What started with their sub-$200 power measuring iBike cycling computers and 11 years of progressive development and updated devices has now morphed into a simple, lightweight add on that measures your power output for display on any ANT+ cycling computer.

The new Velocomp PowerPod weighs just 32g and attaches to a GoPro style mount, then uses air pressure (from the wind you’re riding into), an accelerometer and data from ANT+ speed and cadence sensors to determine your power output with accuracy they claim is on par with an SRM. The benefits are numerous, including ease of use, the ability to swap between bikes quickly and no need to change out cranks, wheels or pedals.

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Initially available in black or red, the PowerPod is small and can be setup in about five minutes. Pair it with the speed/cadence sensors (use your own or they’ll offer a set with additional pod mount for $79.99), then pair it to your cycling computer and you’re off. It self calibrates for incline, which is important because it uses incline data along with the other outside influences to determine your power output.

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Where traditional power meters measure forces applied to them, the PowerPod measures forces opposing the rider, including hills, wind, friction and acceleration.

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Opposing forces equal applied forces (thanks, Newton!), so the measurements it gets have been proven equal to those obtained by “normal” power meters. The chart above shows their test data compared to an SRM, data that resembles results we’ve seen from them in the past when comparing their cycling computer models to popular power meters.

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It’s powered by a USB-rechargable battery that’s good for about 20 hours of riding per charge.

The product has been developed and will be brought to market in November 2015 thanks to their already funded (but still open as of this post) Kickstarter campaign. Nab one there for as little as $249 with bundle packages upping that a bit if you need additional mounts, sensors, etc.

PowerPodSports.com

34 comments

  1. Smitty on

    I mean thats pretty neat. The SRM differences are also tolerable. However, I don’t think people are going to 1) Want ANOTHER thing on their handlebars alongside a Garmin, GoPro, Headlight, etc. and 2) It is also kind of large and ugly. Who knows, a year from now the same company might be able to cram the same thing into something a third the size.

    Reply
    • mal on

      I know its an older thread, but I just bought one.

      I did have a question about the ‘accepted’ PMs. what makes them accurate? Bending the crank, if it doesn’t pan out to the result is hardly a reflection of accuracy.

      Measuring power at the crank, or at the hub, is hardly relevant if it doesn’t result in a mathmatical expection of speed.

      And there is a comment on their site about mtn bikes. You can set the parameters of the surface though isaac software.

      At the end of the day its all about how much force it takes to move you from a to b at a given speed. That has been callibrated in the old money, to a hub, and a crank etc. What makes that more accurate?

      What am I missing?

      Reply
    • Changren Yong on

      @mal: Other than the obvious difference between PowerPod and other DFPMs, the other difference is almost all DFPMs are pre-calibrated at the factory.

      With PowerPod, you are doing the initial calibration and then adjusting the settings (weight, ride position, tire size). If you are as lucky as DCRainmaker, who only needed the initial calibration to get his PowerPod working, then all is well. When PowerPod is initially calibrated, it assumes you weigh 180lbs, your tire size is 700x23c, your bike weighs … etc. Even after the initial calibration and configuring my weight, my bike + gear weight, my ride position and the closest tire size, PowerPod was still giving really low number when compared with my Quarq power meters. It took multiple calibration attempts (including returning the initial PowerPod for a busted micro-USB port) and help from John, the CEO of Velocomp, to finally get the PowerPod “dialed-in” to match the power numbers from the Quarq PMs relatively well.

      My issue with PowerPod is even when it’s “properly” calibrated, i am still getting inconsistent wattage. Sometimes in the beginning of a ride, PowerPod would force an 8-minute recalibration even though it has not been moved from the mount. Sometimes in the middle of a ride, PowerPod would give really low power number and then would match up with the DFPM after a few minutes. But worst of all, the wattage that PowerPod tells you is dependent on your ride position. If your PowerPod is calibrated for you to ride on the hood, when you ride in the drops, it will give you higher wattage. When i am training or racing, i don’t ride in one fixed position. Do you?

      If you don’t really care about accuracy or consistency, and you just want some power numbers to show up on your bike computer, sure get a PowerPod.

      Reply
  2. Francois on

    From what I understand, they don’t measure the friction of the road, they just estimate it.
    In other words, as far as the device is concerned, a very nice rolling tire on a smooth road is the same as a mountain bike tire on dirt. But the power you have to produce to go at the same speed in these two conditions is really different.

