>> Struggling to get to the shops? Try 6 issues of Cycling Weekly magazine for just £6 delivered to your door <<
A few years ago power meters were all prohibitively expensive, but now they just seem to be getting cheaper by the day. And now a Danish company has produced what we think is the cheapest yet at just $189 (approximately £143), although there are a few terms and conditions that come with that price.
Team Zwatt is effectively crowdsourcing the development of its power meters through Kickstarter, and has smashed its funding goal of £ 77,500 to raise nearly £105,000 with more than a week still to go in the campaign.
Crowdsourcing the development of the power meter means you pay either £143 for the left crank arm Zimanox power meter or £227 for the spider based Zpider power meter, plus a £3.79 monthly subscription fee, and in return you have to share the data from one 30 minute test ride each month through the Zwatt app.
This money and data will then be used to further develop the product and to provide the capital for larger scale manufacturing.
You also won’t have to pay the fee forever, with the payments stopping if you successfully upload rides for two years, and after that time you can still keep your power meter and receive firmware updates.
However Zwatt isn’t going from a standing start with its power meters. The power meters have already been in development for three years, and the team is confident that they already track very accurately with other power meters on the market.
Watch: Critical power – the hardest test you can do on a bike?
The cheaper of the two options is the Zimanox power meter (which appears to be very similar to the Stages power meter used by Team Sky). This left cranks arm based power meter estimates your total power by doubling the output of your left leg, and for the moment will be available in 172.5mm length and be compatible with Shimano cranksets.
The other option currently available is the Zpider power meter which is located at the crank spider and will measure your power more accurately as it takes power data from your left and right legs separately. This also means that it can track your left/right power balance.
Zwatt has also just achieved ANT+ certification for its power meters, which is an important step as it means that they will be compatible with ANT+ head units such as those in the Garmin Edge range.
Both of the power meters are charged using a magnetic USB cable with battery life of between 200 and 250 hours.