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Powertap 2.4 sL or SL or Pro? Which should I get?

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Powertap 2.4 sL or SL or Pro? Which should I get?

Old 10-22-08, 01:56 PM
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Powertap 2.4 sL or SL or Pro? Which should I get?

I have the chance to purchase a powertap at EP price. That being said I'd like to hear from you guys which model I should get and for what reasons. The prices are only a few hundred dollars apart total but which is the best bang for the buck? 2.4sl, sl, or pro?
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Old 10-22-08, 02:00 PM
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2.4 is where i'd go, if i went the PT route.
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Old 10-22-08, 02:04 PM
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Only the SL2.4 is being advertised as upgradable to ANT+sports. Not sure if that's important to you. Saris also finally updated their site with the new Powertap lineup.

I have the Pro; only because it's cheaper and I don't see myself going campy. I didn't know about the ANT+sports upgrade back then.
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Old 10-22-08, 02:08 PM
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Pro is upgradeable to ANT+sports.
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Old 10-22-08, 02:14 PM
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Once you have the data, you won't care about anything else about the PowerTap. The SL probably has the biggest depreciation from new->used, but it's the most popular.

At this time, I thought only the 2.4 was upgradeable to ANT+Sport. Has their been an announcement about the Pro and the SL?

The SL/Pro wiring harnesses seem to only last 2 years or so, so you might take that into consideration, at $75 each. None of my close training partners has a 2.4, so I don't know much about their dropouts.

Seriously though, once you have the data, you don't much care about the packaging.
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Old 10-22-08, 02:19 PM
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Unless I am mistaken ANT+ Sport is a wireless standard. Not sure how you would make a wired unit compatible with a wireless standard....unless it's that you can use a head unit that can pick up the ANT+ coming from a power meter....

...just unclear.

<Desparately looking for a PT deal of any kind...>
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Old 10-22-08, 02:34 PM
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You need to send your unit in for retrofitting, it's not cheap, I think a few hundred dollars?

My recommendation is 2.4 ANT, by the way.
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Old 10-22-08, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
Unless I am mistaken ANT+ Sport is a wireless standard. Not sure how you would make a wired unit compatible with a wireless standard....unless it's that you can use a head unit that can pick up the ANT+ coming from a power meter....

...just unclear.

<Desparately looking for a PT deal of any kind...>
Note that the wired unit is actually wireless. It's just short range, so you need a wire to get the receiver closer to the hub. The hub still transmits RF signals.
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Old 10-22-08, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
At this time, I thought only the 2.4 was upgradeable to ANT+Sport. Has their been an announcement about the Pro and the SL?
Current Pro is not; only 2.4s. Next year all but a newer entry level model will be ANT+ compatible.
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Old 10-22-08, 03:06 PM
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Yes, I imagine that you can upgrade a Pro to ANT+Sport, but that involves first converting it an SL 2.4 by swapping out some of the internal electronics. Saris quoted me $500 to do that on an SL so I assume it would be the same cost for the Pro. Then there is another $100 to upgrade the firmware. At that price it would be a pretty crazy to upgrade. It would be cheaper to sell it and buy the model you really want. If you want ANT+Sport, then buy the SL 2.4 or wait for the 2009 models.
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Old 10-22-08, 04:42 PM
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2.4 sl, imo.
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Old 10-22-08, 05:19 PM
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+1 for 2.4 ANT+

This gives you a lot more options down the road.... I never liked the Garmins and thought they were a waste of money.... NOW I own a Garmin 705 and love it....now just waiting for the 2.4+ to come out.... or until I can get close enough to a Slipstream Rider to steal theirs!
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Old 10-22-08, 07:57 PM
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dribble a little shoe goo on the last cm of wire on the harness and mounts and it'll last forever

reinforcement of the bendy bits is key
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Old 10-24-08, 01:43 PM
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There used to be a difference between the CPUs on the 2.4 SL, SL or Pro. The Pro had less memory, and only the 2.4 had a coded HR strap that actually worked reliably. But that has changed and now all the models come with CPUs that are functionally identical. All have the coded hear rate that works and have the same memory and features. The only difference is that the 2.4 model works without the wire harness.

