“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. 🙂