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Power Meters for Geezers

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Power Meters for Geezers

Old 04-02-21, 08:18 AM
  #1  
CaptMike
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Power Meters for Geezers

Do any of you Elderly Gentleman/Gentleladies out there use power meters? As a retirement present to myself, I am having a gravel bike built up by Seven Cycles. The riding I will be doing is some road, but plan on a lot of gravel/rail trail rides/touring here in Michigan. I am putting a SRAM mullet setup on it. In all of my miles, I have never used a power meter. Frankly, never had a need to, or use for it. I do like looking at Garmin Connect to check my progress over time, and am a bit of a geek like that. But I am wondering if this is a bit too far. They ain't cheap. I like the Garmin Rally SPD version. I do need to lose winter weight, and certainly get into better bike shape, so was wondering if this will help in any way, and help to justify the purchase. Thank you all. Healthy and safe riding.
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Old 04-02-21, 08:24 AM
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I personally could not justify the expense as a recreational road/gravel rider of modest abilities in late-50s decline.

From the point of view of the First Law of Thermodynamics, losing weight requires consuming fewer calories than burned. Eat less, ride more. (Yes, much easier said than done.)
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Old 04-02-21, 08:41 AM
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I'm planning on getting a power meter too. Been planning on it for a long time. Just haven't pulled the trigger. I used to want a pair of power meter pedals, but till just recently they didn't make SPD versions. After I decided to switch to wanting a power meter in the crank, they came out with power meter pedals in the SPD version.

I'm still sold on the crank version though as they can be had for almost half the cost. But my current issue is there are none of the ones I'd consider that are in stock. Currently on the email list of several for notification.

Still, PM's only give you another way to look at your metrics and discuss them with others. In itself it doesn't give you any thing to make you better at riding. You don't just go out and pedal a magic number and magically be faster or climb better than you did without.

But since they do boil your metrics down to the nuts and bolts, you'll be able to discuss with others or more easily understand training concepts. Those essentially boil down to -- ride your bike more.

If you don't think you are going to be interested enough in training and following a plan, no matter how lax you design it, then a PM will only give you gee-whiz info. Or perhaps "oh my God, am I really that bad" <grin>
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Old 04-02-21, 08:56 AM
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Personally, I would just buy another vintage bike for the price of power meters.
They inevitably lead to 'bragging' about watts and comparison to others - wasted breath for me.
Enjoy your ride.
Seven is a super nice present.





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Old 04-02-21, 08:59 AM
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I have a Col. Steve Austin bionic power meter installed in both legs, usually takes 12 hours to get an accurate reading

Leg muscle stiffness, zero knee pain- optimal high output ride
Zero stiffness, zero knee pain- loafing again
muscle pain, knee pain- too much output power, take the day off and swim
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Old 04-02-21, 09:04 AM
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I'm a geek, I got a power meter a few months ago and I love it. Power meters to me are not about formal training plans or goals, they are about knowing how your body is working. One thing I found was I was quite unaware of how much effort I was putting in at random points in time, varying by as much as 100 watts from what I thought I was doing. The real-time feed of power data (well 3 second delay) really lets you see that. It also tells you how much work you really did vs how much it felt like -- the two are more different than you might think. While I'm not crafting any formal training plan there is an unlimited amount of informal planning you can do with a power meter. For example on your regular ride you will know how many watts are you usually putting into different spots of that steep climb, so maybe bump it up (or down) on this ride from that usual? Look at the wattage curve on that climb after the ride - were you over-exerting at the start and letting up too much near the top of the climb? I also pay attention to normalized power (NP in the Wahoo app) which is a good measure of how hard you worked on a given ride; it then helps you target the NP on future rides. Power combined with heart rate combined with GPS data with speed and elevation really lets you understand how you are riding as a whole system, and to get better at it.

I guess I got mine before all the stock cleared out.. I have a Stages left crank meter which is the cheapest I could find; it has performed flawlessly.
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Old 04-02-21, 09:19 AM
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I've lost count. I have, I think, about 15.
Powermeters are a neat toy, but the only real organized training program I was ever able to stick to & get use of was a Wahoo Kickr &/or Cycleops on Zwift. Road has too many variables to be useful.

