CW got hold of the first samples of the long-awaited Limits power meter, and we put it to the test.

limitsThe first samples of the long-awaited Limits power meter were shown in public today (Friday 27 May) and we got our hands on them for Cycling Weekly.

It’s a year to the week since the Scottish-based company raised $500,000 through crowd-funding. They promised to delivering an “affordable” product, at just $289 each, before last Christmas.

Today a carton of the first 50 were put on show at the launch at the Peebles Mountain Bike Centre.

Scottish road cyclist Jamie Henderson of Spokes racing team demonstrated the Limits unit on a Wahoo Kikr turbo trainer. Then company chief operating officer Gordon Drummond helped guests to fit the unit to bikes, screwing in between the left crank and pedal.lmits2

Jon Entwistle, coach at enthDegree Cycling, Aberdeenshire, tried it for Cycling Weekly. “I linked it to my Garmin and, at the same time, had a Stages power meter linked to my iPhone so I could compare the readings over three laps of the course,” he says.

“There was a difference in the power readings but it was only about 10%, so I’m quite happy with that because the price of the Limits is good and, to be frank, it’s not clear which of the two is more accurate,” says Entwistle.

He also expressed some relief, having forked out for eight units when the crowd-funding project was announced. Repeated delays and missed deadlines prompted a backlash on social media and raised fears that investors had been scammed.

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“I’ve seen it, I’ve tried it and I’m pleased that it exists at last,” says Entwistle. “It’s not vapourware.”

Cycling Weekly, which exclusively revealed the project in April 2015, will be running full tests of Limits. Drummond expects that production at the Chinese manufacturer will ramp up and all backers will get their power meters in the next four weeks.

A model which fits the right crank and pedal will be developed next.

Max Glaskin is an award-winning freelance journalist who tweets about cycling and science as @CyclingScience1 and is the author of Cycling Science (published by Frances Lincoln UK, Chicago University Press USA, and seven other languages).

  • kevinmorice

    If you don’t make the corresponding adjustment to your Q-factor I would agree. But if you do then it is just the basic physics of levers and your argument goes the same way as Z-form cranks. Try it if you don’t believe me. £20 will get you a pair of pedal spacers if you don’t want to wait for LIMITS.

  • GeorgeB

    I think you misunderstand me, try moving your cleats sideways and tell me you don’t notice the difference. Moving them sideways means your now exerting force with a different part of your foot (pressure point)

  • kevinmorice

    All I am suggesting doing is moving them sideways to undo the additional distance, so your end result should feel like no change. Otherwise your argument goes back the other way that you are so sensitive that the LIMITS increasing your Q-factor is going to be imperfect and you aren’t going to like them anyway.

  • GeorgeB

    definitely, It won’t be huge but there will be a difference, and god knows we all spend way too long finding that Holy Grail position on the bike.

  • GeorgeB

    I thought that but think about moving your cleats to compensate, it would feel wrong (Im very sensitive about cleat placement haha, i know when its not mm perfect). It seems to be a cheaper option, but with many pitfalls thereof being a cheaper option.

  • kevinmorice

    I am not convinced by the Q-factor issues. Unless your cleats are right on the outside of your shoes you can compensate. Surely the limiting factor is still going to be your shoes scuffing the cranks?

  • Also the article states that they had a KICKR there as well – toss the bike onto the KICKR and run with all 3 readings; chances are pretty good that two of them will agree.

  • Unfortunately, if they were consistent then it would be trivial to correct the output and make it accurate as well. I’d be astonished if anyone let an inaccurate product that could so easily be adjusted go out the door – if you assume that what was provided is the best that they have, then if they’re off they’re almost certainly inconsistently off.

  • fenix

    They’re just saying that there was a 10% difference. It didn’t know who was right. It COULD be that Limits is bang on….

    And it doesn’t matter too much about the readings – so long as they’re consistent in their figures. I await DCRainmakers tests….

