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SOC17: PowerPod adds PowerHouse training app, developed with Hunter Allen

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Yes, that’s a power meter.

PowerPod has upped the ante for low cost power meters by adding the PowerHouse app to help you start training with power.

Their standard unit is a simple handlebar-mounted power meter that comes with ANT+ activated. Keep reading for tech details on how it works, very interesting. The device starts at $299, but what’s new is the Bluetooth unlock bundle that includes access to the PowerHouse app. The device has the BLE hardware on board, but the upgrade bundle purchase is required to activate it… and that gets you their new PowerHouse training app with courses designed by Hunter Allen…

The PowerHouse app makes power training plug ‘n play. You don’t have to study anything, figure out how to use power, or even calculate your training zones. It does all that for you. How? When you first get the app and connect it to the PowerPod, it’ll put you through an FTP test. There are 20 minute (better) and 5 minute (if you know you’re out of shape) tests built in.

Within the app there are six training plans to start – three specifically for cyclists and three for general fitness – with plans to expand that to include things like preparing for your first century and other specific goals. The FTP test and all training programs are developed with well known coach and Training Peaks co-founder Hunter Allen (check our podcast interview with him here). The app is designed to make power training as easy as possible and eliminate any barriers to use; it does it all for you. They admit it’s aimed more at the new user, and they’re happy to see you graduate to more advanced training plans. But for a $25 upgrade, it’s a cheap way to introduce power training and learn the basics.

Velocomp PowerPod add-on power meter for any bike

Hardware-wise, it’s the same unit they announced at Eurobike, but here’s the quick run down of how this works:

The PowerPod is essentially your Black Box. It uses a combination of wind speed, actual wheel speed (from an ANT+ speed sensor, which is required because GPS speed isn’t accurate enough), acceleration, incline, and bike+rider system weight. From that, it can determine your power output.

They offer a $29 speed-only sensor, or a $50 speed-and-cadence sensor package.

As is, they say it’s the most simple power meter you can buy. But it can get super advanced, giving you metrics you can’t get out of any other power meter. There’s an optional high-accuracy calibration, called the “Out and Back” that  puts its accuracy on par with high end crank or hub based power meters. Without this, it uses aggregate data to be mostly accurate; so you don’t have to do it, but it is recommended. And if you want to get even more geeky and figure out coefficient of drag, wasted watts, and more, you can pair it with a traditional power meter and let it do the math to figure out where you’re losing power and let you test position, clothing, gear, etc. to maximize your aerodynamics without a wind tunnel.

PowerPodSports.com

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Dillon
Dillon
5 years ago

This may be an interesting trinket to have but it is not a power meter. Wind and speed can not give any accurate indication of a riders power output. For example, coasting downhill would provide some arbitrary power number on this unit even thought the rider isnt actually pedaling.

edge
edge
5 years ago
Reply to  Dillon

it includes an inclineometer so the downhill scenario you speak of has been addressed, but yes it is an estimate.

GW
GW
5 years ago
Reply to  Dillon

You are incorrect in your assumption as it does not use wind to determine power output. It uses accelerometers, wind, rolling resistance, etc. When coasting with the PowerPod, no power is calculated or recorded. It can also be used on indoor trainers.

Tim
Tim
5 years ago
Reply to  GW

When coasting downhill your cadence is zero therefore it does not register power. Dillon clearly didn’t read the article and just decided to troll. As GW says it uses a host of metrics to calculate power which is just as accurate a method for the purposes of training with power.

thestansmonster
thestansmonster
5 years ago

TrainingPeaks is one word.

ed
ed
5 years ago

This device is a power estimator. It does not directly measure power.

myke2241
myke2241
5 years ago
Reply to  ed

Exactly and probably no better than the powercal he straps of years ago

Chader
Chader
5 years ago
Reply to  myke2241

Yes, the are both estimating power, BUT they do it in very different ways.

The PowerPod uses much more info and data (that is far more likely to be useful than pure HR like the PowerCal) to calculate a power estimate.

Based on several reviews, the PowerPod is likely to be much more reflective of power than the PowerCal. So you speculation is unjustified.

Apples and Oranges.

myke2241
myke2241
5 years ago
Reply to  Chader

I one point I owned a powertap & powercal. I still own the powercal as it a nice hr strap and backup pm.

My statement completely justified! The power pod isn’t any better than the powercal. They both are estimations of power. It’s a guess nothing more nothing less. Good for some bad for others!

