Among the lights, glitter, and show girls every September Las Vegas hosts Interbike to show off the latest and greatest. Interbike is by far the biggest cycling convention in North America and has continued to evolve from just a place where companies show off new products to a congregation of the smartest minds and companies in the cycling industry. A good example of that was the Interbike Fit Symposium hosted on Tuesday afternoon before the indoor show began. Among the presenters and attendees was Dr.Andy Pruit (arguably the originator of modern bike fitting and BG fit), Ben Serrotta (master fitter, owner of Serrotta Bicycles, and responsible for the original education program for bike fitting), Dan Empfield (owner of slowtwich and FIST fitting methodology), Paul Swift (owner of Bikefit and creator of the Lemond Wedges now used by almost all fitting philosophies), and Paraic McGlynn (owner of Cyclologic and creator of the Trek Bike Fitting system) among others. It was an incredibly powerful collection of minds in the fit industry. Not only were new ideas and concepts shared, but this also created a very good opportunity to network with other leaders in the industry.
Monday and Tuesday of the week is Outdoor Demo Days. It is an opportunity to take out the latest bikes and ride them in real world conditions to see how they perform. I honestly ride very few road bikes while there mainly because the trail network in Boulder City is so phenomenal. It really is a fun place to ride. The highlights of demo days was the Jamis Defcon, which was by far the best all mountain bike I rode, and the Pivot Mach429 which was the best all around bike. Besides bikes on display, many companies have opted to also show components out at demo days and allow attendees another opportunity to check out their goods. Speedplay and SRM were two such companies that took advantage of the opportunity.
Wednesday morning started the convention indoors and allowed companies to show off their new products. Being a coach and bike fitter, I tend to concentrate on the latest training gear and bike fitting products including shoes, saddles, and pedals. For this article, we will just go over the latest in power meters. In the next article I will go over the latest in contact points as well as other cool things seen at the show.
Seems like every year there are a handful of new powermeters on the market, most of which never make it to market. One example of that is the Brimm Brothers cleat mounted power meter. Shown last year at the show, it is still in a “pre-order” phase with no ship dates being shown. It is important to keep that in mind when talking about a few of these new products.
One brand new product shown was the Powerbeat by Wattteam. It is a user installed, dual sided power meter, that is set to retail for $499. The Powerbeat is compatible with almost any crank on the market including carbon cranks, and is both ANT+ and bluetooth compatible. It features a rechargable battery with about 40 hours of ride time. Considering that it took Stages quite a while to have a carbon product (more on this below), I am a bit skeptical they will be able to hit their 2% accuracy claim across all crank arms. The install process is also quite interesting given that 4iiii decided on not following through with their original plan of letting users or bike shops do the install. I didn’t get to see the install process first hand but the tools and videos online look to be pretty straight forward. They are set to start shipping near the end of the year so expect to see some real world testing soon. I am hoping this product lives up to its claims as it could be a very affordable way for athletes to get into a dual sided power meter.
The latest at Stages was they now have a carbon arm product and have dropped prices to a $529 entry point. The carbon crank arm (with an interchangeable bottom bracket spindle for SRAM and FSA) starts at $629 for the crank arm and $70 for the bottom bracket spindle. The carbon products are set to begin shipping this winter or spring. Here is the full pdf of all their options and pricing.
Pioneer debuted a new left side only powermeter starting at $800 for an Ultegra version. They were no changes for their awesome dual sided power meter for Ultegra and Durace cranks which retail for $999 if you already own a crank, and $1850 (Durace) or $1550 (Ultegra) with a complete crank.
There were no major changes over a Quarq but they were still showing the best option for a mountain bike power meter. The Quarq XX1 power meter is light, reliable, dual sided, and is $1399 for a GXP and $1449 for a BB30 model.
SRM only attended demo days earlier in the week but there was not much new with them besides the fact that the Power Control 8 computer has finally begun shipping.
Powertap had lots new with the not only small refinements to their hubs (enduro bearings and a new disc brake version), but the debut of their new chainrings (110mm 5-bolt spacing) and new pedals. The Powertap C1 chainrings are only offered in a 110mm 5-bolt spacing as of now. This is somewhat limiting but there are still multiple crank options that are compatible. A full list of compatibility is available here. At $699 these enter the market as a good lower cost option for a dual sided power meter.
Power tap also released their new P1 pedal system. This is a dual sided pedal based power meter system that has overcome some of the complexities of other pedal based systems. It is literally an install like any other pedal without the need for torque wrenches. It uses AAA batteries with approximately 400 hours of ride time. Cost for the P1 is $1199.
Last but not least is the new RPM2 footbed based power meter system. What is exciting about this system, besides being extremely portable, is its ability to give an athlete power for running and cycling as well as determining force distribution for other weight-bearing exercises like squatting. The insoles use 4 piezo electric strain gauges mounted in a left-right toe and heel pattern which would allow the athlete to see how they are running (heel striking and/or toe off patterns) and distributing their weight both on and off the bike. Measuring power for running is very new, and something I am a bit skeptical about at this point, but it could be a huge leap forward in objective measurements of running performance. Research is currently being done on how to best use power for running and how accurate it will be as a driver of running performance. The system is currently expected to retail for $699 and be available near the end of the year.
Two concerns I have with this system is that it doesn’t allow the customization of arch support, although they said it wouldn’t be an issue to add arch support above or below their footbed although overall shoe volume may be a major constraint. The footbed is 7mm thick at the heel and 3.5mm thick at the toe making it hard to add additional support. My other major concern, and really is a deal breaker until fixed, is that they aren’t ANT+ compatible and only bluetooth compatible with their own app which doesn’t allow for sharing of a data file. This means no training peaks, strava, or other analysis software integration. Most of the value from measuring power is done post workout and without that ability these really have limited use.
Stayed tuned for all the other cool stuff we saw at interbike last week including this SWEET bike!