/ Shall I buy a power meter?

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Yanis Nayu - on 13 Jan 2017
Relevant factors:

I really want one.
I can't afford one but could stick it on a credit card.
I really want one.

By my logic, there are therefore twice as many reasons to get one as not.

Any help with my decision-making process would be appreciated.
abr1966 - on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

I had the same thought last summer until I saw the prices!!
richlan - on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

Yeah why the hell not, get an SRM PC8 while you are at it.

It does remind me of a quote I once heard about amateur cyclists with power meters, went something like "you wouldn't hire an accountant to tell you how much money you don't have"

For the record, if I rode as much as I used to I would have one
Joez on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

Have you got a heart rate strap?

Do you use it?

Or do you just look at the graph after a ride briefly, think that's nice and then carry on regardless?

Use that as a guide, if you're going to use it religiously to train then it's probably worth it.

If you just want to have a shiny bit of bling and look at a nice graph afterward then your money is probably better spent on a nice set of wheels. You can still look at a nice graph of your improved speed
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Angrypenguin - on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to richlan:

> It does remind me of a quote I once heard about amateur cyclists with power meters, went something like "you wouldn't hire an accountant to tell you how much money you don't have"

Same idea as people buying super lightweight components. Pretty sure one less pie would save more weight than a £100 titanium seatpost.
Indy - on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

Garmin will almost certainly be releasing a podless Vector in the next 3? or so months, as such I'd wait to check them out or benefit from any Vector 2 price discounts.
gethin_allen on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

Unless you have desires on joining the pro tour I'd leave it a year and the price will probably drop massively.
Maybe all the people who jumped on the kickstarter projects will finally get theirs and find they don't need them or have already bought another one because of the massive delays and then start flogging them off on e-bay.
Yanis Nayu - on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to abr1966:

> I had the same thought last summer until I saw the prices!!

But they're so shiny!
Yanis Nayu - on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to richlan:

> Yeah why the hell not, get an SRM PC8 while you are at it.

> It does remind me of a quote I once heard about amateur cyclists with power meters, went something like "you wouldn't hire an accountant to tell you how much money you don't have"

> For the record, if I rode as much as I used to I would have one

I've got loads of power. For 20 seconds...
Yanis Nayu - on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to Joez:

I use my hrm to train now - I would make good use of it.
Yanis Nayu - on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to Angrypenguin:

Power is much more important than weight. That's why I want a power meter - to help me develop more sustainable power through training more intelligently.
Yanis Nayu - on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to Indy:

> Garmin will almost certainly be releasing a podless Vector in the next 3? or so months, as such I'd wait to check them out or benefit from any Vector 2 price discounts.

I'd be more than happy with a Garmin Vector 2S, so if the new one dropped the price that would be great. Thanks for the heads-up.
Yanis Nayu - on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to gethin_allen:

> Unless you have desires on joining the pro tour I'd leave it a year and the price will probably drop massively.

> Maybe all the people who jumped on the kickstarter projects will finally get theirs and find they don't need them or have already bought another one because of the massive delays and then start flogging them off on e-bay.

I think there were a couple of brothers from Ireland who did one of those kickstarter things for a cleat-based power meter and recently went bust.
Indy - on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

Pods are a PITA.
Indy - on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

Brim Brothers
gethin_allen on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

The shoe based one did, there have been quite a few different ones around. The common aspect of them all has been that they've been really late getting things delivered.
andy - on 14 Jan 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu: I was an early adopter of Stages, and have them on three bikes. To be honest I wouldn't recommend them - they have this issue with battery drain, that seems to manifest itself when you change the battery. I think I'm on my fourth or fifth replacements for the original two. The service is brilliant (just had two replacements nearly three years after I bought the originals) but there's something fundamental that they haven't got sorted.

I think it may have something to do with damp/wet conditions, but my brother had the same issue on one that lived on his turbo and never went outdoors.

