It’s an exciting era for those who seek to wield power in their training. Fresh and innovative approaches to packaging power meters seem to be rolling out from companies every few months, with meters getting smaller, smarter, and more reasonably priced by the day. Though, even with all of these advancements, many power meters continue to restrict riders to specific crank, hub, or pedal systems. Until now, that is.
The manufacturer of the “world’s most sought after” oval chainrings, absoluteBLACK, has moved into the power meter game with its new, ultra-lightweight Chainring Bolt Power Meter System. With patent pending technology, absoluteBLACK has miniaturized the sensor system in a clever, compact package sure to stoke any data enthusiast. We were able to snag a few words on the new system from Tony Brand, absoluteBLACK Relations Associate, on the motivations behind this innovative new product, as well as future direction of the technology.
BIKERUMOR: Why, as a chainring company, make the leap to power?
TONY: Creating an evenly distributed force delivery system through our oval chainrings was the main goal. Now we are looking to integrate the numbers behind that…simply put the next step in the order.
BIKERUMOR: Why chainring bolts? What brought you to this approach to power meter packaging?
TONY: The chain is in constant motion…so can’t really measure that without creating some sort of friction and slowing down the chain’s movement. The chainring and bolts are the next stationary object that would directly translate to a measurable force being put into the drivetrain.
It’s all about integration these days…(your watch will soon control your microwave). We wanted to take the power meter, normally a standalone product that is typically purchased separately, and make it into a single usable product.
BIKERUMOR: What are the specs?
TONY: Currently the weights have been changing on every new prototype we make. We have managed to lose a significant amount of weight from the first few working prototypes.
We are looking in the sub 30 gram weight range for the power metering bolts. Being Bluetooth, ANT+, WIFI it will connect with all the major head unit systems like (WAHOO, Garmin, SRM, Pioneer, and others). We currently have some prototype mountain bolts…you might spot them at Sea Otter in a few weeks.
BIKERUMOR: Where does absoluteBLACK go from power?
TONY: Notice how I didn’t mention any power/battery weights…we are currently have a patent pending design that allows us to create a minimal amount of regenerative charge from the turn of the cranks to power the system. This friction generated power is harvested in as little as 30 seconds and stored in the internal capacitors of each bolt meter. Once it harvests enough energy, it will then disengage the friction system (which is not noticeable to begin with) creating a drag free crank rotation. We all pedal around at least for a minute or so before we start our STRAVA KOM hunting session…so unless you are in a Le Mans style start in which you didn’t even ride it around pre-race…you will not have any issues getting the system powered up.
BIKERUMOR: When will data enthusiasts be able to get their hands on this product?
TONY: We are expecting the product to be available in the Fall of 2016. We may have some working prototypes at Sea Otter!