The powercal was pretty good at getting close the over all averages but while in use 30 average is the best it would do. Also if your looking at the cost Stages and 4iiii have better offerings and are way more accurate! For slightly more

GW
GW
5 years ago
Reply to  myke2241

Side by side testing of the PowerPod and most major direct force power meters (DFPM) shows a +/-2.5% power variance across the board. PowerPod is also not susceptible to temperature drift which requires recalibration, like DFPM’s. I’ve been using one since October and pleased with it, along with the tons of other data it provides (aerodynamics, pedaling efficiency, wasted wattage, drafting and braking technique…). Well worth the $300 plus the PowerStroke upgrade!

Tim
Tim
5 years ago
Reply to  myke2241

It’s incredible how adamant and self assured you are in your ignorance.
Have a read through dcrainmakers site and his review on a pre production model. Look at the accuracy and importantly how it follows dfsg pm readings. The metrics the power pod uses to calculate power are very well established measures to calculate force and measure velocity needed to calculate power.

Robin
Robin
5 years ago
Reply to  ed

No instrument on the market directly measures power. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find many instruments in science that directly measure anything. The PowerPod very likely does have a larger uncertainty in its measurements than strain gauge based power measurements, but that doesn’t make any more an estimator than any other power meter. I think the peanut gallery needs to take courses on measurement and measurement uncertainty.

I’m no fan of the PowerPod/iBike people at all, but their method is a valid method for measuring power. If you don’t understand why that is, then you might need to take that physics class.

PabloE432
PabloE432
5 years ago
Reply to  Robin

“I’m no fan of the PowerPod/iBike people at all”

My experience was the same. Nasty attitudes all around, extremely defensive about the product when asking for basic help. Pass on PowerPod.

mech9
5 years ago

ed is correct.. It’s a 300.00 estimator. considering you can get a stages that actually has a strain gauge built in for not much more I wonder who would buy this thing?

Jon
Jon
5 years ago

Having purchased one of these about a year and a half ago, I can assure you this was one of the worst bike related purchases I have made. The constant dropout and “re-calibration” issues I experienced have made mine a $300 dollar paperweight. The data is inconsistent, and even after going through all the tech support I could get I still don;t trust the data one bit… I should have just bought a stages to start…

habos
habos
5 years ago
Reply to  Jon

I’m a Kickstarter backer and have the exact same experience. Calibration on each ride (aprox 8 min), power data is all over place, it is unusable for training.

Changren Yong
5 years ago
Reply to  Jon

@Jon: That’s exactly my experience when I had it for a month or so. The data was consistently very inconsistent. I have no clue how one is supposed to train on such a device if you aren’t able to get consistent data.

Cru
Cru
5 years ago

Is that what Argon18 built into their concept bike?

Matt
5 years ago

I have one and it works great to have a general idea of your power output +/-10% compared to my Quarq crank setup. Don’t ask me how it does it… maths I suspect. Or aliens. But, if you can’t afford a crankset-based powermeter, this is the poor-man’s option… reliable and consistent, it’s exactly what’s needed for power-training.

Phill Lucas
5 years ago
Reply to  Matt

(Sounds like you need to update firmware and or do a calibration)

Paul Berger
5 years ago

(deleted)

Andrew
Andrew
5 years ago

How is +/- 10% much use? If I’m doing a 20 minute interval there is a world of difference between 300 and 330W. Just improving by 10% could take years of training.

Dylan
Dylan
5 years ago

I don’t train with power (could just as easily say I don’t train, and I have no power:), so perhaps I’m missing something. But if this device can’t account for changes in drag, whether from body position, clothing, rolling resistance or a dragging brake, it seems to be pretty pointless. Sure, the estimated power is always going to be proportional to your actual power, but that proportion will only be constant as long as none of the drag parameters change from when you calibrated. The ability of a real (strain gauge based) power meter to decouple power estimation from speed measurement is a fundamental advantage.

Tim
Tim
5 years ago
Reply to  Dylan

Your CoD is calculated during calibration hence they require you to maintain your position on the bike during this process.

Once out on the road and calibration complete it will constantly compare variations in air speed against variations in inclination vs variance in velocity and determine which change has resulted in variations in the other parameters. If airspeed has dropped before cadence and at the same time as velocity then it will recalculate CoD since this is what has changed. If inclination is constant. And so on. It’s maths. Maybe a little hard for the layman to grasp.

If readings are inconsistent then the user has not calibrated correctly.

Frank
Frank
5 years ago

Can you say “huge”?
Fifty-four units were put to the test … six units deviated by more than five per cent, including products from Stages, Quarq and power2max
http://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/latest-news/huge-scientific-study-shows-inaccuracies-popular-power-meters-330322

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