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I agree with everything you have stated. Commenting on the second to last paragraph and why, perhaps, that triathletes have been slow to adapt to buying powers; cost. Plain and simple they are currently too much money. But. you make a good point about buying a power meter over buying race wheels and I will seriously look at doing that!
Now, which is the best power meter to buy that is easy to install and use??


Sorry, but what is a "power meter"?
Could you point me to a few links?


“[Y]ou simply are more likely to achieve your race goals by training—and racing—with a power meter than without.”

What if we successfully discourage our competitors from training with power meters?

Joe Friel

Roy--Every p meter has good and bad qualities. The best thing you could do is google each of the options and compare to see what best fits your needs.

Joe Friel

Dork--Good idea!

Joe Friel

Willy--Google bicycle power meter and you'll get details.


For a triathlete or cyclist there are two types I see 1) the weekend warrior who doesn't need a power meter expense and are just quite content to just have fun with what resources they have at hand, they will either do two things a) more up to be a type 2) athlete or b) they are content with just the exercise they get from the activity. Type 2) is the competitive type who will come round to investing in the PM, to remain or become more competitivewith the other as they are most likely using a PM to have an edge on the competition. Because they are already following this blog and perhaps have already read book, articles on PM. So it 'goes without saying why the competitive athlete needs a PM. And if your are following this blog and have ask the? ...seriously?? And for type of PM - my garage is filling up fast in 3yrs ...multiple bikes, PM, seats, shoes,etc.. fwiw a PM would have to be the Garmin vector to switch between multiple bikes is so much easier I see than a powertap I use in two wheels, I have three rear wheels. One for race, one the trainer and one for the road, I just tired of removing the trainer Tyre to put a road tyre to go for a outdoor ride. IMO. Joe, As for the runner, isn't HR and RPE the only way to gauge effort output as there is no PM for a runner..


Joe, what percentage reduction in power would you apply to an athlete completing a time trial as part of a triathlon bearing in mind they have to complete a run segment afterwards?


Hey Joe, I noticed there are two types of meters; hub and crank.

The crank versions appear to typically cost more, but is there any measurable difference between the two that would suggest I get one over the other?

I think this link, http://forum.slowtwitch.com/cgi-bin/gforum.cgi?post=3219147 basically answers my question but in your experience have you worked with more crank or hub meters?

Since it is such a significant cost, I'd like to avoid choosing the wrong tool for the job.


Gary Smith

Joe, I agree with everything you said...to a point. I've run the gamut with powermeters, having used everything from a powertap to quarq. And the points you made are valid. But, I'm now at the point where I think Perceived Effort(PE) might be even MORE beneficial. For example, if you're doing a set of intervals at 100% of FTP, it's more helpful to me now to dial into my body and FEEL what 100% is, rather than rely on what the powermeter is telling me. Is this subjective? Of course, but it's actually closer to what you feel in a race experience, where you have to be especially keen on how you're feeling. I can't tell you how many times I didn't "have it" and ended up tanking simply because I was below my prescribed "power numbers." Similarly, I'm sure I've underperformed when my body felt better than what my powermeter said I should be doing.

Again, don't get me wrong. Just as powermeters were a step up from HR monitors, I think dialing in and using PE is the next step up from powermeters. That said, I still use a powermeter, but only use the data as a reference point AFTER the workout.


I'm very interested in the Garmin Vector power pedals. Using pedals would mean one could buy multiple sets of wheels without needing a Power Tap in each set. I'm looking forward to seeing the reviews on the pedals.

Michael I

Everyone could benefit from using a powermeter - no more guesing. But if you are'nt the "sciencetist athlete type".... You may just not see the picture. A lot of "404" people have laughed of my big powertap hub the last 3 years. I have moved from cat5 to cat3, and now it seems that cat2 in 2012 is in sigth... In an age of 40, and only using about 6 hours a week. They are'nt laughing anymore, but they still don't but the tool. Instead it is still the newest pair of zipp's that is 1. Priority - and it Will always be.... And there will also still be a lot of need for coaches in the future....


