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Power Meter Question

Old 12-17-20, 03:59 PM
  #1  
23109VC
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Power Meter Question

Iíve been reading about power meters and it sounds like a great way to train and improve - but Iíve never used one so Iím somewhat ignorant as to how they actually function. I currently donít have a Garman I have a forward mount and I use my iPhone display in my Strava data when I ride.

is there someway that you display real time power numbers on a bike computer like a Garmin as your ride? Iím envisioning that as you ride there is like a instantaneous reading displaying about what youíre generating at the moment almost like looking at my heart rate sensor or my miles per hour itís just another metric to measure how much energy Iím producing at the moment??

I understand at the end of a ride you can pull all the data and get averages and see how your power changed based on how far into the ride you are how tired you are are you going up a hill versus flat etc.... but I wasnít sure if thereís someway to visualize the data as you ride real time or if itís only something you analyze after the fact? I assumed it was something you can observe and monitor while youíre riding.

Out of curiosity if you were deciding between spending the money on a power meter or upgrading aluminum wheels to Chinese carbon fiber wheels like yoeleo - which would you spend the money on first?

I have a Scott foil.. an older 2013 model. All stock.

I know the best upgrade is to get fit ride more etc. which believe me Iím working on it! But like a lot of us itís fun to buy new trinkets and see how they affect my riding my bike came with the original Syncros aluminum wheels Iím wondering if upgrading to a decent quality carbon fiber wheel set will allow me to maintain higher speeds with less energy and scale faster or with a power meter helping my training to make me an overall more effective faster rider?

Iíll eventually do both just curious as to which one I should pull the trigger on first
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Old 12-17-20, 04:30 PM
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PM display

Yes a bike computer (I use Wahoo Bolt & Roam) will display power figures.
You can display instantaneous power, but I find displaying a rolling 3 second average is of more use.

For wheels I purchased Mavic Ksyrium Elite UST (rim) and have 3,000 miles on them. I think they are great and very light weight even compared to a pair of SuperTeam or equivalent..
I'm moving to a disc bike and have ordered the same wheels in the disc version.
The disc bike came with Ksyrium on it but not the UST version, hence the replacement. Tubeless has proven to be great.
I also chose to stick with the lighter alloy wheels because I don't travel fast enough to need the deeper rim that Carbon provides and I'm 200 pounds.

If I was riding alone, I buy the PM first. After all, you want to judge your performance and not how fast the bike travels.
If I spent most of my time in a group, I might be more interested in a wheel replacement.

I recently got a cycling coach. Turns out I was self training all wrong. All of my training is now performed using heart rate (HR) zones.
Power Meter (or indoor smart trainer) helps set those HR zones.

All the best

Barry
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Old 12-17-20, 04:44 PM
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I had assimo power pedals. It showed in real time on my garmin fenix 5 watch and my garmin 1030 computer.
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Old 12-17-20, 04:44 PM
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You can see instantaneous and averaged power, among other calculations, using a head unit or a mobile app like Wahoo Fitness, just like you can with any other bike sensor.

Unless you are already very strong on the bike, knowing your power profile and using it to inform your training will increase your speed a lot more than a new wheelset. It takes commitment and doesn't come easily, so it's not for everyone. If your heart says you'll enjoy slick new wheels and be more motivated to ride, then you may be better off with those.
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Old 12-17-20, 04:55 PM
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The Wahoo Fitness app will connect to sensors like a power meter.
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Old 12-17-20, 05:07 PM
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I have a Quarq PM and a Garmin computer. When I’m doing intervals, I have a display that shows 3 second power, avg power for that interval, lap (interval) time. Sometimes I will add a 4th field for cadence or HR. I can set up the Garmin to guide me through the workout, but that can be a PITA so I usually just write it on a piece of tape and stick that on my stem.

It’s a far better value than a new set of wheels if you use it to follow a training plan. It can also be an easy way to get on zwift or TrainerRoad if you have a basic trainer. But only if you actually use it for training. If not, it’s just an expensive gadget.
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Old 12-18-20, 12:26 AM
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Arise from near mandatory accessories like a helmet a power meter (single-sided crank based, in my case) is the most useful thing I've purchased when I got more serious about cycling 18 months month ago.

And they work like you think they do, though I use 3-second power and not instantaneous reading.
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Old 12-18-20, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by sean.hwy View Post
I had assimo power pedals. It showed in real time on my garmin fenix 5 watch and my garmin 1030 computer.
I used the same and I want to say that it is was really convenient
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Old 12-18-20, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by 23109VC View Post

I understand at the end of a ride you can pull all the data and get averages and see how your power changed based on how far into the ride you are how tired you are are you going up a hill versus flat etc.... but I wasn’t sure if there’s someway to visualize the data as you ride real time or if it’s only something you analyze after the fact? I assumed it was something you can observe and monitor while you’re riding.
As mentioned, yes.

I have 3 second power, average power, normalized power, speed, heart rate, and power zone all showing at the same time (you can get up to ten pieces of data shown at once on Garmins). For specific efforts, I have another screen that shows me the all of the above for just that specific effort.

