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  1. #1
    Always pushing harder!!!
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    Power meter...how to choose the best fit for me?

    I've been wondering for quite a while now if this is a good investment or not. I know if I take seriously my training, this is the main tool to do it. But with a few new players in the market right now, how can I choose the best fit for me? If I had my choice, I would love a crank power meter, but a Power Tap Hub seems like a good option also. Also, a few weeks ago I saw a picture of Geoff Kabush bike and he was using a Stages PM in his crank arm.

    For those of you with more experience in this matter, what would be an ideal fit for a mountain biker? I don't have cash to blow, so a budget friendly option would be great.

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    I do not use power yet, but guys on my team use Quarq on road and MTB. They say powertap wheels to heavy to race with. One fast guy on team says powermeter on his mtb is like cheating - being able to see power on hills, starts, etc

    This article looks interesting
    Quarq v.s. Powertap ? Powermeter Review | Cycling Tips

    Joe Friel - Why You Need a Power Meter

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    I think Joe Friel himself said that the time to buy a power meter is when you start to plateau and stop seeing decent improvements from your training.

    I used one (a powertap hub) briefly in some "lab" tests and it really does give you a completely different perspective on where you are. I'd probably get one if they were a lot cheaper but for that price I could buy, for example, a nice used cyclo cross bike that I think would make more difference to my own fitness, so a PM is a way off for me.

  4. #4
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    I have a PT on my road bike. It's a bit of a PITA to switch between bikes and it is definitely heavy. I would go with a Quarq on my next bike for sure. I would love one on my mtb but I do most training on the road still so that's where the money goes for me.

  5. #5
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    I have a PT on my road bike and a Quarq on my MTB and CX bike. My opinion are mixed on each.
    PT - heavier but not bad, takes longer to calibrate than Quarq (about 1 min longer-no big deal), no option to switch wheels (I don't race road so I don't care), much more stable power readings than Quarq, cheaper than the Quarq
    Quarq - Easy to use, fast calibration, can switch wheels, Bottom Bracket doesn't seem to last as long, power can fluctuate due to cadence sensor problems (water or debris gets on the magnet), expensive

    I like the quarq on my race bike, but do all my FTP test on the PT due to the stability. But really not an issue when you are training or racing.

  6. #6
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    Has anyone here had any experience with a Stages Cycling powermeter?

    I know it only measures the power produced by the left leg, but the cost and the fact that I can just slap an X9 crankarm+PM onto my XO crank makes it rather appealing.
    Death from Below.
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  7. #7
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    I use mine on the road. Its pretty cool looking down and sticking to a number on a breakaway or while in a chase. I also use it for testing a couple times a season.

    I just dont know how I could pay attention to one on the MTB. Hell, I can hardly look behind me while racing without riding off the trail! Is the main use of one on a mtb sticking to FTP when chasing or leading?
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Has anyone here had any experience with a Stages Cycling powermeter?

    I know it only measures the power produced by the left leg, but the cost and the fact that I can just slap an X9 crankarm+PM onto my XO crank makes it rather appealing.
    Especially on a MTB, I can see it being an issue only measuring power on one side since the pedal stroke isn't as smooth as on the road. Having said that, it's definitely better than not training with power at all and it's probably "close enough".

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    Quote Originally Posted by mooddude View Post
    I have a PT on my road bike and a Quarq on my MTB and CX bike. My opinion are mixed on each.
    PT - heavier but not bad, takes longer to calibrate than Quarq (about 1 min longer-no big deal), no option to switch wheels (I don't race road so I don't care), much more stable power readings than Quarq, cheaper than the Quarq
    Quarq - Easy to use, fast calibration, can switch wheels, Bottom Bracket doesn't seem to last as long, power can fluctuate due to cadence sensor problems (water or debris gets on the magnet), expensive

    I like the quarq on my race bike, but do all my FTP test on the PT due to the stability. But really not an issue when you are training or racing.
    How old is your Quarq? I'm seriously considering getting one for a new road build. From what I've heard, a lot of the older Quarqs were not super reliable, but I was led to believe that most of those issues had been solved.

