Following years of teasing a shoe-based power meter, Brim Brothers has announced that its Zone DPMX is ready for production with delivery expected in May. There are two versions on offer, a dual-leg and a left-only.
The Brim Brothers Zone DPMX is set to be the first wearable power meter to market. Spanish shoe company ‘Luck’ did previously reveal its in-built shoe power meter, but has not yet released it for sale.
Said to work with any three-bolt road shoe and Speedplay Zero pedal, the Zone DPMX works by placing a force plate in place of the usual Speedplay three- to four-hole cleat adaptor plate. This measuring plate is linked to a sensor/ANT+ transmitter on top of the shoe.
While it can currently be pre-ordered even cheaper through KickStarter, the Zone DPMX Dual is set to retail at a competitive €880 (Approx $995 / £690 / AU$1,400). The left-only version costs exactly half that (€440), which should make it one of the cheapest options available.
Details in brief
- Weight: 44g per shoe
- Price: €880 for the dual version, €440 for left-only
- Expected availability: May 2016
- Connectivity: ANT+
- Battery type: Rechargeable Lithium Ion
- Water protection: IP67 (30mins at 1m)
- Battery life: 15 hours
- Power accuracy: 2%
- Cadence range: 25 – 180rpm
- Compatible pedal system: Speedplay Zero (not included)
- Compatible shoes: Three-bolt road (minimum one strap needed)
The key advantage to a shoe-based power meter is in its simple multiple-bike switching and guaranteed compatibility. While the Zone DPMX is currently limited to just Speedplay pedals, it does solve common issues in crank, bottom bracket and frame compatibility.
Limited to road shoes and Speedplay Zero pedals, this is certainly a product for road-based riding only. Data hungry cross and mountain bikers should most definitely be looking elsewhere.
So how do you install a shoe power meter? Brim Brothers state it’s as simple as installing cleats. The Zone’s force plate replaces the Speedplay 3-hole bolt adaptor, and then the sensor is simply attached to a strap on top of the shoe.
The pieces of a Speedplay Walkable cleat (top) against a standard Speedplay cleat (bottom). The Zone DPMX force plate will replace the three-to-four hole base plate seen in this picture (far right for top line, second from the right on bottom line)
The force plate of the Zone DPMX will raise your pedal stack height by 2mm. A minimal number given the low stack height of Speedplay pedals. The left-only version will include a 2mm shim for use on the right shoe.
When used as a dual system, the two pods communicate with each other and transfer the data to a compatible ANT+ head unit that reads power and cadence (such as a Garmin Edge). Power balance is one of the key features provided in the dual system.
Without two pods present, the left foot pod simply doubles the power output. This is how other left-only power meters work, including Stages Cycling, 4iiii and Garmin Vector S.
Claimed to add 44g per shoe, the Zone DPMX is not the lightest power meter available with the likes of 4iiii and Stages sitting at under 20g. Though it clearly offers simply cross-bike compatibility benefits that neither of those do.
Battery life and water resistance has plagued many other power meters in the past and the Zone DPMX appears to overcome these by using rechargeable batteries.
Battery life is quoted at a meager 15 hours in ideal conditions. While this may not suit ultra-endurance athletes, most mere mortals should have no issue in twisting off the shoe pods and putting them in the provided wall charger for less than two hours.
Excluding the Speedplay pedals and cleats, the power meter will include everything you need to get started, including the pod charger. It’ll also include a pre-set torque wrench for correctly installing the cleats.
Not all Speedplay pedals will work (yet)
The company states that they have not completed testing with other versions or setups of Speedplay pedals and so currently cannot guarantee accuracy with Speedplay X, Light Action, Pave or Aero Walkable products. This also includes extender plates or aftermarket shims and wedges. Speedplay-specific four bolt shoes will not work with this system either.
With such a wide variety of shoes on the market, we foresee some potential fitment issues that could lead to inaccurate readings. It’s an issue some bike fitters currently experience, where some shoes provide a difficult surface for which to attach Speedplay cleats to. Speedplay themselves recently started supplying special shims to overcome such issues.
While most of us here at BikeRadar prefer Shimano or Look pedals (a few swear by Speedplay though), we look forward to testing this device for the claimed 2% accuracy in the near future.
In the meantime, check out the Zone DPMX KickStarter campaign here.