Here's hoping the latest ones work!
heelhookofglory - on 14 Jan 2017
In reply to andy:

Same issue with Stages. I've got one on each bike with battery drain issues, both been replaced and still have issues. They last longer if you remove the battery between each ride but you risk damaging the flimsy seal.

As for the OP question, you could get some good quality coaching for a year for the price of a PM and will see a lot more gains. Depends what you want more, gains or bling.
Chris the Tall - on 14 Jan 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

Why do you want one ? Are you training to race, or simply riding for fun.

I love using my garmin and looking at my ride on Strava and Veloviewer, but that's for after the ride. My main focus is on enjoying a ride, and the most satisfying statistics relate to distance or new ground covered. I rarely even glance at my Garmin during a ride - last night I didn't even notice I hadn't started it til 30 mins into the ride !

My point is will a power meter motivate you, or be a meaningless statistic that will distract you, could even reduce your enjoyment of the ride and demotivate you ?

I know of a few people you give up if they are not improving and aren't at the top of the Strava leaderboards. It doesn't bother me if I'm not in the top 10% on Strava - I just assume that everyone above me was motor-pacing in a chain gang. With a tail wind!
Chris the Tall - on 14 Jan 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

Oh, mentioned Veloviewer in my previous post. Highly recommend this to anyone using Strava - it's an extension that takes you data from Strava and does wonderful things with it, such as infographics, best splits, brilliant elevation graphs and a whole host of other things, half of which I've yet to play with. Well worth £10 a year.

Stravastix is another good Strava extension
Byronius Maximus - on 14 Jan 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

If you do properly structured training and are willing to spend the money on one, then a power meter will almost certainly help you improve. There is a reason why all coaches prefer riders to have them,why all the pros use them and so many domestic road racers and TTers have them - they help you ride faster if used well.

If your riding/training is less structured, then you won't see as much of a direct benefit but you may want it purely out of curiosity, or to track improvement - again, it's just down to whether you want to spend the money really...who's to say that we can't have these toys?

Even if you aren't using it for structured training, over the months you will get used to what numbers you can put out, and will be able to use it pace yourself on climbs or into headwinds etc.
I bought mine a few years ago, then got into doing a bit more time trialling, where it made a big difference for me - both in racing and training. I do not regret buying it at all.

I'll put it this way - if you had £600 or so to spend on an upgrade to your bike that stands the best chance of improving your cycling then a power meter (+ a book on how to get the most out of using it) is money much better spent than, say, a pair of sexy deep section wheels.

I'll warn you though, using a power meter is a real reality check! I once saw what Contador's power zones were and realised that the power that I do on a 10 mile TT barely counts as a warm up for him; I would be there blowing out my arse, barely able to grunt, while he could ride alongside me chatting away merrily. Kind of lets us know just how good these guys really are!
nniff - on 14 Jan 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

I suppose a lot depends on whether or not you're racing and need to train 'properly' rather than getting some miles in and sort of understanding what your body's doing. For the former, a power meter, for the latter a HRM that you use religiously until you understand what it's telling you. Then blow some money on some Chris King hubs so that you can roll along better and then, when you catch someone, you can sit on their wheel going Vzzzzzz! I still can't come to terms with carbon wheels of any profile on our filthy, gritty pot-hole-ridden roads.

We had a bloke turn up to a club ride with a power meter, S-Works bike, Q rings - the lot. He got dropped an awful lot and that wasn't even the quick group. Never saw him again.
Angrypenguin - on 14 Jan 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

Surely it is to do with both... it's about power to weight ratio, especially up hills.

I'm on the other end of the scale, I've been a poor student for a long time. Not racing fit now but used to enjoy smoking the guys at TT's with carbon this and power that on my 1980's steel singlespeed. They had plenty of money but not enough time training. I shouldn't imagine the power meter will dramatically increase the amount of training you do, so the question is, do you currently do enough unstructured training, such that structuring it would make a significant difference?
Lee Proctor - on 14 Jan 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:
If you are really into cycling and want to improve then YES.