I also have a screen that shows me how much time I've spent in each particular zone (most useful for ensuring I'm not soft-pedaling or coasting too much).

After the fact doesn't matter very much for training. For training, what your'e doing and how long you're doing it is most important. After the fact is useful for when you're racing or doing a group ride or simply going flat out without concern for power. Then you can see the numbers and see what was good or what can be improved. Then you use workouts based on those numbers during your ride to improve said numbers.

It's a real game changer, but only if you actually utilize it. Using power like you would use speed, just glancing down periodically to see what you're doing, is pretty pointless. I look at my power meter every 3-5 seconds when doing a workout, and probably every 15-20 seconds even when just riding around, even though I've been using one for nearly a decade and have my intensities fairly dialed in. It's extremely stochastic when you first try it, but you can improve your ability to hold tighter power ranges with practice, and in my experience, the higher the power, the easier it is to hold steady (except for <30 sec efforts which are just hold on and die slowly).
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Old 12-18-20, 08:51 AM
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after training with power for 7 years, I now don't care for it much. I'm quite capable of going by feel (perceived effort) and heartrate. Nowaday, the only time I will ever use power is if I'm on the trainer doing specific internals. Out on the road, I go by feel. And on a long climb, a heartrate monitor will be plenty sufficient to gauge your effort.

Personally, I'd upgrade the wheels, but not to Yoleo (which is not bad), but to Speedercycling ones. They're about $800 shipped, and they are badass wheels, the best $800 wheelset on the market, better than zipps, enves costing 3x it. Speedercycling has cheaper options too, but these are the topline ones, with filament wound.
Carbon Spoke Wheelset,Carbon Spoke Wheelset for sale Carbon Spoke Wheelset wholesalers,factories,sellers
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Old 12-18-20, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by 23109VC View Post
I’ve been reading about power meters and it sounds like a great way to train and improve - but I’ve never used one so I’m somewhat ignorant as to how they actually function. I currently don’t have a Garman I have a forward mount and I use my iPhone display in my Strava data when I ride.

is there someway that you display real time power numbers on a bike computer like a Garmin as your ride? I’m envisioning that as you ride there is like a instantaneous reading displaying about what you’re generating at the moment almost like looking at my heart rate sensor or my miles per hour it’s just another metric to measure how much energy I’m producing at the moment??

I understand at the end of a ride you can pull all the data and get averages and see how your power changed based on how far into the ride you are how tired you are are you going up a hill versus flat etc.... but I wasn’t sure if there’s someway to visualize the data as you ride real time or if it’s only something you analyze after the fact? I assumed it was something you can observe and monitor while you’re riding.

Out of curiosity if you were deciding between spending the money on a power meter or upgrading aluminum wheels to Chinese carbon fiber wheels like yoeleo - which would you spend the money on first?

I know the best upgrade is to get fit ride more etc. which believe me I’m working on it! But like a lot of us it’s fun to buy new trinkets and see how they affect my riding my bike came with the original Syncros aluminum wheels I’m wondering if upgrading to a decent quality carbon fiber wheel set will allow me to maintain higher speeds with less energy and scale faster or with a power meter helping my training to make me an overall more effective faster rider?
Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
As mentioned, yes.

I have 3 second power, average power, normalized power, speed, heart rate, and power zone all showing at the same time (you can get up to ten pieces of data shown at once on Garmins). For specific efforts, I have another screen that shows me the all of the above for just that specific effort.

I also have a screen that shows me how much time I've spent in each particular zone (most useful for ensuring I'm not soft-pedaling or coasting too much).

After the fact doesn't matter very much for training. For training, what your'e doing and how long you're doing it is most important. After the fact is useful for when you're racing or doing a group ride or simply going flat out without concern for power. Then you can see the numbers and see what was good or what can be improved. Then you use workouts based on those numbers during your ride to improve said numbers.

It's a real game changer, but only if you actually utilize it. Using power like you would use speed, just glancing down periodically to see what you're doing, is pretty pointless. I look at my power meter every 3-5 seconds when doing a workout, and probably every 15-20 seconds even when just riding around, even though I've been using one for nearly a decade and have my intensities fairly dialed in. It's extremely stochastic when you first try it, but you can improve your ability to hold tighter power ranges with practice, and in my experience, the higher the power, the easier it is to hold steady (except for <30 sec efforts which are just hold on and die slowly).
I abide by everything rubiksoval says, probably because I learned it from him, here on BF, prior to me getting my PowerTap G3 Hub PM 4-5 years ago, when it was first paired to a Garmin 800 and now a 520, which works flawlessly.

My general loose training plan that works for me is to simply monitor my power curve (typically just the last 3-6 months) as displayed in Strava or GoldenCheetah, and then pick a duration (or multiple durations) on the current curve that seem to have a lower power than I think it could be, usually denoted by a slight dip in that part of the curve (for example: see the dip at the 1 min. mark I have marked) relative to the rest of the curve around it, and simply go out and try to improve the avg. power of that duration by X number of watts. Sometimes it'll be the short 60 sec sprint stuff I work on, sometimes the 20-60 minute stuff, all based on how I'm feeling at the time, and what I've done in the week prior. But knowing/recognizing your body's current state of accumulated training stress is a whole other factor for determining when you SHOULD go out and hit 1,000 watts for 5 seconds, and your PM has little to do with that decision, other than allowing you to review what you've done in the past several days.