Elsewise, they are useful for accurate calorie consumption & Stravas' fitness/freshness graph, & metering your effort so you don't blow up on a climb.

They also help seperate out
the good days where you feel good from
the bad days that feel good, from
the good days that feel bad, from
the bad days that feel bad.

The real-time number on the screen let's you make a more informed decision.
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Old 04-02-21, 09:32 AM
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what's this elderly stuff?
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Old 04-02-21, 10:02 AM
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Once I became a geezer, I stopped caring about stuff like "power output."
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Old 04-02-21, 10:56 AM
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I have two: a Quarq crank on my main road bike, and a Stages left arm on my back-up trainer bike). I guess 3 if you count the trainer itself. If you want to follow a power-based training program, it's pretty much a necessity. You need to test yourself and set wattage ranges for different training zones. You can really geek out on it. It will also keep you honest on your recovery days.

It can also be very useful if all you want to do is to track calories. It will show you pretty precisely how much work you put into the bike on your ride, whether it's up and down hills, or into or with the wind, or solo or with a group. We tend to overestimate how much work we actually do, at least I did. "I rode for 2 hours! So I can eat whatever I want now!" But a PM will not lie: A watt is a watt and a kilojoule is a kilojoule.

Last edited by caloso; 04-02-21 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 04-02-21, 11:09 AM
  #11  
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I doubt I would have spent the money to add power meter on my road bike, but the bike I bought recently came with a PowerTap rear hub. I dig it. That said, on the road, it's more of a monitor of current conditions, rather than anything that dictates how I ride.
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Old 04-02-21, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by CaptMike View Post
Do any of you Elderly Gentleman/Gentleladies out there use power meters? As a retirement present to myself, I am having a gravel bike built up by Seven Cycles. The riding I will be doing is some road, but plan on a lot of gravel/rail trail rides/touring here in Michigan. I am putting a SRAM mullet setup on it. In all of my miles, I have never used a power meter. Frankly, never had a need to, or use for it. I do like looking at Garmin Connect to check my progress over time, and am a bit of a geek like that. But I am wondering if this is a bit too far. They ain't cheap. I like the Garmin Rally SPD version. I do need to lose winter weight, and certainly get into better bike shape, so was wondering if this will help in any way, and help to justify the purchase. Thank you all. Healthy and safe riding.
I don't, but I would certainly consider it for a trophy retirement bike. If you can afford it, and you like data, you have my approval. And it's a much smarter thing to spend money on than some kind of ultralight poser bike.
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Old 04-02-21, 02:34 PM
  #13  
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I need some objective means of quantifying my effort (power) vs heart rate and recovery times. It's important to me simply because 10 years ago I suffered an MI (97% obstruction of the left anterior descending) that resulted in a sudden cardiac arrest. At the time, I was in superb shape and felt fine. Right up until the lights went out. Fortunately for me, after a double by-pass, I recovered with minimal residual damage to my myocardium, and was back on the bike in less than 6 weeks post-op with the approval (and actual encouragement) of my surgeon and cardiologist.

So... At least one ride a month is a sort of cardiac stress test to keep track and that requires a power meter. The rest of the time, I just like playing with the numbers.
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Old 04-02-21, 05:53 PM
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I use my power meter (Stages left crank type) as sort of a "fuel economy" gauge. I know I can ride, say, X miles at 100 watts. Bump that up to 300 watts and the tank runs out of gas a lot more quickly.
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Old 04-02-21, 07:31 PM
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No. They've caught my curiosity, but at current price points I just don't see the value for the kind of riding I do. It would just be a geeky novelty.
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Old 04-02-21, 08:09 PM
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I don't want to know. I don't ride with any electronics at all. Don't track my speed, heartbeat, or anything. (I do know my mileage.) The reason is that I tend to become competitive with my previous performances and get discouraged if I'm not as fast as my previous fastest time. That goes back to my running days, when I quit timing myself and just ran for mileage. Competing with my past performances takes some of the joy out of it for me. I do try to push it. One motivation to ride is to get the exercise. But I don't monitor anything except my miles, and don't want to.
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Old 04-02-21, 08:12 PM
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Yes, like the other comments, for pacing and for post ride review. The review isn't for a training program, I just think it's interesting. (Years ago, I got a Garmin just for map routing, but found I liked looking at the rides afterwards. How steep was that grade? How fast was that straight flat road? etc.
And now I get credit for those strong headwinds! A hard effort at low mph.

