SRAM-Quarq mountain bike power meter – First look

By Zach White at Winter Park, Colorado, USA | Tuesday, August 30, 2011 11.00am

One weekend after winning the Trestle All-Mountain Enduro at Winter Park, Colorado, Giant Factory Off-Road Team rider Kelli Emmett showed up to the resort again, this time winning the King of the Rockies cross-country race. Emmett tops podiums all the time; what was unusual here was the prototype SRAM-Quarq power meter on her Giant Anthem Advanced. “I just got it Friday and raced it today (Saturday),” she told BikeRadar.

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The Quarq meter was mounted to an X0 crankset, which SRAM’s John Dawson installed on Emmett’s bike. It looks like Quarq’s CinQo road bike power meter and similarly uses a series of strain gauges on the crank spider along with a magnet attached to the frame – in this case, the bottom bracket shell not the chainstay, because it's better protected from mud – to measure torque and angular velocity. Data is sent wirelessly via ANT+ to a Garmin Edge 500 computer mounted on Emmett’s stem.

Emmett, who's been training with SRM power meters since 2000 on the road, said there hasn’t been a good, reliable system for mountain bikes available yet so she's keen to get to grips with the new setup. “I didn’t really want to look at it much in the race as that could definitely get in my head," she said. "But I’m excited to take it home and play with it.” She added that SRAM gave her a disc to download to her computer before plugging the Garmin unit in.

For a quick measure of accuracy, Emmett compared the wattage data available on her new Garmin’s display after the race to the calorie data available on fellow competitor Erin Kummer’s Timex computer. According to Emmett’s calculations (using the conversion formula of 0.01433kcals/min equaling 1 watt), the data recorded from both computers over the 2+ hour race, that included muddy sections and multiple stream crossings, was very similar.

After the race, Quark spokesman Troy Hoskin confirmed to us that Emmett's device was a pre-production version of a new mountain bike power meter that's due to be launched at this week's Eurobike trade show. 

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