Everything you say about going faster is probably true. But there is also a strong social element in cycling...the social element of being that "45 year old cat 4" with the same power meter as Cadel Evans. It's cool that some armature riders get to play out their "pro cyclist fantasy," but at the end of the day a 4,000 pm amounts to taking your kids to soccer practice in a formula 1 car.

Jon Nehring

What are your thoughts on powermeters with mountain bike racing. I use powermeters to train on the road for racing MTB. MTB seems to have too many variables vs using a powermeter for a TT on the road. Training with one Helps tremendously. Would the additional investment help to buy a meter for MTB. The only time i use my MTB is when I race....family and kids will do that!

Kendall Co. Rouleur

I disagree with cost being the factor. It is surely one factor, but unlike all the other upgrades listed, a powermeter doesn't make an athlete immediately faster, unlike a TT bike vs a road bike, aero wheels, aero helmet, etc. Instant gratification vs. a training tool which takes an investment of time to use properly. Elites and the serious age-groupers understand this, the "lifestyle-athletes" don't (for the most part.)

Also, there is no "status" attached to a powermeter, unlike a state-of-the-art, latest model year, $8000 race bike. Who wants to pay $1-2k for a barely visible device that tells you that you're 25% weaker than most in your category/AG and that you need to train much harder if you want to get faster? Folks go to the bike shop and buy whatever will make them faster today. Instant gratification and status-seeking, it's not just in sports that we see this in our country.

Buy the powermeter and face the truth, then put in the long and hard hours to get faster. Its humbling and worth every penny!

Joe Friel

Jon Nehring - Using a p meter in a race will tell you a lot, the most basic being what it takes to race faster.

Joe Friel

Tim--I've coached people who have both. No problems. Choose the one that best fits your unique needs. Note there is now a pedal-based PM available from Polar and Garmin is working on such also.

Joe Friel

Ronan--Around 5%

Joe Friel

AussieMIkeinSD - The closest thing to power for a runner is pace, but it isn't as pure as power due to hills and wind.


Friend Nino Schurter won Beijing Bronze in the MTB XCO, Gold at '09 Worlds and Silver at '11 Worlds.

We trained together in Flims last September. I asked him why he doesn't use a powermeter. "I do the right intensity, guided by perceived effort. I know what full gas feels like. I train by feel and I am never lazy. Moderate intensity feels moderate compared to full gas. Friends using a power meter focus on it too much, it reinforces self-perceived limitations. Weight, the feel of quality hours of sleep and rest and medals are the best measures of training effort."


I've heard the "better to get a PM that race wheels" before, and live by it. But of course this means getting delayed gratification that you have to work for vs. immediate gratification that's effort free. I'm pretty confident the majority of my road cycling competitors will opt for the race wheels :-)=

Joe Friel

Rob--There are different types of athletes. Most elites are "artist-athletes." They despise numbers and think they only get in the way of "feel". Your friend is an artist. Most athletes are not.


Joe have you had any experience with the soon to be released PowerCal from CycleOps. I don't know how reliable it will be, just seems to me that there is too much lag especially at high intervals, for eg. MAP ints 15 secs On/Off. Maybe ok for long steady efforts? I was thinking of purchasing one for my single speed for commuting, just add in those TSS numbers for WKO. Thoughts? BTW Thank you for answering my question after my I broke my clavicle from last Sundays hit & run. Did my first ride today since, and I kept the intensity (IF @60%) and I was able to complete it in comfortably sitting up and no pressure on my shoulder. Thanks, and another good reason for a power meter, to dial in that intensity when coming back from an injury.

A Facebook User

Switched to power one year ago. When doing specific workouts with your FTP as your guide there really is no better way to train. Once you get involved with it you will never use heart rate as a primary again.

Joe Friel

Hi Roy--As a matter of fact, I just got one. I haven't even had a chance to try it yet. Seems there is never time for fun stuff like playing around with new gadgets. I expect it will be a good way for people who understand HR to try out power, altho it is only estimating power. Trainingpeaks.com also offers a similar software feature without having to buy anything new. It converts HR to power with a similar way of estimating. These aren't highly accurate but they are close--I'm told.

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