After an initial acquisition in April 2019, SRAM has relaunched the PowerTap brand and its range of hub- and pedal-based power meters.
An early innovator in the power meter market, the PowerTap brand name is synonymous with its hub-based power meter, which was initially released in 1998. It has since built a reputation for producing reliable, good value power meters.
SRAM acquired Quarq back in 2011 and since then, we’ve seen its range of crank-based power meters expand, and become more closely integrated into SRAM’s groupset offerings.
We can probably expect more of the same with PowerTap, though SRAM is currently tight-lipped on whether it has any specific updates in the pipeline: “SRAM/Quarq are always innovating and evolving products. The G4 hub will continue to be worked on, but there is no release date at this time,” said Maggie Kay McBride, Quarq’s brand manager.
New PowerTap power meter range and specs
PowerTap P2 Pedals
Claimed battery life: 80hrs
Claimed accuracy: +/- 1.5%
Price: $899 / £799
PowerTap G3 Hub
Claimed battery life: 300hrs
Claimed accuracy: +/- 1.5%
Spoke count: 24HL or 32HL
Price: $499 / £499
While all of PowerTap’s intellectual property was acquired, it appears that the PowerTap C1 chainring power meter has been cut from the range. Presumably, this is so it doesn’t compete with Quarq’s crank-based offerings.
This leaves the PowerTap P2 pedals and the PowerTap G3 hub as the additions to the SRAM catalogue.
The explosion of power meter options has seen the popularity of PowerTap’s hub-based system wane in recent years, though it has long been considered a benchmark performer at a comparatively affordable price.
Pedal-based power meters are much more in vogue though, with other well-established brands such as SRM and Garmin both having options.
SRAM says that the PowerTap P2 pedals “are the perfect fit for custom crank lengths”, which Quarq doesn’t cover (e.g. shorter than 165mm or longer than 177.5mm), and will suit “riders who travel frequently without a full bike and want to be able to add a power meter to any bike, or riders that want a power meter that installs quickly and simply.”
The PowerTap P2 pedals were released in early 2019. SRAM/Quarq
Hopefully, we might see a cosmetic update to the P2 pedals at some point. When we tested the P1 (on which the P2s are based), we found them to be both accurate and dependable, but their bulky form isn’t pretty, and the resulting reduction in ground clearance remains a potential issue for racers.
With the power meter market maturing, we’re beginning to consider them standard pieces of kit on higher-end bikes — seen on the Specialized S-Works Venge, Cannondale SystemSix and Giant Defy Advanced Pro, for example. So we’ve no doubt this will trickle down to lower price points in the coming years.
And SRAM clearly hopes that expanding its range will help it to capitalise on this trend.
What product updates would you like to see from PowerTap? Will power meters become a standard item on all bikes in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.