    I guess they’re accuracy are just for one specific type of riding (like just on the road with good tires at a given pressure). But I would be very surprised if you got the same accuracy when moving the device to your mountain bike.

    Reply
    • Changren Yong on

      @Vegapotter: I have been using a PowerPod for close to a month and i did a ride last Saturday on a windy day in multiple positions (on the hood, on the hood with elbows bent, in the drops). PowerPod over-estimated the average power for the entire ride by 40W (24%).

      Reply
  3. Veganpotter on

    I have no clue how accurate these are but I know their old claims for their original powermeter where terribly wrong. I’m talking seeing 25% differences in some cases when using a more accurate powermeter at the same time which basically makes the thing useless on anything but flat/smooth ground with no wind and perfect weather.

    Reply
  4. Gunnstein on

    Neat, but Francois has a good point about rolling friction. Also, I see nothing about weight calibration – me climbing my loaded tourer takes a lot more power than an emaciated roadie on a plastic rocket.

    Reply
  5. mortimer on

    I expect reliable but not valid measurements with something like this. Good if one wants to keep track of training and performance but not useful if comparing against others.

    Reply
    • Changren Yong on

      @Durianrider: When i was having problem getting my PowerPod properly-calibrated (it was displaying much lower wattage than my Quarq PM), surprisingly, one thing it did well was when i was drafting.

      Reply
  6. Andrew on

    @Durianrider Drafting reduces resistance, so of course it will read less power, as it should. I’d pay extra for a stages except I don’t have much change left after buying 200 bananas a week.

    Reply
    • Changren Yong on

      @Matt S. I think you nailed it there. In theory, measuring the opposing forces (drag, gravity and rolling resistance) when you’re on a bike should give the actual power you’re producing. My experience in using PowerPod for close to a month tells me in practice it’s harder to do. On days with little wind and if i force myself to ride in one position (that is, to ride on the hood since that’s what the static drag coefficient is configured to in my PowerPod), other than the occasional inexplicable low power numbers, i can get PowerPod to match up pretty well with my Quarq Riken AL. On a windy day when i was riding into headwind, riding in crosswind from both directions and riding with a tailwind, and riding in multiple positions, the PowerPod wattage was all over the place. It was neither consistent nor accurate.

      Reply
  7. Matt S on

    Yet again, they try to produce a product after their failure of the first and I’m willing to bet this one gets close to the same numbers. I talked to an engineering professor I ride with and he feel that this is a good theory but it wouldn’t be consistent due to all the variables that come with cycling. Strain gauges, cadence, and speed calculations are still the way to go.

    Reply
  8. Darryl on

    It’s a wind speed indicator, that’s all.
    It’s also located in a position where no smart data collector would mount it.

    It will indicate the same power whether you are in the drops sitting up putting on a jersey or on a slick TT bike.

    Garbage made to fool the gullible.

    Reply
  9. myke on

    oh man…. earth to sales pitcher/CEO with power the best calculation is the one that takes the most direct route.

    there are absolutely no direct connection between the unit and athlete besides HR and we already know you can’t depend on HR for power as there are too many variables. why wouldn’t i just buy a powercal and save $200?

    Reply
  10. ATBScott on

    I think I’ll ride my bike, at whatever speed my legs allow, or I feel like. I’ll stop if I feel like it and enjoy a view,or “session” a tough climb that’s hard to clean. It’s nice not being a racer…

    Reply
  11. Collin on

    So according to this device, you’ll get the same power output going 20 mph on a road bike w/23c tires pumped to 120psi as you would on a fat bike with 4.6’s at 4 psi.

    Reply
  12. Fib on

    DCRM did a test ride and found that the data from the powerpod is quite right in “standard” road conditions. Velocomp never said that the device works with a mountain bike in very special conditions (it says “on road conditions” for the 11 years tests). And the device is quite configurable.

    It’s maybe time to accept that there are different power meters for different riders and situations. BTW, how many of the meters on the market are made for mountain bikes?

    Reply
  13. Tomi on

    @Fib It’s maybe time to accept you can’t call a powermeter something that is in fact a powerguesser.

    That thing doesn’t measure power. It is trying to calculate a theorical one based partly on real time data, partly on assumptions.

