After much consideration I had decided to put the idea of buying a Powertap on the backburner. Recently though, I had the opportunity to train with power at a new indoor cycling center in my girlfriend's hometown. I rode a simulated course on a Computrainer at Donnie's Indoor Cycling Experience (dicetraining.com) in Moline, Illinois. The Computrainer alone was way above my current trainer, a Blackburn Trackstand. The roller was as smooth as butter and did an excellent job of simulating the feel of the road. But what was even more amazing was being able to check my power and cadence on the graphic on the bottom of the television screen. I did a 34 mile course with rolling hills, and have never had a better time on a trainer. While I was relatively disappointed with my power results, it did give me the itch again to look at buying a powermeter.
If I were to look at puchasing a powermeter, I would probably have my search narrowed to two choices. With price in mind, it would be a choice between the Cycleops PowerTap SL and the Polar Power System.
From what I was told the Polar seems to work fairly well and is much cheaper the the Powertap. The software is superior and allows me to do more with the data. I can also install this on my race bike and would be able to use the information while racing, and not just training. By replacing the current Cateye computer the weight added by the powersystem would be neglible. I have read some negative reviews on roadbikereview about the Polar though and this causes some concern.
The Powertap has the obvious downfall of being more expensive. However, from what I have read it seems to give a more accurate measurement of power output. One negative I was told though, was the software is not as good as the software that comes with the Polar. THis could just be the personal preference of the source, but I would be interested in hearing comments. Another negative is the setup of the entire system. I would probably just use the power system for training rides (which is most important anyway) and not for races. The reason is I don't want to, or financially risk, risk the chance of destroying the wheel in a crash in a race. That said, I would probably look to get the hub built on Mavic CXP's or Open Pro's. However, I wouldn't rule anything out as far as wheel build.
All this said, I am looking for some comments about what I have mentioned and what you might recommend. Again, the choices are between the Polar and the PowerTap SL. Any comments or suggestions you may have on either would be appreciated.
I would like too give some major props to Donnie, at Donnie's Indoor Cycling Experience. If in the Quad Cities area please stop by and give it a chance. Your first visit is free, and in my case he even did fair amount of coaching while I was on the bike because I was the only person there at the time. Thanks in advance for any help!