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Polar Power Meter - opinions?

Old 05-20-07, 05:26 AM
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Polar Power Meter - opinions?

How does the Polar Power Meter work? I'm not so concerned about accuracy since wattage output serves as a training tool in a RELATIVE sense. Whether you're putting out 300W vs. 270W is less important than knowing whether you are putting out more or less power I suppose:

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Old 05-20-07, 05:38 AM
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My understanding is that this one is more accurate. I have not used it, but a couple of customers have and like it. Same as you, they just want an estimation.

It works on chain speed and vibration. So, into a head wind where your chain speed may be reduced, but your "power" is going up due to increased force, it might not pick that up. Bumpy roads, more chain vibration which also impacts the information.

Cycleops is believed to be more accurate (since it's pretty much the system of choice from people that live and die around this information). But the CS series has, I hear, improved the quality of the measuring units. I did not hear a lot of good things (from people that know) about the one you showed. It will get you in the ballpark, however.

Hope that helps.

I figured you'd jump on that $3,000+ system for the Dura Ace cranks. LOL...
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Old 05-20-07, 05:43 AM
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Dr.Pete used one before he got his PowerTap. He called it his "gateway" power meter, which is sort of the way I'm feeling about the iBike, but I'm not ready to shell out the $$ yet.
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Old 05-20-07, 06:08 AM
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There is a big article in a bike mag out here called Ride. They got a guy from our AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) and mounted the PowerTap, SRM, Ergomo (?), iBike and Polar 600 on the same bike. Then they took it bunch riding, TTing, and to a Crit and compared the readings. Interesting stuff.

The SRM and PT tracked basically identically. The Ergomo was a bit higher. The iBike surprisingly did very well, it had a few odd peaks in the bunch ride but tracked pretty accurately in the crit and everywhere else. The Polar was all over the place and had a couple of long dropouts in the bunch ride.

The unit itself and all the wires look a bit fredly, but the best low cost option appears to be the iBike.
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Old 05-20-07, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by DamianM
The SRM and PT tracked basically identically. The Ergomo was a bit higher. The iBike surprisingly did very well, it had a few odd peaks in the bunch ride but tracked pretty accurately in the crit and everywhere else. The Polar was all over the place and had a couple of long dropouts in the bunch ride.

The unit itself and all the wires look a bit fredly, but the best low cost option appears to be the iBike.
That iBike can't be too bad if Colorado Cyclist is selling it.

On the other hand CC sold me that Tackx trainer which was the biggest unmitigated piece of garbage I've ever purchased in 20+ years of cycling. I actually called the US distributor when I was unable to assemble the Tackx and he said 'yeah, we know it's a problem, we keep telling them in Europe but they don't change it'. Great. Back it went.
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Old 05-20-07, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by DamianM
There is a big article in a bike mag out here called Ride. They got a guy from our AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) and mounted the PowerTap, SRM, Ergomo (?), iBike and Polar 600 on the same bike. Then they took it bunch riding, TTing, and to a Crit and compared the readings. Interesting stuff.

The SRM and PT tracked basically identically. The Ergomo was a bit higher. The iBike surprisingly did very well, it had a few odd peaks in the bunch ride but tracked pretty accurately in the crit and everywhere else. The Polar was all over the place and had a couple of long dropouts in the bunch ride.

The unit itself and all the wires look a bit fredly, but the best low cost option appears to be the iBike.
DamianM, is there a link to that article online? I'm very interested in checking it out.
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Old 05-20-07, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by patentcad
That iBike can't be too bad if Colorado Cyclist is selling it.
You're not going to be able to get away with an iBike and running Zip 404s.
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Old 05-20-07, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by NoRacer
DamianM, is there a link to that article online? I'm very interested in checking it out.
Unfortunately not.
Seems you can buy a copy here though http://shop.cyclingnews.com.au/Cycli...ogue/category2
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Old 05-20-07, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by DamianM
Unfortunately not.
Seems you can buy a copy here though http://shop.cyclingnews.com.au/Cycli...ogue/category2

Thanks!
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Old 05-20-07, 07:03 AM
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There are a couple of guys on the ww forum that have gotten the 600's and had a lot of problems with the wireless transmit and drop outs like mentioned above
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Old 05-20-07, 08:29 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by patentcad
That iBike can't be too bad if Colorado Cyclist is selling it.
I somehow don't see you liking the ibike P'cad

Originally Posted by NoRacer
Dr.Pete used one before he got his PowerTap. He called it his "gateway" power meter, which is sort of the way I'm feeling about the iBike, but I'm not ready to shell out the $$ yet.
You have an interested buyer for that ibike if you ever do want to move up. I'm into those gateway devices

-D
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Old 05-20-07, 08:47 AM
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If you've already got the polar HRM, then adding the power miught be reasonable. If you've got to buy the whole setup I;d definitely go for a power tap or Ergomo
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Old 05-20-07, 09:29 AM
  #13  
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Why spend $700.00 for something that has clear technical issues as well as accuracy problems. Sure, you may get an estimate for your Power Output, but honestly, if you cannot trust the data, it is as valuable as a typical HR monitor.

