Power Meters?

Discussion in 'Road Bikes' started by cleric, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. cleric

    cleric Guest

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    Anyone here use a power meter to see their riding statistics?
     
  2. Alex Simmons/RST

    Alex Simmons/RST Cycling Coach

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    Yes, I have 5 power meters in use on my bikes: 2 Powertaps and 3 SRMs, and I also coach riders using a wide variety of power meters including Polar, Powertap, SRM, ergomo, and before too long, Quarq.

    I make extensive use of the data they provide and use WKO+ software for data analysis.
     

  3. tajcrews

    tajcrews New Member

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    I have used on but not serious enough of a rider to justify buying one or really worrying about it. Great for roadies but waste for MTB'ers.
     
  4. Alex Simmons/RST

    Alex Simmons/RST Cycling Coach

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    Why a waste?
     
  5. tajcrews

    tajcrews New Member

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    I see you are a cycling coach right? Tell me why you would recommend one for MTB's? I will tell you my opinion but would like to hear yours first if you dont mind.
     
  6. kyoseki

    kyoseki New Member

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    I would love to know what my power output is, but not enough to justify dropping a grand on a wheel with a Power Tap :)
     
  7. jocww

    jocww New Member

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    and they are heavy too well heavier
     
  8. Alex Simmons/RST

    Alex Simmons/RST Cycling Coach

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    Thanks for answering a question with a question. That's a pretty poor dodge ;)

    I haven't stated an opinion on the matter. I am asking why you have come to the conclusion you have, since you are the one making the statement, not me.

    But here are some preliminary thoughts, since you are so keen to know....

    MTB is an aerobic endurance sport with some specific demands (downhill racing is different but I'm presuming we are not talking about downhill racing).

    Given that good use of a power meter can be tremendously helpful in objectively assessing and tracking the performance of a rider, guiding their training workload and helping to ensure training is sufficiently specific to meet the demands of racing, irrespective of whether that is track, road, time trialling, MTB, ultra endurance etc, then I'm wondering why you've specifically nominated MTB as being a wasted application for a power meter?

    Clearly in each cycling discipline there is a different balance between physiological performance ability, skill level, execution of both tactical and strategic plans as well as demand side modification (e.g. better TT aero positioning) but I don't see why this significantly diminishes the value of a power meter in MTB specifically (compared to "roadies"), hence why I am asking.

    Presumably in MTB there are specific neuromuscular demands (which e.g. would be very well assessed through tools such as a quadrant analysis of the average effective pedal force and circumferential pedal velocity data from a power meter) which one can address in training to make sure these elements are covered, particularly if one doesn't have regular access to MTB venues, or venues that replicate the target events or their current neuromuscular power abilities could use some work.

    There are often pacing and nutritional management strategies to consider, both of which can be very clearly assessed with the aid of a power meter. Fast starts to jockey for position, then pacing well over balance of the course are a couple of examples that come to mind.

    This is aside from the typical use, that of regularly assessing fitness and how that relates to the fitness required, performing appropriate training, and of monitoring, managing and prescribing optimal training loads, and nailing your taper.


    BTW - yes I am a cycling coach and no I do not sell power meters.
     
  9. Alex Simmons/RST

    Alex Simmons/RST Cycling Coach

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    Really? Just how much extra mass do you think they add and how much impact do you think this has?
     
  10. tajcrews

    tajcrews New Member

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  11. kyoseki

    kyoseki New Member

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    I can see the benefit for competitive cross country riders, but aerobic performance is less of an issue for most mountain bikers than technique.

    It's difficult to maintain power and cadence when you're not riding on the flat and straight.

    ... that, and most mountain bikers aren't nearly as competitive as roadies :)
     
  12. Alex Simmons/RST

    Alex Simmons/RST Cycling Coach

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    OK, you sell them but do you know how to use them? I don't mean in the turn it on and check it works sense, I mean actually understand the information and how to use it in training and racing?

    Because if you don't know how to use something, it is hardly fair to call it a waste of money. A bike is a waste of money too if you don't know how to ride.

    For a recreational MTB rider, I can understand why you wouldn't be interested in what a power meter can do.

    But if understanding and improving one's performance is a key focus, then there is good value to be had in the smart application of training with power.

    If your MTB riders are performance oriented and are shunning them out of hand, well that's probably a fashion thing, rather than a sensible consideration of the value such a tool can bring to performance improvement.
     
  13. Alex Simmons/RST

    Alex Simmons/RST Cycling Coach

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    I think you underestimate the importance of aerobic fitness to MTB. Name me one MTB rider who wouldn't honestly like to be able to climb/ride faster than they do now?

    And what exactly has that got to do with training with power meter?

    Indeed using a power meter might reveal some element of training focus to improve your ability to handle such variable terrain.

    Well I can't comment on that but I know some very competitive MTB riders.
    :)
     
  14. kyoseki

    kyoseki New Member

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    In my experience this usually has more to do with the number of beers and tacos a mountain biker consumes rather than a simple aerobic fitness issue.
    It's very difficult to ride preset intervals when you're having to deal with undulating and rocky terrain, it's much easier to ride intervals when you're on a flat, straight piece of road.
     
  15. Alex Simmons/RST

    Alex Simmons/RST Cycling Coach

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    Well if that's all you think that using a power meter is about, then you're missing out on an awful lot of good stuff.

    And even if one did want to do a specific interval set in their training (not that that's got anything particularly to do with using a power meter per se), there is nothing actually wrong with using a bit of normal road or a trainer or trail climb etc. Mountain bikers do occasionally go up mountain trails don't they?

    As for rolling/rocky terrain, well one of the wonderful concepts developed for inspecting/making sense of such rides is one known as "Normalised Power". It is perfect for assessing the demands of riding over variable terrain (well rides of varying effort levels, whether that be due to terrain or due to rider intent or otherwise).
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2009
  16. Alex Simmons/RST

    Alex Simmons/RST Cycling Coach

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  17. jocww

    jocww New Member

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    30-40 grams at least right? while thats not alot it does add up not to mention I want my wheels to be the lightest they can be.
     
  18. Alex Simmons/RST

    Alex Simmons/RST Cycling Coach

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    Fair enough, I mean that extra 40 grams at the hub will cost you ~ 0.1 seconds per kilometre going up a 10% grade at 350 watts. Or ~0.15sec/km at 250W.