So that leaves you with the differences between the hubs. The Pro model is only available with a Shimano freehub, so if you run Campy on your bike then that is a consideration. Saris does sell a conversion cassette, but IMHO conversion cassettes suck. I have heard some people say in this forum that you can swap the freehub out for a Campy version, but the Saris website says you cannot do this on the pro (but you can on the SL or 2.4 SL). If this important, then check this out before you buy.

The SL model is identical to the Pro model in every respect except that a Campy freehub version is available and it is a little lighter because the freehub and axle are made of an aluminum alloy instead of steel. Whether this is worth the hundreds of dollars more is highly debatable. Like all alloy freehubs, they tend to develop notches over time. Also the alloy axle is not very stiff and tends to bend. I bent two of them over the course of six months, and I don't even ride that many miles. It is a known problem which is why the Garmin-Chipolte team runs their Powertaps with the steel axles from the Pro model. It is also why the 2009 models will have newly designed axles with an increased diameter. After bending two axles I finally put in a steel one and have been very happy with it. I was definately worth the small increase in weight, and something you might think about especially if you are a masher, a Clyde or just plain strong. So if you think you might go this route and don't run Campy it might just be better to save some cash and go with the Pro.

The 2.4 SL model is identical to the regular SL except that it doesn't require the wire harness. When this model originally came out I didn't think there was much benefit to going wireless, and certainly not enough to justify the extra cost. With wireless there is the downsides of increased chance of dropouts and no cadence sensor. I admit that these are minor issues because dropouts are reportedly rare and the hub does measure virtual cadence that is a pretty good approximation most of the time, but still you are giving up something. What you do get when you go wireless is basically a very "clean" looking bike. But is that worth hundreds of dollars? Some people say that the wireless model is easier to swap between bikes, but really an extra wire harness is really cheap and once you have a wire harness on each bike there is no more ease in swapping the wireless model. In fact, in some situations it can acutally be harder to swap, because if you own two Powertap hubs (for example training wheels and race wheels) you have to remember which CPU they are paired with or go through the extra step of getting your CPU to learn the other hub.

So until recently IMHO there was very little benefit to going wireless, but now ANT+Sport has come onto the market and it is only available on the wireless models by paying $100 for a firmware upgrade. ANT+Sport allows you to use the Powertap with a Garmin 705, iBike or other ANT+Sport compatible cycling computer instead of the CPU it comes with. Why would you want to do this? Well the Powertap CPU is not bad, but it is missing some bells and wistles. It doesn't have altitude, programable intervals or GPS for example. So if you want these features you might be interest in ANT+Sport. But it is still unclear why one needs ANT+Sport because you can always run multiple cycling computers on your bike. It seem to me the only real benefit is getting all that info from multiple sources on one data file. This may be valuable if you use certain analysis software like WKO+ and don't want duplicate files. Is this a cool feature? Yes. Is it worth the extra hundreds of dollars for the Powertap, paying a hundred for the firmware upgrade, and then hundreds more for the Garmin 705? That's up to you. . .
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Old 10-24-08, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Zeriman View Post
There used to be a difference between the CPUs on the 2.4 SL, SL or Pro. The Pro had less memory, and only the 2.4 had a coded HR strap that actually worked reliably. But that has changed and now all the models come with CPUs that are functionally identical. All have the coded hear rate that works and have the same memory and features. The only difference is that the 2.4 model works without the wire harness.

So that leaves you with the differences between the hubs. The Pro model is only available with a Shimano freehub, so if you run Campy on your bike then that is a consideration. Saris does sell a conversion cassette, but IMHO conversion cassettes suck. I have heard some people say in this forum that you can swap the freehub out for a Campy version, but the Saris website says you cannot do this on the pro (but you can on the SL or 2.4 SL). If this important, then check this out before you buy.

