Once just the purveyance of pros and clued up amateurs with deep pockets, power meters have become a widely accepted tool for riders who want to improve their fitness.
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So without further ado, here are five reasons why owning a power meter can be a great idea.
1. The most accurate assessment of your performance
Power meters currently provide the most accurate way of assessing your performance, so if you’re serious about your training and trying to get fitter, they can’t be beaten.
While heart rate measures your body’s response to a workload, power meters show the workload you’re putting out, or how hard you’re pushing on the pedals. This will help you to track and measure your progress over time far better than other training tools.
2. They’re getting cheaper
Back in the day you had only a couple of options when it came to buying a power meter and they didn’t come cheap. An SRM model would probably set you back over £2,000.
But the big players now have competition from other brands such as Stages and 4iii, which has driven prices down across the board. They’re still not cheap, but you can easily find a power meter for around a quarter of the cost of the old SRM model.
Plus there’s now enough options out there to fit nearly every bike and funny bottom bracket standard, even for mountain bikes and BMX. More accessible for all? We think so.
3. Race analysis
Have you ever had a disappointing race or been dropped off the back of the local group ride and wondered what caused it to happen?
Well, with a power meter you can pour over the data post hammering to see what efforts caused you to slip off the pace. Had you done some hard sprints just before? Or had you under fuelled slightly? Or did you simply not have enough fitness to hang on?
Whatever the answer, you’ll be able to make an accurate judgement and hopefully adjust your training accordingly.
4. Cut out the junk miles
For most of us, cycling has to fit around more important commitments like families and work, so when we ride the time has to count.
With a power meter you can accurately see what training works best for you and get more from your limited ride time by doing some tough intervals. There’s no denying it’s going to hurt, but cutting out the junk miles and blasting some efforts is a sure fire way to improve your overall fitness.
5. You can compare yourself to the pros
Our final reason is perhaps one of the most common, but one we wouldn’t like to admit to other cyclists — owning a power meter allows you to directly compare yourself to the pros.
Go on Strava or any popular training blog and you’re likely to find a professional rider's power files from various races. Everyone wants to know how good he or she is, so trying to match the pro's power is an easy way to see, if only to find out how far behind you are from those freaks of nature.