Power pod lite

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PowerPod Lite v3 &#; power meter by Velocomp

FTC: Affiliate Disclosure: All links pay commissionReading Time: 3minutes

In Feb Velocomp released their latest LITE version of their popular power meter range which they call PowerPod Lite V3.

Unsurprisingly this replaces the previous generation 2 &#;lite&#; product and maintains the same $ price tag.

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PowerPod Lite V3 &#; What is it?

powerpod lite v3It&#;s more than you think. For $ you get

  • An opposing force power meter incorporating power from both your legs with a claimed +/-2% accuracy
  • An accurate grade sensor
  • An accurate wind sensor

It works on any kind of bike from a TT bike to a trail bike and the LITE product should be the one that most people need unless you want to regularly move between different bikes or get involved in a more detailed analysis of power and drag, which is a highly specialised requirement.

Along with the updated hardware, V3 now &#;looks&#; like the rest of the range as well as boasting a perhaps easier setup and usage than earlier models. Usage is simply &#;pair and go&#;, with an autocalibration occurring within the first 90 seconds, or so, of your ride.

Alternatives:

PowerPod Lite V3 is the cheapest entry-level power meter that is worth considering.

The next step up would be for you to get either a 4iiii single-sided crank power meter or Stages G3 single-sided crank power meter. I wouldn&#;t worry too much about the inaccuracies of single-sided cranks as double-sided cranks power meters have different accuracy issues!

The subsequent step would be to go for Favero Assioma Duo (look cleat) power meter pedals. Then beyond that you would need to more closely research the best power meter for your needs.

Availability:

All versions ship now and there are European resellers. Any reseller is free to discount as they see fit so you will find sales if you look around and wait. PowermeterCity (below) often have sales on this item and there is the additional 10% discount code you can use there as well (as shown below)

Price:

For a first-time power meter buyer with one or two bikes, this is a compelling product at around US$/GBP/EUR At higher price points, the likes of a 4iiii PRECISION crank (ANT+/BLE) or Favero Assioma Power Meter Pedals quickly become more attractive power meter options.

Powermetercity often discounts and there is a further 10% off with my code, as shown below. That&#;s normally a very well-priced option.

power meter city

Use the 10% coupon (the5krunner10) at PMC.

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Tags:powerpod, velocompSours: https://the5krunner.com//06/25/new-powerpod-lite-v3/

In-depth review: PowerPod power meter

Buy the PowerPod Power Meter from Pro Bike Kit here

‘That’s not really a power meter, is it?’ I heard that again and again while reviewing the wind-measuring PowerPod power meter. My response, over time, became that the PowerPod has as much right to be considered a power meter as half the systems on the market. 

Since the advent of power meters at the crankset, we’ve interpreted power to be a measure of the force at the cranks using strain gauges.

But the deflection of the metal in one arms of a crankset, or from a single pedal, is an estimate of power too. 

The PowerPod, in strict terms of mechanics and physics, makes perfect sense. It’s all too easy to forget that the reason we generate power is for one functional result – speed. More power results in more speed.

Headwinds, climbs and cold weather mean that speed doesn't always accurately reflect the effort we put into the bike, hence why we want devices to measure power.

As all forces need to be in equilibrium when cycling, power can actually be derived in an equation described as the mathematical model of road cycling power.

We can work out the extra effort of climbing a hill from elevation data or even use basic gravitational potential and VAM (/speed) to calculate our power.

Wind is trickier, as aerodynamics is a complicated science, and it’s not easy to know how much wind we’re fighting in order to calculate the power needed to oppose it. Enter the PowerPod.

The PowerPod directly measures frontal wind force, along with elevation and atmospheric pressure. That leaves only rolling resistance and weight to be determined, the latter can of course easily be measure by the user.

The former requires an estimate.

Using a plastic channel with a Gore-Tex membrane at the end of it, the PowerPod measures the intensity of the wind, and so can algebraically calculate the necessary power from the rider to achieve a given speed at a given elevation with that level of wind.

Like any normal power meter, this is transferred to the head unit in ANT+ or bluetooth form. It does however have the added advantage of being usable without a head unit.

You can simply ride with the PowerPod and plug it into the Isaac software on a computer after a ride to analyse the power figures. That’s a considerable selling point.

The PowerPod is a complicated product, and has required extensive testing to fully explore its accuracy, usability as well as potential advantages and setbacks.

It's proved a very interesting and innovative product, though.

Setup

First off – using the PowerPod’s single button and the light, I needed to pair the PowerPod to my Garmin speed sensor.

It’s worth noting that you need to buy this alongside the PowerPod as otherwise it won’t pick up the necessary speed data.

The PowerPod designers recommend a front wheel-mounted wireless gyroscopic speed sensor, which is what I used. Cheaper alternatives should work too, but possibly with less consistency.

That’s an important consideration in the overall price tag too, adding £30 or so.

A steady green light informed me that this calibration worked. Following that I could take it on the road.

On my first run I hadn’t undertaken any calibration process in the software, only the PowerPod’s own basic calibrate to the wind speed.

You can ride the PowerPod straight out of the box and it will generate power figures, but you can’t expect too much of them.

Owing to the complex nature of the calculations the PowerPod needs to make, the precision of the variables which are set by calibration are totally vital.

On the first ride, the PowerPod counts up from 1 to watts, in what I came to consider a fairly ingenious use of the available data field.

Rather than showing the perceived wattage it’s demonstrating the percentage of the calibration process.

The wattage displayed after this initial calibration were in the realms of accuracy, but quite a way off. My wattage was generally between and rather than to watts, but of course this is with no calibration.

The figures were vaguely useful and generally aligned to increases in power output, taking into account gradient changes and headwinds rather than simple speed.

For any sort of truly useful accuracy, it’s clear that the system requires a proper calibration and set-up, which is exactly what PowerPod’s designers recommend, so I installed the Isaac software and began the set-up process.

The software is not svelte, and doesn't feel fully finished. There is a need to connect the unit to a computer, which is a big drawback in my view, and once connected the software is cumbersome and frustrating to use at times.

It’s most like advanced training tools like Golden Cheetah, and crucially not a user-friendly no-brainer process, much as there has clearly been some admirable attempts to make it so.

An element of this comes down to the user, and certainly I think a more capable computerised mind would have done a better job than me.

For my part, I required four system restarts and two attempts at installation to connect the unit to my computer and begin the exchange of data.

Once connected and into the Isaac software, I was presented with the option for ‘Best Accuracy’ or ‘Better Accuracy’, pictured.

The latter asks for various information to formulate an estimate for the CdA (co-efficient of drag area, how much drag the rider and bike create) the unit needs to calculate the power needed to overcome wind force.

It was 'Best Accuracy' I was after, which would require a 10 minute calibration, split into two 5-minute segments in opposite direction to one another on the same stretch of road to estimate the rider's personal level of aerodynamic drag.

Calibration

On my first attempt the calibration started early, as I was still moving through traffic, which spoiled the process and left the power figures completely wrong.

