Stages project 2016 track crank dual sided power meter

Currently, Stages Cycling has 28 different power meter options with 160 individual SKUs to match every crank size of every model they carry. Yet, none of those are a dual sided power meter. And while Stages is still investigating the benefits of a dual sided power meter for consumer use (there are no plans for one at the moment), they did just partner with USA Cycling to create exactly that – a dual sided power meter for a left hand drive carbon track crank for their Project 2016.

This isn’t your ordinary power meter though. Due to the Vision Metron’s design, a spider based power meter isn’t possible, and the team didn’t want to use pedal or hub based meters. And even though most consumer head units are only capable of sampling data at 1x per second, Team USA has an ace up their sleeve. Thanks to a partnership with IBM, they are able to use data at a much higher rate which is important since they need higher resolution for the 4.5 minute event.

That’s where the prototype Stages dual power meter comes in. Capable of transmitting data at 64hz, the system provides the data they need – only they need a super computer to process it…

Stages GXP carbon BB30 project 2016 track dual sided power meter

Stages GXP carbon BB30 project 2016 track dual sided power meter-2

According to Stages, there was actually a super computer used to make this project possible. Specifically, IBM’s Watson was used to create a cloud based app that could be loaded onto tablets that the coach could use in the infield of the track. The data is then transmitted in real time to the coach – data that used to take two days to compile. Hopefully all of this information will take Team USA straight to the podium in Rio.

USA Cycling may need this kind of data, but Stages says not so fast for dual sided units for consumers. According to Stages, they’re still trying to “understand what a dual sided meter really means for consumers.” They will give more accurate overall power values, which provides benefit if an athlete has a known imbalance from an injury and needs to recover. But they also point out that a 50/50 power balance isn’t always best and contrary to some thoughts, they don’t often see major imbalances among most cyclists. Throw in the fact that dual side meters are more complicated and more expensive, and Stages doesn’t see enough benefit to justify them yet.

Stages GXP carbon BB30 project 2016 track dual sided power meter-3 Stages GXP carbon BB30 project 2016 track dual sided power meter-4

Stages GXP carbon BB30 project 2016 track dual sided power meter-7

Stages GXP carbon BB30 project 2016 track dual sided power meter-5 Stages GXP carbon BB30 project 2016 track dual sided power meter-6

Stages GXP carbon BB30 project 2016 track dual sided power meter-8 Stages GXP carbon BB30 project 2016 track dual sided power meter-9

Already shown at Sea Otter, we had a chance to throw Stages’ newest carbon crank arm power meters on the scale. The first company to offer carbon crank based power meters, the arms are all made by FSA and are designed to retrofit BB30 (two spindle lengths for Red22 and Force/Rival) and GXP 24mm spindles in two different widths with a RaceFace Cinch arm on the way.

Todays plan stages partnership

Finally, power meters are only any good if you know what to do with them, so Stages recently announced their partnership with Today’s Plan. Stages already offers their 8 Weeks to Win training program when you buy one of their power meters, but they hope that this partnership with Today’s Plan will take things even further. The two companies are working together to create software to make it as easy as possible to train with power. The goal is to have a database of cycling workouts and to have an algorithm based training plan that will evolve with the rider as their training progresses. A closed Beta test release will start in August, with a full launch expected in January.

stagescycling.com

 

10 COMMENTS

  1. “…Stages is still investigating the benefits of a dual sided power meter for consumer use…”

    Ummm, we’re not sure that providing accurate data to the consumer is a good move.

  2. @elvis two things: 1) yeah, they proved when they came in to the market that utmost accuracy wasn’t the top priority for a majority of the potential powermeter consumers, but that price, simplicity, and “good enough” accuracy (and repeatability) were, which scrambled the power meter market pretty good and to the consumers’ benefit; 2) for the remainder, Stages is definitely working on a dual sided meter for the consumer market, it’s been seen on Sky bikes in the past and is a no-brainer step for them. That line is just distraction.

  3. Why is everyone so concerned with dual sided power? That just means you have one extra power meter to buy and look after. Anybody who uses a power meter correctly knows that left sided power works perfectly! Literally the only advantage to dual sided is if you are recovering from a serious one sided injury and want to track progress. But it’s not even that useful for that because who says 50/50 distribution is ideal? You could over train and injure yourself worse. If you’re concerned about one leg being stronger than the other I promise you aren’t going to go to the gym and do right legged squats and lunges and then leave. It just is. Or isn’t. Or you’re power meter isn’t calibrated correctly to the other, since now you have two. The important thing is to get a power meter and use it correctly and ride your bike. FTP is an important number, track that one. Left/Right power distribution isn’t. Dual sided power is for self obsessed – or like a cat chasing a laser pointer. There’s nothing there, and once you think you’ve found something, there was actually still nothing there. That’s all!

    • @Peter Obsessive??? Yep, I be dat. My whole life is about measuring things that I feel add value to the mix. If my heart rate is off by 5 to 10 bps I know I either ate too late, I’m ill, or fighting something I wasn’t aware of…with accurate left/right power, I will only become more powerful. In the language of Team Sky, marginal gains my friend.

    • I have a painfull left knee after some effort.
      I then push more with the right leg but the ratio left/right it is not regular.
      Isn’t a left only power meter will give me a false overall power (2x left power) ?

      • Yes it will, but that’s not important for training and racing purposes as long as it’s consistently wrong by the same factor across your ride types and is repeatable. And for most people’s purposes a left sided meter is great. For highly elite athletes and their coaches, or the very analytical type of amateurs, left only isn’t satisfactory. The reason is that left-right distribution actually varies by both power and cadence. So careful pacing on a climb vs in a tt, for example, to the same displayed power, may not represent the same actual power output. So if that’s super important to you, that’s a problem. It’ll also throw off your training zones slightly. For most people this has no practical downside and they also don’t care. Some people do, whether they “should” or not.

      • You are correct that you will get an inaccurate overall number and this is exactly the sort of situation that the “left is more than good enough” folks ignore. For instance, if you are trying to determine how many intervals to do, you might look at the % drop in power output as you progress through them. If after 3 intervals your power drops, you might think you are cooked and quit for the day. But if it was just that your left knee starts acting up after 3, and then the power balance shifts to the right, you would be seeing a false drop off, not a genuine reduction in power. Total power could be unchanged.

        How extreme the shift in power balance is would determine if “left is good enough”.

  4. Having used a crank based powermeter, powertab hub and Stages, my power numbers are basically the same with the Stages. As long as the powermeter gives me a consistent, accurate number… that’s what matters. Your pedal stroke is your stroke. The powermeter is a tool, so you want a consistent number and use that for your base when training. Stages made it way more affordable and delivers a product that does what you need it to. If I had to analyze two numbers for left and right, it would probably screw up my pedal stroke. Keep it simple!

  5. And anyway, if a company makes a power meter that’s crazy acurate then the marketing dept will be spinning ‘look at our spooky acurate meter’. At the moment the tech isn’t up there at a consumer level price so they’re all ‘accuracy isn’t that important anyways’. Once China starts ramping up the copy and paste engine we’ll get there.

  6. 2 days to compile data at 64hz from 4.5 min event ….what a bunch of cr@p. Why\who are they trying to impress ??? that is only 17280 measurments, Garmin does that on any 5 hour ride. 2 days to upload./process? Are they use using pigeons and abacus?

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