Pioneer introduced their highly technical, data rich power meter and computer system in early 2013. Then, last spring, we got an in depth look at it on our own bike. At the time, the system required an entirely new crankset to be purchased, your choice of Dura-Ace or Ultegra 11-speed.
Then, at Interbike 2014, they introduced their Power Meter Kit that let you send in your own DA or UL crankset and have them install the left and right power meters, saving you considerable coin. At that point, it was priced at $1,299.
Over the six months since the program launched, they’ve been perfecting the process. Now, says Russ Johnston, EVP Pioneer Cycle Sports, “we’re prepared to move this to a much higher volume in our Long Beach, CA, facility.”
How so? By dropping the price to just $999…
The SGY-PM9100C system includes left and right strain gauges attached to the crank arms and the transmitter unit nestled between the spider on the driveside. As they pointed out, for 11-speed Dura-Ace or Ultega cranksets, this is now the most affordable full featured dual leg power meter option…and it’s only about $100 more than other highly regarded single side systems, making it a pretty compelling upgrade option.
The way it works is the customer would take their bike into their favorite bike shop, who would pull the crank, package and ship it. Once the crank’s been cleaned and the parts installed, everything’s torqued back down to Shimano’s spec and each arm is calibrated independently.
“The great thing is that there are so many bikes spec’ing DA or Ultegra cranks,” Johnston says, “and now those customers can add a power meter to the the new cranks that come with the bike.”
The crank-based powermeter works with any ANT+ cycling computer that’ll read power data, so you don’t even need to buy the Pioneer computers if you’re already happy with it. If the computer only shows a single power read out, Pioneer’s system can be set to send a combined total. If the computer will read left and right, then you’ll have real time data for each leg showing up on screen.
Or, for the full data spread, add $299 for the Pioneer SGX-CA500 computer (shown), which provides additional metrics like Force Vector, left/right comparisons, and pedaling efficiency data, all shown in real time on the bike. And afterward, that data is shown in expanded format through Pioneer’s Cyclosphere program to show historical comparisons and more. It’s easy to geek out on it all. The larger SGX-CA900 computer gets a slight price drop to $749. The main upgrade on this model is a slightly larger screen that shows some details in color.
As for SRAM, FSA or other crank arm compatibility? “We’ll definitely have additional cranks in the future,” Johnston said. “But nothing we’re ready to publicly divulge yet.”
For those who already own the system, recent updates to the software have improved the swiping and touch screen performance, added the Di2 D-Fly integration mentioned at Interbike to show gear selection and battery level for the Di2 group. They also added the ability to automatically send a ride summary directly to Twitter, joining Strava and TrainingPeaks as auto upload options. Just perform an update from the cycling computer and all these new features will be at your command.