Used in conjunction with CycleOps’ hub-based power meters, the Joule 2.0 computer is a great aid to successfully following a structured training plan. Navigation is pretty intuitive; we had it set up and recording data with some guesswork and random button pressing, but reading the manual let us appreciate its full functionality.
The large screen can be customised to show six of a possible 12 categories of information, plus two additional ‘metrics’ associated with the category selected; for example, if current power is highlighted then it will also show max and average power. As you’d expect you can view power, heart rate, speed, cadence, altitude and so on, but more unusually you can also track training stress scores and normalised power.
During training the interval mode was particularly useful, showing data relevant to the current interval (such as average power). On a separate screen, results from previous intervals are listed, helping you keep track of your training session. Whatever you do, a huge amount of data is generated which can be analysed on the device or downloaded onto a computer.
Just remember it’s not the data itself that makes you faster but how you use it! At £400 it’s hard not to compare the Joule to similarly priced high end (ANT+ enabled) GPS units from Garmin; the mapping functions of the Garmins will be a big draw for many, but as a serious training tool the Joule 2.0 has a lot going for it.
Drawbacks? We found the Joule's waterproof buttons were tricky to operate with thick gloves on, but this is only a problem in the coldest depths of winter. Also, the barometric altimeter doesn't like sudden changes in temperature, e.g. moving from a warm indoor environment to a cold outdoor one, usually at the start of the ride. We found that this resulted in under-reporting of metres climbed. One way around this is to acclimatise the unit by leaving it outside for 10min before riding, but this is not always practical.