This seemed like a frustrating potential flaw, as I needed to return to my computer to reset the PowerPod’s profile so I could repeat the calibration process.

This was ultimately down to my own error, and it’s very important not to misstep in this process.

‘When you start pedalling, you’ll notice that the PowerPod light starts flashing red/green,’ explains John Hamann, CEO of VeloComp and inventor of the PowerPod.

‘This means that PowerPod is “armed” for a best accuracy, out and back ride. You ride to your starting point for your out and back ride, then click the button to start the out and back ride.

'The light switches from flashing red/green to flashing yellow. Begin your ride and at the turnaround point, the light switches to solid red.

'Once you slow down and turn around, the light switches back to flashing yellow. At the end of the out and back ride the light goes out.’

The same process is at work as with the first ride, with the PowerPod wattage output counting up from zero to , but with a turn as it turns

(Excuse the shaky photography demonstration, as I had to do the calibration on the road on account of the wind variant, it was not without its difficulties.)

Accuracy

Once the calibration was finished the unit initially displayed 0 watts, but then quickly began to generate reasonable figures.

A bonus is that when finding out the CdA as calculated by the PowerPod, I could go back to previous uncalibrated rides and manually put in my new CdA.

That would generate accurate figures, retrospectively for those rides.

Once calibrated, and working properly, I think PowerPod almost fully achieves what a power meter sets out to do. 

I found it to be up to the task for intervals, for pacing and to measure my improvements in threshold and top end power.

One of my early observations was that there was no need to use a 3-second average power reading, as I have done for literally every power meter I’ve ever used.

The raw power figure already seems to be smoothed over 3-seconds out of the box, and a little delayed as a consequence.

A Garmin's 3-second average, then, sometimes made for a 5-second delay in the accurate power figure. That's a little frustrating for spring training, as very short intense bursts in effort don’t show quickly enough to try to target the likes of 1, watt peaks.

How accurate were the figures themselves? Well the top and bottom range was exactly where I would expect it to be.

I maxed out around 40 watts of my measured best on my tried and tested Vector 2 pedals, while my perceived FTP power sat at around watts, exactly what I’d expect for this time of year. I was pleasantly surprised.

While several people suggested I run two power meters in tandem to test the accuracy, I’ll save this for a further test of the PowerPod for time trial (which will include its CdA measurement capacity), as for the purposes of a first power meter I’ve always considered consistency and a generally accurate frame of power to be most important.

That said, the range of error that I would estimate from the PowerPod is the same as I would expect from a force-based power meter that isn't regularly manually zeroed, and probably less than the possible distortion from a single sided system.

Anyone who's time trialled and compared wattage will know how disparate power figures can be across various systems.

The PowerPod had minor niggles in accuracy - it tended to overestimate my power from a stationary start. It also sometimes seemed to struggle to factor mild ascents and descents into the power figure.

It underestimated the necessary power on some false flats and overestimated some mild descents. It would also occasionally take some time to run down to 0 watts when I stopped pedalling – as much as 5 seconds.

Then there’s more practical issues. If I stood up to sprint off the saddle, the power figures often went down. That’s because I’ve significantly increased my drag.

By contrast, ducking down into my aero tuck I’d have a strange inflation of my power figure despite not increasing my torque on the pedals.

The PowerPod only truly works if the position of the rider is totally consistent.

There were also some more startling errors in power consistency. The PowerPod was given to bouts of reading zero watts or several thousand.

Over time it tended to settle down to a reasonable figure eventually, but this could be 10 minutes into a ride, when I’d already be hoping for useful data.

Hamann explained that this was likely down to the the pod tipping ever so slightly from its position during calibration it could generate wildly high figures or nothing at all.

‘The PowerPod is extremely sensitive to its mounting angle; this is why our instructions ask the rider to gently rotate the PowerPod forward until it hits the stop on the mount,’ says Hamann.

‘If the angle is not the same when the PowerPod is reattached, or PowerPod rotates because it is not solidly locked into the mount, then the unit will recalibrate itself (automatically) for the first eight minutes of the ride.’

That seemed to be the case for me, and when I recalibrated it up against the stop and without moving it at all, these errors became much less frequent.

Playing the field

On the whole, the PowerPod offered the same level of informative background data that any other power meter has done.

Telling me when I was pushing hard into a headwind, pushing harder than normal on a steep climb and generally whether or not I was tapping out a respectable power on a long training ride.

It was both a training aid and indicator of form.

Would I choose it above a top-end dual sided system? As a training aid I definitely wouldn’t. Compared to the likes of an Infocrank or Garmin Vector 2 pedals the data just wasn’t as rich (in terms of live dynamics data and left-right balance), reliable, immediate or consistent as I would want.

But then those power meters are three times the price of the PowerPod.

At the same price point we would be looking at a older generation Stages unit, a 4iii single-sided crank arm based unit, or for a few hundred more a single-sided pedal power meter.

Here I think the PowerPod does hold its own against the competition. 

Pedals and crank arm power meters aren’t without their inconsistencies, and the PowerPod offers a great deal more information when delving deeper into the metrics created by the software.

We’ll explore that more in the second part of this review, looking at the CdA measurements and pedalling performance analysis.

I might still find myself advising a more conventional system over the PowerPod to certain users, as the plug-and-play nature of a ANT+ crank or pedal is a big bonus over the PowerPod.

Many users simply wouldn’t want to go through software installations and complex calibrations.

I would also prefer one of these systems for indoor use, although the Powerpod does offer a metric for indoor training based on wheel speed. 

The biggest barrier to my continued use of the unit was the difficulty of switching it between bikes and the tendency to lose accuracy if it shifted position (putting the bolt through the wrong side made this more awkward and again was entirely user error).

Admittedly switching a pedal or crank isn’t without hassle, but it doesn’t require delving back into the accompanying software.

Shifting between bikes can be tricky, and cable run was a minor issue

Parting thoughts

I was left with the feeling that the PowerPod is really a very clever piece of engineering, cleverer perhaps than even the SRM when it was released.

In a way that ingenuity is slightly squandered on mere mortals with a potential for misunderstanding. 

This is not an easy device to use. It lends itself to a technical mind, and indeed the data and info can be very fun to use and explore.

For many, though, it will be a labyrinth of flashing lights and decimal points, which lacks the plug and play appeal of so many systems on the market. 

But, the current crank and pedal systems also began with niggles and glitches. Where the PowerPod is headed, if it can iron out the problems, is a very good place.

Perhaps I’d hold out for the second or third generation for a more useable package, possibly compatible with a bluetooth app rather than needing a wired installation.

For now, it is certainly up to the task of measuring power output, but only if you have the patience and intelligence to use it.

Stay tuned for an in-depth look at the PowerPod’s more advanced CdA metrics, and more specific accuracy tests, in Part 2: PowerPod for time trial

Sours: https://www.cyclist.co.uk/reviews//in-depth-review-powerpod-power-meter
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PowerPod V3 Power Meter Review

In late , after riding my first road bike for a while, I started reading about how to better train myself for some of the longer distance goals I was setting for myself. One of the things I was reading about was the use of power meters.

