POWER GAMES

Cyclist - - Hc Climbs - Words PETER STU­ART Pho­tog­ra­phy DANNY BIRD

With so many power me­ters on the mar­ket, Cy­clist in­ves­ti­gates just how ad­vanced they need to be to give us the num­bers we ac­tu­ally want

The in­ven­tion of the bike com­puter gave us ev­ery­thing we needed to train ef­fi­ciently. We could mea­sure speed, ca­dence, heart rate and even alti­tude gain all at once. It was am­ple data to track our progress on the bike. Then it all changed. In 1986 the SRM ar­rived – it mea­sured me­chan­i­cal power be­ing ap­plied to the chain­set with the use of mul­ti­ple strain gauges, an­swer­ing many of the great unan­swer­ables in coach­ing and train­ing.

Since those early days, the sort of se­ri­ous data that a power meter pro­vides has gone from be­ing the pre­serve of pro­fes­sional coaches with ex­pen­sive soft­ware to some­thing that sim­ply pops up on Strava or Garmin Con­nect, beg­ging to be over-an­a­lysed. To­day there are dozens of prod­ucts on the mar­ket where once there were only a few op­tions. Choos­ing one, though, has never been harder.

One-sided per­spec­tive

If ac­cu­racy and time-tested cred­i­bil­ity are the main con­sid­er­a­tions, per­haps the search starts and ends with the ini­tia­tor of the power game. ‘The likes of Garmin and Stages are now on their sec­ond it­er­a­tion,’ says

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