  • fenix

    I’ve seen pro’s on triples when needed – but it’s so rare that they need the low gears.

    I can’t see the issue in different Q Factor. Do you notice it when swapping bikes ? MTB will be bigger than road.

  • Paul Miller

    This is not journalism, “to be frank, it’s not clear which of the two is more accurate”. You know how good the Stages power meter is. Have Cycling Weekly and Max Glaskin been paid to promote this product?

  • Insy

    Any chance you can post the 2 data files?

  • Richard Braginton

    does five lines about riding round a circuit constitute a test, surely something a bit longer to test the weatherproofing of the unit etc

  • Stevo

    I think it might be easier to make special pedals.

  • Cycling Science

    The single test ride showed around a 10% difference between the Limits and Stages power meters. We don’t know which of the two is more accurate. More test rides will be needed, perhaps with Powertap as the benchmark.

  • David Bassett

    So true. The Pro’s wont even use a triple chainset as the tiny amount that the right hand crank would stick out. And that is not as much as the third chain ring as they are set back over the BB shell now.
    They would rather risk ripping their rear mec’s off when the forget that they have such a big jump between the two rings.
    So the bit about the10% does not need to even come into it. Unless they get all the chainset manufactures to make a special left hand crank to compensate for sticking something between the pedal and the crank.

  • Ross

    “Marginal gains” is the phrase your looking for. As long as the data from the PM is consistent then it doesnt really matter if reading is 10% +/- compared to another brand

  • MrHaematocrit

    Worth remembering that team Sky use a lot of things which are not proven including elliptical chain rings which also happens to mess with power meter data.

    This report suggests that the limits power meter is 10% more inaccurate than stages, The question which needs to be addressed is does it vary by 10% in any direction (increased power/decreased power) and does temperature impact the reading because if this is the case you may as well guess your numbers.
    If its just consistently reading different to Stages then its usable

  • nortonpdj

    I merely said “maybe”.
    After all, Brailsford and company do have a reputation for seeking out very small potential advantages (remind me, they have a snappy name for it). As for the expense, they have a *far* bigger budget than most other teams.

  • Michael

    This doesn’t really make sense.

    I mean, why would sky go to all the expense of doing this?

    After all, none of the people who are telling you they are inaccurate have gone to this trouble.

    A lot may be talking about stages first gen and/or older firmware.

    At best they will have done what CW appear to have done – compared 2 or more unknown quantities – and it doesn’t even sound like they compared the actual second-by-second power values, it sounds like they compared the “average power” at the end and noticed it was 10% different. Maybe they glanced at the screens while riding possibly not even comparing corresponding values.

    I get power differences bigger than that loading and uploading my fit files to different applications and online services.

  • Michael

    > They’re sponsored by stages so they have to.

    Heh, no they don’t.

  • nortonpdj

    Maybe they supply hundreds (thousands?) of power meters to the Sky team, who then test them all and use the ones which constantly show correct readings. (Don’t ask me to define “correct”, but I’m guessing that it is possible to measure power accurately with some kind of device, even if it isn’t small and quite light like a Stages device). If you read the story about how the chain was selected for the Wiggins hour record you’ll realise that the idea is not so ridiculous.

  • Ethan S

    1. They’re sponsored by stages so they have to.
    2. It doesn’t really matter how accurate power metres are as long as they are consistent with themselves.

  • jeffoffline

    if it’s consistently off by 10% in one direction i’d say that’s a huge win for them, in all their previous posts showing power data it skewed both high and low by quite a bit.

  • Steve

    you really think team sky would use in accurate power meters?

  • Howmanyjackos

    Now you can get an estimate of your wonky left legs power output.?
    That rainmaker guy will love this!

  • GeorgeB

    Also it changes your pedal position, why would anyone want to alter there position so much?

  • MrHaematocrit

    WTF… 10% difference from stages which is not reknown for being the most accurate power meter on the market, might as well have a website guesstimate power if you can’t trust it