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Hello all,
I've lurked on here for quite a Looong time, first time poster! Posting to settle an argument with a mate I ride with. He says I MUST get a Power Meter if I want to get faster. I'm a non-competitive rider however and not convinced, I ride roughly 60K each go, handful of times/week. What say you RBR? Anyone like me riding a Power Meter? Are you glad you got it? What Power Meter do you use?
Cheers!
 

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Here are my thoughts:
Alex's Cycle Blog: Do I need a power meter?

In short, you'll get faster by training more, and by training more specifically to your development needs. A power meter can certainly help with that but it isn't necessary to execute sound basic training principles which for the most part can be executed reasonably well without one.

What matters most is the quality and quantity of data stored in your legs, not your cycle-computer.

I say this with a very long history of power meter training and advocacy. Using power meter data wisely is an important part of my professional coaching services.
 

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I rode 9000 miles last year without a power meter. Just Riding Along (JRA). I didn't get faster, and my endurance didn't get better. I just rode a lot (which is fine if that's all you want to do).

This year I decided I wanted to have some goals, and a more focused approach. Smart Trainer, a Power Meter and a Coach. With the focused training and the help of a coach, I've gotten a lot faster, and my endurance has improved dramatically. With a little nutritional guidance, I've also lost a little more weight (which in my case isn't a bad thing).

You can get faster without a power meter, so you don't 'need' one. It's definitely a huge help to have one, but the key is, if you have one, you have to understand how to use it. Just having a power meter on your bike won't do anything to improve your speed or endurance if you don't understand how to use it, and how to train.
 

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If you go back 10 years, before power meters were common outside competitive riders there were plenty of very fast riders who got there without them so obviously you don't need one to get fast. Get one if you are willing to invest time in analysis of data, use a coach and/or do very targeted structured workouts to improve. They are also great for pacing on long endurance events. You most certainly don't need one to get fast.

I do use a power meter, no coach but considering getting one. I have 2 Powertap wheels and 2 crank based power meters - a Power 2 max and a Pioneer. There's pros and cons to each of them. Probably the least expensive way to get into a power meter if you choose that route is find a used Powertap wheel which can be found for a few hundred dollars in most medium to large cities.
 

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If you go back 10 years, before power meters were common outside competitive riders there were plenty of very fast riders who got there without them so obviously you don't need one to get fast.
No need to go back in time. Lots of very fast riders don't have them now. And of the ones that do many just use them for curiosity after the fact.

OP, your mate is a complete moron if he truly thinks someone MUST have one to get faster.
If you want to use one as a tool to help you follow a plan or even if you're just a numbers person and would enjoy one for the curiosity, great, get one. But you most certainly don't 'need' one to get faster.
 

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Your friend is wrong. Simple as that.

If you get and use a power meter correctly without any specific training, you can go faster now with it, it is possible. It can pace you up a climb and therefore improve your climbing times right now. That's it's limit though.

It's just a tool to measure, it can't do anything for you but to show you what you've already done. It's up to you what to do with that information.

I promise you that you can get faster right now, faster overall speed for every ride, with zero or very little money. It's about your body position. If you're actually serious about riding faster, you will do what's necessary to train yourself to ride in the most aerodynamic position possible that's comfortable still. You will go get a bike fit focused around getting you as aerodynamic as possible. You will stay in this "pro" position at all times, it will be how you ride your bike. That will 100% make you faster immediately and consistently for the future.

Everything else you're going to have to train hard for. No frame or wheels or power meter or anything is just going to make you faster immediately, not in any measurable quantity. Only your position can do that right now.
 

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For recreational riders, the primary benefit of a power meter (beyond helping pace yourself on long rides) is data that helps you understand the effects of training.

As you age, there's an accepted and pervasive excuse for getting slower. When used with training software, the power meter helps provide you with convincing data that demonstrates that much of that slowing is related to getting lazier, not older.

Even a simple program like Strava will provide you with comparative power curve that will allow you to provide the current years power curve with any previous year you choose. It will also provide distance, vertical, and time data that you can use to compare to previous years.

In short, you'll see a much more direct correlation between that data and any reduction or improvement in power than with age. That data can become a serious motivator well into your seventies.
 

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For recreational riders, the primary benefit of a power meter (beyond helping pace yourself on long rides) is data that helps you understand the effects of training.

As you age, there's an accepted and pervasive excuse for getting slower. When used with training software, the power meter helps provide you with convincing data that demonstrates that much of that slowing is related to getting lazier, not older.

Even a simple program like Strava will provide you with comparative power curve that will allow you to provide the current years power curve with any previous year you choose. It will also provide distance, vertical, and time data that you can use to compare to previous years.

In short, you'll see a much more direct correlation between that data and any reduction or improvement in power than with age. That data can become a serious motivator well into your seventies.
That is a great post. I can definitely see the benefit of a power meter in that perspective. I don't have one and don't plan on getting one yet, but probably in a year or so once I get my fitness levels better.
 

