Cycling Tips

Three Common Types of Bicycle Power Meters

Three Common Types of Bicycle Power Meters

As cycling becomes increasingly popular, power meters, once exclusive to professional athletes, are now drawing the attention of amateur cyclists.

Power meters provide a true representation of your power output, unaffected by external conditions, whether you are climbing hills or riding on flat terrain, offering reliable and accurate data.


So, what types of power meters are there?


There are three types of direct measurement power meters: spider-based power meters, crank-based power meters, and pedal-based power meters. Indirect measurement power meters are now very rare on the market.

 

  • Spider-based power meters


Spider-based power meters are installed on the spider of the chainring. They measure the torque produced by the chain and multiply it by the cadence to calculate power output.


Advantages include accurate measurements, all-weather use, resistance to harsh conditions such as water and mud, and the independence of the crankset, making replacements easier.
Disadvantages include high installation requirements and the need to replace the entire crankset if it breaks.

 

  • Crank-based power meters


Crank-based power meters are installed on the crank arm of the bicycle, which connects the pedals to the chainring. They calculate power by measuring the strain on the crank arm.


Advantages include lower cost, easy replacement if damaged, and a wide range of models to choose from.
Disadvantages include limited adoption and the difficulty of replacing the crank arm with a power meter version.

 

  • Pedal-based power meters


Pedal-based power meters are installed on the pedals of the bicycle. They measure the force exerted by the rider on the pedals and combine it with the pedal's motion angle to calculate power.


Advantages include independence from the bike's components, unaffected by crank design, easy installation and removal, and accurate measurements.
Disadvantages include high cost, susceptibility to impact damage, and limited adaptability to different terrains.

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