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Power Meter and Race Day

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Power Meter and Race Day

Old 01-31-11, 02:44 PM
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Power Meter and Race Day

As I look into getting a power meter, one of the questions that keeps rearing its head is race day options, and what most racers do on race day.


For example, it would seem that I would want the lightest bike possible, and having either a power meter on my crank or carrying around a heavy power-tap rear wheel is going to be to my detriment. In addition- the idea of crashing in a criterium with a power meter seems to me to only add to the reasons why I would not want to race with a power meter.

On the other hand, knowing your power in-race, and being able to analyze the data I would think could be immensely helpful post-race when devising my training plan

So whether to get a PT or a crank based power meter is somewhat dependent on whether I will plan to use it on race day. If most people do not race with a power meter on race day, then it seems to me that a PT system is the best option, both in terms of price and ability to switch out wheels. On the other hand, if most people race with their power meters, then a more permanent crank based solution seems a better option, as it allows for me to change out wheel sets depending on the type of race and conditions.

What is the crowd's thoughts on this and experience using the data from a race? if the post-race data is not very helpful (i.e. - if it cannot really provide anything additional that you cannot already ascertain from training rides), then I am leaning towards a cheaper PT model.

Thanks in advance.

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Note - it occurred to me most people would assume I mean Virginia Tech Biker. No - I mean Vermont Biker as I grew up in Vermont.
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Old 01-31-11, 02:50 PM
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I don't think the extra ~400g of a PT will affect your results... maybe an uphill TT, but not pack racing.

As for race-data, I find it useful, to see where I cracked for instance, but I haven't actually used that data to do anything differently. Still, it shows me where my limits are/were at least.
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Old 01-31-11, 02:51 PM
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Race with power. I moved from PT to crank based.
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Old 01-31-11, 02:51 PM
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Crank based is the way to go in my opinion. I run mine on every training ride and race. Even in a RR or crit, it can be a valuable tool if you get into a break.
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Old 01-31-11, 02:54 PM
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Your race data is the best data you'll get. I'd bet the significant majority of racers who own power meters race with them, mostly for this reason.

And the weight penalty for a Quarq is 87 grams. Not significant.
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Old 01-31-11, 02:55 PM
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I have a couple of SRMs. I use them during TT's to manage efforts otherwise they are black boxes. Race data is helpful. TT data is VERY helpful. If you're doing a lot of long climbs lighter is always better. If not you could probably do something with a powertap and an extra wheel.

I've been through a bunch of PM's and if I had to choose one I'd bit the bullet and get a wireless SRM, Dura Ace model.
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Old 01-31-11, 03:32 PM
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Crank based. I've got a quarq, and am happy as a clam. Great for TT's.
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Old 01-31-11, 03:34 PM
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In addition to the points made above (info, even if it's only for later; pacing if you're good enough to TT or solo or climb; relatively low weight penalty, for example I lost a few hundred grams by going to the wired SRM SI), PMs are not very vulnerable to damage. It's unusual to trash a rear hub or a crankset (and if you have a detachable crankarm, then reduce "crankset" to "crank spider").

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Old 01-31-11, 04:24 PM
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I too love racing with (and then analyzing the) power. I have the wired DA SRM version. I've seen these going for about $800-$1300 on eBay recently. Wireless will run you quite a bit more!

I don't know the weight penalty over my regular DA crank. But, I don't care, and, it doesn't matter for me!!!!
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Old 01-31-11, 04:44 PM
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I bought a Quarq this year. The weight penalty is less than a bottle. (I only carry one bottle for crits anyway.) The ability to switch from training to race wheels was a factor.
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Old 01-31-11, 05:28 PM
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Wow guys,
thanks for all of the advise. Seems that there is a strong inclination to go with the crank based power units. Right before I got the power bug, I decided to built up a pair of Mavic Open Pros with CK hubs, and so there is an opportunity cost associated with going with a PT meter versus a crank based meter (i.e. - I essentially wasted the $$$ on the CK hub wheels).

