|Cycling Power Meter Review|
|Power Meter Review pg 2|
|Power Meter Review pt 3|
Things of Note, but Not Rated
There are some extra features/issues in some of the systems that are worth mentioning, though they don’t have a whole lot to do with the fundamental measurement of power.
During a couple of early morning rides, the LCD on both the Polar and PT darkened and made reading the display more difficult. The PT CPU display also had to be occasionally tilted in bright sunlight in order to make the data more visible – the contrast could be improved for the PT.
One of the good things about using a power meter is its real time feedback during a time trial for pacing purposes. This brings up the fact that there are some things to consider when choosing between systems if one wants to have dual bike capabilities. The cheapest solution to the two bike problem is to move the whole system between bikes. This is really easy for the ibike, not too painful for the PT and SRM units (with the PT system being slightly more convenient), but would be a considerable aggravation with the Polar unit – I would recommend installing a completely separate unit on the second bike, but this quickly gets expensive. The second CPU harness/transmitter system for the PT/SRM/ibike is more affordable and is worth the extra cost if one plans to have two bike setups.
It should be noted, though, that installation of the ibike on a TT bike is problematic and will need their remote wind sensor at additional cost (a piece of tubing that routes the pitot port into clean air).
Another thing to consider is the use of aero equipment. With the Polar and SRM units, one can use a disk wheel for TT’s, but with the PT system the only option for a solid rear wheel would be a wheel cover; but the question still remains - can wheel covers possibly be as fast as a disk?
Finally, a general trend in the power measuring world is to buy your power meter from one company and then separately buy your CPU/head unit from another company. So, for example, if you like the SRM crank, but want to have a Garmin 500 head unit, this is now possible. This new option is due to the ANT+ wireless communication protocol, which standardizes the way these devices communicate to each other. The exception to this standardized wireless protocol is the polar unit, which uses its own proprietary system.
If anyone is still awake after all that, I think the short review is that you can’t really go wrong with a PT/SRM. The polar can be made to work reliably, but is a bit fiddly in the setup. Spend what you can afford and what looks cool to you. I’d have to recommend skipping the ibike for now, though, based on my data quality issues described above.
For those of you that need some numbers, here’s how I see things shaking out when it comes to price, performance, and durability: