Why power measurement is important

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Why power measurement is important

Postby Aushiker » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:44 pm

Hi

Article at BikeRadar.com on power measurement ... nothing too deep ...

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by BNA » Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:31 pm

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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby JV911 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:31 pm

Aushiker wrote:nothing too deep...


except one's pockets!

"from £1,600 for complete entry-level unit"
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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby ni78ck » Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:16 pm

what happened to just getting on your bike and going for a ride :roll:.
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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby Aushiker » Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:26 pm

ni78ck wrote:what happened to just getting on your bike and going for a ride :roll:.


Hi

Still an option, but this is the training sub-forum after all :roll:

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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:47 pm

ni78ck wrote:what happened to just getting on your bike and going for a ride :roll:.

Nothing, and if you are happy with your current level of performance, then fine.

But if you want to quantify your performance level, and work on how to improve it, then it is an excellent tool for the job.

One could get going with a new quality power meter for under A$1,000 if they wanted, or much less for 2nd hand. Compared to what some people throw at equipment they don't need, it's not so bad, especially when to go faster, they'd be far better off training properly than buying those $1500-2000 wheels.

But what's expensive/cheap is different for everyone.
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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby ni78ck » Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:39 pm

I'm sure it's a great tool, and in a couple of years I'm sure most of us will have one :shock:
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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby VZMY06SS » Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:19 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:Nothing, and if you are happy with your current level of performance, then fine.

But if you want to quantify your performance level, and work on how to improve it, then it is an excellent tool for the job.

One could get going with a new quality power meter for under A$1,000 if they wanted, or much less for 2nd hand. Compared to what some people throw at equipment they don't need, it's not so bad, especially when to go faster, they'd be far better off training properly than buying those $1500-2000 wheels.

But what's expensive/cheap is different for everyone.


G'day Alex, just wondering if you could tell me what brand of Power Meter you would recommend looking at, as well as the one that you suggest for around the $1000 mark (unless you are recommending the $1000 one).

Cheers

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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Fri Jan 15, 2010 8:25 pm

VZMY06SS wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote:Nothing, and if you are happy with your current level of performance, then fine.

But if you want to quantify your performance level, and work on how to improve it, then it is an excellent tool for the job.

One could get going with a new quality power meter for under A$1,000 if they wanted, or much less for 2nd hand. Compared to what some people throw at equipment they don't need, it's not so bad, especially when to go faster, they'd be far better off training properly than buying those $1500-2000 wheels.

But what's expensive/cheap is different for everyone.


G'day Alex, just wondering if you could tell me what brand of Power Meter you would recommend looking at, as well as the one that you suggest for around the $1000 mark (unless you are recommending the $1000 one).

Cheers

Steve

When considering the purchase of a power meter, the most important factor is the quality of data it generates. Everything else is a feature.

With that in mind, the meters that are proven to reliably provide quality data are:
- Powertap
- SRM
- Quarq

Of those, the Powertap Comp model is the least expensive - it is the model that uses are wiring harness between the signal pickup on the stay to the handlebar mount for the CPU.

The rest of the Powertap range is wireless transmission direct from hub to CPU and prices vary depending on model, with main differences being weight, axle types and bearings and transmission protocol, most have ANT+ compatability with other units such as Garmin CPUs. But they all provide the same quality of data. From a performance POV, mass of hub matters 2/5ths of bugger all.
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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby VZMY06SS » Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:43 pm

Hmm I am currently using a Garmin 305, which is not ANT compatable. Shame, as I would prefer to be able to keep all data together..
Decisions, decisions... Thanks Alex, your advice is appreciated.

Cheers

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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:02 pm

VZMY06SS wrote:Hmm I am currently using a Garmin 305, which is not ANT compatable. Shame, as I would prefer to be able to keep all data together..
Decisions, decisions... Thanks Alex, your advice is appreciated.

Cheers

Steve

Well there are other Garmin models that do, although I haven't personally used them.
A 310 for you perhaps?
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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby twizzle » Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:06 pm

VZMY06SS wrote:Hmm I am currently using a Garmin 305, which is not ANT compatable. Shame, as I would prefer to be able to keep all data together..
Decisions, decisions... Thanks Alex, your advice is appreciated.

