What is a powermeter?
It is a training device on a bike which measures the power output (how hard you are pushing on the pedals!) of the rider using strain gauges which are mounted in the rear freehub, bottom bracket or crankset. The first powermeter, an SRM, was made commercially available in 1989. Most riders these days have a bike computer which will allow them to read the real time power output they are putting out once linked to their powermeter. This permits very specific training using pre-defined training zones.
How does it work?
- The first requirement is to find your wattage zones. This can be ascertained by either completing an FTP (Functional Threshold Power) test or a laboratory test or an analyses of background data files. This is essential to understand your baseline training power zones which enables you to maximise each training session.
- Using your wattage zones whilst out on the bike allows you to refine each training session to ensure you make specific improvements. Or get an experienced Coach to set your training for you.
- You then download and analyse the data collected on your bike computer from each training ride using online software, we use Training Peaks.
Heart Rate Monitor v Powermeter
Whilst heart rate measurement of training is effective in showing you how fast your heart is beating, provision of accurate information on your performance in training or racing can only ever come from a powermeter. A heart rate monitor is measuring your body’s input whilst the powermeter is measuring your output.
Many variables affect your heart rate such as hydration, sleep pattern, stress, core/air temperature…all of which directly impacts your heart rate and therefore when using this as an indicator of training it renders the information unreliable. It often takes a little longer when using your heart rate for it to reach a specific effort you are conducting whereas a powermeter measures it instantly.
Where possible we use a heart rate monitor and powermeter when working with our athletes. This allows the athletes to see fluctuations in their heart rates over specific wattage which provides clear evidence of improvement during training.
Why use a powermeter?
- Most accurate measurement tool to making qualitative improvements on the bike for cyclists and triathletes when used correctly.
- Provides a true measure of work ‘output’ which is the real benchmark for training progression and the only true way to measure ability and effort.
- For return on investment a powermeter gets results time and time again over and above the short term gains of an expensive bike.
- It provides a clear edge over the competition.
- Provides motivation by seeing progression through accurate data each week.
- Increases your knowledge and ability to learn how your body responds to training workloads.
- Training is qualitative and focussed, ideal for those with time constraints to train.
- Great pacing tool for time trialling and the bike leg of triathlons.
- More focussed interval training.
- Helps to avoid illness and injury.
- Provides effective management of planned peaks in training for specific events and races.
- Train smarter.
- Allows you to figure out your limits and lets you know how to pace yourself.
- Allows for variations, techniques and strategies to be individualistic.
Dr Allen Lim gives his perspective in an ‘Introduction Training with Power’, well worth a read for those who are considering using a powermeter. If given a choice of investment in you and your performance on the bike…a new set of carbon wheels or latest carbon bike…immediate short term gains may be apparent. Alternatively training and racing with a powermeter is much more profitable, providing the ultimate long term gains in performance and progression.
Dan Fleeman provides a great article ‘Why Use a Powermeter as a Training Aid?’ on why training with power is essential to every cyclist who wants to make quality gains on the bike.
Before we tell you about our service we want you to know we offer 10% off all month to month cycling and triathlon coaching packages with all powermeter purchases.
We partner with Cycleops to bring our athletes the most innovative technology in powermeters, both rental and purchase. All of our Coaches are experienced in working and training athletes using powermeters combined by our collective coaching expertise the complete solution is available to all cyclists wishing to make improvements.
POWERMETER RENTAL – Try before you buy!
- Starts from £60 per month
- Minimal rental period of 3 months
- Optional head unit rental
- Available for cycl0-X, MTB, road and triathlon
- ANT+ compatible for use with Joule or bike computer such as a Garmin
- Powermeter support from Forme Coaching staff to help with set up and maintenance
- Options to purchase after 3 months rental at a reduced rate
- Instructions provided to conduct your own FTP test
- Training zone report provided from analysis of FTP test by Dan Fleeman
- Compatible for Shimano and Campagnolo
The above applies for all powermeter purchases and provides you with a choice of:
- Specific model of hub either Cycleops Pro or G3
- Quarq crank based powermeters (SRAM)
- Options of 24, 28 or 30 hole
- Shimano/SRAM or Campagnolo
- Kinlin rim size of 30mm or 38mm
Prices start at £750, for further enquiries please CONTACT US.