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    Somewhat but (IMO) the real benefit comes with a better picture of TSS and overall training load

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Has anyone here had any experience with a Stages Cycling powermeter?
    I have a stages PM on both my road and MTB bikes. Really like it. Cheaper than other PMs, easy installation, light weight, a breeze to calibrate, plenty accurate from what I can tell, no magnet to mount, and can be switched between bikes (assuming they can use the same crank arm). Unfortunately they can't be mounted to carbon arms so I can't put one on my race bike which is a bummer. The whole left leg only thing is a non-issue to me. That might effect the data a tiny bit but the whole point is to have data you can train to which I have. Get one!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Has anyone here had any experience with a Stages Cycling powermeter?

    I know it only measures the power produced by the left leg, but the cost and the fact that I can just slap an X9 crankarm+PM onto my XO crank makes it rather appealing.
    This was response I received on another forum when I asked the same question 3/15/13.
    "From a functional standpoint the first we sold one through the shop I work at the unit came loose from the crank arm within a week. Always best to wait for the bugs to be worked out..."

    Anyone have any experience with Stages Power Meter?

    in depth review
    Stages Power Meter In-Depth Review | DC Rainmaker

    problems with 'stages' could also be do to certain garmin models
    https://forums.garmin.com/showthread...s-Issue/page19

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcm01 View Post
    I have a stages PM on both my road and MTB bikes. Really like it. Cheaper than other PMs, easy installation, light weight, a breeze to calibrate, plenty accurate from what I can tell, no magnet to mount, and can be switched between bikes (assuming they can use the same crank arm). Unfortunately they can't be mounted to carbon arms so I can't put one on my race bike which is a bummer. The whole left leg only thing is a non-issue to me. That might effect the data a tiny bit but the whole point is to have data you can train to which I have. Get one!
    JCM

    When did you purchase yours?

  14. #14
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    I have a powertap on my MTB and would go crank based if I did it over again, I had to have my powertap rebuilt after 2 years, it cost $400 to rebuild including shipping costs. Factoring in the purchase price, plus rebuilt price, I could have bought an SRM or been ahead $ wise if I bought a Quarq & I could run any rear wheel I want.

    On my road bikes, my SRM is 5 years old and is still running great, Quarq is 3 years old and perfect as well. The crank based units just work and don't need expensive rebuilds like the Powertap.

  15. #15
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    I have a stages on my XTR for my mountain bike (& a quarq on my road bike). FWIW-we are pretty much the #1 stages dealer in the country at FasCat. We've sold quite a few units, never once have we seen or had to return any units for faulty bonding or issues with the unit itself. A few minor, my battery went dead and I don't know what to do (did you change the battery, RTFM?) issues. The newer firmware updates have been really good and helpful, particularly on the mtb side. There was some power and cadence spikes that occur from using an accelerometer in the unit and happens when descending. You'll never truly get rid of it, but the data is now much much cleaner. Also as a coach, I have several athletes using the Stages and can say their data along with mine is equivalent to the 2nd power meter and all data that's come through has been really good.

    I took a tour of stages last week and it's a pretty awesome setup. They've built all of their own dyno machines & the software for them in house. Every single power meter that gets sent out gets calibrated at multiple temperature levels, including being put in a freezer. If you've ever had a quarq you know how much a PIA it is to calibrate when the temperature changes! Many units, as much as 20% are pulled from production and tested on the road.

