FSA has just added optional new functionality to their PowerBox power meter cranksets via what appears to be an over-the-air software update. FSA PowerBox Upgrade is a program that activates the Bluetooth tech already built into their power meters. The Upgrade also employs new software to analyze your power data to show left/right balance, pedaling smoothness, and torque.
FSA Powerbox Upgrade unlock more power analysis
While it seems a bit odd that you have to pay more to unlock features that are already built into the hardware of FSA’s $1250/1250€ carbon & $650€ alloy PowerBox power meter cranks, it’s something we already knew was a potential since their introduction last model year. Built with power2max technologies, it was already clear that the Bluetooth hardware existed, but was not being utilized in the FSA iteration. We were under the assumption that the add-ons were originally free, but now even even updating the FSA power meters through power2max have this same pricing model.
Now with a 50€ pay-to-upgrade, you can unlock the ability to transmit data via Bluetooth LE or Bluetooth Smart. The PowerBoxes already include ANT+ connectivity, so this will just allow users to connect to a wider range of bike computers, as well as more mobile devices which could be especially useful for more indoor training options.
Beyond connectivity, the rest of the new pay-to-upgrade features use new software to offer more detailed data visualization while riding and deeper analysis post ride.
From there, add another 50€ for left/right balance. The power2max powered PowerBox cranks only actually measure power generation between the spider and the spindle, but update software estimates L/R balance based on the phase where power is generated. FSA is trying to be open about their data analysis, saying that for example Left Power = the combined downward pressure on the left pedal + the upward pull on the right pedal. Right Power then = pressure on the right pedal + pull on the left pedal.
There’s also a 50€ upgrade for pedaling smoothness analysis. The PowerBox can now use software to show how evenly power is applied throughout the entire pedal stroke, based on the calculated L/R data. Even with the Upgrade this function can still only be sent by ANT+.
The last 50€ software Upgrade is momentary torque reporting. Torque is essentially your power, detached from the speed at which the cranks are spinning (cadence.) This is simply a new data metric that can be optionally transmitted to compatible head units.
All of the new FSA PowerBox Upgrade functionality can be purchased individually (no discount if you want all 200€ of it). That means you only pay for the extra data you want to transmit to your cycling computer.
To buy any of the over-the-air upgrades, PowerBox owners have to head over to FSA’s support website (or power2max’s), enter in all of your power meter’s key data, and purchase the Upgrades directly. The Upgrade process currently requires an Android mobile device p2m Service App. An iOS version is not yet available, but expected by March 2018.