Velocomp Powerpod on Fatbikes- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Velocomp Powerpod on Fatbikes

    I'm assuming this device would be fairly useless for snowbiking since it uses wind/speed/grade data to calculate power. I suspect it is calibrated for rolling resistance of a typical road tire on paved road, thus the rolling resistance of fat tires on a variety of snow consistencies would be totally inaccurate. Any experience using this device for mountain biking or snow-biking? Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by campykid View Post
    I'm assuming this device would be fairly useless for snowbiking since it uses wind/speed/grade data to calculate power. I suspect it is calibrated for rolling resistance of a typical road tire on paved road, thus the rolling resistance of fat tires on a variety of snow consistencies would be totally inaccurate. Any experience using this device for mountain biking or snow-biking? Thanks.
    I have an iBike Newton+ (bought it for my road bike originally), which is just a PowerPod (= the sensing device) enclosed within a head unit for reading the data. The PowerPod alone needs an Ant+ head unit (like the Garmin GPS products) to see the data the PowerPod is producing.

    Riding on snow or dirt, etc, isn't really the issue to me as you can adjust a rolling resistance number to reflect the surface you're riding. The decice is limited if the riding surface varies as the rolling resistance setting doesn't change dynamically as you go from, say, packed dirt to a rock garden. That said, you can setup a so-call "profile" which uses an average resistance value to roughly average the surface types, and I found that to be an OK approach -- maybe not super, but it can be made to produce generally reasonable power values.

    As you mention secondarily, however, it's the range of settings that they allow you to use that are way off, especially for super-wide tires at low pressures like on fatbikes. You simply can't put in a rolling friction value high enough to reflect the rolling resistance of a mountain setup, let alone a fatbike tire (the setup program sees it as an "out of range" value and "corrects it" to a lower value).

    Dealing with a suspension fork is another issue as fork compression makes the unit think it's going more "downhill," but I honestly feel that the suspension limitation is trivial compared to the improper rolling resistance values. There were times, for instance, when I was really working hard riding through some gnarly sections of trail, and the Newton+ said I was putting out 80-ish watts -- WAY too low!

    I've explained to Velocomp, the producer of the PowerPod/Newton, the problems that I've had getting numbers to reflect actual effort, and consistently gotten the "cold shoulder." About the only response I've ever gotten is to essentially "reboot" the device; most of the time I get no response when I ask mtb-related questions. It's as if by not answering the questions, the questions will just go away.

    When I've pointed out that Velocomp has been unwilling to address the problems for mtb use, they get angry and claim they really do care and have something "in development" that will address the mtb'er's needs. Yet, it's been years since they've been promising, and they've done little to nothing to make the device truly compatible with offroad riding.

    Sorry for having to be so negative, but you can go on their user forum website and search for "mtb" or "mountain bike" and see for yourself the limited content and evasive responses from the company. It's a shame, because I think with a little effort, they could make the device reasonably compatible with offroad riding, but that doesn't seem to be in their business plan.

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