Cheers

Steve



Doesn't matter, you wont get ANT+ power meters sub-$1K anyway. I have the wired PT 'Comp' model, and use a Garmin 305 as well. I load the PT data into Golden Cheetah to get BikeScore (training stress score) and keep track of intensity, then use the G 305 and SportsTracks with the 'Training Load' plugin and enter the BikeScore numbers into the notes field as TRIMP=nnn to build up the 'performance manager' view. Fiddly, but very cheap and use friendly.

If money was no object, I'd buy a Garmin 500 and a Quarq.
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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby VZMY06SS » Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:13 pm

Would something like this hook straight up to a ANT+ compatable Garmin unit or is there a third device involved?

http://cgi.ebay.com/2010-ELITE-PowerTap ... 27ad3d1916

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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby twizzle » Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:58 am

VZMY06SS wrote:Would something like this hook straight up to a ANT+ compatable Garmin unit or is there a third device involved?

http://cgi.ebay.com/2010-ELITE-PowerTap ... 27ad3d1916

Steve


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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby r2160 » Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:06 am

From a beginners point of view . . .

I don't understand why heart rate isn't more important.

If I am a new guy (as I am) I would have thought that heart rate is better to look after. If I can only produce 100w now, wouldn't heart rate be a better guide than how much power I can output? And as I get fitter I can push my self harder under the same heart rate?

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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby VZMY06SS » Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:11 am

Thanks for that. I just made an offer on Ebay, got it for $745USD. With postage and a good AUD it comes to AU$850. I am having a look at the Garmin Edge 500 too, hoping to sell off my 305 to soften the blow. Lol. I might be able to get out of the whole deal for close to $1000 if I find someone who wants my 305 and can find a cheap Edge 500 model. :D
Thanks for your help Alex and Twizzle!

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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby twizzle » Mon Jan 18, 2010 12:40 pm

Ah yes, but you also need to get the hub built into a wheel.
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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Mon Jan 18, 2010 2:52 pm

r2160 wrote:From a beginners point of view . . .

I don't understand why heart rate isn't more important.

If I am a new guy (as I am) I would have thought that heart rate is better to look after. If I can only produce 100w now, wouldn't heart rate be a better guide than how much power I can output? And as I get fitter I can push my self harder under the same heart rate?

cheers
Glenn

Here's the main issue:

HR is an indicator of intensity of effort, which on it's own can be helpful for guiding training for general aerobic conditioning. After all, it's the training that' makes us fit and not the device used to record it.

However that's where the HRM's utility ends.

A power meter on the other hand is not only a more precise measure of intensity (and does enable us to nail training more effectively), it is also a direct measure of fitness. This is something an HRM cannot do (measure fitness that is).
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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby brentono » Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:50 pm

Alex,
I read your statement, with interest... (and I am trying to understand why new methods could/might be effective in training?)
and was wondering why you (as the expert here) would say a power meter is also a direct measure of fitness?

I read, an older practioning coach/trainer (Coach Carl) who's words seem quite reasonable, as set out below, would you say?
http://www.coachcarl.com/training_artic ... ements.htm

For example, the wattage system tells you how much energy you are expending on a given ride. If you take total wattage expenditure for the entire ride, it means nothing to me because it doesn't tell me what you did on your ride and how you expended that energy. Did you do sprints, intervals, or power work? It doesn't tell me whether you got a really high-energy consumption from wind, hills, or sprints.

Most importantly, wattage output doesn't tell me what you will do in a race. Comparing your wattage output to that of your competition (as if they would tell you anyway) can't tell you how well you will do in relation to that competition.

A larger rider will have a higher wattage output at a slower speed because it will require more energy to move his mass at the higher rate of speed and he will have more wind resistance. Therefore, how could I possibly tell if you can beat him or will he beat you? How could I tell if you are going fast enough, working out right, or anything else about your racing and training?

As a professionally trained and experienced coach, it means nothing to me.


:? Sounds reasonable to me.
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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby VZMY06SS » Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:56 pm

twizzle wrote:Ah yes, but you also need to get the hub built into a wheel.


Will this be expensive? I assumed that it would just be a matter of buying a training wheel of some sort and having the hub put in it.
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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby twizzle » Mon Jan 18, 2010 6:13 pm

VZMY06SS wrote:
twizzle wrote:Ah yes, but you also need to get the hub built into a wheel.


