Is Camapgnolo set to add a power meter to its line up?
In the past couple of months the Italian brand has filed a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a “bicycle component provided with electronic device”. It’s supported by a previous Italian application that was filed in April 2020.
The patent comprises “a processor and a wake unit” that will switch from “standby mode to running mode upon receiving a wake signal from a wake unit.” Technically this could apply to other electronic devices other than a power meter. However, accompanying drawings clearly show a crank arm that enters “full wake state” after rotation of said crank arm is detected.
What’s more, in the opening summary for the application it states that the wake mechanism is best suited “for electronic devices such as torque or power meters applied for example to a crank arm or other transmission component” before going on to say “in this case the electronic device is preferably fixed on to the crankarm or integrated into the crankarm”.
Wading through the 18-page application there is continued reference to the crankarm as the desired component for the device, such as point 117, which states “when the bicycle component is a crankarm, the pedaling torque data are obtained based on the force obtained from the output of a stress detector and based on the length of the crankarm”.
Perhaps most telling is that within the section of the application titled ‘Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiments’ the crankarm is designated its own number and used as the primary component reference.
However throughout the application there is also reference to the device being used with other bicycle transmission components as well as rotating parts such as the freewheel. So while there are clear indications that it's designed to be a crank-based power meter, there is no definitive evidence here either. It’s probably also worth noting that filing a patent doesn’t mean that the intended product will ever see the light of day.
That said, in the on-going battle for groupset dominance, Campagnolo are the only one of the ‘big three’ not to offer a power meter. Instead, Campy users have to rely on third party devices from the likes of Stages and SRM. Given that SRAM now offers a power meter with its most affordable electronic groupset Force eTap AXS, it would be fair to say that the Italians are missing a trick.
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