Initially used by cycling professionals, the power meter is a device that captures the force applied to the bicycle by the cyclist while pedalling. The calculation is based on strength, speed and time. The result is expressed in watts.
You would say, this should set all cyclists on equal footing. Yet, depending on their level, status or experience, if they produce the same number of watts, their performances will not be equal. Other parameters include cycling efficiency, aerodynamics, Power-to-weight ratio, etc are to take into consideration.
Nevertheless, the power meter allows professional cyclists to monitor their performance and evaluate their evolution. Its usefulness during training and follow-up is unquestionable. The generalization of the device and the current significant drop in prices make it accessible to amateurs, who will find the same utility even if the use seems less crucial.
Since its democratization, the power meter is subject to debate. When, for other equipment, the debates concern brands and models, the choice of a meter depends initially on its location on the bicycle.
Types of power sensors and their specificities:
- The power meter in the wheel hub:
The benefit of the power meter in the hub is that it allows to quantify the power of both legs (as opposed to the sensor on the pedal). It calculates the power generated on the driving wheel. The disadvantage of this sensor, in spite of its precision and its reliability, is that being mounted in the wheel makes it is necessary to keep it on said wheel. To change it is necessary to disassemble the wheel entirely and put the meter together with the replacement wheel. This can be a game changer for some of us. Especially for those who use several sets of wheels (wear, adaptability to different surfaces …)
- The power meter on the pedal:
The power meter on the pedal can be easily plugged and transferred from one bike to another. Its efficiency is proven and it is very popular when installed in pairs. Only one meter can be used to reduce acquisition costs; In this case, the calculated power will be equivalent to twice the power measured to the right or left leg. We are therefore on an estimate of power rather than an accurate calculation.
- The power meter on the pedal arm or crank:
Like the power meter on the pedal, the sensor installed on the pedal arm only captures the power of one leg. Thereafter, it multiplies this power by two. That skews the data. Unlike the previous sensor, it is not possible to place two. If you opt for this type of material, expect rough results.
- The power meter integrated into the pedals:
Very popular, the power meter in the pedals has the advantage of being reliable and light. The goal is not to weigh down the bike, this device weighs 80 grams (according to brands). It is the high-end that also brings the best precision. The measurements taken are almost indisputable and the lifetime of the equipment may exceed that of the previous devices. That said, installing on another bike is tedious because dismounting is inevitable.
So when you train on several bikes you need either as many sensors as the bicycles you own or opt for a power meter that is easier to move and install.
The choice of a power meter depends essentially on:
- Requirements for the analysis of the data transmitted.
- Which equipment you have.
- The budget allocated.
The good news is, Kinomap is compatible with all the power meters on the market. You can synchronize the data collected by your device with the video you upload to https://www.kinomap.com/v2/home.
Indoor trainers, if you have a simple home trainer without onboard electronics, you can train with Kinomap. Directly connect your power meter with the application to transmit the watts produced. This is a clever and economical solution compared to smart trainers. It allows you to use the same power sensor for your road trips and your indoor training device!
To help you further in your choice, we recommend that you take a look at this DC Rainmaker‘s article.
With the right hardware and motivation, nothing can stop you from training on Kinomap’s applications and share your performance with the world.