CycleOps PowerTap Power Meters

DESCRIPTION

You can capture the average and maximum power, speed, heart rate, and cadence as well as total time, distance, and energy expenditure.

The Power-Tap Standard system includes:

  • Computer
  • Hub (or pre-built wheel)
  • Heart rate monitor chest strap
  • Receiver
  • Downloading memory for ride data storage

  • USER REVIEWS

    Showing 1-10 of 19  
    [Jun 30, 2010]
    Mike
    Recreational Rider

    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    3
    Strength:

    -Easy to set up and use
    -Decent, free software for analyzing the data
    -Will change how you train and understand performance on the bike

    Weakness:

    -Speed and cadence data come from the rear hub and don't seem as perfectly accurate as what a normal sensor would provide.

    It's interesting to see such mixed reviews for the PowerTap when my experience so far has been largely positive. This may have something to do with the fact that the product is still relatively new and the company seems to have been working out the bugs over the last few years.

    I bought the PowerTap Plus+ recently and it is already transforming how I train. Instead of just trying to ride farther/faster when I go out, I am able to put together targeted workouts that focus on steadily improving what I'm actually doing on the bike vs. simply increasing speed and cadence, which can change from ride to ride without any change in my fitness.

    My hub is mounted to a Mavic Open Pro, which has also been a nice change from the OEM wheels that came with my Cannondale.

    Only complaint is that the speed and cadence gauges in the hub, while close enough, don't seem to be as accurate as what you would get with the mounted sensors (which are another $100).

    Similar Products Used:

    None

    [Jun 29, 2010]
    knull9
    Road Racer

    OVERALL
    RATING
    1
    VALUE
    RATING
    1
    Strength:

    Calorie count is useful, power is fun.

    Weakness:

    Maintainance nightmare. Training with power is really only useful for pro's and even than only in special cases
    Buy a high end wheel set instead!

    After a year I think for 99% of riders a power readout is fun but does nothing to improve the quality of training - if anything it distracts.
    The hub worked fine but has infuriating problems - removing the plastic cap to change the batteries can be a nightmare.

    Similar Products Used:

    kurt kinesis trainer - same information in a useful environment. On a trainer, power readings are great (and costs 60$).

    [May 17, 2010]
    greg
    Recreational Rider

    OVERALL
    RATING
    1
    VALUE
    RATING
    1
    Strength:

    power reading

    Weakness:

    quality, workmanship, dependability, safety

    The Power Tap is a huge disappointment; frustrating and dangerous! I bought mine along with a build on a brand new 2008 BMC SLC 01. I train with power indoors on computrainers at an excellent gym in Mill Valley CA called Endurance PTC and so wanted to add power outdoors as well. I had been using an iBike which was fine but not the "gold standard". Within the first few hundred miles the rear wheel went way out of true. The rear wheel needed work almost constantly...like every few rides. Then in October 2009 while riding Levi Leipheimer's Gran Fondo the rear axle broke while climbing King Ridge. I didnt know what was wrong with the rear wheel...it kept rubbing and I assumed it was out of true again. After about 30 miles up and down, the rear tire blew on a descent...luckily it was the rear and I was going straight or it would have been a disaster. The tire had rubbed so much the sidewall had a hole! When I took off the wheel to change the tire I noticed the cassette disengage and saw the axle was broken. LBS got a replacement for me at no cost though I did have to pay for their labor. A few weeks ago, while descending Mt. Tam the rear wheel had a frighening amount of play on the turns. I stopped and grabbed the rim....which was very floppy in my hands. I took the bike again for a spring tuning and the LBS told me that the PowerTap was all messed up...again...loose. They sent it back and I havent heard the verdict but meanwhile I bought a new set of Fulcrum Racing Zero Tubeless....goodbye PowerTap. While I enjoyed having the power data outside, I cannot ride anything I dont trust from a safety standpoint. Also I cant believe that something that cost $1500 or more could be so poorly manufactured. What garbage!

    Similar Products Used:

    iBike

    [Feb 01, 2008]
    Kris Flatlander
    Road Racer

    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Strength:

    Training with power!
    Most value/use of any power meter imho
    Ease of use

    Weakness:

    A little heavy
    Steel axle on the Pro (aluminum on SL)

    This product has been the most revolutionary change in the way I train. There is absolutely no hiding from power data, either you're working hard enough or you aren't. The ability to download and analyze data is also a huge plus. Cycling Peaks WKO+ is essential for this. The wheel itself is a little heavy (Deep-V with Powertap Pro) but it's worth it and I both train and race with it. Soon I'll be building up an Aeolus race wheel with a powertap as well.