The problem though was that most power meters at the time were super expensive with most solutions going for $1, or more. A modest solution that would work for an everyday Joe cyclist like myself didn’t appear to exist. That is until I read about the PowerPod.

The PowerPod, created by VeloComp, is an interesting take on a power meter. Most power meters measure power using direct power off of a pedal, crank arm, hub, or the like. But the PowerPod does it differently. Instead, it uses a combination of wheel speed, cadence, wind, accelerometer measurements, rider weight, tire resistance, and other factors to provide a running power measurement. It’s a different way to do it for sure.

Now, I’m not going to go into meticulous detail about the PowerPod. Instead, I highly recommend reading DC Rainmaker’s review of the PowerPod V2. That’ll give you a good idea on what the PowerPod is all about and how it compares with other power meters. Instead, I’ll talk about what I found in my use of the PowerPod. Later, I’ll talk a bit about the differences between the PowerPod Lite and full version as well as differences between the PowerPod V2 and V3.

The PowerPod In Use

If I had one word to describe the setup and maintenance of a PowerPod it would likely be finicky.

Unlike most power meters, the PowerPod requires a bit of setup to work. To do this, you have to setup a profile, save it to the devices, and go on a calibration ride, basically a simple out-and-back ride. The purpose of this calibration ride is to, as a VeloComp representative put it on their forums, set “the default values of wind scaling factor (for wind sensor) and riding tilt (for the accelerometer)”.

Once the calibration ride is complete, you’re set to go. You can then continue on your ride or return to your computer to save the newly calibrated profile. Either way, you’ll still need to sync the PowerPod to get the updated profile saved to your computer.

Through continual use of the PowerPod, I’ve learned that it does a fairly good job of recalibrating itself for certain situations. For instance, if you’re on a really rough road, the PowerPod will adjust itself so that it registers higher power. Which makes sense considering that if you’re on a rough gravel road the amount of power that it takes to keep moving will be higher than a smooth road.

Beyond that, I learned that the tilt factor is checked continuously, primarily because there’s always a chance that the unit isn’t mounted tight. Plus, there’s also a chance of weight distribution changes on the bike.

And, yes, a change in the tilt factor can have a dramatic effect on accuracy. I’ve have several rides where, all of a sudden, the power readings were completely off. More often than not, it was due to me hitting a bump or something that caused the PowerPod to shift a little on the mount and thus caused the tilt factor to change. Eventually, the PowerPod would adjust, but not till I got onto smoother roads so that the PowerPod could get a clear reading of the tilt change.

While these measurements have an impact on the accuracy of the PowerPod, the bigger impacts can come from settings to the initial profile you setup for your PowerPod. Some of the information required includes your weight, the weight of your bike and gear, as well as your wheel and tire size. You can really get into the weeds with other settings in a PowerPod profile, but these are the main ones that I have found have the most impact.

All of this makes sense when you consider how power is measured on a smart trainer. With apps like TrainerRoad and Zwift, power can be measured virtually using just your wheel speed and cadence. As long as they know how much resistance is being applied to the bike then they can get a fairly accurate idea of the total power output. It’s not perfect but it’s good enough without actually having a power meter.

In theory, that’s kind of what the PowerPod does. It primarily takes the cadence and wheel speed of your bike to determine power but has to factor in other things too: angle of your bike, weight, rolling resistance, wind, and such. If any of this is completely out of whack then your power measurements will be off considerably.

What I’ve learned is that I have to be cognizant of the changes to myself and my bike. If my weight or the weight of my bike fluctuates then I have to update my PowerPod profile in Isaac to reflect that. And, because I’m running on multiple wheelsets, there are times when I might need to make adjustments, especially if I’m running way different tire pressures than what I’ve been using.

But the biggest difference of all is in the mounting of my PowerPod. Since the mount is of the GoPro variety, it basically amounts to using a GoPro thumbscrew which, no matter how hard I tried, I could never get it tight enough. That inevitably led to power reading fluctuations whenever I hit a good sized bump in the road. The answer was to get a GoPro wrench tool which allows me to really get the thumbscrew good and tight.

And, yes, you’ll need to get that sucker as tight as you can. I’m always worried about breaking the screws. In fact, I ended up buying a whole bag of GoPro thumb screws for this very reason. I keep a spare thumbscrew with me on rides in case the one I’m using breaks. You just never know with these things.

PowerPod Lite vs Full Version

The PowerPod is one of the most affordable power meters on the market. At the time, I purchased what VeloComp called the PowerPod Lite which, even now, costs only $ That’s about the lowest cost I’ve ever seen for an entry-level power meter.

I recommend ponying up an extra $ and get the full PowerPod, which costs $ The reason is that there are a number of limitations with the Lite version that may or may not be a big deal.

While I only have one bike, I do have multiple wheelsets. With each wheelset, I have created profiles for each one along with calibration rides performed. With the PowerPod Lite, you only get one profile and you basically have to use the Isaac software to switch out the profile every time you change your bike or switch out wheelsets. That’s no big deal really but it does mean more steps. With the full version, you can save four profiles on the device, which makes things much easier since all you need to do is just switch the active profile. To me, that means less mistakes as well as less of a chance of things getting messed up as well.

One of the other limitations of the Lite version is that it can only record the first 15 minutes of any ride. If you use a bike computer that’s not much of a problem since most of the data you really care about is already being recorded. However, there are times when having the extra data that the PowerPod records is handy to have.

With full data recording, there are also a number of extra data metrics that are available in Isaac. Again, not critical for the average rider but super cool for those who like to dig into the performance data for a ride.

The main one that made me upgrade was the lack of BLE compatibility with the Lite version. This was a serious limitation in that I was planning on using a PowerPod with my iPhone. Without BLE, I was pretty much SOLat least until I got a ANT+ compatible bike computer. So if BLE is important to you, you might want to pass on the Lite and go with the full version.

PowerPod V2 vs V3

There are a number of differences between the V2 and V3 PowerPods. If you currently have a V3, there are a few of which might make you consider an upgrade.

The most obvious difference between the PowerPod V2 and the V3 is the form factor. The V3 has a sleeker casing which, for some configurations, does require a little more forethought into how you mount it to your bike.

With the V3, they took the same casing as the AeroPod and applied it to the PowerPod V3. In fact, I half wonder just how different the electronics are between an AeroPod and PowerPod V3. Could they possibly offer a firmware upgrade to an AeroPod later like they do with the Lite?

With the PowerPod V2, due to the horizontal nature of the casing, you could mount it off your handlebar near the stem without too much trouble. However, with the V3, the casing is more vertical which makes it a bit harder to mount off a handlebar. Fortunately, I already had a mount that allowed me to mount it out in front of my handlebars, which I recommend anyways over a handlebar mounted configuration.