    The data that I'm getting on the mtb is invaluable, mostly because I train the majority of the time on my mountain bike. It's great to find what are the demands of the races and also where the weaknesses are, etc. At a few hundred bucks and 26g weight penalty, I'll take that every time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skibum1321 View Post
    Especially on a MTB, I can see it being an issue only measuring power on one side since the pedal stroke isn't as smooth as on the road. Having said that, it's definitely better than not training with power at all and it's probably "close enough".
    Got my CX Quarq (Road Quarq) last year, it is much more stable the MTB Quarq. Yet, when you look at your data you will still see false zero's where as the powertap I don't see any and my powertap on my road bike is now 5 years old without a rebuild. And I had to replace the BB (SRAM) on the Quarq after about 2 months of riding and have seen responses with similar experiences with the SRAM BB on RoadBikeReview

  17. #17
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    Power meter...how to choose the best fit for me?

    Quote Originally Posted by sprocketjockey9 View Post
    The newer firmware updates have been really good and helpful, particularly on the mtb side. There was some power and cadence spikes that occur from using an accelerometer in the unit and happens when descending. You'll never truly get rid of it, but the data is now much much cleaner. Also as a coach, I have several athletes using the Stages and can say their data along with mine is equivalent to the 2nd power meter and all data that's come through has been really good.
    Have you got any examples that you could link to show what these spikes look like please? Is it more pronounced riding offroad when compared to using a Stages power meter on the road?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottz123 View Post
    JCM

    When did you purchase yours?
    I bought the road PM (Ultegra) about 2 months ago and the MTB PM (XTR) about 1 month ago.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprocketjockey9 View Post
    There was some power and cadence spikes that occur from using an accelerometer in the unit and happens when descending. You'll never truly get rid of it, but the data is now much much cleaner.
    This is my only complaint about the stages PM. When you are coasting down a bumpy descent on the MTB (or even hit something hard on the road bike), the crank arm flexes a tiny bit and it records a huge power spike (anywhere from 300W to 1500W) for a second or two. So after each ride I have to go through and clean out the data. They just released a new firmware update that I was really hoping would fix this but I went for a ride yesterday and it's still doing it. Can you offer any insight or additional color here? Thanks

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by WR304 View Post
    Is it more pronounced riding offroad when compared to using a Stages power meter on the road?
    Much more pronounced off road. Happens to me on pretty much every bumpy rocky descent when you are not turning the pedals.

  21. #21
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    I'm interested in the Stages...a warranted bike I just received came with Ultegra...I don't swap road wheels, rarely race on road, most of the training its done on road and would have to swap BB for me to use an Quarq...SRM's are out of the question...Stages keep looking sweeter everyday...

  22. #22
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    I don't have an answer for you. The new firmware has pretty much cleaned up everything I was seeing that was initially an issue, both for myself and the athletes I work with. Now I only get about 1 spike or so every few rides (which can happen with any power meter).

  23. #23
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    Power meter...how to choose the best fit for me?

    Quote Originally Posted by jcm01 View Post
    This is my only complaint about the stages PM. When you are coasting down a bumpy descent on the MTB (or even hit something hard on the road bike), the crank arm flexes a tiny bit and it records a huge power spike (anywhere from 300W to 1500W) for a second or two. So after each ride I have to go through and clean out the data. They just released a new firmware update that I was really hoping would fix this but I went for a ride yesterday and it's still doing it. Can you offer any insight or additional color here? Thanks
    The problem with power meters is that you rely on them to provide consistent readings. If they're inconsistent and throwing up random numbers it makes it harder to know what the data is saying. There's a famous saying "garbage in = garbage out".

    As I'll never be able to use a Stages power meter (due to a slight pedalling asymmetry ) I've been vaguely reading threads about it without really going into too much depth. Is there a particular best practice pre-ride calibration protocol or combination of settings on the head unit that you should be following to make the power figures more stable with a Stages power meter?

    Which head unit are you using and which software program are you downloading the recorded data into? Both those things can affect how your data is interpreted too.

    The newest Garmin Edge 510 and 810 head units are supposed to be a bit buggy with some power meters apparently.

    https://forums.garmin.com/showthread...-as-bad-as-810

    .

