Reliable cycling power meters can cost upwards of $500 or even $1,000, making them out of reach of most weekend warriors looking to track and improve their performance. Velocomp is trying to change that with its PowerPod, a handlebar-mounted power meter that's expected to retail for US$299.
Weighing in at just 32 g (1.1 oz), the PowerPod is installed below the head stem on your bike, and doesn't require any changes to the hardware on your bike. That means no changes to the crank, pedals, wheels or hubs. Instead, the unit measures your wattage using sensors mounted inside.
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Instead of measuring the force applied to the pedal or crank like a traditional power meter, the PowerPod works out power based on the forces opposing the rider. It uses a combination of accelerometer, altitude and air pressure sensors to measure what the rider is coming up against. The company says that "because opposing forces equal applied forces (Newton's Third Law), PowerPod gets the same result as conventional power meters."
Determined not to join the ever-growing collection of bright ideas that never quite reach series production, Velocomp's latest unit features no moving parts, and the PowerPod's creators claim the sensors and computer components have been tested on the road over the past 11 years.
As it uses ANT+ technology, the company says that the PowerPod can output its measurements to third party cycling computers and pair with other performance sensors, which is reported to take just 5 minutes to pair.
To bring the PowerPod into production, Velocomp has launched a US$50,000 crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. All of the early bird specials have gone, so the lowest pledge level available is $249 for a "Limited Edition" unit. A device with a combined Garmin/PowerPod mount and speed/cadence sensor is pitched at $279.
The campaign runs until September 25 and, if all goes to plan, shipping is expected to start in November. You can see the PowerPod pitch video below.