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Hello all,
I've lurked on here for quite a Looong time, first time poster! Posting to settle an argument with a mate I ride with. He says I MUST get a Power Meter if I want to get faster. I'm a non-competitive rider however and not convinced, I ride roughly 60K each go, handful of times/week. What say you RBR? Anyone like me riding a Power Meter? Are you glad you got it? What Power Meter do you use?
Cheers!
As someone else said, your friend is seriously misinformed. You don't say how much you ride, but if you want to get faster, it's all about intensity. Try the following:


From Basic Training for Roadies (www.roadbikerider.com) by Fred Matheny: here's a 7 hours a week, weekly schedule that works for many riders:

Monday: Rest day with 15 minutes of resistance training.
Tuesday: Ride 1 hour with 3-8 sprints or other short, hard efforts.
Wednesday: Ride 1 hour at a steady, moderate pace.
Thursday: Ride 1 hour including about 20 minutes of any type of hard effort.
Friday: Rest day with 15 minutes of resistance training.
Saturday: Ride 1 hour at an easy pace.
Sunday: Ride 3 hours at a varied pace. Group rides or hilly courses are good choices.

Remember, intensity is one key to this program. If you could ride 200 to 400 miles per week, sheer volume would guarantee a high level of fitness. But you can't.
 

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If your mate that you ride with is faster, just ride with him and hang on as long as you can. This is how many of us got faster.

If your mate is not faster, it says a lot about the value of the power meter
 

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Hello all,
I've lurked on here for quite a Looong time, first time poster! Posting to settle an argument with a mate I ride with. He says I MUST get a Power Meter if I want to get faster. I'm a non-competitive rider however and not convinced, I ride roughly 60K each go, handful of times/week. What say you RBR? Anyone like me riding a Power Meter? Are you glad you got it? What Power Meter do you use?
Cheers!
I agree with the other responses that you don'y need a power meter to get faster. I have one and to me the main benefits have been
1. Keeps me motivated
2. Keeps me understand my progress over the season
3. It a fun gadget
I certainly would not advocate that you must run out and get one, but I have not read many posts from folks that did and regretted it (other than the high cost part)
 

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If your mate is not faster, it says a lot about the value of the power meter
It doesn't say anything at all about the value of a power meter.
It says that his mate is not faster than he is. Or his mate doesn't train well/hard enough/ Doesn't recover properly. Eat well. Sleep well. Maybe he doesn't understand how to train and use a power meter.

It could say a lot of things.
But to state that a tool is of no value because someone may be using it improperly or doing any other number of things improperly negates the value of said tool - that is foolish.
 

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Yep. Nonsense. A PM is just a really exotic stopwatch but, it can clearly help define the boundaries of your efforts really well.

I have been using one for a number of years and it's very helpful with riding better quality intervals...especially the shorter ones. Do you need one to do 30 second efforts? Of coarse not but, it can certainly help to maintain an effort to train the system you are targeting. It has also been super valuable for TT pacing. Again, not necessary but, I feel this is one area where a PM shines. Lastly, on longer less intense rides the PM can really help you to finish stronger as you have increasingly higher and higher perceived effort due to cardiac drift. For example, 200W feels infinitely harder at hour 5 than hour 1. Using RPE you may ease up and not really get the full benefit of that long ride. HR can be hard to use due to the drift and again you may finish a bit on the easy side.

If you are in tune with your body you can do all of this without any electronic hardware. It's just another piece of information that can help you to ride smarter and train more efficiently. In learning how to use one, learning how to test and digest the data you may very well learn many incidental lessons or things you weren't expecting like Kj expenditure on longer rides. Nothing Earth shattering but, super useful. Now that I've learned I really don't need it much but, it taught me some valuable lessons.
 

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As a cheap thing to do, there is a book or two worth reading to gain some ideas around using a power meter to aid your training. For the cost of a few coffees and snacks it might be worthwhile reading up some more and perhaps you might be better informed.

Training and Racing with a Power Meter by Allen and Coggan is the the standard reference guide.
 

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I picked up a stages power meter on a great deal off eBay . People say it's an expensive toy but it's a lot cheaper than some garmins and wheel sets .


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I bought a powertap power meter because it was supposed to be broken and built in to a nice wheelset. I repaired it.

The big benefit for me is i know what my threshold power feels like. I've gotten used to staring at the device and now i can snap right in to 'threshold power mode' and crank away without exceeding it and having to back down a couple times.

I like seeing how my perceived sustained effort drops off on longer efforts. I've gotten a lot better at making the same power for a longer period by learning how much i wuss out over time.

I don't think for my needs i could condition myself with the power meter as well as i can from doing regular interval training. Not even close. If you're not doing interval training i think the power meter is just a toy.
 

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The question is "Is a power meter required to improve" is flawed.
One can certainly improve without a power meter. The benefit of a power meter and training plan is that it provides reliable real time and post ride metrics to train with. Without a power meter one rider may be able to feel how hard they are riding and can gauge what to do on the ride another rider won't. So yes one can get stronger without a power meter, a power meter does make it easier (provided you use it properly).
 

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The most reliable way to improve you speed is ride with people faster than you. No power meter needed. There may be some value to one if the bulk of your rides are solo, but you can still succeed with a training plan that includes interval blocks +\- a HRM.

I ride mostly solo and have one that I got mostly for the gadget fun. I find it most useful for gauging my effort on long climbs.
 
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