind, cus if I’m using Gokiso wheels, then weight already doesn’t matter to me. (Gokiso wheels aren’t light when you hold them up just like that, but their super smooth rolling is one of the best, if not the best, I’ve ever had. Once those wheels start rolling, you don’t feel their weight at all)
- Bonus point: Stages connects to my phone via Bluetooth. Which means that I don’t have to get an extra Wahoo dongle + Lightning-to-30-pin cable to connect to my iPhone, which some other power meters need.
Things to note:
- If you’re using a bike with rear brakes mounted underneath the bottom bracket like the Storck Aerfast or some Boardman/Neil Pryde bikes for example, then you probably can’t use Stages as the pod will likely hit the brake.
- If you’re using a Cateye Padrone Smart Plus to pair with Stages via Bluetooth, I’ve done it before for a customer, and have more info on setting it up below. I’ve tried Googling for Cateye manuals on this, but couldn’t find anything.
How to pair your Cateye Padrone Smart Plus with Stages Cycling power meter
Here are the steps for pairing your Cateye with Stages, as far as I can remember:
- If you’ve an iPhone around somewhere, do a zero reset on the Stages crank with their app. Or you can just do a Calibrate on your Cateye.
- Switch on your Cateye head unit and have it in Mirror Mode.
- On the Cateye phone app, detect and pair with the Stages crank. If you’re unsure how to detect and pair, check your manual or Google it. 🙂
- Once you’ve paired them up, hop on your bike and pedal a few rounds. This will activate your power meter and you should see your power reading on your Cateye. Spinning the crank unloaded without you on the bike won’t give any reading. Found this out after I paired everything up, turned the unloaded crank and nothing showed… Until we mounted the bike on a trainer and the customer hopped on to give it a spin.
- More on Cateye with Stages! Power is calculated as a function of cadence, which means that the Stages will also tell your Garmin head unit its cadence data, so you shouldn’t need your cadence sensor… On Cateye, however, you will still require the use of your cadence sensor if you want to see that data.
Hope this helps with your power meter choice! If you have different needs from mine, then other offerings like the Quarg etc may be better for you! It really boils down to what you want and the budget you have for one. 🙂
Cervelo Torque Specs and Settings
- Water Bottle Cage Bolts – 2 Nm
- Stem (to handlebar/basebar) – 8 to 12 Nm for aluminum handlebars
- Stem (to fork steerer tube) – 4 to 5 Nm
- Bottom Bracket Cable Guide – 1 Nm
- Brake / Shift Levers – 5 to 8 Nm
- Brake Calipers – 8 to 10 Nm
- Rear Derailleur Hanger Bolts – 1 Nm
- Stem Top Cap – Apply only enough torque to remove all headset play while ensuring it rotates freely. 1 to 2 Nm is recommended.
- Aerobar extensions (to basebar) – Refer to manufacturer’s specifications
- Aerobar extensions (to armrest bolt) – Refer to manufacturer’s specifications
- Saddle (seatpost head bolt):
- Aero Tri / TT Seatpost (P2, P3, P5, T4) saddle clamp bolt – 12 Nm; Seatpost head to seatpost rail bolt – 6 to 7 Nm
- Carbon Two Offset Seatpost (S5) saddle clamp bolt – 12 Nm (Note that two Allen keys are required to prevent the bolt from turning while applying the proper torque; this must be verified using a torque wrench. Insufficient torque will cause the saddle to slip, possibly causing premature wear to the clamping mechanism.)
- Carbon Single Offset seatpost (S2, S3) Saddle Clamp Bolt – 12 Nm
- Round Road Seatposts (R3, R5, Rca) – Refer to seatpost manufacturer’s instructions
- Seattube Collar:
- Carbon TT Seattube Collar (P5) – 4 Nm
- Wedge Type Seattube Collar (S2, S3, S5, S5 VWD, P2, P3) – 8 Nm
- Non-round Seattube Collar (R3, R5, Rca) – 6 Nm
Note that collar & bolt must be greased; aluminum seatposts greased, carbon seatpost coated in carbon assembly compound.
- Pedals – 30 to 35 Nm
- Wheels – Measured torque is not used for quick release wheels. The recommended industry practice is to close the release so that the resistance at the midpoint of the lever’s travel from fully open to fully close.
Source: Cervelo manual
Date of this post: 28 March 2016
Something I found out: Calories burnt reported by a power meter is lower than one reported without a power meter.
Was wondering why yesterday’s ride posted a higher heart rate but yet lower calories burnt, as compared to a 4th Dec ride with the same 28km route, ride elapsed time and slightly earlier time of ride. Yesterday’s ride had much stronger headwinds, so that probably explains the higher bpm..
This can only mean one thing… I need to work more to burn off those delicious nasi briyani!
Yesterday’s ride with Stages Cycling power meter:
Avg HR: 153 bpm
Max HR: 172 bpm
4th Dec 2015 ride, without a power meter:
Avg HR: 143 bpm
Max HR: 167 bpm
Anyway, here’re some of what I usually enjoy during the week…
What I do know, though, is that the wheels save me energy by allowing me to coast much longer and use fewer pedal strokes overall for the same route done many times with different wheels.
Am also happy to report lower pulse rates, but like many, that might not be concrete enough a data for me to see just how much energy I save.
I’ll probably fix my bike’s stock Mavic Cosmic Elite wheels (probably lighter than my Gokiso) back on the bike, do my usual route for a week or longer – to average out the data for different times of day, headwinds tailwinds etc – then see just how much power difference there is between wheels.
Anyway, if you’re looking for a nice power meter, check out Stages Cycling!