The only thing that appears different than an AeroPod is that the V3 doesn’t come with a pitot tube, which you can buy separately and attach to the V3 anyways. Granted, a pitot tube isn’t required but good to know it’s an option. I ended up buying a pitot tube primary to protect the air port in case of rain.

Another big difference is the newer wind and accelerometer sensors which VeloComp claims offers more accurate power readings. Again, I wonder how much of this is due to them borrowing the same technology that went into the AeroPod. Makes sense if that’s the case. Rather than having two different form factors, they have just one which, in the end, cuts down on costs significantly.

PowerPod vs Stages

A lot has changed in just under two years. There’s more promise for lower cost entry-level power meters. In fact, Stages recently announced a reduction in their power meters offering a left-only version for just $ I’m quite interested with this solution since it’s likely easier to use. However, because this is left-only, your mileage may vary in terms of accuracy. If this is not a concern then a Stages power meter might be worth considering.

The upside of the PowerPod is that it can measure both the left and right side of the cranks. It does require the PowerStroke software upgrade though to view and measure this data. If the data is good then the results you get for left-right pedaling differences will definitely be more accurate than the Stages.

But that’s also the downside of the PowerPod: it takes more setup than virtually any other power meter. Like I mentioned above, it can be a tedious process at first. It’s just not quite as easy as a direct-force power meter.

Summary

Much has changed since I started using the PowerPod. Similar priced options now exist and there are likely to be more in the near future. The only reason I upgraded my V2 to a V3 was due to a discount on the V3. But, given that so much has changed with the power meter market, the question is: Is a PowerPod V3 a good choice? Honestly, that’s a bit hard to answer right now.

I think it boils down to whether you’re ok with the setup requirements. If I didn’t already have a power meter and I was going into this from scratch, honestly, I probably would give the Stages power meters a serious look. Granted, it’s left-only but I think that’s a fair trade off for something that is easier to deal with. I feel like I have to tinker with my PowerPod far more than I would like. The ability to just ride and not have to worry about whether my power meter is calibrated and fairly accurate outweighs just about anything really.

Don’t get me wrong. There are things to like about the PowerPod. Unlike other power meters, you can move the PowerPod between bikes with ease. Plus, it’s not tied to any particular part of your bike. With a Stages power meter, you’re tied to the cranks you have. If you’re using a pedal-based power meter, you would have to uninstall them and reinstall them on a different bike. Basically, any upgrades to the components where the power meter is attached, you end up having to upgrade your power meter with it. Not so with a PowerPod. For some, this is a big benefit and reason enough to forgo any direct-force power meters.

I’ll likely stick with my PowerPod V3 for a while longer though. It’s fine for what I need, which isn’t much. Just need something that is consistent. Which, let’s be clear, there’s a difference between accuracy and consistency. The PowerPod can be a very consistent power meter if you’re careful with the setup. But, it can also be quite accurate so long as you’re willing to put forth a little effort to build a good profile for it.

In the end, it’s nice to see lower priced options like the PowerPod. Similar priced options now exist and there are likely to be more in the near future. Will be interesting to see what lies ahead for us cyclists.

Sours: https://velonut.com/blog/powerpod-v3-power-meter-review
Velocomp Powerpod V3 Power Meter 2019

PowerPod Lite Power Meter

PowerPod Lite Power Meter

The PowerPod Lite Power Meter makes training with power easy and affordable. Using opposing force technology, the PowerPod attaches to your handlebars and measures your power by calculating the forces that oppose the rider. Specifically, the PowerPod uses an accelerometer, a wind pressure sensor, elevation sensor and a speed sensor – all to measure power.

The benefits to this type of power meter are several. Compared to a more traditional direct force power meter, the PowerPod is easy to move between bikes, doesn&#;t have any compatibility issues and is simple to set up. In addition, you don’t have to change out any of your favorite components. However best yet, at only $, the PowerPod Lite is the most affordable power meter available!

The PowerPod works on virtually all bikes and transmits power data via the ANT+ and BLE, and can therefore be used with any bicycle computer or watch.

Please note: The PowerPod requires an ANT+ speed or speed/cadence sensor.

 

PowerPod Lite vs. the PowerPod

The PowerPod Lite works just like the original PowerPod. Accuracy, consistency and compatibility remain the same. However the Lite lacks some features found in the PowerPod. The most notable difference is 1 rider profile for the Lite vs. 4 for the PowerPod. Also, the Lite does not come with Isaac software. You can view all of the differences in the table below. Note that at any time, you can upgrade your PowerPod Lite to a PowerPod for $99 in order to get these additional features.

PowerPod Comparison Chart

 

Bar Mount Options

You have three different handlebar mount options to choose from:

Included:

The PodPod Lite comes with the Velocomp Standard Handlebar Mount. The Standard Mount works on mm road and MTB bars. It mounts the power meter only and your bicycle computer would need to be mounted on its own mount, next to the PowerPod.

Upgrades:

If you would like your power meter and bike computer to be on the same mount for a cleaner look, or have a TT bike, you can choose to purchase an upgraded mount.

For road bikes:Velocomp Combo Garmin & Wahoo Mount (upgrade). This mount places your power meter and Garmin or Wahoo on the same mount for a cleaner set-up.

For TT bars:Velocomp Combo TT Garmin Mount (upgrade). This mount places your power meter and Garmin on the same mount for a cleaner set-up.

Note that you save $10 if you bundle the PowerPod with an upgraded mount.

 

Compatibility

The PowerPod Lite Power Meter mounts to mm handlebars (or 22 mm if used with the TT mount), and therefore works with just about any bike. This includes road, track, CX and MTB.

 

Tools Needed for Installation

  • All tools required for installation provided in the box

 

In the Box

  • PowerPod Power Meter
  • PowerPod Handlebar Mount or Garmin Combo Mount
  • USB Charging Cable (attach to computer or USB charger)
  • Quick Start guide

 

PowerPod Lite Power Meter Specs

NamePowerPod Lite Power Meter
Bike TypeAll
Power Meter TypeOpposing Force Technology
Weight65 grams (including mount)
Battery TypeUSB-rechargable
Battery Life20 hours
Communication ProtocolANT+
Accuracy+/- 3%
Warranty1 year
Sours: https://powermetercity.com/product/powerpod-lite-power-meter/

Lite power pod

PowerPod In-Depth Review

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Back this past fall the PowerPod power meter was introduced on Kickstarter and funded within a few days.  It started shipping a few months later, within a week or two of their planned date (a rarity these days) in late November, and I’ve been testing it out on numerous bikes since then.

The PowerPod comes from the folks behind the iBike, though, they see the PowerPod as a new brand/product identity.  With the Velocomp iBike, it was a full head unit, versus this is just the power portion that can connect to other ANT+ head units (and soon Bluetooth Smart too).  This makes it far more appealing to the legions of Garmin, Polar, and Suunto fans (among many other brands) that want to use their own head units.

