The Pros and Cons of 5 Power Meters

Power meters provide an objective measurement of how hard you're working in order to take the guesswork out of training. It allows you to track changes in your fitness easily and will help you to determine your strengths and weaknesses, which can help you to customize your training plan around those areas that need improvement.

So if power meters have so many benefits, why doesn't every cyclist own one? Undoubtedly, a large reason for most consumers is the price. It's a big investment, and in some instances, can cost as much as a low-end performance road bike. It can also be difficult to learn how to use one correctly.

If you've decided to purchase a power meter, it can be hard to know which option is best for you. There are a range of pros and cons for each option, so it's good to know what's available so that you can make an informed decision prior to making the investment.

More: 4 Easy Steps to Begin Training With a Power Meter

CycleOps PowerCal

How it works: Embedded in a heart rate strap.

Cost: $100

Pros:

  • Inexpensive.
  • Can be used with any bike.
  • Great for beginner cyclists who aren't sure if they're ready to invest in a more traditional, expensive power meter.

Cons:

  • Uses a complex mathematical algorithm to estimate your power numbers. Basically, it's a heart rate monitor.
  • Can't accurately measure short bursts of effort due to the delayed response of the heart rate.

More: Best Buy: Power Meter or Heart Rate Monitor?

CycleOps PowerTap G3

How it works: Embedded in the hub of the rear wheel.

Cost: $790

Pros:

  • Easy to transfer from one bike to another by swapping rear wheels.
  • Less expensive than many other options.

Cons:

  • Requires you to use the same wheel set for both training and racing.
  • The size of the hub increases the weight of the rear wheel.

More: 4 Tips for Using a Power Meter

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About the Author

Elizabeth Martin

Elizabeth Martin earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science from the University of Northern Colorado. She joined her school's club cycling team in 2008 and has experience racing road, track and cyclocross. She is a certified USA Cycling coach and American College of Sports Medicine Personal Trainer and is currently working as a cycling coach for Zoom Performance in Des Moines, Iowa. She enjoys helping individuals of all abilities reach the next level. Visit her website at Getzoomperformance.com

Elizabeth Martin earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science from the University of Northern Colorado. She joined her school's club cycling team in 2008 and has experience racing road, track and cyclocross. She is a certified USA Cycling coach and American College of Sports Medicine Personal Trainer and is currently working as a cycling coach for Zoom Performance in Des Moines, Iowa. She enjoys helping individuals of all abilities reach the next level. Visit her website at Getzoomperformance.com

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