Will this be expensive? I assumed that it would just be a matter of buying a training wheel of some sort and having the hub put in it.


Rim, spokes, nipples and someone's time to turn it into a wheel. Depends on the quality of the parts and who builds it.
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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:12 pm

brentono wrote:Alex,
I read your statement, with interest... (and I am trying to understand why new methods could/might be effective in training?)
and was wondering why you (as the expert here) would say a power meter is also a direct measure of fitness?

I read, an older practioning coach/trainer (Coach Carl) who's words seem quite reasonable, as set out below, would you say?
http://www.coachcarl.com/training_artic ... ements.htm

For example, the wattage system tells you how much energy you are expending on a given ride. If you take total wattage expenditure for the entire ride, it means nothing to me because it doesn't tell me what you did on your ride and how you expended that energy. Did you do sprints, intervals, or power work? It doesn't tell me whether you got a really high-energy consumption from wind, hills, or sprints.

Most importantly, wattage output doesn't tell me what you will do in a race. Comparing your wattage output to that of your competition (as if they would tell you anyway) can't tell you how well you will do in relation to that competition.

A larger rider will have a higher wattage output at a slower speed because it will require more energy to move his mass at the higher rate of speed and he will have more wind resistance. Therefore, how could I possibly tell if you can beat him or will he beat you? How could I tell if you are going fast enough, working out right, or anything else about your racing and training?

As a professionally trained and experienced coach, it means nothing to me.


:? Sounds reasonable to me.
Thanks,
BrentonO

It might sounds reasonable to you but it is clear (to me at least) this guy doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to use of power meter data.

Understanding power is much, much more than simply looking at the average power for a ride. If that's the limit of someone's understanding, then it's no wonder they don't think it's all that useful.

Fitness is best defined as the power per kg of body mass that a rider can sustain for given durations (usually chosen either to represent the primary metabolic energy systems or as representative of efforts that best replicate the target event).
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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby twizzle » Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:45 pm

+1. Raw power data by itself is useless. It's the analysis packages that provide the required value-add.
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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby brentono » Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:11 am

I read many here and hear quoting figures off their meters, and still don't see what assumptions that
they are making from those figures. I am interested, and still trying to understand, the advantage,
though can see there would be a small one.

It's the analysis packages that provide the required value-add

What info does the value-added package provide? That would be of aid, please.

And as Alex earlier stated,
a power meter is also a direct measure of fitness?

... was just wondering, how the power meter does this, with the
data it is giving out..? That you would be able to determine your fitness level?
It's a fair and reasonable question, and hope someone can help me understand.
Thanks,
BrentonO
Last edited by brentono on Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby twizzle » Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:29 am

You can produce a certain level of power output (at certain cadence ranges) at a point where your lactic acid production can be coped with by your body. This number, your lactate threshold power level, drives everything else. To increase this level you need to train at specific power levels that provide the best benefit for the least level of fatigue. And then you have all of the other stuff like improved efficiency (endurance rides) and power (high intensity intervals, sprint training etc).

LT gives you your training thresholds, the power meter tells you what you are doing on the bike for your training, post analysis generates intensity factors and stress scores to guide the training. Coaching (or some good text books and some smarts) gives you the training program.

What CoachCarl has missed is the important data : Intensity Factor (level of effort), Training Stress Score (value of the session), Chronic and Acute Training Loads (Fitness and Fatigue).
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Re: Why power measurement is important

Postby brentono » Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:20 pm

Since it would seem there is minimal input, into the meter, and with such
great variations of types of people, cannot see how the data being generated,
could be beneficial, except in a small way.
(a small benefit, which would determine such a excessive investment?)
Wouldn't listening to your own body messages, be just as beneficial.
And could misinterpreting the data, only lead to totally throwing your
training routine off track?
Thanks Twizzle, can see from what you say, about the types of info
being genereated, they may be an indicator, but not the "be all, to end all"
as some seem to think, especially the newbies, who seem to be lead
that way. (Money and Greed seem to dictate much of which way society moves)
This is only my own opinion, and I may be wrong (I may be right).
Listening to yourself, may be a better source of info, than any machine.
(by being more balanced, and in tune with ones "self" all may be revealed)
Thanks for your input,
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