The great thing about Power Meters is that they can differentiate performance when conditions (i.e. - road and weather) may alter your default performance (i.e. - typical speed/HR). It is why HR and Speed are not the most accurate measures of performance. So if you have a system that cannot tackle that issue, spend the $150 for a HR/Cadence system and save up for the better Power Meters.
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Old 05-20-07, 10:31 AM
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I'd agree that if I was to go PM it would be a PowerTap. The SRM is very nice but too pricey even for my OCP budget. Actually that SRM is astonishing in is priciness. Which makes the Zipps seem like a relative bargain. Actually I've gotten MUCH more fun out of the BF ballbustfest over my Zipps than actually riding them. That alone has been worth the price of Zippmission.
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Old 05-20-07, 10:37 AM
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PC

if you're going for a power meter, then at least shoot for a power tap.

the polar is the power meter equivalent of vegetarian haggis.
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Old 05-20-07, 11:03 AM
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I'll chime in for the pro-polar crew...

I was actually pretty happy with mine despite a couple shortcomings. I found that with a good installation the data were quite accurate, but being a primarily crit-oriented racer I found it frustrating that the Polar would miss hard/quick (sub 15-30sec) efforts or significantly under-report them. For instance, my 5-second power went up by almost 400W just by switching to the Powertap.

If you're a TT/RR type, though, and are looking for an OK power meter to get you into training with power without laying down a ton of cash, I think it's a decent product. This is especially true if you already own a compatible Polar HRM.

Another one to consider would be Ergomo.
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Old 05-20-07, 11:13 AM
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My girlfriend bought me the Polar Power sensor for my birthday (she's amazing and I am a lucky man) and I've been using it for about a month now. I still haven't picked up cycling peaks yet, so my review may be pretty worthless, but I've liked it so far. I don't yet have all the tools to analyze the data, but it seems relatively consistent (though I echo the problems with burst power recording) and it collects all the other data (speed, HR, cadence, altitude) in one source. If you have the $$, iBike is probably better (but it has shortcomings with measuring power on climbs, from a friend who uses it) and obviously the powertap or SRM will be the most accurate, but you probably knew that. My plan is to use the Polar to learn how to train with power and until I can afford a PT or SRM, probably one or two seasons.
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Old 05-20-07, 11:20 AM
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You dropped 2k on those zipps, get a descent power meter.
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Old 05-20-07, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by derath
I somehow don't see you liking the ibike P'cad



You have an interested buyer for that ibike if you ever do want to move up. I'm into those gateway devices

-D
-D, I promise you, you'll be the first to know.
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Old 05-20-07, 04:55 PM
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i got the cs600 w/ power. personally, i have not experienced any drop offs or strange spikes in power. both the power transmitter and the HR transmitter seem very solid. even in very windy conditions it's fine (my old polar HR would give bogus readings in high wind). i've even been drenched in a downpour and everything was fine.

so, the data seems pretty much spot on. and you do get a lot of it... pedaling imbalance, incline\decline, weather readings, power readings, cadence, HR, etc.

the software is decent, but not quite as robust as the actual unit itself. one cool thing about the software is that you can customize the display of the unit, program intervals or specific exercises, and graph and plot all your data.

i got the unit for $679 which included shipping. so far i'd give it a 7.5 out of 10. the drawbacks are the clunky looking battery pack and power transmitter and the very average software package (you also need an infrared transmitter on your computer, or an aftermarket USB one and there is NO support for Mac right now...windows only) other than that, i definitely think it's worth the money.
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Old 07-23-07, 08:50 AM
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I've just installed my CS600 on Sunday.

Seems much better than the unit that came with my 725X, which seems to have a knackered sensor. I'm due to send that back, readings dropped off, stopped, intermittent zeros, etc.

Two observations
1) Make sure you have the sensor extremely close to the chain, I did a few laps thinking I had another duff unit, jacked up the main unit towards the chain and all was well.
2) It has a really cheap and nasty battery holder, I had to bend the contacts on the battery holder so they touched the pins, it really is a POS.

Apart from that readings seem quite high when I'm pulling away from things, like 500+ watts but the average when I'm in the saddle seems right so I guess there is your plus/minus 10%

Nice to see my pedal balance is pretty darn good ATM, but Peddeling index is pretty poor (a mere 18%).
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Old 07-23-07, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by mkington View Post
2) It has a really cheap and nasty battery holder, I had to bend the contacts on the battery holder so they touched the pins, it really is a POS.
yes, i agree with this. the battery tray looks like something off a kids toy.
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Old 08-11-07, 07:55 AM
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The first sickness to the power meter has been starting ….
I try to find the medicine !
Greetings
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Old 02-05-08, 04:13 PM
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Hi guys, this is my first post here, so forgive me any mistakes or if somebody already mentioned it. I am in a similar situation of Patentcad, I already have the Polar Power meter, from my old bike, and now that I have a new one I am hesitating to install again.
One of the things that irritate me and I think may heck the reading is that in the smallest gear the chain tends to rub the power meter. I know it makes no sense to measure that, once in that gear you would have the chain with more tension, but when I was getting to the top of I climb, that the tension was gradually reduced… then the power would get messed (at least for me).
The other thing is that I am not sure if I want to reduce even more the space were the chain goes which is already narrow…
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Old 02-05-08, 04:27 PM
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I just look at all those little tidbits on the Polar and wonder how much opportunity there is for something to fail. Add in PCad's mileage and it doesn't get any better.

I looked at Ergomo since I have Campy square taper, but hear they are un-supported these days and have some issues.

iBike seems to be lambasted and pronounced good enough in cycles. Which is it already?

Think I'll stick with my cheap HR strap. I can always blame the lack of schwag for my results.
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