A power meter for every type of bike

The Powertap Powercal is a heart rate monitor belt with clever software in it that calculates power from heartrate. It doesn’t need fitting to pedals or crank, so you can use it on multiple bikes, even on footbikes and elliptical trainers.

How valid is the power data that it produces? Does it compare well to conventional pedal- or crank-mounted power meters? There is lots of information and debate to be found on that. But I’m using it to compare power readings between rides and segments of rides, and for that it works just great.

goldencheetah_footbikerideWith a power meter, there is a wealth of data to explore in GoldenCheetah. A detail from a ride graph page shows at the top the power in yellow, followed by W’bal in red, heartrate also in red, speed in green, cadence in blue, altitude, and the orange one at the bottom is the gear ratio.

The cadence is spikey, because it is from only one foot. It is recored by a Wahoo RPM cadence sensor (it also works very well on an elliptical trainer).

powercalSpeed can be from GPS, but I’m also using a O-Synce speed sensor on the front wheel of the footbike, to have instant speed data (GPS lags a little bit).

With the Powercal, you can have nearly full instrumentation on a footbike almost as well as on a normal bicycle. Nearly, because cadence data from both feet would be ideal, as well as metrics on foot switching speed and coasting time.

 

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