Firstly Why A Power Meter at All?
When I got back into racing a few seasons ago, I did so with the mentality that I just wanted to enjoy my cycling. At first that meant not really doing any structured training. Sure I would go on rides that included four, five or sometimes six hills and I would ride each one hard, but I was not going to do any formal hill repeats or anything like that!.
However, with some results, the deeper and more seriously I began to take my racing and then as I began to move up the categories that ‘non committal’ or ‘easy going’ mentality quickly began to shift and now, back in the elite category, my training has become more and more structured.
So once the dust had settled at the end of last season, I took stock and tried to objectively review it to see where I could improve even further for the season ahead.
Train Smarter Not More
My conclusion was that because of my family, home and work commitments, there was no way that I could dedicate more time on the bike that what I already was. So what I needed to do was train better, or smarter and not more. For the most part, that meant being more structured with my time to make it as efficient as possible and there is currently no better way of analysing and ensuring that you are actually doing this than with a power meter.
Thus I made the decision that if I was going to get properly structured with my training and create a serious training plan, I was also going to have to invest in a power meter.
With my very limited budget, I had to make sure that the power meter that I got was THE right one for me as there was no room (or money) for error. So I did A LOT of research and am sure I pretty much read every single review on every major power meter out there!
What I ended up with was a Stages Power Meter on a Shimano Dura-Ace Crank and below in simple point format are the main reasons why:
Stages Power Meter vs All Others
- Cheap compared to most other options – is actually one of, if not the cheapest serious power meter available
- Lightweight – adds almost nothing in terms of weight to your bike (Under 20g: less than an energy gel). Indeed in my case, because I decided to upgrade my crances at the same time from Shimano ultegra to Dura-Ace, I actually lost weight by adding a power meter to my bike! (see image below)
- Respected brand with good accuracy – recently there have been a lot of new startups and crowd sourcing brands come onto the market. Stages is well established with a great reputation
- Very Easy to install and easy to swap between bikes – Swapping a Stages Power meter from bike to bike is as simple as changing the left crank arm—making it possible to have power across multiple bikes. Going on holiday and hiring a bike, all you have to do is take one crank.
- Easy to change batteries which are standard CR2032’s that are easily found and cheap
- Bluetooth and Ant+ compatible – no problem hooking up to your head unit and/or your laptop when training indoors
- Many Options – Stages is available on just about every crank out there
- Single leg measurement – for most people this is actually not a major issue unless you have a particular bias towards one leg perhaps from injury etc.
- Dust cap on older version – I have read of issues with the tabs on the cover breaking and waterproofing problems, however I have no problems with either so far, but am very careful when changing the batteries
And that is it, so far with over 3 months of continuous usage (as I write this), these are the only two downsides that I can come up with and both are ‘potential’ issues not actual ones.
- Pioneer Power Meters – very similar system, with the power meter based on the left crank. I decided on the stages as I felt the company was more established
Have I missed anything?
If you have any other pro’s or con’s to the Stages Power meter, or anything else you would like to add, please feel free to comment below.