Of course, anytime a new power meter comes onto the market at a low price – it’ll attract all sorts of attention, mostly around accuracy (deservedly so).  The PowerPod gets a bit more attention due to the nature of the device measuring power differently.  Unlike a Quarq, SRM, or PowerTap (and many more brands), the PowerPod doesn’t measure power with strain gauges.  Instead, it uses wind measurement and accelerometers to determine power.  As such, some have argued it shouldn’t be called a ‘power meter’, but I think that’s basically just trying to be elitist.  At the end of the day, the term is ‘power meter’, not ‘strain gauge power meter’.  I don’t particularly care how it gets the job done, as long as it’s accurate.  It can use tiny gerbils with magic wands and helmets on their heads for all I care.

Of course, accuracy is the most important thing.  And if it’s not accurate % of the time, then it needs to be predictable as to what situations it’s not accurate in.  Just like other power meters have known conditions that are challenging (be it rider, environmental, or otherwise).

So that’s what I set out to do – figure out if this sub-$ device works, and if so – how well does it work.  Let’s begin.

(Oh, and for those curious, I did indeed pay for my own PowerPod, as a backer of the original Kickstarter campaign.)

Components:

In my case, I didn’t quite get a full branded box.  Rather I got a non-branded box.  No worries, it’s all the same minus the outside paper shell.

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Inside you’ll see what are essentially five components: PowerPod itself, micro-USB charging cable, hex-wrench, mount, and thumb screw for mount.  It says ‘Limited Edition’ simply because it was one of the Kickstarter units.  Aside from the red printing on the front, there’s no difference to units bought outside of Kickstarter.  It just makes Kickstarter people feel warm and fuzzy inside.

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The mount is a standard GoPro mounting adapter.  This is awesome because it allows you to use any GoPro compatible mount that you find.  Just be aware that you want sturdiness in your mount.  So don’t go all willy-nilly with a plastic mount since it’ll flex.

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You’ve got two screw options when you tighten the PowerPod to the mount.  One is to use the standard GoPro thumb screw, or, you can use the hex wrench with a non-thumb screw.  Both when properly used will get it more than tight enough, but the thumb screw is better if you plan to move the unit around a bit (or take it off quickly).

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Note though that you really want the unit to stay in the same position for each bike, and part of that is the flat edge seen on the two GoPro prongs.  This helps ensure it’s flat on flat, versus the more standard rounded edges of the GoPro prongs.

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The PowerPod charges with a standard micro-USB charging cable – just like every cell phone on earth except the iPhone.  You can plug it into any USB port on earth as well.  It’s all about earthliness here.

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As for the PowerPod itself, you’ve got a single button and a single light.  The bigger of the two white dots is the button, whereas the smaller dot is the LED light.  This allows you to change modes to pairing, calibration and power it on/off.

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But the most important thing here is the front wind port.  This is where the magic happens.  Or rather, where wind goes in to make magic happen.

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This port takes in the incoming airstream and measures it, it then compares it against your speed from the ANT+ speed sensor and is able to determine power output.  It also contains an incline sensor, accelerometer, and barometer.  This allows it to determine pressure changes as well as elevation changes.  Further, with the PowerStroke enabled it can use the sensor information to measure the barely visible shifting/tilting of each pedal stroke as you ride.

Note that while some have had issues with past Velocomp products and rain getting into the wind port, I haven’t seen that be an issue here (and I’ve definitely had rain rides).  The PowerPod folks say this is because they changed the inlet port on the PowerPod to be a bit ‘uphill’, so that rain doesn’t collect there versus the perfectly flat port in the past.

Installation and Configuration:

First thing up is getting the unit mounted to your bike.  It includes the mounting hardware for this, which is basically just a standard GoPro mount.  Simply use the two hex screws and a wrench to secure it on.  Be sure though that you place it somewhere that cabling won’t get in the way.  You don’t want wind being blocked by cables that move around.

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Next, you’ll need to ensure you’ve got a speed sensor (or a combo speed/cadence sensor).  For now, that sensor must transmit over ANT+.

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With the hardware physically installed, you’ll begin by pairing the PowerPod to the speed (or combo speed/cadence) sensor.  Note that you’ll want to avoid other riders with a sensor during this pairing process, so you don’t get your wires mixed up.  To start pairing, simply hold down the button (bigger white thing) for about seconds.  It’ll then blink as it finds the sensor.

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Once it’s found the sensor it’ll illuminate and be ready for a brief calibration ride.  For the calibration ride you just need to go out and ride 5 minutes.  Ideally this would be without numerous stops or wonky terrain (i.e. cobbles).  Though they say that a stoplight/sign here and there won’t kill you (and it’s true, it seems mostly fine).  But I’ve had the best calibration results when it’s just clean open road.

Before you begin riding though, you’ll want to pair the unit to your head unit of choice (via ANT+).  In my case, I’m using a Garmin Edge, but you can use anything that can show an ANT+ power meter.  Simply go into the pairing menu and search for a new power meter.

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It’ll find the unit, and you can name it as you see fit.  Ignore the calibration button – it won’t do anything here for you (and PowerPod simply throws away the request from the Edge).

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Instead, to calibrate we’ll head out for that ride.  Now what’s cool here is that as you ride the percentage complete of the calibration ride shows on your head unit.  So for that 5 minutes you won’t get your actual power value, but rather you’ll get the % complete (0 to ).  So a few seconds in it might show a value of ‘3’, meaning, 3% complete.  It’s kinda brilliant.

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Once it hits %, it’ll immediately switch over to showing your actual power output.  And with that, you’re done.

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It used to be with the older iBike products that you had to do an out and back course, but that’s all gone.  Just ride and be done.

Note that for data recording purposes I’d recommend doing the calibration ride before starting (recording) on your Garmin, so you don’t have a weird incline mountain graph thing at the start of your ride.

With calibration complete – we’re ready to start using it day in and day out.

Basic Usage:

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When it comes to using the PowerPod, most people will use it with a head unit to display power (since the unit has no display).  However, you can technically use it without a head unit, as it records all rides internally for later download (see software section later).

We already paired up the unit in the previous section via ANT+ to my Edge bike computer.  But it’ll work with any ANT+ head unit (Garmin, CycleOps, Mio, Wahoo, Recon Jet, older Suunto watches, and numerous others).  Soon, they’ll also be releasing (likely April) the dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart version, which will then work with Bluetooth Smart watches and head units (i.e. those from Polar, Wahoo, and newer watches from Suunto).  Note though that the Bluetooth Smart version will require an ANT+ speed sensor.  However, many Bluetooth Smart speed sensors these days are dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart anyway, so that’s likely not a blocker for most.

You can name the sensor anything you’d like.  In this case, I’ve just named mine to keep it simple.

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After the calibration sequence, power will display on the unit in wattage, based on the data fields you’ve selected.

However, one notable thing is that by default PowerPod has what’s called ‘Dynamic Power Smoothing’ enabled, which means that they automatically smooth power numbers when in steady state riding – but then dynamically increase when you get to a sprint.  While this works well, I’m not a fan of it because I like my power data ‘untouched’ when it hits my head unit.