    Reply
  14. tom on

    their example showed it mounted adjacent to the brake cable run, which would produce aero wake, which would affect air pressure. Also noticed that their comparison set was at very low wattages – if I’m riding at 150 watts, I’m probably not too concerned with how many watts I’m producing. Too many random variables here to call it an instrument, more of a way to compare yesterday’s ride to today’s ride (with the same bike) etc.

    Reply
  15. west on

    I had a similar idea when i was doing my undergrad in Mechanical Engineering. The issue I ran into was getting accurate results when cross winds are involved. My idea was based on pitot tubes like those used on airplanes. However, from my understanding, they only measure wind speed 15 degrees each direction off center. I wonder how this performs in cross winds at angles greater than 15 degrees in one direction.

    Reply
  16. mastersracer on

    I have used the Newton which is the precursor to this unit over the last couple of years and this should be a great product! The Newton produced consistent and accurate power numbers for training with minimal issues and the ability to switch from bike to bike. The biggest issue with the Newton is the lack of user-friendliness but this should solve that problem with communication to any Garmin head unit.
    Every system converts an input into an output, whether it’s from a strain gage or sensors, some are more direct than others, but the Newton has been validated against many other DFPMs. What does one really need from a power meter? Consistent numbers for you! the Newton does that and if this Powerpod uses similar technology it should be as accurate and consistent and more user friendly.

    Reply
  17. A Kant on

    A lot if people seem to be dismissing the Powerpod without really understanding what the technology is.The DCR review and data certainly suggest is is pretty accurate, although has a slight lag. I’ve just ordered one and will update here when I’ve spent some time with it, but in the mean time this is what you need to understand.

    1) Strava estimates don’t use an accelerometer, so cannot factor in rolling resistance. Yes, an accelerometer measures vibration from the road and tyres, hence the Powerpod estimates rolling resistance, as well as collecting other opposing forces such as forward acceleration. Crank arm based units such as Stages only provide estimates of the same nature: they estimate force from changes in angular momentum, not direct strain, meaning that poor prdalling technique might actullay be misread more power production, when this is not infact transferred to forward energy, so these are equally likely to miscalculate power. You need a bottom bracket, or hub-based system to actually measure torque directly costing a lot lot more.

    2) Strava estimates don’t provide data in real time.

    3) Strava estimates don’t factor in wind speed. However, I share concerns about the inability to measure crosswinds directly.

    4) The accelrometer enables the Powerpod to provide left/right pedal stroke analysis, if the additional fee of £65/$99 is paid to unlock this feature. So, unlike Stages, 4iiii and cheaaper Garmin Vector options, not only does the Powerpod take equal account of the power produced by each leg, it also provides analysis tool.

    5) It about a third of the cost of a Stages meter and is transferable between bikes.

    6) If you try it and don’t like it you can always sell it for a minimal loss!

    Reply
    • Changren Yong on

      I have used it for about a month and it’s too inconsistent to use as a power meter, when compared with my other two DFPMs (Quarqs). Worse, whatever power number PowerPod tells you, it’s affected by your ride position. The drag coefficient configured in PowerPod in static so let’s say if you configure and calibrate it for riding on the hood, when you decide to ride in the drops, PowerPod will give you a higher power number. How much higher? I did a ride last weekend and as it was a rather windy day, i rode in the drops quite a bit more than usual. On average for some of the segments that i was 100% sure that i was in the drops, PowerPod was 100W higher.

      1,2,3: No one here talked about relying on Strava to provide power. Not sure why you even bothered to bring it up.

      5. True, it is cheaper than any DFPM on the market now and it is easily transferable between bikes. But what good does it do if it is unable to produce consistent and accurate wattage. If you don’t already own a DFPM, how do you know your PowerPod is properly calibrated?

      Reply
  18. Me on

    Dude we get it and so does everyone else on the planet that is discussing the Powerpod online where you constantly remind folks that you don’t like it.

    By the way, how do you know your DFPM is properly calibrated?

    Reply
    • Changren Yong on

      @Me: That’s a good question. I don’t really know if both my Quarq PMs are properly calibrated but i know at least they are consistent. If i am producing a constant effort, i expect the power meter to tell me relatively constant power. With my DFPMs, they are doing just that. Can’t say the same about PowerPod though.

      Reply

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