In cycling, there is one way to measure strength accurately and that’s power. The data Team Sky captures from both training and racing helps quantify how its riders are performing, which drives coaching decisions.
“The power meter is one of the most important tools for the team – giving us the perfect insight into how a rider is performing, which is crucial for the coaching team.”
—Carsten Jeppesen, Team Sky’s Head of Technical Operations
WHY RIDE WITH A POWER?
A power meter measures the work a cyclist does on a bike, and it is the most accurate way to measure effort. Although it is helpful, heart rate monitoring can be widely affected by physiological influences including stress, lack of sleep, caffeine, temperature, time of day, hydration, and other factors, and is a delayed response to work done. Unlike heart rate monitoring, power output measurement tells the cyclist how much work is being done in the moment, exactly what benefit that work is getting, and can show fitness gained over time and changes in fatigue level. Simply put, if you want to know how you’re doing, track your power output. Or better yet, track how your power output and heart rate response are related.
WHAT IS POWER?
The equation for power is pure physics:
POWER = TORQUE x CADENCE
P = 2X[(F x 9.8 x L) x (R x .1047)]
To measure TORQUE, Stages’ proprietary strain gages are laid precisely along the crank arm. These gages, which are the same tool used in aerospace, can detect the smallest flex in the stiffest crank. In this case, every pedal stroke, causes a small amount of flex along the crank arm. This force, multiplied by 9.8m/s2 and the length of crank arm are used to determine the force applied to a pedal stroke, or torque.
Using an accelerometer the Stages meter measures cadence. The proprietary circuitry houses this cadence tool, allowing the meter to eliminate the antiquated need of magnets, external sensors, cables and zip ties to measure cadence. This modern technology also allows the meter to capture multiple positions per revolution, resulting in a faster response and better overall data.
WHAT MAKES A STAGES POWER METER DIFFERENT?
Stages Power is the #1 selling power meter in the world, considering both our indoor and outdoor meters. Hundreds of professional outdoor cyclists and teams choose Stages Power, including Team Sky, 2-time winner of the Tour de France, because of our accuracy, consistency, and dedication to the customer experience. Our indoor power meter features the same technology as the outdoor meters that world class athletes around the world choose.
DIRECT POWER MEASUREMENT
The Stages Power meter directly measures the cyclist’s power output. Proprietary strain gages are laid precisely along the crank arm that detect the smallest flex of that steel arm. As the cyclist pushes down on the crank arm during a pedal stroke, this flex is measured and used to determine the force applied to the pedal stroke, or torque. That torque measurement is a key component of a rider’s power output (Torque x Cadence).
ACTIVE TEMPERATURE COMPENSATION (ATC)
Measuring power output is simple in a controlled environment, but when a power meter is subject to temperature changes (such as in a cool studio that heats up over the duration of a class), the accuracy can be compromised by those changes in temperature. The strain gage wires used to measure power are highly affected by changes in temperature, so if the power meter system does not take changing temperatures into account, power readings will be inaccurate. Stages Power meters are equipped with ATC (Active Temperature Compensation). ATC actively allows the power meter to compensate for temperature changes that would otherwise affect the ability of the strain gages to accurately measure force.
The Stages Power meter utilizes both ANT+ and Bluetooth protocols for communication. ANT+ is the gold standard for over-the-air communication in cycling and athletic industries. The Bluetooth Smart protocol allows for true two-way communication between the Stages Power meter and a smart phone or Bluetooth enabled device. Bluetooth sends more data per second than ANT+ to devices and allows firmware to be updated using a smart phone.
USING POWER IN A CLUB OR STUDIO
By adding power-based classes, you can increase studio retention and membership. Your current clientele will be able to see progress over time. Now you can access a new client base by offering classes based on the same technology and using the same data and metrics that outdoor cyclists in your area have been utilizing on their outdoor rides, from a reputable and familiar company, Stages Cycling.
Alison from Breakaway Cycling Studio in Longmont, CO talks about why she chose Stages and how the SC3 bikes have impacted her cycling studio business.