Stages’ left side 2012 crank-based power meter was instantly popular, due to its ease of fitting and low price in relation to spider-based units at that time. It was only available incorporated on aluminium cranks, with the debut of a carbon crank-based equivalent a development cycle away.
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Stages teamed up with FSA to produce the Stages Carbon crank. Available in 165mm, 170mm, 172.5mm and 175mm lengths, my 175mm Stages Carbon GXP crank weighed in at 165g.
This third-generation meter only adds 20g to the crank, and has a new, lower profile housing design, said to reduce frontal area by 17 per cent and broaden frame compatibility. Stages says the whole unit is stronger, but the battery door’s interface is claimed to be 200 per cent stronger.
The Stages unit is compatible with ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart, plus a wide range of popular performance tracking software, so it can update its firmware wirelessly.
Because power is only measured on the left leg, that figure is doubled to give an estimated combined power that Stages claims is accurate within ± 1.5 per cent, improving on the generation 2 unit’s ± 2 per cent.
After a quick fit with an 8mm hex key, and simple calibration, my testing period included daily temperatures between 14 and 37ºC, which the Stages Carbon’s active temperature compensation easily coped with.
Tested with a SRAM Force carbon driveside crank, the Stages Carbon crank felt equally stiff under full load.
There’s a delay of around four to five seconds between starting to pedal and data appearing on your head unit, but that’s not usually a problem on the road. Power can be recorded up to 2,500 watts, and cadence between 20 and 220rpm, but there’s no balance reading.
Otherwise, apart from a couple of maximum power readings that slightly exceeded my expectations, every metric tracked accurately with my existing power meters.
Its accuracy, quick-fit, swappable design and extended crankset compatibility, with almost no weight gain, make the Stages a great choice for existing carbon crank users unwilling to splash out on a L-R power system.
- Axle: Compatible with FSA BB386, SRAM GXP and DUB and BB30 cranks from SRAM, Easton and Specialized, Campag Stages carbon power cranks are available for Chorus, Record and Super Record.
- Battery: The CR2032 battery compartment on the first generation Stages L crank had water resistance issues; with an IPX7 rating those days are long gone with an estimated 200 hours use.
- Carbon: Stages’ proprietary hollow carbon crank is manufactured by FSA, and its lightly marbled finish is a good visual match for both SRAM’s and FSA’s carbon chainsets.