    Similar Products Used:

    None

    [Feb 01, 2008]
    Kris Flatlander
    Road Racer

    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Strength:

    Training with power!
    Most value/use of any power meter imho
    Ease of use

    Weakness:

    A little heavy
    Steel axle on the Pro (aluminum on SL)

    This product has been the most revolutionary change in the way I train. There is absolutely no hiding from power data, either you're working hard enough or you aren't. The ability to download and analyze data is also a huge plus. Cycling Peaks WKO+ is essential for this. The wheel itself is a little heavy (Deep-V with Powertap Pro) but it's worth it and I both train and race with it. Soon I'll be building up an Aeolus race wheel with a powertap as well.

    Similar Products Used:

    None

    [Apr 28, 2007]
    DRLski
    Road Racer

    OVERALL
    RATING
    2
    VALUE
    RATING
    4
    Strength:

    Accurate calorie count, CyclingPeaks works great with it, 2.4v coded HR is pretty cool, Power is accurate.

    Weakness:

    High maintenance, it either works or doesn't work at all.

    I've been loving training with power when the Power-Tap actually works but thus far I've not had good luck with mine. The first computer head I had the HR stopped working, then the power went all screwy. I replaced it with the 2.4v head and now power stopped working but HR and speed works. I can't win.

    [Feb 05, 2007]
    rdracer1
    Road Racer

    OVERALL
    RATING
    3
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Strength:

    Great Price, Very Accurate. Saris has great customer service

    Weakness:

    Wheel mounted so you need multiple hubs for race wheels and no disc for TT's. Hub is also very heavy and the bearings go bad extremely fast. Can be tempermental.

    Good product with one design Flaw(bearings). Very accurate and can be had at a very good price. I really like the wheel but eventually had to switch due to only being able to use one wheel to gather the data.

    Similar Products Used:

    SRM, Ergomo Pro

    [Jan 18, 2007]
    Anonymous
    Road Racer

    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Strength:

    Lighter hub design than standard or pro
    The fact this SL version was made and offered with the 16-spoke Bontrager Race X Lite Aero wheel was a huge selling point for me, since I already used these wheels in training.
    Downloading via USB cable is quick and easy
    The added benefit of training with power, instead of HR and cadence and speed.
    I've always had excellent customer service thru my LBS and Powertap/cycleops.
    Navigating and understanding the actual software on your computer is a pain, until you know how to use it - does provide alot of helpful ride and training information.
    For the price, so much better value than Ergometer, SRM or Polar.

    Weakness:

    (1) Like the previous reviewer stated earlier....wires and zip ties. The install and setup is not bad, just the normal pains of getting the hub pickup sensor and the cadence pickup sensor in the correct spot, then running your wires along your frame to the computer mount on the bars. A few upgrades that I've sent Saris/Cycleops to upgrade in the furture: (2) a backlight or nightlight function; similar to new Vetta VL100 computers. This helps alot when training indoors when the lighting not so good. (3) Use a thin, pressure-sticking clear film on top of your computer, i.e. similar to those that you cover your PDA or digital LCD screens with. I think the type of plastic that Cycleops uses seems to scratch and scuff easily. Cut and press one of these clear film pieces on the computer and replace it every 6 months......keep your investment in top shape. (4) Create a computer that is a little faster and easier to navigate and provides more on-screen data. I think Cycleops could create a computer head with 4-5 lines of information/data (not 3) and have more than just two buttons (maybe 3-4 buttons). (5) Have lower spoke count SL and SL2.4 hubs available (like 20).