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    I use a Garmin 500 and calibration is really easy. Everything works great actually and my data is normally quite clean and consistent between rides. Only issue is power spikes. It's because the power meter is located on the crank arm. So if you are standing on the pedals and coasting with your pedals at 3 and 9 o'clock, and hit a big bump, the crank arm flexes and records a power spike. So it only happens a few times a ride but would be great if it didn't happen at all. Other than that I have had 0 problems and love the meter. Would still highly recommend it.

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    Power meter...how to choose the best fit for me?

    Some general Stages power meter thoughts:

    Stages have lots of different crank arms on offer.

    http://www.stagescycling.com/stagespower-models

    I wonder if they have a stiffness ranking for the left hand crank arms, are they all equal when used as Stages cranks? Say you were to have a Shimano Saint M820 downhill left hand crankarm as the donor crank for your MTB Stages power meter, would it be stiffer and less likely to see unwanted spikes than with a lightweight Shimano XTR M980 crank? The Saint crankarms are still Hollowtech II fitting so you could mix and match chainsets. I don't know but it's one possibility to look at.

    Something else to look at would be your lead leg. The power meter is based on the forces going through the left hand crank arm. Most people tend to have a preferred dominant lead leg when coasting and descending, often right leg forwards 9 o'clock and left leg back 3 o'clock. This tends to see you putting more weight through your lead leg for steering. If you were to coast in the other orientation (left leg forwards 9 o'clock and right leg back 3 o'clock) could this make the left hand crank take more weight and see more spikes when descending as a result?

    Do you get fewer spikes if the crank is used on a full suspension bike, rather than on a hardtail which is going to be bounced around more on rough ground?

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    Quote Originally Posted by WR304 View Post
    Something else to look at would be your lead leg. The power meter is based on the forces going through the left hand crank arm. Most people tend to have a preferred dominant lead leg when coasting and descending, often right leg forwards 9 o'clock and left leg back 3 o'clock. This tends to see you putting more weight through your lead leg for steering. If you were to coast in the other orientation (left leg forwards 9 o'clock and right leg back 3 o'clock) could this make the left hand crank take more weight and see more spikes when descending as a result?
    Bingo!! You are exactly right. Unfortunately, my preferred dominant leg is the left. Sometimes I will make it a point to put the right leg forward and in which case the power spikes disappear completely, but this feels really awkward for me and in 1 case, almost caused me to hit the deck pretty hard on a rocky section. So I've decided that I would rather descend safely even if that means power spikes. But you are right on in that for right leg dominate riders, this stages power spike thing is a non-issue.

  27. #27
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    in my case,i descend with my right leg up front...and I also noticed today that I tend to ease the pressure on the pedals whenever a hit or bump occurs...

    Interesting...

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    Power meter...how to choose the best fit for me?

    They discontinued the quarq I'm glad I already got mine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by litany View Post
    They discontinued the quarq I'm glad I already got mine.
    "Quarq is also planning to discontinue its current mountain bike crank in 2013 for an updated version to be announced down the road"
    Zipp and Quarq diversify product ranges for 2013

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    Power meter...how to choose the best fit for me?

    Oh so they are probably doing it to add power balance then? That's my guess. Cool I'm glad they aren't getting out of MTB.

  31. #31
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    Do you have a road bike, or are you just looking at one for a mountain bike?

    Quote Originally Posted by carlostruco View Post
    in my case,i descend with my right leg up front...and I also noticed today that I tend to ease the pressure on the pedals whenever a hit or bump occurs...

    Interesting...
    Fall in Fruita/GJ. F' yeah! Lunch Loops are riding sweet and so is everything else.

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    some relevant testing by the tri-geek crowd

    most interesting that the stages meter drops out below 30 rpm. Not likely to be a huge issue but worth noting.

    at first I was scared away from this but the more I think about it, their "market" isn't necessarily to be as accurate as an SRM otherwise they'd have a tension unit in each crank. They're trying to fill the a gap and the results indicate that the tradeoff between accuracy and price might work for "most" people.

