Back when the only other choice was an SRM that required a mortgage, the early PowerTap hubs earned a big following because you could build a basic rear training wheel for a fraction of the price of the German cranks.
That’s still the case now, though there are now many more affordable meters to rival it.
As well as cheap training wheels, PowerTap offers complete race wheelsets, including exotic Enve rims, of the kind we rode and rated back in 2014.
We started this test with a G3 hub in a 45mm carbon clincher wheelset but it started reading low and then failed one day. Importer Paligap told us it was due a service after 100 hours of use, though the recommended interval is annual.
Consequently we then switched to a GS hub – exactly the same power meter but built into a hub with DT Swiss mechanicals and straight-pull spoke arrangement – and re-did some test rides to check parity.
As the 'control' in a group test of power meters, our second PowerTap hub performed without issue
The meter is easy to pair, wakes with a spin and calibrates quickly. Throughout our testing the second hub remained consistent, with no bad data and no hiccups at low cadence or in sprints. When the battery needed replacing after several months’ use, doing so was easy using the supplied tool to remove the ‘Powercap’ cover and swap the CR2032 cell.
Given that the GS was the 'control' while we tested a bunch of power meters – and in the bike with every combination of devices – it had the toughest test and covered more miles so its consistent performance went some way to mitigating the problem with the earlier G3.
The obvious downside of a hub power meter is that you are constrained to that wheel or have to buy a second hub to build into a race wheel. If you need to use several wheelsets, or even think you’d like the option to upgrade, then one of the better-performing crank systems makes far more sense.
If you’d like to know more about how the G3 stacks up against the competition, check out our nine-way power meter test video.