    This review is also for the Powertap SL hub in a Bontrager Race X Lite Aero rear wheelset (16 spoke). First of all, for $1000 - $1500 (complete wheel), I think the overall value for what this can do is great. The information, the downloading and the ability to review your training rides or races is a tremendous stepup from regular computer features that also may offer HR and cadence. The previous reviewer is correct, buy that book and CD software and educate yourself on training with power during your rides. One note on the setup, mount the pickup sensor on the horizontal chainstay - NOT the angled seatstay on the left side of your bike. Placing the pickup sensor on the horizontal chainstay keeps the sensor in place better. I found the natural vibrations and bumps in the road cause the sensor to slip over time - if you try to place it on the angled seatstays. I also found the virtual cadence function was NOT as accurate, so I installed the cadence wire and used the pickup sensor on my left crankarm. This cadence was alot more accurate and instant. Servicing and sealing the hub is greatly improved over the previous Pro and Standard models. I've heard some very good reviews about the SL2.4 wireless model from some other racers so I'm waiting a few more months to see if Cycleops will produce this hub in a 20-spoke Shimano or with the 16-spoke Bontrager Race X Lite aero wheelset.....there goes my tax return check this year. Yes, the rear wheel is a little heavier than your standard racing wheels, but the advantages I get of all of that race data during and afterwards far outweighs my need for a super light (sub 1500 gram) wheelset. One regret is that not all wheel/rim manufacturers don't jump onboard with offer either the SL or SL2.4 hubs as a custom upgrade (i.e. Rolf, Shimano, Mavic, etc.). Right for the custom hub/wheel setup you might want, you may be forced to buy an entire SL or SL2.4 hub ($1200 or more) AND maybe a whole complete wheelset, not just the rear wheel (i.e. Rolf) - THEN you have to rebuild......just the pains of fighting thru the business, profit-making side of cycling. I rated a "4" just because of some of the general weaknesses I thought it had that Cycleops could have tweaked before releasing this version. Although the SL2.4 is wireless (great upgrade), I still think the overall design and functionality of the computer head with 3 lines of data and 2 buttons is very poor.....they can do a better job at the design board. Over a year of riding with it, no problems with seals, electronics - nothing.....extremely pleased. I didn't need to have the wheel trued once which says alot about the hub and the Bontrager wheel.

    Similar Products Used:

    I haven't compared this to any other power meters, just the Vetta V100HR and the VL110HR T2X computers/cadence/HR.

    [Nov 02, 2006]
    Anonymous
    Road Racer

    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    4
    Strength:

    Near instantaneous, accurate and reliable power info. Customer service is friendly and prompt.

    Weakness:

    The electronics are suspect to water damage, but saris claims they have fixed this (i.e. sealed the hub better) in recent models. Power meter cannot be switched between race and training wheels without wheelbuilding. Computer interface is not intuitive. Cumbersome wires.

    This review is for the Powertap SL purchased in April '06.

    I love to review and analyze data, so I figured this device was right up my alley, but it became immediately evident that I needed to study up on training with power. I ended up buying the CyclingPeaks software and a book titled, "Training and Racing with a Power Meter". I would highly recommend both. I was used to following training plans and analyzing heart rate/cadence data, but a power meter can offer so much more and has thus revolutionized my training. I feel like I can target specific weaknesses and observe measurable improvements.

    On the downside, the transmitter and cadence sensor can be a little difficult to install and requires zip-ties at numerous locations to hold the wires to the bike frame.

    Also, I got stuck in a driving rain for about 90 minutes and the electronics were ruined and needed servicing by the factory. The turnaround time was about 4 weeks, but the hub has worked flawlessly since then and worked perfect up until the rain storm.

    I rated the device as a four for value purely since it is much more accurate than the polar device (or so I've read) and considerably more inexpensive than the SRM. This device is not cheap, but when compared to the alternatives it is reasonably priced.

    Lastly, I've read that Cycle-ops now makes a wireless hub and considering how cumbersome the wires are, the extra $200 may be worth it to go wireless...

    Similar Products Used:

    None.

    [Oct 30, 2006]
    serottarider
    Road Racer

    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    4
    Strength:

    Cost isn't too bad. Accurate (when it holds calibration).

    Weakness:

    Expensive and poorly designed mount.

    The PT (Pro model) works well overall but some notes after 2 seasons:

    1-They put a wire clip into the back of the computer mount where if you wrap your fingers too much around it to remove the computer, you can break the clip.

    2-Hub not very waterproof. The hub stopped working after I cleaned the bike when I first got it (I didn't spray directly at it). I put some grease on the seals which all but completely stopped the problem.

    3-Computer stops working in rain. Need to wrap it in plastic. No excuse for this since any $20 computer is better on this.

    4-Wiring is fragile and extra mounts are expensive. They should consolidate the wires. The other side is that you can move it form bike to bike with just the cost of this mount (or a lot of time).

    5-Computer interface is not intuitive and the manual sucks.

    6-Use Cycling Peaks. It's 100 times better software.

    7-Serial connection? Get real!

    8-Have had calibration go in the middle of a race but it's usually accurate.

    In general it has been a great tool to have. It's just that when it stops working correctly it is quite frustrating to resolve. Touchy wiring and water problems that may not show until days later. I hope to try MicroSport's Revelution to see if I can get rid of the wires and the need to switch wheels all of the time. Competition is starting to heat up!

    Similar Products Used:

    Polar Power Sysyen (BAD)

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