    Slowtwitch Power Meter 201

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    Power meter...how to choose the best fit for me?

    Quote Originally Posted by skibum1321 View Post
    How old is your Quarq? I'm seriously considering getting one for a new road build. From what I've heard, a lot of the older Quarqs were not super reliable, but I was led to believe that most of those issues had been solved.
    I have a quarq that is almost a year old now. When I first got it it was fine for about a month, then I started having issues where I wasn't getting data. Happened most rides for about a week. After calling quarq they recommended i try a different garmin. My friend and I swapped garmin 500s and I've had no problems since. Super weird sounding I know. Newest edge 500 firmware on both and the quarq was newest firmware too.

    Battery died during my last race but what are you going to do. I guess I should have changed it!

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLd View Post
    Do you have a road bike, or are you just looking at one for a mountain bike?
    I'm interested in a PM for my RB...I do most of my training on the road since it rains a lot during racing season...

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    Quote Originally Posted by litany View Post
    Oh so they are probably doing it to add power balance then? That's my guess. Cool I'm glad they aren't getting out of MTB.
    ... There is something wrong if they are discontinuing their MTB units. FWIW I had a mtb unit last season and it totally sucked. Had to send it for service right when receiving it, the offset would NEVER stabilize. Still had issues when it came back from service. It was hell when the powermeter was seeing any bit of water. Their product wasnt ready to be sold on the market. I was very disapointed with their product and for me, Quarq is a no go from now on.

    It's worth paying the extra for an SRM. Believe me...

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    I paid for a Stages PM back in mid-April when I signed up with FasCat Coaching. Still hasn't arrived. First a problem with BB30 compatability. Now it seems like FasCat was going to switch me to a different type of PM but they don't have the right size chain rings. I'm more than happy with FasCat, I'm just getting a little impatient with "as soon as we get your PM, training will really get good.."

    Hopefully it comes in time for me to actually train with it, but I'm well into halfway through my season. Getting some great heart rate data though with my new Garmin.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Devincicx View Post
    ... There is something wrong if they are discontinuing their MTB units. FWIW I had a mtb unit last season and it totally sucked. Had to send it for service right when receiving it, the offset would NEVER stabilize. Still had issues when it came back from service. It was hell when the powermeter was seeing any bit of water. Their product wasnt ready to be sold on the market. I was very disapointed with their product and for me, Quarq is a no go from now on.

    It's worth paying the extra for an SRM. Believe me...
    Wow. Interesting feedback. I almost pulled the trigger on one of these. Glad I went with Stages I guess...(SRM is out of my price range)

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3blackbikes View Post
    I paid for a Stages PM back in mid-April when I signed up with FasCat Coaching. Still hasn't arrived. First a problem with BB30 compatability. Now it seems like FasCat was going to switch me to a different type of PM but they don't have the right size chain rings. I'm more than happy with FasCat, I'm just getting a little impatient with "as soon as we get your PM, training will really get good.."

    Hopefully it comes in time for me to actually train with it, but I'm well into halfway through my season. Getting some great heart rate data though with my new Garmin.....
    Apologies for the delay. Stages isn't currently even making BB30 SRAM at the moment (unless you want to swap to the Cannondale crank) Not sure what the issue is with the chainring sizes, those can be swapped easily. Give a call here and can help you out.

    I can assure you though, that your training will take on a new dimension with power and help you improve much more than heart rate. There is a reason that powermeters are the 'gold' standard for training these days. There's plenty more information for both you and your coach to utilize that you just can't get with heart rate

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    sure training becomes better and you might even see a rapid improvement at the begining, but it's not like if having a powermeter will all of a sudden take you from an average ridert o a good rider.

    Alls you can do is alls you can do, with, or without a powermeter

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    Quote Originally Posted by jcm01 View Post
    Wow. Interesting feedback. I almost pulled the trigger on one of these. Glad I went with Stages I guess...(SRM is out of my price range)
    yeah SRM are expensive, very. But everytime I purchased something and thought ''hey, I could have wait a little longer and use that money for an SRM''.