However, if the trend was to try to race without the power meter, then it made sense to save the $$$ on the crank based system, and I would still get to race in the Chris King wheels depending on the race condition.
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Old 01-31-11, 05:28 PM
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I have both. The wheel weight difference between a PT and another hub isn't that much and it's all in the center. Forget weight. Focus on whether you want to use other wheels or not. Then the decision is simple. The advantages of having power goes beyond after race analysis. GL
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Old 01-31-11, 05:41 PM
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I only have a couple weeks worth of power data, but I'm pretty sure that my race data is truer, i.e. more indicative of my fitness and training potential than any test or workout I could do.

Also, our brother Psimet is a dealer. He'll treat you right.
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Old 01-31-11, 05:56 PM
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I'm not the type to buy race wheels. I just never get it that high up on the budget priorities. So, PowerTap is a pretty natural solution for me. Plus, I get to build a new wheel every few years.
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Old 01-31-11, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso
I only have a couple weeks worth of power data, but I'm pretty sure that my race data is truer, i.e. more indicative of my fitness and training potential than any test or workout I could do.
I didn't see any difference in the critical power (max avg power for a given time) between races and hard group training rides last year. In fact, my best 20 minute power last year (by a few watts) was set on a group ride.
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Old 01-31-11, 06:24 PM
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Ah, forgot about group rides. Yes, at least for me that's like racing above my category.
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Old 01-31-11, 07:00 PM
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My wife and are I both using PT's for training and racing.

We thought about selling the PT's getting some proper race wheels, plus a Quarq for each...Then reality hit and the cost was just too high...

So instead we talked to psimet and got another PT for each of us so we'll have a race day one and training day one...

The other nice thing now is we each have a backup PT for when one needs service.
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Old 01-31-11, 08:13 PM
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wired PT + disc cover for TT bike
quarq for other bikes

I have the same BB/crank model on all my bikes so I can swap the quarq around easily.
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Old 01-31-11, 08:19 PM
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are the price differences small between current crank and hub-based systems?

I don't think that power data is very useful during a race. It's nice to have for analysis afterward, but it isn't going to help you win your current race.

I train and do B-C priority races on the Powertap, and do my most important races on my race day (non-PT) wheels. If I could afford a Quarq or SRM I'd probably use that all the time, but this works fine for me.
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Old 02-01-11, 04:55 AM
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for $700 you can get an old wireless 2.4 unit on a bulletproof wheel (they will inevitably be on 28 or 32 spoke rims). they go on ebay all the time, but you do have to be patient.. if you're willing to spend , say 675-750 you can pick something nice up. i don't think there is a lot to wear out on the units if you replace the bearings for 5 dollars. the wires drive me nuts personally. the head unit firmware can be upgraded too...

the newer wired units are new, but also weigh 250 grams more and have annoying wires.

mine is from 2007 now and works like a charm.
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Old 02-01-11, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by pjcampbell
for $700 you can get an old wireless 2.4 unit on a bulletproof wheel (they will inevitably be on 28 or 32 spoke rims). they go on ebay all the time
Competitive was selling them new for $700.
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Old 02-01-11, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by pjcampbell
for $700 you can get an old wireless 2.4 unit on a bulletproof wheel (they will inevitably be on 28 or 32 spoke rims). they go on ebay all the time, but you do have to be patient.. if you're willing to spend , say 675-750 you can pick something nice up. i don't think there is a lot to wear out on the units if you replace the bearings for 5 dollars. the wires drive me nuts personally. the head unit firmware can be upgraded too...

the newer wired units are new, but also weigh 250 grams more and have annoying wires.

mine is from 2007 now and works like a charm.
Have you done this? Did calibration hold?

Originally Posted by Racer Ex
Competitive was selling them new for $700.
wireless?
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Old 02-01-11, 10:11 AM
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i was just saying for the price ~$700, i'd take used and wireless (and 200 grams lighter if you care) over new and wired. because i've had both and hate the wires.
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Old 02-01-11, 10:25 AM
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But have you ever replaced your own bearings?
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Old 02-01-11, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets
But have you ever replaced your own bearings?
I have. It's not hard. There's nothing that I could tell that would cause any issues with the calibration. The kicker is the tube that lives between the inner races that has a magnet on it. The magnet is used to wake the unit and track RPMs. If it's loose it spins with the wheel and the unit will be waay off or won't turn on at all. If it's too tight then you have a side load on the bearings.

My PT is a 12mm axle wireless Elite+ I think. The 15mm axle ones may be different.
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