THE BEST POWER METER PEDALS
Power meter pedals joined with dedicated training can give cycling enthusiasts one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to get faster. Or, they can help you choose and enjoy your Zwift group and individual rides better no matter how fast you are. If you simply want more useful data about your riding performance, power meter pedals will also do that very effectively.
With most models now on their second or third generation, the price, set-up requirements, and reliability of the best power meter pedals have significantly improved. There don’t appear to be any game-changing technologies or approaches on the way that would greatly diminish or obsolete their functionality or benefit compared to other ways of measuring your power.
If you’ve been thinking about how to raise your performance level or become more attuned to how well you are doing on your bike, this post will lead you through one of your best power meter options and recommend the best power meter pedals to help do it.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
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POWER METER PEDAL RECOMMENDATIONS
If you want a full-function power meter that’s the easiest to install on any road bike or move between them, is reasonably priced, and you don’t have knee, hip or preference concerns, pedals with built-in power meters are your best option.
Among the proven power meter pedals, I recommend the Favero Assioma because of its lower price and higher reliability compared to the models from Garmin, Powertap, and SRM. The Assioma is not widely available but you can get it through this link from Power Meter City, one of my top-ranked online stores, and at Clever Training, another store I recommend.
Most enthusiasts only need the Assioma UNO, the $415 pedal set with the power sensor in the left pedal. If you know or believe there is a significant difference in the power you put out between your left and right legs or you want to measure and analyze all the data you can from a power meter, the $650 Assioma DUO has sensors in both pedals and is the best choice among dual-sided power meter pedals.
As you can read in my power meter pedal comparisons below, you don’t get meaningfully better accuracy, consistency, or metrics from the other power meter pedal options – the Garmin Vector 3, Powertap P2 or SRM EXAKT – than you do from the Favero Assioma. Depending on the model, they will also cost you $100 to $650 more than the Assioma and are less reliable (Garmin, SRM), use disposable batteries (Powertap, Garmin), or require a complicated set-up (SRM).
All of these power meter pedals use LOOK Keo style pedals. If you have an unshakable preference for Shimano’s nearly indestructible road pedals or Speedplay’s fit-customizable lollypops or TIME’s distinctly designed blades, you won’t find a power meter with your desired pedal platform. Instead, a crank arm power meter will be the best option based on price and ease of installation and allow you to use whatever pedal you wish.
PURPOSE IS KEY TO GETTING BENEFIT FROM A POWER METER
In the mid-2000s when power meters were first sold to road cyclists, they were the expensive tools of elite racers and personal coaches. These power meter suppliers, racers, and coaches were true innovators, working to better understand the relationships between power and performance and, in the process, developed power meter gear, measurements, and training techniques to make riders faster.
That innovation continued in multiple directions for a decade. By my count, the number of companies selling proven power meters increased from 3 in 2006 to 14 by 2016. The range of locations where power meters could take measurements expanded from either the hub or crankset spider in 2006 to include the crank arm, pedal, bottom bracket spindle, or handlebars ten years later.
By the end of that period, a great many new or existing companies had entered the power meter business, some were acquired by established cycling industry or power meter companies, and a few newer players were beginning to drive everyone’s prices down.
Simpler, less costly products based on the same application of power meter strain gauge technology were commercialized into newer products, a wider range of metrics was created, ANT+ and evolving Bluetooth communication protocols became dominant, while Garmin head units and the TrainingPeaks software platform became the most widely used display and analysis tools.
The number of coaches and range of training approaches expanded to advise a larger group of professional and amateur racers but also those regular cycling enthusiasts (like me) who enjoyed trying out new technology.
In the terminology of the Rogers Adoption Curve, the early to mid-2010s was the period when Early Adopters got into power meters. Between a power meter, head unit, subscription analysis service, training plan or a coach, Early Adopters invested serious money and time to determine how to improve our speed from training informed by power meter measurements and advised by a coach or plan to meet our cycling goals.
