At Westbrook Cycles, we get asked a ton of questions about and around cycling power meters - so we have created this blog post looking at what power meters are, how they work and how they can benefit the rider.
What is a Cycling Power Meter?
A power meter is best described as an electronic gadget that records and measures the amount of power and torque that a cyclist generates when pedalling. Measured in watts, this measure of power is the best way to measure how hard you are working on the bike, and what performance you are achieving.
There are a number of different options to choose from. One of the most popular types of power meters are crank based power meters, with the alternative being a pedal based power meter.
How do Power Meters Work?
Power Meters use a strain gauge, which is a small electronic device which measures strain via electrical resistance. In the case of a crank based power meter, the strain measures the flex in the crank arm when pedalling. Torque is then calculated and converted to watts.
Power Meter Results
The results from a power meter are transferred in real time to a cycling computer via wireless technologies. The cycling computer displays everything you need to see - including average, max and minimum power as well as being able to provide everything a ‘normal’ cycle computer can provide, such as heart rate, speed, route, GPS, distance and time. The majority of these power meter computers also integrate with smartphones.
Power Meter Benefits
Power meters provide a massive array of benefits for a rider. Power meters allow the rider to track exertion and effort in watts - so you can plot exactly how hard you are working and when. Watts are a much better way of measuring performance on a bike, compared to heart rate alone, which is completely independent of the performance of the bike. This extra information allows for more structured training and training plans to be developed. These results can also be shared with teams and coaches, for further riding insights.
As well as training benefits, power meters are also invaluable in races - where the rider can track levels of effort and exertion - aiding pacing and preservation of energy.
Cycling Power Meters
Across our site, you can find our complete range of cycling power meters - all of which have been handpicked for their excellent performance, insights and reliability in the field.