We previewed the Kinetic inRide Watt Meter system – a novel way of getting accurate power readings from Kinetic turbo trainers – when it was first announced in August 2012. We've now had a chance to see it in action at the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas.
The inRide Watt Meter consists of a sensor, a heart rate monitor and an iPhone/iPad app that's been developed to work with all Kinetic trainers dating back to 2004. (The app only works with iPhone 4S and newer, and iPad3 and newer.) Kinetic told us that with around 200,000 of their machines sold during that period, it was important to be back-compatible with as many as possible.
The system is nice and simple: the sensor attaches to the base of the resistance unit and you then pair it with your iPhone, iPod or iPad via the app, which is a free download. Enter your vital statistics – height, weight, age, max heart rate and functional threshold power, if known, and you're good to go.
To calibrate it, you just have to perform a roll down test from 25mph to below 10mph. The app works out the correct power curve for your setup, allowing for your tyre type and pressure on the roller.
Once rolling you have plenty of real time data at your fingertips: time, speed, cadence, heart rate, power, normalised power, training stress score, time in heart rate, and power zones. This can be downloaded for later analysis, and you can sync it to share with several training websites. It's also possible to access your music easily via the app, which is a nice touch.
Data is clearly displayed to your iOS device
Kinetic claim that, based on their testing, the inRide Watt Meter is "just as accurate as a PowerTap". They also say it doesn't suffer from heat related drift. Heat build-up can make some trainers "easier" to ride during the course of a session, but Kinetic say their fluid units don't do this.
Kinetic claim that because the system works off Bluetooth Smart, it's easier on your phone battery than ANT+. This means you can work out for up to eight hours using a fully charged iPhone. The sensor battery itself should last a year, and is easily replaceable.
After initial promises of a September 2012 release, it now looks as though the inRide Watt Meter will be available in late October or early November. Pricing for the sensor and the heart rate strap will be £175 / 199 Euros / US$229, in addition to the cost of a turbo trainer.
If you're getting serious about your fitness then make sure you join BikeRadar Training – a free online resource for you to record and analyse all aspects of your training, log your training routes, get yourself tailored training plans, see how you're doing on our leaderboards, set goals and plan your season with a comprehensive events guide.