After all, all major head units have smoothing options on them already (i.e. 3-second, second, second).  And these options don’t ‘impact’ the recorded data.  I get why PowerPod has this feature (a holdover from the iBike days when they were their own head unit too).  But for me personally, I just want a clean data stream.  If you want, you can easily disable it using the Isaac software:

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Note that the PowerPod does not transmit or display cadence or speed values.  Those will come from either your GPS (speed) or existing sensors (cadence).  It just sends total power.  Also, it will not send left/right power either.  I wouldn’t expect it to, but just clarifying that to minimize questions on it.

From a basics standpoint, it’s pretty straightforward – it displays power as you go along like any other power meter over ANT+.  Here’s a video I shot during a ride demonstrating the basics of this.  In this case, Dynamic Power Smoothing was enabled:

Note that you do need to be aware of the wind port up front.  It’s important that doesn’t get blocked by cabling (brakes/shifting), or anything else (a basket, handlebar streamers, action cam, etc…).  I’ll show you in the accuracy section what happens if it does.

When it comes to power & charging, the unit will automatically power off after 20 minutes of inactivity, so it’ll save power.  To turn it back on you’ll just tap the little button on it.  The light will illuminate and you’re good to go.

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Remember that because it depends on your speed sensor – if that’s missing, misaligned, or otherwise dorked up/dead, then the PowerPod won’t work.  This is notable if your magnet gets slightly out of alignment and misses every few revolutions, as the numbers will impact power readings (significantly).  If you were to have a mental troubleshooting step, the first one would almost always be to validate the speed sensor is happy.

The easiest way to do so is lift your rear wheel off the ground and spin it.  Validate on your head unit (paired to the speed sensor) that the speed value is present, and is ‘clean’.  By ‘clean’, I mean that it increases and decreases in speed smoothly, and doesn’t show any drops/jumps (indicating a missed magnet pickup).

For most people though, that sort of thing really only happens when you do maintenance on your bike, or travel with it.  Or, if your bike falls over/crashes, gets extensive mud on it, etc…  So it’s not something you really need to worry about day to day.

If you want to switch the unit between bikes you can do so.  It supports four bike profiles, which allow you to pair to four different bike speed sensors.  So you’ll want to have one speed sensor per bike, as this is how it knows which bike it’s on. You can validate/check these settings in the Isaac app, for example if you setup a new bike profile you can validate the default weight assumptions – and even retroactively fix a ride.

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Note that you’ll want to be consistent in how and where you move the unit to between bikes, since positioning can affect accuracy.

Lastly – charging.  To charge it you’ll just plug in a micro-USB cable into the charging port, and it’ll illuminate a red blinking light indicating it’s charging.

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Note that I’d recommend picking up an ultra-long cable, or cable extender.  This way you can just wheel your bike near an outlet and bring the cable to it.  You can find this 3 meter (9ft) extender USB long cable on Amazon for about $6.

Plus, I find having a USB extender around the house is always useful.

Power Accuracy:

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Of course – what folks really want to know is how accurate the thing is.  After all, there’s been years of ‘complicated’ tensions with its predecessor.  Some of those complications have been mixed with the previous head unit, versus the accuracy of unit itself.  Or, they were influenced by setup and configuration aspects (which, in my opinion is still a valid complaint).

If you were to sum things up – I’d put it in the camp of: It can indeed be very accurate, but, it just takes a little more care and focus to get those results.  Not excessive focus, but focus nonetheless.

We talked earlier about calibration – so for the results below I’m focused on things after calibration.  I’ve picked four rides out below, all on road bikes (though, actually all on different road bikes).

All of my bikes have at least 2, if not power meters on them (direct force power meters), such as Quarq, PowerTap pedals, PowerTap hubs, and various other units.  Using only a single additional power meter makes it difficult to know who is right, and who is wrong.  Yes, even the most expensive power meters out there can be wrong.  Figuring out which one and when they are wrong is the hard part.

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I’ll note that I did try it out on my triathlon/TT bike, but saw somewhat mixed results*.  The reason there is that I didn’t/don’t have a great solid/steady mount for the PowerPod.  I could place it on my aerobars, but the challenge there is that you get a bit of residual ‘bounce’/’sway’ on the aero-bars, which hoses up readings.  Additionally, hand movements in that area can easily block the wind sensor.  The company is aware of this limitation, and is working on getting a mount option for triathlon bikes.  So until that happens, I’d stick with road bikes.

*Update Apr 23rd, PowerPod now has a dedicated TT/triathlon bike mount.  See my full post on it here.

Ride 1: City & Forest Loops Ride

We’ll start out with a fairly straight forward ride.  This goes through the city out to a major park nearby, where there’s roads that are closed to traffic and only available for cyclists.  This route is useful because the city portion allows me to validate stop/go type activities, whereas the loops allows more steady-state riding.

Note for these graphs, like always, I’ve added a second smoothing factor, otherwise you get this:

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So instead, it makes it more readable, like below.  Also note that the numbers you see in the upper right corner are the instant numbers at wherever my mouse is.  They are not averages.

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As you can see above, things in general seem to align quite well among the four power meters.  Actually, there were five power meters on the bike, but my graphing tool was duplicating the color for the PowerTap G3 as well, so I removed it for now.  But it mirrored the others as you’d expect from the G3.

Zooming in for a second, we’ll look at one of the sprint portions.  In this case, I’ve smoothed it to a rolling 5-second average.  As is pretty common on brief sprints, you’ll see power meters give fairly different results.  However the PowerPod tends to overestimate them in some cases I’ve seen, like you see below (the PowerPod is the top track).

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Now for this particular ride Power Smoothing was enabled, so you see a bit more ‘stability’ in the plot lines (like), especially in steady-state riding (but notice how above, it reacted instantly for the sprint).  In Ride 3 sample data, I’ll show it disabled.  Nonetheless, for below, while delayed due to the smoothing, it actually gets the plot line correct.  Note the scale, all of these units are within a fairly tight range – very normal for power meters in multiple locations on the bike.

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Here’s another random snippet from later in the ride, as I accelerate from a light, then ease up a bit, and then accelerate again.  You do see that at that mid-point it doesn’t quite nail that section, going a bit low there.

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In looking at the map for that ride, that section has some slightly rougher roads.  Nothing I’d consider massive, but notable.  This sorta speaks to some oddities I see when the road conditions change a bit.

Ride 2: Palma Majorca Mountain Ride

For this ride I did a two hour out and back section along a rather mountainous road. This route is interesting because of both the numerous climbs, but also the steep descents.  Further, the  winds (upwards of KPH) that changed direction depending on the rock faces I was up against.  As such it helped to validate how well the unit performed in wind.  For this ride I only had two power meters on, the PowerTap P1 pedals and the PowerPod – however, as you can see, they had beautiful alignment for the entire ride.

