Power and drag calculators synchronise functions
By James Huang, tech editor | Wednesday, July 23, 2008 4.00pm
Quarq's new Cinqo power meter had the cycling world buzzing at last year's Interbike show. James Huang
iBike Aero and QuarQ combo hits the road
Aerodynamic drag is one of the hottest buzzwords in bicycle tech at the moment yet short of spending thousands of dollars in wind tunnel time, most of us will never be able to gather any real data regarding our setups… or will we?
As it turns out, Velocomp’s unique iBike power meter design already generates these numbers as part of its reverse-calculated power measurement algorithm and that data is now available on its latest iBike Aero. By itself, the unit will display ‘snapshot’ drag coefficient (CdA) that can help optimize your position in real-world conditions (although we can’t easily verify how accurate those figures are). More to the point, that information can shed some very useful information on how significantly aerodynamics can affect your performance.
What the iBike Aero won’t do on its own, though, is measure both your CdA and power output simultaneously (CdA readings require coasting for ten seconds). However, its ANT+Sport wireless interface means it can do so when paired with a compatible directly-measured power meter such as the latest SRM and PowerTap units. Doing so also adds a continuous CdA calculation and a particularly handy ‘Time Advantage’ feature in the process.
UCI Continental team DLP Racing did just that at the recent Commerce Bank Triple Crown by pairing its iBike Aero head units with Quarq’s new CinQo power meter. While the intense racing obviously didn’t leave much time for the riders to get fully acquainted, early indications are that the combination will prove useful.
“One time of note was when I was coming back for bottles,” said team rider Owen Nielsen. “As I was bringing them back up I saw my CdA number at about .406 while I was on the hoods. As I went to the drops the number went down to around .375.”
“I think as I race with it more, it will be a useful tool to remind me where and how I can conserve energy,” he continued. “It’s kind of like figuring out how to get max MPG out of your vehicle when you have a given amount of fuel in the tank. The data is just like having a wind tunnel. Looking in the software after the fact I could see the time saved by the lower drag coefficient. That will be a cool tool once I spend some more time on it.”
Quarq begins delivery of CinQo power meters
Speaking of Quarq, the upstart company created quite the buzz at last year’s Interbike show with its impressively compact CinQo power meter. However, consumers have yet to get their hands on an actual production unit, that is, until about now. Quarq has announced that it’s in the midst of the first production run, meaning that those who had pre-ordered units should probably start checking their mailboxes.
Quarq will offer the CinQo in two configurations for the time being. The prêt a porter option will include the CinQo unit preassembled on either a SRAM S900 or FSA Team Issue crankset (with bottom bracket and 130mm BCD) chainrings for a total cost of US$1525. Potential customers who already have a Bontrager Race X Lite, Truvativ Rouleur Carbon or FSA Team Issue crankset can tick the CinQo-only box for a cost of US$1195.
It should be noted that Quarq is not quite ready to ship the accompanying Qranium display unit, although the wireless CinQo will sync with other designated ANT+Sport wireless devices such as the Garmin 705 and iBike Aero.
Quarq is being refreshingly up front about the ‘beta’ status of these units, however. “Please keep in mind that this is a first generation product,” stated the company in a recent message. “We have worked diligently for over two years in research, design and testing to bring you a rock-solid and super-reliable power meter. However, while we feel the CinQo is really great, it is NOT perfect… So if have any issues, please contact us right away.”
Velocomp release tougher iBike Pro
And speaking of the iBike, Velocomp has released a more robust second generation of its intriguing power meter. The iBike Pro Gen II is equipped with a new circuit board said to provide a fourfold increase in vibration tolerance for better accuracy on rough roads and higher speeds.
Current iBike Pro owners can upgrade their existing units for US$179. The upgrade will net the same vibration resilience as the second generation model and customers will then have their choice of a new black or white iBike case as well. The latest iBike firmware will also come pre-loaded into the iBike.
All new iBike Pro power meters will be shipped with the new Gen II circuit boards effective immediately but will carry a similarly high-value retail price of US$424.
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