The Elsa RS (GXP – US$1,600 / €1,425 / £1,199, BB30 US$1,650 / €1,475 / £1,249) has a newly shaped spider and meter arrangement that pairs seamlessly with Shimano's latest four-arm Hollowglide chainring design – as seen on Shimano Dura Ace, Ultegra and now 105 groups. The spider still houses the power meter and Quarq's signature design features such as the easy access CR2032 battery, LED indicator and visible ANT+ ID.
The Elsa RS also features a new active temperature compensation hardware and firmware upgrade, an improvement that will also be seen across the entire Quarq power meter range in models leaving the factory from 14 August. Quarq product manager, Troy Hoskin, told us these improvements came from direct feedback from tests by BikeRadar and its sister titles Cycling Plus and Pro Cycling.
The new Elsa still retains its Exogram hollow carbon crank arms, making the chainset competitively light in the power meter field. Hoskin was also keen to point out that the RS's improvements make it Quarq's most accurate power meter to date, because temperature compensation is applied for each and every pedal stroke. Quarq can also now boast an effective operating range of between -17c (0F) and 54c (130f).
Active temperature control
Each new Quarq Elsa RS, along with the new MTB SRAM XX1 power meter and the rest of the 2015 Quarq range, features an all-new multipoint map in its firmware that is individually tuned to each unit to measure the thermal response. This has led to a vast improvement in the consistency of the measurements as each crankset is calibrated at the factory to eliminate temperature effects on the power measurement.
The new Quarq Elsa RS features magnet-free cadence measurement and vastly improved temperature compensation too
No more magnets
Quarq has also been aware of the relative complexity of fitting its meter compared with the relative simplicity of the latest systems from both Stages and Garmin. The new meter now has a firmware upgrade that enables the built-in accelerometers to also measure cadence, doing away with the need for the external magnet (and its various fitting configurations). The new RS is available in both GXP and BB30 axle versions.
The multi-axis accelerometer cadence measurement will be standard on Elsa RS and XX1, along with all power meters shipped from the factory after 14 August offering simpler fitting and a better option for bikes where it's difficult to fit the existing magnet system. This upgrade is available to all Quarq power meters that feature an LED and CR2032 battery – simply upgrade the firmware and it'll switch on this feature.
The new Elsa RS is priced at U$1,600 / €1,425* / £1,199* for the GXP version and U$1,650 / €1,475* / £1,249* for the BB30 unit (*EU and sterling prices include VAT, all excluding BB and chainrings).