I have a 2016 Stages on my summer bike and over winter I train indoors using a Wattbike. I've not had any problems with my Stages PM, the batteries are simple to change, it works seamlessly with a Garmin head unit and is simple to zero calibrate before each ride.

I'd suggest you train indoors using a turbo trainer equipped with a power meter over winter because this makes workouts and interval training a lot easier to do. You will need to determine your FTP once you get a power meter and then go from there. On-line programs such as Zwift (awesome), Sufferfest and Trainerroad make this whole process a lot simpler and enjoyable to do.

A power meter is essential for setting your training zones and monitoring progress, you can't do this anywhere nearly as accurately using a HR monitor. This is mainly because if your following a zone based interval plan there is a huge lag in heart rate as you move between the various intervals whereas the response time on the power meter is instantaneous. For example the classic over/under intervals where you do a 3min block at say 110% FTP followed by a 3min "recovery" block at 90% FTP would be impossible to do using only a HR rate monitor.

Once you've built the fitness and data up over winter you can then use that information outdoors so you will know exactly how much effort to put in for whatever your riding.
Post edited at 14:51
Lion Bakes on 14 Jan 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

I find a power meter helps me keep the hidden motor in tip top condition. Go for it!

Yanis Nayu - on 14 Jan 2017
In reply to Chris the Tall:

I hadn't heard of Veloviewer but it's ace! My wife is being fascinated by my segment statistics...I'm sure she's delighted you drew my attention to it...
Yanis Nayu - on 14 Jan 2017
In reply to Byronius Maximus:

I might race this year - I fancy it but slightly resent shelling out £79 for BC membership and a licence, and my forte is criterium racing where you find yourself at the mercy of random idiots at 35 mph - I still have the scars from 2007. I've improved my endurance and climbing no end since starting cycling again last June from where it was when I raced in 2006/7, so I'm interested to do some proper road racing and see where I'm at now. We'll see.

My main aim is cycling in the Alps in September. My main ambition is to do Alpe d'Huez in an hour, and using online calculators it seems I need an FTP of 290-300 watts. Using sheltered hilly Strava segment estimates as a guide, I reckon mine is now around 230, so I've got a lot of work to do - hence the need for intelligent training. I also think a power meter would be useful in gauging my effort when I actually come to do it. I don't want a coach because I enjoy doing my own planning and research and I've got enough motivation to do it on my own.

I think I'm sensible enough not to lose sight of the need to carry on enjoying cycling in its own right - I'm pretty sensible with my heart rate meter, so I don't think I'll end up being a slave to the numbers.
Yanis Nayu - on 14 Jan 2017
In reply to Lee Proctor:

Thanks for the reply. I can see the sense in using a turbo, but I haven't got one and when I used one 10 years ago I hated it. I just go out with lights and get cold...
balmybaldwin - on 15 Jan 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

> Thanks for the reply. I can see the sense in using a turbo, but I haven't got one and when I used one 10 years ago I hated it. I just go out with lights and get cold...

A far more pleasant experience than sitting on a turbo - I hated mine too
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Jim C - on 15 Jan 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

The 'Never Never' is never a good idea. Save up the money, and when you have it, then you will really know if you want/ need that item.

Works for me, ( not so much my other half)
Lee Proctor - on 15 Jan 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

I 100% guarantee that if you connected a trainer to Zwift you'll be hooked, its almost as good as the outdoors! you can try it for free and the subscription is only $10 (~£8) per month but you do need a trainer. If your going to use a PC you'll need an ant+ dongle otherwise it works via bluetooth on any ios device, ipad etc.

Come to think of it you could probably get a trainer with a built in power meter, dongle and monthly subscription for about the same as a Stages PM and it'd do you a lot more good than training outside in Winter. Come summer you'll then have a feel for power based training and can then make a call as to whether or not to invest in one for your outdoor bike.

Think of it this way, what is more likely to improve your climbing through winter, training indoors in a controlled and structured way at the wall or trying to climb outside with numb fingers on wet days at the weekends?

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