Whether you’re an exercise fanatic, have just recently started exercising, or just want to help the environment, cycling is a great activity for just about anyone. One of the factors with cycling is to understand the necessary gear and equipment you should (or could) be using. We’ll dive into a bit of detail about power meters in case you are interested in taking your cycling to the next level.
How to choose the best cycling power meter is a complex matter, but it is also fairly easy to do once one has a clear idea of what kind of power meter they would best benefit from. A casual cyclist who simply wants to get in better shape with the assistance of their trusty smart phone, likely does not need the same cycling power meter as a serious amateur athletics competitor looking to go deeper into the world of bicycling competition. Knowing what you want and how to get there is the most important element of choosing various cycling power meters and one should be very aware of that going into it.
The first thing to consider is, as mentioned above, what you actually need. If you are not planning to get involved in intense cycling competitions, you likely do not need an incredibly accurate, down to the last decimal place power meter. Most commercially available power meters are focused more on casual cyclists looking to go a bit deeper into the sport without becoming intense contenders, making these power meters far more readily available. If you want to get in better shape or are just curious about what you can do, these uncomplicated devices are likely your best bet. Conversely, if you are serious about becoming a cycling competition competitor and need to know extremely accurate measurements of the slight degrees of change in your performance on your bicycle, it will likely be a good idea to get a more accurate, more advanced power meter that can measure the small degrees that make massive differences in a serious cycling race.
Another element to consider is the output of that data. Many power meters on the lower end of the scale come with built in output devices that allow you to get a read on your performance, but little else. Other, more advanced models are capable of connectivity with a wide range of wireless devices. The most popular are the ever present smart phones, usually for the Android operating system, though many higher end models are also built around Apple’s iPhone and its operating system. Others are connected to specific types of wearable technology that are intended to interact not just with your cycling power, but to show that data alongside a wide range of other statistics, ranging from speed, heart rate and calories burned. The most advanced software and data out put systems are intended to work well with wearable health technology to provide a broader picture of one’s performance while on the road.
Finally, there is the matter of price, particularly in these trying economic times. One should not splurge on technology they do not need and can not easily afford. While those who can afford indulgences may wish to get a more advanced power meter than they actually need, those who are having a hard time with bills and other costs should likely stick to a lower cost, less complicated power meter that can be more easily replaced.