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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.

  2. #2
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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

  3. #3
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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
    Endurance Junkie
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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.

  7. #7
    Bro Mountainbiker
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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".

  9. #9
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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.

  10. #10
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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!

  12. #12
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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.
    FasCat Coaching
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  16. #16
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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).
    FasCat Coaching
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  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

    .

  24. #24
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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.

  25. #25
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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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