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.
How it works: Embedded in a heart rate strap.
- 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.
- 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.
CycleOps PowerTap G3
How it works: Embedded in the hub of the rear wheel.
- Easy to transfer from one bike to another by swapping rear wheels.
- Less expensive than many other options.
- 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.