    It's huge money to spend on one shot, but it's totally worth it's price. Considerably cheaper when you buy a garmin edge 500 instead of a PC7, but I hate garmins. My mtb SRM has a rock stable zero offset, I can calibrate it myself, it's sleak, light, accurate and reliable. But most of all, I will still be posting about it 10 years from now if I avoid major crashes.

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    One more also from today

    Power Meter 301 - Slowtwitch.com

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    Power meter...how to choose the best fit for me?

    Those links are interesting. The dcrainmaker one for it's comparison between the different power meters, largely validating the Stages but raising some big questions about the Quarq power meter riding outdoors. If you stop pedalling the auto zero should fix it but the Quarq does seem to suffer more than the others from temperature related drift.



    In the Slowtwitch article they discuss the effects of oval chainrings on power output. This isn't new but it's worth bearing in mind that if you use an oval chainring it will skew the power figures from a crank based power meter, making them read higher than if you use round chainrings. It puts articles like the one below into context also.

    http://www.bikeradar.com/news/articl...ic-boss-37552/

    I've actually got a Quarq Quattro MTB power meter. I spent £1570 GBP on it in November 2011. It has to go down as one of my worst purchases ever, not because of any data or reliability issues but because it's never been used. It's been sat in its box unused ever since then. The main reason for that was the difficulty of getting a custom left hand crank sorted out, followed by crashing and breaking my leg last summer.

    I ended up converting my Powertap hub to 142x12mm thru axle and keeping my Shimano Deore XT chainset with its 44T (round) / 33T/23T (Rotor oval q-ring) chainrings and a 10 speed 12-32 cassette. The other consideration for staying with the Powertap was the possibility of mixed oval and round chainrings giving odd power figures. With the Powertap measuring power output at the hub it shouldn't be affected in the same way as a crank based power meter.

  44. #44
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    Hi, I am a roadie and part time MTBer. Got powertap three years ago for my road bike and recently got stages Ultegra left arm. Actually it fits my XTR FC-M985 without any modification.
    For FC-M760 (9s XT), it needs 4mm spacer between left side of BB and crank arm. And still it has different Q factor from right crank arm. (Left arm is closer to the down tube, about +5mm) so i recommend FC-m985 if you want to do the same thing as I.

    From the powermeter accuracy stand point, stages is good. Not as good as my powertap because I always see -20-+20W diff at 150-180W at the beginning, however, the drift would gone after more than 10 min of over 200W pedaling. (I dont know either this is only my issue or everybody's.)
    Anyway L2/3 effort drift is not a big deal, stages works for me fine.

    I do not recommend this for roadie unless they already have PT, SRM or Quarq or unless they wanna share the left crank between road bike and mtb like me. but do recommend for MTBers because we do not have options at the moment.

  45. #45
    Always pushing harder!!!
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    Well, Stages crank arm is on the way...to bad season's over for me (just one more race...XCM on Sunday)...

  46. #46
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    Power meter...how to choose the best fit for me?

    Quote Originally Posted by carlostruco View Post
    Well, Stages crank arm is on the way...to bad season's over for me (just one more race...XCM on Sunday)...
    Is that for your mountain bike or road bike?

  47. #47
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    I got mine first week of August (x9 gxp). Had my openers on Friday and raced the next day. I've sinced moved it to my CX bike w/ spacers, was curious to see if that would work out. So far it's been good.

  48. #48
    Always pushing harder!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by WR304 View Post
    Is that for your mountain bike or road bike?
    I went the road way...most of my training is done on the road anyway, and in the near future, on a trainer...

  49. #49
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    Congrats. Think you will like it.

  50. #50
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    Power meter...how to choose the best fit for me?

    There's a bit here about the new features which are on their way for the Stages power meter.

    http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2013/09/c...streaming.html

    .

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