Power Meter Overview 2023

Power Meter Update - I've been using a variety of power meters over the last few years. All of these seem to be accurate and consistent in their data. This is a brief review of the four systems I currently use.

To cut to the chase, of these four power meters, which would I recommend as a power meter on a new bike build?

Given that two of these are discontinued, the choice comes down to the SRAM Red chainset or the Assioma Duo pedals, and from the viewpoint of easy transfer between bikes I'd recommend the Assiomas (which can also be bought in a version to be fetted to Shimano pedal bodies). I should add that all four of these power meters have been absolutely faultless in use.

Powertap power meter

A few years ago, I decided to have a play with using a power meter in my training. Because I wasn’t too sure about how useful I’d find this, I went with the cheap option – a Polar CS600X with WIND speed and power/cadence sensors. This worked reasonably well – at first – but I’ve had no end of problems with reliability. Mostly this seems to be because there are several essential components in the WIND power meter system: the power supply, the chain tension sensor, the cadence sensor and the chain speed sensor. If any one of these elements doesn’t work, you see no power or cadence reading, and there is virtually no diagnostics available to figure out where the problem lies (except if there is no power). And what is particularly annoying is that the setup can work fine one day, and the next (with the bike not moved from the turbo trainer) it doesn’t the next day.

Polar CS600X with Power (and GPS) part 6

This is just a brief update to the long term review of the Polar CS600X. In fact, the chain tension based W.I.N.D. Power Sensor has I think been discontinued now that Polar pedal based power system has been released. Since buying a Garmin Edge 500, I don't use the Polar out there on the road. This is principally because it's so fiddly to get the thing reliably working with the GPS and power units. So it's been mostly used on the turbo trainer (without the GPS, obviously).

Polar CS600X with Power (and GPS) part 5

I've been using the Polar CS600X with Power for a few years now - this is something of a long-term test report.

Of Garmins, Polars and Golden Cheetahs…Power-based Training, part 2

I’ve recently taken delivery of a Garmin Edge 500 bike computer, rather a neat piece of kit that can use GPS positioning to show speed and distance: it also has a speed/cadence sensor and a chest strap to send HR to the unit. It is ANT+compatible so can receive data from any ANT+ power sensor (I’ve got an eye on the Metrigear pedal spindle device, should it ever enter the market).

Garmin have a website to which data can be downloaded from the unit online: this requires a downloaded plug-in to facilitate upload from the Edge 500. Or so they say (more on this in a bit), and it’s only available for PC and Mac. The software is pretty limited in comparison to other apps I’ve used. While you can see graphs of power, altitude, speed and heart rate, you can’t seem to plot them in combination. Nor are there any of the very useful ways of plotting power data that some other packages offer. You can however use Garmin Connect to convert from FIT format to TCX format, which can be useful.

Polar CS600X with Power (and GPS) - part 4

This is just a brief update on the CS600X bike computer - I've been using this for about 6 months now, on a pretty frequent basis, but the majority of use has been on the turbo trainer.

Polar CS600X with Power (and GPS) - Part 3

Part 3 - getting the GPS to work

My final posting on the Polar CS600X (probably) contains my observations on how to get the G3 GPS to send speed and track data the main unit.  These notes assume that the GPS has been "inroduced" to the CS600X.

1.  Navigate via Settings to the Bike menu.  scroll down beyond Bike 3 and select Other.  Turn this option on.

2.  Turn on the GPS by ressing the button once.  It will flash a red LED - this will turn green once contact has been made with the satellites.

3.  Don't set the main unit going until the GPS has made contact.  The main unit will probably say "Check Power" (click OK) and "Check Speed" (click OK).

4.  Set off riding the bike.  Your HR will be showing.  In my experience it takes around half a mile before a speed reading is shown, but after that things seem to work quite smoothly.

5.  I find it more convenient to put the GPS in  a jersey pocket than to strap it to my arm.

Polar CS600X with Power (and GPS) - Part 2

I have finally persuaded, by dint of actually reading the manual, managed to use the Polar G3 GPS unit to report speed/distance and the route to the CS600X.  Unfortunately, I'm not exactly sure what made the difference.  I think it was switching the GPS on before starting to record the exercise.  What with all the faffing around, I ended up only recording a few miles on a ride curtailed by rain.

Polar CS600X with Power - Part 1: initial impressions

I recently bought a Polar CS600X bike computer/HRM, with an associated Power meter system - here I present an initial review of the unit.  I later bought the add-on Polar G3 GPS unit for use with it - I'll review this separately as I haven't had a chance to use it at the time of writing.