Novel cycling power meter gets underfoot
Serious road cyclists frequently own more than one bike, and they often use power meters. The catch is, power meters are typically attached to the bicycle's crank arm (or even built into it), making it cumbersome to use one device for multiple bikes. Well, ETH Zurich spin-off company Magnes Sports has developed a work-around, in the form of a power meter that's built into the shoe cleat.
Known as the STYX Powermeter, the waterproof device mounts on any type of shoe with the standard three holes in the bottom, and is being made in versions that are compatible with either Shimano SPD-SL or Look Kéo clipless pedals.
The setup actually consists of two power meters/cleats – one for each foot – so readings are obtained from both of the cyclist's legs. Data such as total power output, left/right power balance, cadence, torque efficiency and pedal smoothness are wirelessly transmitted via Bluetooth Smart or ANT+ to a third-party cycling computer or smartphone.
The obvious advantage of such a system is the fact that as long as the cyclist wears the same shoes, they can use the technology on any of their bikes. Because of its unique design, however, the STYX Powermeter is also able to monitor the force distribution on both cleats – in other words, it can tell you if you're pushing more on the inside or outside of the cleat, or if the force is nicely centered.
One charge of each unit's battery should be good for a claimed 15 hours of use. It should also be noted that the cleats feature replaceable rubber knobs on the underside, so those can just be replaced as they wear down from being walked on.
If you're interested in getting a system of your own, it's currently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign. A pledge of €565 (about US$672) will get you a set of the cleats, when and if they reach production. The planned retail price is €1,050 ($1,249).