I would and did get a PM before any other major upgrade, but I'm a data analyst for fun, and by trade. And if an SPD power meter pedal existed, I would have gotten that instead of a hub, to allow me to move it easily between the 4 bikes (road, road/trainer, commuter, mtb). But if money weren't an issue, I'd get a hub/sprocket PM on each, for the reliability over pedals, which can get banged up a lot easier than a hub/sprocket, especially on mtb.

(and pay no attention to my curve for anything above 1,000 watts, since those are spikes that can sometimes occur in the data, and I haven't figured an easy way to smooth them out of the Strava power data, but the 24hr power data is REAL!)


Last edited by Riveting; 12-18-20 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 12-18-20, 10:34 AM
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1. I would buy a powermeter over Chinese wheels
2. I recommend getting a proper computer over using your phone
3. If you are dead set on using your phone, use the wahoo fitness app. The metrics provided are the same as their head units
4. If I were to do it over, I would get dual Assioma pedals. If you are going to go with a crank, stages or 4iiii are great (I myself use stages). Second thing on crank based power meters, there is an issue with shimano style right side with respect to calculating power, so going left side (non drive side) is what I would recommend.

Computers:

For what you are doing you can't go wrong with Wahoo or Garmin.....However, I just got a Stages Dash M50 and am blown away with the visual metrics it provides. The Dash will be replacing my Wahoo on my main bike.
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Old 12-18-20, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by jadocs View Post
.However, I just got a Stages Dash M50 and am blown away with the visual metrics it provides.
Jadocs,
I'm using Stages dual and Wahoo comptuers. Can you please elaborate what the Dash M50 is doing for you when compared please?

Thanks

Barry
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Old 12-18-20, 04:40 PM
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The power meter is very useful for doing structured training. Interval intensities are defined in terms of power and you can use the power meter to ride at the appropriate power.

Within a structured training plan you need gradually hard weeks and a recovery week in between, the power meter allows you to measure this and follow the program.

It can also be used to measure your fitness and evaluate how you are progressing.

Using ride data, you can look back and figure out what you need to improve not to get dropped in that fast group ride or you can see what is needed to achieve some target.

However, you don’t get faster just by knowing how much power you are outputting, need to use it.
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Old 12-18-20, 07:31 PM
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Also one of the under appreciated benefits of a power meter is keeping you honest on recovery rides.
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Old 12-19-20, 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Also one of the under appreciated benefits of a power meter is keeping you honest on recovery rides.
Many recovery rides have gone to shreds after the first cyclist passes me, unfortunately power meter is no help there.
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Old 12-19-20, 07:13 AM
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I agree with a previous post that using a phone app instead of a proper computer is limiting. For me having a PM, HRM and a computer is really nice for me as I like to climb hills and this allows me to set a pace that I can keep without blowing up. I have a friend that thinks I'm nuts because of all the money I have in these things, he feels that I should take that money and buy a better bike.
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Old 12-19-20, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Thomas15 View Post
I agree with a previous post that using a phone app instead of a proper computer is limiting. For me having a PM, HRM and a computer is really nice for me as I like to climb hills and this allows me to set a pace that I can keep without blowing up. I have a friend that thinks I'm nuts because of all the money I have in these things, he feels that I should take that money and buy a better bike.
I think with a new road bike in the price range $1000-$1500 it is already preferable to invest in a power meter before upgrading the bike, if you can put it to good use. Especially if you pick a power meter that can be used for a possible upgrade at a later stage.
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Old 12-19-20, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Thomas15 View Post
I agree with a previous post that using a phone app instead of a proper computer is limiting. For me having a PM, HRM and a computer is really nice for me as I like to climb hills and this allows me to set a pace that I can keep without blowing up. I have a friend that thinks I'm nuts because of all the money I have in these things, he feels that I should take that money and buy a better bike.
Tell him that you are. Youíre building a better engine.
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Old 12-21-20, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Barry2 View Post
Jadocs,
I'm using Stages dual and Wahoo comptuers. Can you please elaborate what the Dash M50 is doing for you when compared please?

Thanks

Barry
Will do....I haven't had a chance to use it outside yet due to weather. I have been having fun setting up and playing with page layouts. There are a lot of old reviews out there with nothing really current. Here is a link that shows you some of what I am talking about.

https://stagescycling.com/us/dash-live-data-graphing/

If you Zwift...you can color code your zones to match zwift live power graph, so the visual cues...and Stages live power graph are seamless. I currently have my M50 setup in landscape mode because it gives me more options with respect to sizing the data fields that I want. The customization within each data category are also extensive. While the Bolt gives you the analysis you need, the Stages M50/L50 allows you to see it the way you want to. One full color graph can tell you 4 or 5 things vs. one black and white data field.
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