Power meters on bicycles were the realm of bicycle snobs, data nerds, and of course the pros, ever since their inception. Unfortunately, the pricing kept it out of the hands of most riders except the few who were single, rich, or had understanding/gullible spouses.
Enter Watteam, the makers of PowerBeat. What they designed was a power meter that wasn’t a hub, or crank, and could be fitted to just about any bicycle. For the cherry on top, it comes in at $499.00. Throw in ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart connectivity, as well as left and right power measurement.
Let’s take a closer look at how it attaches to your crank after the break.
As you can see, the unit attaches to the crank arm via a plate sandwiched between the pedal spindle and the crank arm. Then the transmitter is attached to the arm as is the unit that contains the strain gauges. The only iffy part I can see is that little piece of wire that is just dangling, waiting to be snagged on something. Murphy’s law applies here. Some electrical tape should take care of that, but if you are the type who likes a clean, clean bike; that might drive you crazy. Remember the long pieces of tape for covering up Di2 wires on the down tube? Blech.
Here’s another look at that sensor placement and attachment. That little sensor you see further up on the crank arm contains the strain gauges that measure the flex in the crank arm. The unit near the pedal contains the brains of the unit witch uses algorithms to calculate power output. Though the setup may look fragile, the fact that you can get a power unit that retrofits to nearly any crank set without having to buy a hub, or whole new crank set, or crank arm, may be worth the electrical tape look. Especially if you’ve been jonesin’ for a power meter, but didn’t want to pay the high admission.
I’ll leave you with some other images, but be sure to check out the site to see this new entry into the power meter market.