Bicycles

PowerPod moves power-metering from the cranks to the bars

PowerPod moves power-metering ...
The PowerPod weighs just 32 grams, and is mounted under the handlebars
The PowerPod weighs just 32 grams, and is mounted under the handlebars
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The PowerPod weighs just 32 grams, and is mounted under the handlebars
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The PowerPod weighs just 32 grams, and is mounted under the handlebars
The unit uses ANT+ to share its info, allowing for pairing with third party cycling computers and speed sensors
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The unit uses ANT+ to share its info, allowing for pairing with third party cycling computers and speed sensors
The PowerPod calculates rider power based on opposing forces on the bike
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The PowerPod calculates rider power based on opposing forces on the bike
The PowerPod's prototype circuit board and housing
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The PowerPod's prototype circuit board and housing
The PowerPod requires no modifications to the existing hardware on your bike, it just mounts under the handlebars
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The PowerPod requires no modifications to the existing hardware on your bike, it just mounts under the handlebars
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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.

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.

Sources: PowerPod, Kickstarter

PowerPod power meter for cycling fitness

View gallery - 5 images
4 comments
socalboomer
I wonder if this takes into account the physical mass of the rider. Pushing a 100kg weight up a hill takes more power than pushing a 50kg weight, with all other conditions being the same.
I'm a "Clydesdale" - I weigh, at my fittest, about 120kg. My old roommate weighs about 80kg. It takes him FAR less power to go up a local hill than it does me.
All the rest makes sense and sounds like a great innovation. . .
Eric G
Interesting concept, and I remember thinking the same thing back when I first looked at the Velocomp head units a few years ago. The difference here is they took out the head unit and let you use your own (i.e. Garmin Edge, or other standard head unit).
@socalboomer, It does look like they start out with a default weight but you can also manually enter your weight plus other detail data such as your bodies Coefficient of Drag if you know such data. The beauty of the device is is all this can be calculated by the sensor since it's all just physics. Calculating a persons weight would be fairly easy by just measuring the velocity or acceleration as they roll down a hill. Since the unit is constantly measuring this it's going to have thousands of sample and eventually get closer and closer to your actual weight. This is probably more accurate than stepping on the scale in the morning and expecting it to be the same later in the day on the bike. There is a 5 minute calibration ride that initially collects all this data.
DC rainmaker has a good review of it and has real world comparisons of it to other $1k+ strain gauge power meters.
http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2015/08/first-powerpod-power.html
For the price it looks like a nice product but I want something that works on a trainer and this won't do anything.
BZD
If only it was so simple. There is no way this thing is gonna be accurate. Even if we pretend the thing can get an accurate reading on the wind, which it can't as the wind is not the same on the whole surface, and wind is only part of the story because is the rider sitting upright or in a low position... and then there are all the other factors. Like how is it supposed to measure the mechanical friction in the transmission and bearings, the rolling resistance which depends on the tires, the air pressure, the road surface, weight of bike + rider... I think you'll see better data just using a tracker that logs your pulse, speed and maybe altitude - those will be accurate and not based on estimates like this toy.
habakak
This appears to be a good concept, but I would need it to work on my trainer because that's where I do all my training weekdays during the winter. And even on weekends when there is too much snow or ice on the road and trails. But an entertaining possibility otherwise.