The SRM system is the granddaddy of power meters; it was already well established when PowerTap came along in 1998. By comparison, the likes of Garmin and Stages have been doing this for about five minutes. And it shows.
SRM is still viewed as the gold standard and this unit didn’t disappoint, standing out among an array of power meters we've tested recently for its flawless performance.
But, if being the granddaddy sounds a bit like being a dinosaur, well that’s also true. SRM hasn’t gone out of its way to move with the times. This is the only meter that still requires a cadence magnet to be glued to the frame. It can’t do left/right split either, and you can’t replace the battery yourself, you have to send it away and do without it for at least a few days – though the battery can last years, and a rechargeable version is in development.
There is no cheaper version, no pedal stroke analysis and the new Power Control 8 head unit lags about a decade behind a Garmin 1000, but the system is compatible with any computer that can receive ANT+.
The most obvious downside is the price. Even though it has been lowered recently, SRM's pricing puts it way above everything else on the market.
Where the SRM makes up lots of ground is performance and, most of all, consistency. Across our office we’ve done thousands of miles on this and two other SRM units with no data anomalies at all. A manual zero offset is necessary before you set off and then the SRM handles temperature variation superbly. You can be confident in the data, and that’s very important. The only caveat is that because the SRM uses a magnet for cadence, it’s more prone to over-reading slightly when used with non-round chainrings. Even Team Sky were fooled by that one for a time.
If you’d like to know more about how the SRM stacks up against the competition, check out our nine-way power meter test video.