Friday, October 02, 2009

Interbike 2009 - Power - Speedplay/MetriGear

Before Interbike 2009 I specifically thought about checking out these mysterious powermeter pedals based on the Speedplay pedals.

Well, with the help of the Speedplay folks (a grin and "Yeah, they're over there"), I found them, way over in the smaller booths.

The first thing I learned is that they're not "the Speedplay powermeter pedals", the pedals are actually called the Vector, and the company developing them is MetriGear.

One of the important MetriGear guys shows an Interbike attendee the pedals.

They had a pair of pedals mounted to a stationary crank thing. You could step on them and watch the lines wiggle. It reminded me of the earthquake display at the Museum of Natural History in New York I saw when visiting there a while back. After jumping up and down on it with a friend, we convinced some amused (foreign) spectators to help us get the needle really going.

The four of us jumped and laughed. It worked, and we all walked away knowing we got the lines waaaay up there.

Anyway, after the NYC thing, getting on the MetriGear pedal thing seemed, well, unnecessary. I believe it worked so I didn't need to step on them.

The backside of the crank, with the battery pack.

The whole system (both sides) weighs less than 50 grams, without the pedals. Using the accelerometers the system measures cadence as well, without using any sensor to transmit said data.

Pedal, force sensor, wireless system, antenna and battery pack

One side talks to another, and that other side then talks to any Ant+ Sport head unit. That means you can use it with the new Joules, SRM, Garmin, Qollector, and so on and so forth. Right now there are no head units that display separate power for the two sides, but that would be a possibility for the future.

A pretty picture of the pedal

The system is accurate within a claimed +/- 1.5%. That's a lower number than the other power units. I can't verify the accuracy of that number, but I'm sure that someone will eventually test them all, if they aren't already doing it now.

How it started

They want to get the pedals out the first quarter of 2010, with a retail price of $1000 for a pair, including the pedals.

This is great if you already use Speedplays.

If you don't?

I asked if the system could be used in other hollow axle pedals, and although the answer wasn't necessarily "No", it wasn't "Yes" either. I figure they want to get the Speedplay system off the ground before they go some other pedals.

As a non-Speedplay person, I won't be using them any time soon, but I think that having pedal based, independent side power meters will be very interesting. You can work on separate sides, you end up with more power readings than a crank or wheel based powermeter, and you can move them from bike to bike pretty easily.

In fact, you could take your whole powermeter set up (power measuring device, head unit) your carry-on or even in your coat pocket.

It may not be what you want (my "ride" in Las Vegas seemed pretty pitiful when I reviewed a short clip I took from the bike), but it'll keep you honest.

1 comment:

Brian said...

As a Speedplay user, I think that this is one of the best new gadgets to come out of the show this year. I've always wanted to know if my l/r legs are balanced, and how I pedal. Hopefully, these will give some answers!