If power meter prices are in a race to the bottom, Team ZWatt might have just won. Fortunately, the feature set isn’t taking the same trajectory, and with this new offering you get continued updates so they keep improving with use.
The catch? You need to transmit your ride data once a month through their app and stay connected with a very small monthly fee. They have two options, a left-side crank-arm based unit to fit Shimano cranks, or a spider-based meter attached to a FSA crankset. They’re already well on their way to being fully funded, and a stretch goal could yield a carbon mountain bike option, too…
The Zimanox model puts the strain gauge and transmitter on a Shimano-compatible arm (shown at top) and can be had for as little as $189 (€170). The Zpider (shown above) packs the hardware into the spider and mounts them to an FSA Gossamer BB386EVO crankset but uses Shimano’s asymmetric 4-bolt BCD, so you’ll need to run Shimano chainrings. This one’s $299 (€270) and bumps the feature set a little by measuring both right and left legs. See chart below for details. Both are initially only coming in 172.5 arm lengths.
This one’s the carbon mountain bike stretch goal and measures torque in the spindle, presumably similar to how Rotor’s InPower system works. It shows one manner of charging the system, the other being a magnetic plug that helps keep the system completely enclosed and waterproof.
The product has been in development for quite some time, during which they’ve tested against the Garmin Vector. The power data is shown for both above on a sample ride.
Data is transmitted with both BLE (Bluetooth) and ANT+, so it should work with virtually any cycling computer or smart phone app. Speaking of apps, they’ve tested it with Strava, TrainerRoad, Zwift, Kinomap, Sufferfest and many other popular ones.
Now, about that catch. In exchange for getting the low introductory price, they want your ride data to help them refine and update the software. It’ll also be used to develop new features like pedaling style coaching, surface roughness measurements, air time, etc. And as a “subscriber”, you’ll be able to vote particular development goals up or down, helping ensure you get what you want out of the equipment over time. If ordered during the Kickstarter campaign, the monthly fee is just $4.95 (€4.46), for a maximum of two years. After two years, you’ll get all future updates for free forever.
Ready to be part of the first-ever crowd source power meter program? Check their Kickstarter campaign here.