I really like the pacing on long climbs, it's quick feedback compared to seeing heart rate.

My 4iiii power meter quit working last year. It was just a few months out of warranty, but they didn't help me with a discount or anything. Quite disappointing. I put off getting a new power meter, but I did miss it. I installed a Stages left crank meter a few months ago. It works better than the 4iiii, with an easy zero offset, no data dropouts and no weird 1-second high power readings.

As the weather warms up, I like knowing that my efforts this year are comparable to previous years. I can feel slow in this season, but it's normal, and not that much slower anyway.

As noted in a comment above, kilojoules, which are reported by any ride software, like Strava or Golden Cheetah, are quite close to calories burned. 1000 kj = 1000 calories, probably within 10 or 15%. It's amazing how few calories are burned while riding!

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Old 04-03-21, 04:08 PM
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I have the new Garmin Rally Power meters.spd-sl. So far, probably 250 miles with them. Zero issues, easy connectivity.

My initial interest is in looking at the balance or imbalance between my left and right side. For medical reasons I won’t get into, I thought my right would be stronger and it’s weaker which is good and something for me to work on. The second thing I want to look at is there opportunity to improve the efficiency of my pedaling? And there is.

At this point, I am not interested in looking at power. I’m sure that I will, just not yet.

For sure I’ll never look at all the data that’s available. Summary and live will suffice.

It’s paired with a Garmin 530.

I’m a 67 year old improving B+ rider. Still more fuel in the tank.

I was going to get Ultegra pedals anyway. Are these worth the difference in price? Well, I have 3 or 4 hobbies and road bicycling is one of them and probably the least expensive. So sure, I recommend these if you want power meters, as long as you won’t miss the money.


https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/65...n/010-02388-02
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Old 04-03-21, 04:20 PM
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My 'power meter' is the sweat produced to complete the ride in question. Sweat means that I am working. Not sweating means I'm not. Elapsed Time also...

Temperature not withstanding... or wind.

Yeah, I rode with a HR monitor (FitBit3), but found that metric to be a bit unreliable as to 'work' since my HR never went above 135 - even as a 60+yr old near-Clyde riding at 20+mph. Either that, or I'm a Senior Superman... which I seriously doubt...


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Old 04-04-21, 09:18 AM
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I'm not interested in paying a lot of money just to find out I have no power. I'm 75. I already know that.
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Old 04-07-21, 10:05 AM
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Thank you guys for the replies. Except for a few easy post prostatectomy rides this last couple of weeks in the hood with the grandkids, I started this weekend in earnest to try to get into some kind of bike shape, starting with anywhere from 12 to 25 miles rides. I can tell you that if I get a power meter, at this point, it will be for pure entertainment. I have a long way to go. But I like it.
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Old 04-07-21, 11:11 AM
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Last year when I turned 50 I got myself a power-meter, heart-rate monitor and a new head-unit. I really like having it and would recommend it to anyone if you have the money. I bring all the data into golden cheetah, which is super fun to track progress, power, recovery, etc. I use the power for structured workouts on my rollers in the off-season and have completely changed the way I attack (or don't attack) hills on long rides. The power meter is also super useful for pacing slower riders if you want to let someone keep up without dropping them. I'm not any faster than I was before, but the points above are enough to make it worth it for me.
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Old 04-07-21, 11:15 AM
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All of my machines have power meters.
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Old 04-07-21, 05:42 PM
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When will they make one I can slap on my shoe sole, or on all dozen or so of my old Look delta pedals?
Accuracy can be off by several %, if the price is low.

Strain gages have been around since the 50's.

Last edited by Wildwood; 04-07-21 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 04-07-21, 06:20 PM
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I'm 57
I do have a power meter
I do have a cycling coach.

My coach has me training in various HR zones.
I can use the PM to keep my HR just where it needs to be.
I can even predict my HR 30+ seconds into the future by monitoring my watts.

So yes, a geezer can put a power meter to good use.

Plus, they are just fun to play with.

Barry
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