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Old 11-15-09, 11:55 AM   #1
dglevy
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PowerTap: Used or new. Pro or SL. Wired or wireless????

hi all,

i was hoping to get some quick help on a dilemma i'm facing. i have the opportunity to buy a powertap pro (yellow hubbed) for $400 vs a powertap SL for $600. both are wired and have comparable wheels. i've got two bikes: (1) a 9 speed time trial bike and (2) a 10 speed racing bike. here are my questions:
  • how much of a pain in a$$ is it to switch the wheel back and forth between the two bikes? i anticipate having to switch one or two times a week.
  • how much does a second harness cost?
  • would it be less of a bother to just give up on these ones and just spend the bucks on a wireless?
  • is the SL worth the extra $200?

my heartiest thanks in advance to those knowledgeable folks who take the time to give thoughtful advice.

david levy
washington, dc
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Old 11-15-09, 12:10 PM   #2
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I don't own a PT, but it seems that the wiring harness is troublesome enough that wireless is probably worth it.
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Old 11-15-09, 12:12 PM   #3
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Understand that I am biased, but honestly you can get the current generation + wireless packages for under $1k. Extra wiring harnesses cost a lot (even wholesale) and are a PITA. I remember paying over $65 for wiring harnesses IIRC.
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Old 11-15-09, 12:20 PM   #4
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New, Wireless, Pro+
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Old 11-15-09, 12:25 PM   #5
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I have a used SL that I bought for $600 that died after two years. $300 refurb and I now have a new PT for a total of $900, plus two years of use under my belt. I've had to replace one harness, and they are a PITA.

I'd say used wireless if you can get one cheap enough, but Psimet seems to have some deals that would be tough to beat.

Don't buy an old pro, as it appears they no longer have a repair or upgrade option for them. The existing ones will all die as they sit.
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Old 11-15-09, 12:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
....I remember paying over $65 for wiring harnesses IIRC.
hey, thanks everyone for your quick replies! i'm looking to buy one of these damn things by tomorrow so i can get my licks in before going out of town for a week while i'm still pretty fit and the weather's warm.

i'm dog tired from a killer 35 mile ride this morning (and getting dropped -- thank god for short cuts!). my brain is a bit foggy at the moment, but i'm inclined to just get the used SL and hope i can find a 2nd harness for not too much money. i'm told by the team coach that switching cassettes (from 9 speed to 10 speed) and bikes (from racing to TT) is not that much work. i'm not completely convinced but we'll see. i suppose i can always hunt for a used Pro or another SL on eBay this winter if it's a PITA switching one or two times a week.

yeah, i've heard from several people that the wires are pretty fragile. but i'm a pretty (annoyingly) fastidious person so, once they are installed, i can stay away from them.
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Old 11-15-09, 02:20 PM   #7
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Why not just friction shift the TT bike and avoid the 9/10 issues?
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Old 11-15-09, 02:42 PM   #8
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I don't know much about anything, but I bought a wired PT about 3 months ago. Right now it is now working. I'm upset.
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Old 11-15-09, 04:55 PM   #9
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I have 2 wired powertaps that I bought used. I picked up the newer sl one for $500 with 3 harnesses and 2.4ghz hr strap. For twice that price I could have bought a wireless-not worth it to me. I can change the wheel in one minute without a problem. I have damaged one harness in two yrs. I can use it with my race wheels as well as a cyclocomputer. If you buy the wireless, you have to get a second sensor for the other bike as well I think, right?
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Old 11-15-09, 05:15 PM   #10
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new, wireless, pro+
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Old 11-15-09, 09:24 PM   #11
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Why not just friction shift the TT bike and avoid the 9/10 issues?
That's an intriguing idea. But wouldn't there be issues with the different chains? Maybe I'm remembering incorrectly, but I thought 10 speed chains were narrower than 9 speed chains. My guess is that 10 speed chains would work on 9 speed cassettes, but not vice versa. That means I couldn't friction shift the TT bike b/c it's a 9 speed, and the wheel would have a 10 speed cassette on it. But I really don't know any of this for sure.
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Old 11-15-09, 09:59 PM   #12
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Yeah, just put a 10-spd chain on the TT bike. That's what I did. The 9-spd front der and chainrings work flawlessly (plus, it's friction, so I have a lot of control for the front shifting).
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Old 11-16-09, 12:04 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Jynx View Post
New, Wireless, Pro+
+2

I've got a PTPro (yellow hub) and Saris does not support them anymore. (this is a non-starter in my mind)
The harnesses aren't that big of a deal, but they are about $70, and they are fragile-ish. If you are the sort that has parts breaking on you, this very well may.

if you have the money, I'd go new, wireless, Pro+
Otherwise, wired will probably work reasonably enough.

Last edited by Hida Yanra; 11-16-09 at 12:05 AM. Reason: clarification
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Old 11-16-09, 04:07 AM   #14
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When I was shopping for my PT the guys at wheelbuilder.com said this...

"If you go with the Pro+ model I recommend using the steel axle out of the Elite+ to keep the soft 12mm alloy axle from flexing. Riders that weight more than 170 lbs can easily feel the flex from the alloy axle when they stand to climb and feel the rim touch the brake pads. The steel axle costs $30 and takes us a few minutes to install."

Based on that I went ahead and got the SL+. GL
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Old 11-16-09, 07:59 AM   #15
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Thanks all for the great, well informed comments!

Yeah, I've heard from more than one source that the alloy axles are problematic. But I weigh only 150 lbs. Not only that, ever for my weight class, the torque that I create in a sprint is, er, shall we say, not overwhelming?

I'm pretty fastidious, i.e., not the sort who breaks things. So I'm not too worried about the harnesses.

I'm feeling pretty confident about buying the used SL at this point. I understand people's recommendations to buy a new wireless, but a not-very-serious racer paying $1000 for a high tech tool? That's beyond what I can handle. As it stands, I'm having trouble justifying $600 -- when my racing bike only cost $700 (used, good deal) and my TT bike cost $400 (used, phenomenally lucky deal).*

I've already had a couple of email exchanges with the seller. I'm going to interrogate them one more time to make sure that the PT is in perfect working order, etc. If the response is positive, and unless I hear about any deal-breaking info, I'm going to go for it.

THANKS AGAIN TO THE MANY RACING AFICIONADOS WHO TOOK THE TIME TO ADVISE ME. Your help was really invaluable!

--David

*Racing bike: Giant TCR frame (aluminum w/ carbon forks), 10 speed, Ultegra/Dura Ace mixed groupo, Mavic Open Pro rims
TT bike: Kastle frame, 9 speed, Time carbon forks, Ultegra groupo, Velocity Fusion rims
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Old 11-16-09, 08:24 AM   #16
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I would get the used SL, a second harness and a 10speed chain for your TT bike. If you properly route your PT harness and cover it with electrical tape, the breaking wire issue shouldn't be a problem.
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Old 11-18-09, 01:24 AM   #17
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http://houston.craigslist.org/bik/1468820974.html

seems like might be decent thing for you
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