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Notice that little tidbit of mis-alignment at ish?  That’s a very brief rougher road section, where I saw the PowerPod spike a bit.

On this ride I had the Dynamic Power Smoothing enabled, so you see a bit of perceived ‘lag’ present for more steady-state increases/decreases.  But not for sprints where it follows beautifully until I start to taper off.  At which point the Dynamic Power Smoothing kicks in and shows it a bit smoother than it really was, as seen below:

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Now throughout this ride the wind position was changing, as was my position (sitting up on climbs, lower down on descents). As you can see, there was no tangible impact to accuracy in doing so.

As a side note for this windy ride, it’s actually cool in that in the Isaac software you can crack open the wind analysis panel and dive into aspects such as the wind speed it measured (versus your ground speed):

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While the menus and such within the app are kinda old-school, and desperately need a UI update – the underlying information is super cool, and there’s tons of items you can dig into beyond just wind speed.

Ride 3: Bois de Vincennes Loops

Next, another ride around through the city to Bois de Vincennes for loops.  This time I was aiming to find some other cyclists to ride with.  To begin, the overview.

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If I dive down and increase the chart sampling to 5s, you’ll see the over-estimation of power as I noted a few times.  In this case, Dynamic Power Smoothing is disabled.

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But as I noted earlier – it doesn’t always overestimate.  For example here’s another sprint a short bit later, this one a little easier, and you see that it’s much closer.

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As I did loops around Bois de Vincennes, I found a small group of cyclists to latch onto.  Would this impact power accuracy if I stayed in their draft zone?  Nope.  You can see this below:

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The first portion of the above graph is me catching up to a group ahead (you see it at about ww), and then I catch up and pull back into the group, at which point I’m riding wheel on wheel without any issues or oddities in power.

The above three rides are fairly indicative of what I’ve seen repeatedly – that as long as you’ve got things setup initially correctly – you’re good to go.

Ride 4: Adjustment Ride

One challenge I’ve seen a few times is what happens if you don’t seem to get a good calibration ride initially.  I’ve found that if I get a ‘clean’ calibration ride without any wonky stops/rough roads/etc, it works great.  But, if I get stuck at numerous stop-signs or have weird roads, then the calibration is off, and it takes a long time to fix itself.  For example, try to make sense of the ride below.

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If you look carefully you’ll see that the pattern is indeed there, but it’s sluggish and not super-accurate (sometimes overshooting).  But you do notice over the course of the ride that it does get closer and closer.  Not accurate, but closer.

I’ve moved the unit around a lot on different bikes – mostly because I was curious how this would impact things.  What I find is that unless I get that clean calibration (5 minutes worth), then the above is very much the norm.  However, if I get that 5 minutes done right – then life is grand.

Now I mentioned earlier that the unit seems to ‘heal’ itself when it knows its astray.  Whether that is because you’ve changed some aerodynamic element significantly, or because you’ve changed surface areas (which impacts rolling resistance assumptions).  One particular example of this that I think is fun to show is the accidental placement of an action camera partially blocking the sensor.  I had gone out for a ride and plopped a Garmin VIRB XE on the front K-Edge combo mount I use (combo GoPro/Garmin).  It’s there, but I don’t the GoPro portion every ride.

However, what I didn’t think about when I put the camera on is that it actually blocked the wind sensor port partially (perhaps 30% blockage).  Obviously, enough to totally hose up the existing aerodynamic profile.  So as I started riding I saw massive power numbers – like 1,w.  Yet, over the course of minutes, those power numbers slowly got back down to reality, and then shortly thereafter they matched the other power meters on the bike.  It was incredibly fascinating, as I didn’t change anything physically on the bike – I just kept riding.  Here’s the graph below:

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(Note: You see massive gaps as I was stopping and going getting photos of other things, but it’s interesting how at about the 8 minute marker you see it start to re-align, and by 12 it’s fully aligned.)

Finally, one area that doesn’t work well is cobbles.  I recognize this is largely a European problem, and not so much a North American one – but, it’s a valid problem for me since my streets are littered with them.  In my testing, the unit simply doesn’t produce accurate power when riding cobblestones.  Within seconds of hitting such a patch of roadway, the unit pretty much shrugs and gives up.  It’s like this emoticon: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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You’ll see the power ‘fall out’ of the bottom, meaning that it just drops to a non-valid number, in my case usually about w.

For their part, the folks behind PowerPod say that they are aware of the issue and do plan to address it via a firmware update.  They essentially need to collect lots of cobblestone data to understand how to interpret it (they record data at times a second, so sampling isn’t the issue).  But they lack the cobbles of Roubaix in Florida (where they are based), making the task slightly more difficult.

As for rougher ground that’s not cobbles, I’ve seen somewhat mixed results.  In most cases I have no issues, but in some semi-rare scenarios I see similar ‘dropping’ patterns.  I know that others have had success here in often challenging chip roads seen through much of the southern US – so perhaps it’s something with my particular roads that causes this.

Finally – you can find all the files I’ve used in this section here in this Zip folder, for those that want to do their own analysis.

(Note: All of the charts in these accuracy sections were created using the DCR Analyzer tool.  It allows you to compare power meters/trainers, heart rate, cadence, speed/pace, GPS tracks and plenty more. You can use it as well, more details here.)

Advanced Software Features:

The PowerPod doesn’t need any software configuration by itself to work.  However, you can actually do quite a bit of configuration with their Isaac application.  That app is a holdover from the iBike side of the house.  But since the PowerPod software-wise looks and acts like a Newton, the app works with it as well.  There’s boatloads of options here – and while I can’t cover all of them, I’m going to pick out some of my favorites.

To use the software, you’ll simply connect the unit via micro-USB cable to your computer.  You can then download all rides this way.  Every ride you take/make is recorded.  So it’s easy to download them later.

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Next up is the ability to really dial down your specific settings on the unit.  Things like your weight, bike weight, and even rolling resistance if known:

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Next, if you have an existing power meter, you can take a given ride’s data and basically use that profile in conjunction with the PowerPod ride data to ‘correct’ the PowerPod data for future rides.  Think of it like a full-ride calibration sequence.  It’s really rather cool.

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Of course, if you already have a power meter on your bike, then it’s unlikely you’re going to use a PowerPod too.  And it’s not as though you can then move the PowerPod to another bike – since that would throw away the calibration profile for that bike.  But perhaps if a friend loaned you a pair of power meter pedals, that might be good enough.

The software is chock full of analysis that you can do, from aerodynamics results to rolling resistance details.  Over the years many have noted that you could start to do some pretty interesting analysis if you had a PowerPod combined with a traditional power meter.  You’d use the PowerPod for the aerodynamic data stream, and the power meter as the ‘known truth in changing aerodynamic positions’.  The software supports these types of comparisons:

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Speaking of which, the PowerPod folks note that they’d love to be able to transmit the PowerPod aerodynamic data out over ANT+ (or Bluetooth Smart) in a standard way, if such a profile existed.  Today, no such ANT+ profile exists for aerodynamic data, so they’d have to do it in a private way (less appealing).  But with Garmin Connect IQ supporting private ANT data streams, it’d be straightforward for the PowerPod development team to start transmitting aerodynamic data to your watch (which Connect IQ will start recording on certain devices by the end of the month).  And even without recording, they could display real-time aerodynamic feedback as you make position changes out on the bike.  Pretty fascinating stuff – but at this point the PowerPod folks are awaiting whether there is demand for it.

