When it launched less than two years ago, Pioneer offered the first dual leg product to be offered globally, and the first to offer high definition pedaling metrics. They still offer the most detailed pedal stroke analysis, but several other brands have begun offering dual leg measurement.
But, for the product, Pioneer had very competitive pricing. Which, directly or not, resulted in many other major brands (Quarq, PowerTap, Power2Max, SRM, etc.) dropping their prices. So, at Interbike last fall, Pioneer introduced a single sided (single leg) version to offer their system at an even lower price, but one that could easily be upgraded to dual leg as need or budget allows. And that gave them an option to compete with Stages, and beat them on price by a bit, too.
Now, in the best possible race to the bottom, Pioneer’s pricing drops another 30% ($270 off!) for single leg, putting them at just $529 (€629) for Ultegra 6800 and $649 (€699) for Dura-Ace 9000, both including the non-drive crank arm. But that ain’t all…
Their dual leg system also drops, coming in at $1,300 (Ultegra, down from $1,550) and $1,500 (Dura-Ace, down from $1,850), which includes the entire crankset.
Even better, for just $579, you can send in your existing 11-speed Dura-Ace or Ultegra crankset and they’ll add single-leg power to the DRIVE side. Why the drive side? Because, since they redesigned it to have a slimmer mounting profile, the driveside hardware fits on more bikes with zero clearance issues. The non-drive transmitter/strain gauge unit sticks off the crank farther and doesn’t work with all chainstay designs. All price changes take effect February 1.
Another bonus of their system? You could take a dual-leg system and move one of the arms to a similarly spec’d bike and get single leg power on two bikes.
In order to see the hi-def data, the system has to transmit in Pioneer Mode, which is a modified, private ANT+ protocol. But, it could also transmit in standard ANT+ channels for sending basic data to any ANT+ cycling computer. In December, they updated the software to dual broadcast Pioneer Mode and ANT+ so that it can simultaneously send cadence and power data to something like Zwift, TrainerRoad, a Garmin, etc., while the Pioneer head unit shows the hi-def pedal stroke detail. And this one’s an OTA (Over The Air) update for the computer, not the power meters.
For the actual power meter updates, they’ll soon have web-based, OTA firmware updates that’ll keep the hardware on your bike. Currently, Pioneer would prefer that you send in the unit, but you can also connect them to your computer and spend about two hours doing it. They say the upcoming OTA updates will only take about 10 minutes, though.
Also coming at some point are SRAM compatible versions, but there’s no announced dates. All they’ll say is it’s on their roadmap. And *ahem* should Shimano’s Dura-Ace product cycle push out the predicted new group sometime this year, chances are good Pioneer will be ready. They do, after all, sponsor several Shimano-equipped teams.