The SL model is identical to the Pro model in every respect except that a Campy freehub version is available and it is a little lighter because the freehub and axle are made of an aluminum alloy instead of steel. Whether this is worth the hundreds of dollars more is highly debatable. Like all alloy freehubs, they tend to develop notches over time. Also the alloy axle is not very stiff and tends to bend. I bent two of them over the course of six months, and I don't even ride that many miles. It is a known problem which is why the Garmin-Chipolte team runs their Powertaps with the steel axles from the Pro model. It is also why the 2009 models will have newly designed axles with an increased diameter. After bending two axles I finally put in a steel one and have been very happy with it. I was definately worth the small increase in weight, and something you might think about especially if you are a masher, a Clyde or just plain strong. So if you think you might go this route and don't run Campy it might just be better to save some cash and go with the Pro.

The 2.4 SL model is identical to the regular SL except that it doesn't require the wire harness. When this model originally came out I didn't think there was much benefit to going wireless, and certainly not enough to justify the extra cost. With wireless there is the downsides of increased chance of dropouts and no cadence sensor. I admit that these are minor issues because dropouts are reportedly rare and the hub does measure virtual cadence that is a pretty good approximation most of the time, but still you are giving up something. What you do get when you go wireless is basically a very "clean" looking bike. But is that worth hundreds of dollars? Some people say that the wireless model is easier to swap between bikes, but really an extra wire harness is really cheap and once you have a wire harness on each bike there is no more ease in swapping the wireless model. In fact, in some situations it can acutally be harder to swap, because if you own two Powertap hubs (for example training wheels and race wheels) you have to remember which CPU they are paired with or go through the extra step of getting your CPU to learn the other hub.

So until recently IMHO there was very little benefit to going wireless, but now ANT+Sport has come onto the market and it is only available on the wireless models by paying $100 for a firmware upgrade. ANT+Sport allows you to use the Powertap with a Garmin 705, iBike or other ANT+Sport compatible cycling computer instead of the CPU it comes with. Why would you want to do this? Well the Powertap CPU is not bad, but it is missing some bells and wistles. It doesn't have altitude, programable intervals or GPS for example. So if you want these features you might be interest in ANT+Sport. But it is still unclear why one needs ANT+Sport because you can always run multiple cycling computers on your bike. It seem to me the only real benefit is getting all that info from multiple sources on one data file. This may be valuable if you use certain analysis software like WKO+ and don't want duplicate files. Is this a cool feature? Yes. Is it worth the extra hundreds of dollars for the Powertap, paying a hundred for the firmware upgrade, and then hundreds more for the Garmin 705? That's up to you. . .
Awesome writeup. Since we started this thread I ended up winning a powertap on ebay (yesterday). It's an older "Pro" model. I know little about it, but it supposedly does not come with a HR strap (it's missing) and the head unit is the original "non-coded" stlye....

My question(s): I have a Garmin 305. SHould I just use the Garmin in conjunction with the power tap and use the PT head unit for the power data and Garmin for everything else? Will I lose something not having the HR data stream next to the power data stream?

If I should run HR with the power can I run any of the HR straps I currently have (Polar (coded and un-coded), Garmin (coded), etc...)? Should I just buy an upgraded head unit with HR strap for the PT? Which one? Can I get it off the site? Should I call them to "upgrade"? etc...
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Old 10-24-08, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post

If I should run HR with the power can I run any of the HR straps I currently have (Polar (coded and un-coded), Garmin (coded), etc...)? Should I just buy an upgraded head unit with HR strap for the PT? Which one? Can I get it off the site? Should I call them to "upgrade"? etc...
You can call Saris to upgrade your computer to the newer version. It would have coded HR, with a new HR strap as well as twice the memory. I did this last year and it was $200 but their prices seem to change a lot.
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Old 10-24-08, 03:14 PM
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I just spend $575 for it - it's laced into an old Zipp 404 tubular. I don't want to run tubular for training which is what I want the powertap for so I will be yanking the rim and either selling it or lacing it for TT's.

Not sure I want to invest another $200 on it just yet. Getting close to the cost of a new one for me at that point. I might just use it as is and see what I think. If it's not going to hack it at least I will have a better idea of what I want.

I decided to get it because I looked at the prices on the new line on saris's site......