Lastly, there’s PowerStroke.  This allows you to do analysis of your cycling stroke.  Essentially, analyzing which areas of the stroke your power comes from.  To enable this, you’ll need to buy their upgraded software package ($99, or was $49 for Kickstarter backers).  It’s basically a software unlock option (just as it was on Newton).  Note that you will need a cadence sensor with it.

Once unlocked, you’ll head out and ride like normal.  Afterwards, you’ll go ahead and be able to download the information using the Isaac software.  You’ll start by specifying where the cadence sensor was, as it needs that information to accurately determine stroke information.

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From there, you can slice and dice up your ride and look at the whole of it, or just portions.  You can see the top portion is showing wasted motion (mostly side to side) within my riding.  While the bottom is showing the actual pedal stroke.

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Note that this is NOT Garmin Cycling Dynamics (however similar it may be in certain aspects).  Nor can it transmit said data to Garmin Cycling Dynamics.  That’s because Garmin makes that profile private (private ANT), versus a public profile.  Said differently: It’s not because PowerPod doesn’t want it (or 4iiii or PowerTap or ROTOR or Brim Brothers or whomever), but because Garmin doesn’t want it (and because ANT+ hasn’t enabled an open profile for it).

Still, it’s interesting data to analyze.  At this time I don’t have a Garmin Vector set with Cycling Dynamics (or Pioneer Power meter with their similar metrics) on any of my bikes to compare the differences though, so the closest I can get is simple left/right balance with something like the PowerTap P1’s – but that’s not really measuring the same thing.

For those curious – I am a fan of reducing the hardware cost of devices, and allowing users to ‘buy-up’ software options that appeal to them, when they want them.  While I think $99 is a bit high for this functionality (I thought $49 was rather fair), I still like the idea of being able to purchase features I want on the fly.  I’d love to see the major watch vendors adopt this strategy for more inexpensive watches, allowing users to unlock features at a premium.

A quick note on trainers and the PowerPod.  The unit both does and doesn’t work on trainers.  It works by using a known power curve for a given trainer, and then taking the wheel speed and re-transmitting out your power value.  You’d specify the trainer within the Isaac software:

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As you can see – there’s quite a nice list of them.  However the majority of them do require some sort of fluid trainer, or if a mag trainer to have a known resistance setting.  You can see this below in which profile you choose:

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This is virtually identical to how apps like TrainerRoad, PerfPro, Zwift and others work: Known power curves.  Any given speed gives you a specific power level.  The challenge with this is that it’s not quite precise unless there is a calibration procedure that takes into account your tire pressure.  If you use the same tire pressure and the same number of turns of the knob each time it’ll at least be consistent (but may be offset).

Triathlon/TT Bike Combo Garmin Mount:

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Section added April 23rd,

PowerPod has released a combination mount for triathlon/TT bikes that holds both the PowerPod and a Garmin device (quarter-turn mount).  Alternatively, the PowerPod mount can also be used to hold a GoPro, or other GoPro mount compatible item (i.e. Cycliq Fly12, Garmin VIRB X/XE, etc&#;).  Obviously, if it&#;s holding something else, then it can&#;t be holding the PowerPod.  still, it gives you flexibility.

I&#;ve written an entire separate post on the product, which you can read here.  It runs $59, so a bit on the higher end.  But it is machined aluminum and made in the USA by a small boutique mount company that typically does stuff for pro cycling teams.  On the flipside, it&#;s perhaps a touch bulkier than the newly released BarFly TT/triathlon combo mount.  But since that&#;s plastic, it may have more flex than the PowerPod mount design, which could introduce accuracy issues with the PowerPod (I haven&#;t tested that mount yet though).

Summary:

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Overall, I’ve found that the PowerPod can be solidly accurate in most situations, assuming you are aware of the limitations – or aware of changes to configuration that could impact it.  Further, it’s ability to seemingly ‘heal’ itself does act as a bit of a safety net should the aerodynamic profile change significantly enough to otherwise impact power readers.  I’d sum it up as: If you do a clean calibration ride – things are impressively accurate across a wide range of riding environments and positions.

At $, it’s somewhat right on the border of the price scales.  I think at $ or even $ – it’d be a runaway winner.  But at $, it gets awfully close to 4iiii selling their Precision (left-side only) for $  Of course, left-only power meters have limitations too, but I’d say in general there are less limitations there than with the PowerPod.  On the flip side, the PowerPod can generate some fascinating aerodynamic data that if used properly could really do some interesting position analysis.  Also, the PowerPod is more movable than the 4iiii unit, which is glued to your crank arm.

And what about comparing to the $99 PowerTap PowerCal? I see better accuracy with the PowerPod than the PowerCal.  The PowerCal is great for ride total averages and longer durations, but it’ll struggle a bit on very short intensity efforts.  On the flip side, it does include heart rate data – so it’s not a bad option if you’re really just looking for generalizations.

Now some of you already have a power meter, and I think that’s where PowerPod could really be fascinating if they enable real-time broadcasting of aerodynamic metrics.  The combining of a direct force power meter with the PowerPod really gets you the best of all worlds, but the only realistic way to evaluate changes to position is to see them real-time on the bike while riding.  Such changes are often as minor as moving hands a few millimeters, so you need to see and feel what they look like, and not have to wonder if it’s different on the next ride.

Finally – I think the direction the company is taking overall with shifting away from head units is very compelling.  Especially if their manufacturing costs allow them to reduce the price of the unit a bit more and appeal to more people (at both ends of the rider tech spectrum, advanced and entry).  With that – thanks for reading!

Wanna save 10%? Or found this review useful? Read on!

Hopefully you found this review useful.  At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device.  The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love).  As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers an exclusive 10% discount across the board on all products (except clearance items).  You can pickup the PowerPod from Clever Training. Then receive 10% off of everything in your cart by adding code DCR10BTF at checkout.  By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get a sweet discount. And, since this item is more than $75, you get free US shipping as well.

PowerPod (select drop-down for ANT+ or ANT+/BLE version)
PowerPod TT/Triathlon Combo Garmin Mount

Additionally, you can also use Amazon to purchase the unit (though, no discount on Amazon).  Or, anything else you pickup on Amazon helps support the site as well (socks, laundry detergent, cowbells).  If you’re outside the US, I’ve got links to all of the major individual country Amazon stores on the sidebar towards the top.  Though, Clever Training also ships there too and you get the 10% discount.

Thanks for reading!

Sours: https://www.dcrainmaker.com//03/powerpod-depth-review.html
PowerPodLiteV3

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