Ok, so I am going to do 3 Peaks again in 2015 but go for sub 10 this time so I want to start using power instead of HR to train. But which one to get?

I have a Kaiser M3 indoor spin bike which I like using for sufferfest sessions and it has a power display. It isn't a great meter as while it seems to be consistent, it doesn't have very good fidelity and I can't record the data. So kinda helpful.

I run a Garmin 500 on my roadies.

So I think my options are:

1. Get a power meter for my bike and try and estimate what the equivalent power is on my spin bike for indoor sessions. Might be good enough.
2. Get a pedal based system and swap them constantly. Bit too painful.
2. Get a LH pedal (e.g. The Vector) for the spin bike and a second meter for the roadie. Most expensive option.

My questions really are, how helpful will just a LH power meter be from a training perspective and will the 'rough' power on the spin bike be ok for indoor sufferfest sessions.

Thoughts?

Alex

P.S. I already have compact cranks and can put on my medium cage rear to get down to 36x32 for 3 peaks. The 32 was my new best friend at WTF corner last March :-)

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I have an Ultegra Di2 10sp compact  crank.

50/34t, 172.5mm in dark grey. (colour's got to match ;-) )

Indoor trainer is one of these and I doubt the crank arm can be replaced, it looks bespoke.

http://mseries.keiser.com/plus.html

I purchased a Stages for my Ultegra Di2 10sp set up (175mm, 52/36).

I am having some issues with the battery enclosure, in that it is dropping out randomly during rides which is annoying, and can be fixed by pushing it in hard for 1 second. Mildly annoying but I'm sure it's a simple issue that can be fixed.

However it has been the best training tool I've had, using it in conjunction with my Garmin 510. I'm only just starting to use it properly in the last couple of weeks. Once I did a few 'benchmark' rides to get an idea of where I was at, in two rides up Norton Summit I took 80 seconds off my previous best effort. I thought I was pushing hard previously but it really is riding blind without power. I set a 'lap' on the Garmin and on the display I just have power (3s avg), cadence, lap average power, HR, and lap distance. No speed or gradient. The only thing that matters is the avg power for the lap, for example I knew if I could hold 300w average up Norton Summit last week I would do a PB, so that is the only relevant thing. Managed to hold 302w, and took about a minute off my previous best. It is that simple. Doesn't mean it doesn't hurt any less, but that example of riding without power being like lifting weights without knowing how heavy they are, it really is true. Definitely riding smarter with power. And it is completely objective data which is the best thing. I know what amount of avg wattage to add if I want to do a PB, and the instant feedback really helps you ride smarter and more efficiently. I'd say go for the Stages, at $900 for the Ultegra model it's really not that large an investment when you consider what we would spend on other parts or a whole new bike altogether... Buying the Stages will actually save me money in the long term on not buying other minuscule upgrades, when riding to wattage is really the most effective way. 

Most people hit the start of Nortons about 4-600w haha. Ive ridden behind prolly behind a thousand riders for the first minute or 2 and then they all crumble and blame their age, lack of fitness, bike or the wind. One day hopefully they will see the importance of pacing to power and learning their average power for any given climb they ride regularly.

Common cause of dropping out problems with stages is capture settings on your Garmin. Set it to capture every second and display at 3 second.

36x32 for 3peaks and wants to go faster?

I would put on mountain bike cranks, start dead last and just pass people all day.

34x34 would be a minimum I would recommend or use personally.

As for power meters they all work in 2015. I see the Stages as easiest to fix, install, update and calibrate. Also the easiest to put on a bike if the user has Shimano, Sram, FSA or Cannondale cranks.

The latest update has sorted out some issues. As has the latest plastic cap and o-ring. I recommend people update their Garmin firmware as well if they are having any drop out issues.

Often just taking the battery in, waiting for 10 seconds then putting it back in is enough. 

Ive 5 Stages on different bikes and havent sent 1 back for warranty yet. Ive sent back my powertap twice though for a total bill of around 700$. 

Ive come across a few 'dead' Stages that I brought back to life with firmware updates or a new battery or taking the old one out and waiting 10 seconds before putting it in. The iphone app is fantastic as well.

Ive got a few more bikes on order and will be buying new Stages for them as well. Im unaware of any better product on the market and cost is no issue to me. 



Thanks for the feedback.

I was half asleep when typing this morning. Lowest gear is a 34 front and a 32 rear. I'm pretty happy with the gearing, and it suits me living in the hills.

I think after reading the responses I will start looking into a Stages for my road bike and if I am unhappy with the power readings on my spin bike I will get a Garmin Vector for that since I can't change the crank arm.

Looks like the expensive option wins (always the way).

Not sure about it saving me money but I might try that argument on the Minister of Finance for a laugh.

Cheers

Powertap have a new pedal based power system to take on Garmin Vectors.

There's also 4iii and Pioneer but I think the best bang for buck is still Stages.

Well I'm a power convert. I'm loving using power for training. The instant response and measuring what I am actually doing rather that what I 'feel' like I am doing is great. It's really putting the 'suffer' back into my Sufferfest indoor training sessions. :)

I bought the Vector for my indoor trainer (Keiser M3) as it has bespoke cranks and a Stages for my Pinarello.

I pair my old Garmin 500 (dodgy GPS) with the Vector for indoor use and have a new Garmin 520 for my Pinarello and they are both working beautifully.

The Stages is such an elegant design and so easy to install. It pairs with the 520 in seconds.

I had a little difficulty with the Vector providing inconsistent power readings but that was because of poor installation on my part. Once I correctly torqued the pedal it was fine. I needed a crows foot adapter for my big torque wrench but this is something that your LBS can help you with.

I'm turning into a data junkie and am looking forward to seeing what impact it has on my training as I prepare for 3 peaks next March. I just wish I had power numbers for my 2015 training and ride so I could compare my progress.

Cheers

Alex

Yeah power numbers are incredible. HR is so variable and really inaccurate compared to power.

Stages make the lightest and best product still. My battery went flat the other day so I rolled past a 711 here in Thailand and it only took 30 seconds to replace. The latest Stages have far better water proofing than the first batch. Nobody this year cooked their Stages in the monsoon rain. There was about 40 riders with Stages and nobody had any failures.

Good enough for Chris Froome and co then good enough for me. 

I would put a bigger cassette on your bike so you never have to grind and waste muscle glycogen as a result. A 34 or 36 tooth cassette would be easy to put on almost any 10spd road groupset. 

Sorry for the "necro", but does anyone here have an actual recommendation on where to get a stages crank in Adelaide/Australia? There's nothing on Bike Exchange and none of the shop websites around the city seem to mention it.

I just bought one from Aaron at JT Cycles in the city about a month ago. They will probably have to order it in depending on what you want - but only took a couple of days. Good price too ..

Are you willing to share that good price, and which groupo? :v Cheers.

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