Anyone know if I can use an alternate HR strap? One of the one's I have already?
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Old 10-24-08, 03:26 PM
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I really wanted a PT but decided I wasn't ready to drop $1,200 for a one wheel solution. I have a dedicated wheel for indoor training and two outdoor wheels. I also really wanted altitude without having to buy a Garmin.

I bought a Polar CS600 for $475. It's a clunky looking system but with the MS Live cashback I saved $118. After I sell my CS400 my net will be around $200. If I don't like it I can sell the WIND unit alone on Ebay for $200-250 in which case I'm ahead.
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Old 10-24-08, 04:51 PM
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^^^Same problem here...

I now have two PowerTap 2.4 SL wheels...

I am waiting for the current wheels to go on sale to get my third...

Shhh...Don't tell my wife...

(I toss my Garmin 305 in my back poket when I want altitude)...
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Old 10-24-08, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
Awesome writeup. Since we started this thread I ended up winning a powertap on ebay (yesterday). It's an older "Pro" model. I know little about it, but it supposedly does not come with a HR strap (it's missing) and the head unit is the original "non-coded" stlye....

My question(s): I have a Garmin 305. SHould I just use the Garmin in conjunction with the power tap and use the PT head unit for the power data and Garmin for everything else? Will I lose something not having the HR data stream next to the power data stream?

If I should run HR with the power can I run any of the HR straps I currently have (Polar (coded and un-coded), Garmin (coded), etc...)? Should I just buy an upgraded head unit with HR strap for the PT? Which one? Can I get it off the site? Should I call them to "upgrade"? etc...
I would just use both devices and get HR off of the Garmin and Power off of the Powertap.

If you want both in one data file you can upgrade the CPU (was $200, but now is $150 -- just call Saris) which gets you both the new CPU and the new HR strap. The cool thing about the strap is that it is the same strap as the Garmin so you can use one strap for both devices. If you find one of the new coded CPUs on ebay without the strap that would work too because you can use the Garmin strap with it. But it would only be useful to have the Power data and the heart rate data together on one data file if you have some sort of analysis you want to do on the computer comparing the two. Most people don't do that. Many people don't even measure HR after becoming accostumed to Power. Once I started using Power and learning about functional threshold, etc. I really don't need to even look at heart rate anymore during a ride, but I may look at averages or something after downloading the data.

If you want to get HR on your current CPU, I believe the non-coded Powertap strap was made by Sports Instruments, so you might look for one of those. I have also heard that it is also compatible with a non-coded Polar strap (hard to find anymore). If you happend to have one of these and want to try it may be it would be worth a shot, but I wouldn't go out of my way to do it because the old CPUs are notorious for their HR feature to stop working. The internal antenna's are weak and if the CPU was dropped that feature just stops working. I think I got my old non-coded CPU to work (with many dropouts) on about three rides before it just stopped completely.
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Old 10-24-08, 05:56 PM
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Awesome...thanks. I do a couple of the non-coded polar straps hanging around....might give it a try.

Will most likely just use as power as is in conjunction with the Garmin.
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Old 10-24-08, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Zeriman View Post
.
.
.
The Pro model is only available with a Shimano freehub, so if you run Campy on your bike then that is a consideration. Saris does sell a conversion cassette, but IMHO conversion cassettes suck. I have heard some people say in this forum that you can swap the freehub out for a Campy version, but the Saris website says you cannot do this on the pro (but you can on the SL or 2.4 SL). If this important, then check this out before you buy.

The SL model is identical to the Pro model in every respect except that a Campy freehub version is available and it is a little lighter because the freehub and axle are made of an aluminum alloy instead of steel.
.
.
.
I have Pro model which I bought locally with a Campy freehub ($60.00 or so extra). When I went to pick up the wheels the owner claimed that he recommends swapping the SL alloy axle to steel axle for anybody over 200lb (not sure about the cost). Therefore, if both axle and freehub are replaceable I can't see why anyone would want to buy SL.

The elimination of the harness on the 2.4 is worth considering due to the added convenience.
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Old 10-24-08, 06:08 PM
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Wireless. I am sick and tired of seeing my nice bikes with that stupid black cable taped to it.
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