The primary purpose of buying a power meter was to improve fitness, speed, and performance in different riding situations (hills, sprints, races, endurance rides, etc.). I went through that process and wrote up this section on how I train with a power meter back in 2016. My training program and results are a lot better now and I’ve changed out my head unit and tested a ton of power meters since then but the approach to training with power is more or less the same.
In the second half of the 2010s, we’ve seen the equivalent of a “selection” in the power meter marketplace.
Power meter suppliers and products rose and fell based on user preference, prices across most power meters dropped considerably from the $1000-$2500 power meter purchase price, and power meter metrics and training approach converged around ones that more cyclists could easily interpret and do something with to achieve our goals.
Now, with lower-priced power meters, simpler installation and set up, better information to help choose proven ones, and a better understanding of enthusiasts can use them to their benefit, more cyclists are buying them.
We are now in the Early Majority stage when risk-averse users are adopting power meters. And in this stage, according to discussions with fellow enthusiasts using power meters and those selling them, improving speed and performance is no longer the only or even the primary reason we cyclists use power meters.
With Zwift becoming the individual and group ride of choice for many mid-week and weather-bound enthusiasts, knowing your functional threshold power or FTP and your power-to-weight ratio has become the best way to pick the right group to ride with and both enjoy and challenge yourself.
Some are buying smart trainers with built-in power measurement for this purpose. But, power meters attached to your bike allow you to measure and compare yourself both on an indoor platform like Zwift and out on the road with your riding buddies in group rides, races and distance events or when you ride individually. Along with that comes the measurement consistency and confidence you get from using the same power measuring tool regardless of whether you are riding indoors or on the road.
Cycling enthusiasts are also being drawn to power meters to more effectively measure and manage how much energy we use at different points of a ride, far better than we would by looking merely at our speed, heart rate or considering our RPE or rate of perceived exertion.
For example, we can pace to a power level we know we can maintain during a ride or for specific sections of it, like going up a big climb or for long rolling terrain to “save enough matches” for all the hard efforts we’ll need over the course of the entire ride.
So now, along with or instead of using a power meter principally for the purpose of improving your speed or performance as part of a training block or plan, many of us will use one to ride with the right Zwift group and better manage our efforts, performance or endurance and enjoyment for specific events or long road rides.
Regardless of your purpose, and all of these are valid in my experience, it’s important that you have one or several of these in mind to get the most benefit from using a power meter.
WHEN A POWER METER IN YOUR PEDALS IS THE RIGHT CHOICE
When I evaluate power meters, I look at four sets of criteria.
Performance – Accuracy, consistency, torque zeroing, temperature compensation/calibration, and battery life.
Design – Measurement location(s), compatibility, ease of installation and transferability, battery type, interface with cycling computers and measurement software/application, ease of use, start-up, unit weight, firmware update-ability, and communication protocol (ANT+ or Bluetooth or both).
Quality – Product maturity, durability/maintenance/build quality, reliability, dealer/parts/service infrastructure and support, repair service, warranty, service life, and company long term viability.
Cost – Unit purchase cost net of any new or removed computer, cranks, crankset spider, wheels or sensors to make the PM functional in your existing or planned bike/wheels/chainset set-up(s), and any installation, maintenance or service costs as measured in your currency, amount of hassle or lost time using your power meter.
Comparing Types of Power Meters
When comparing power meter pedals against the types of power meters that go on your cranks or in your chainset or at other places on your bike, I start by looking to see if there are any significant performance differences.
For the most part, and certainly for the purposes that most road cycling enthusiasts use power meters, you won’t get better or worse performance from one type of direct force power meter vs. another.
I wouldn’t include power meters that you put on your handlebars that use air resistance to compute power in that comparison. I also acknowledge there are a few stinkers sold that don’t perform as well as most of the others but not because of the type of power meter they are.
People also focus on accuracy (usually quoted between 1% and 2%) more so than is meaningful. They also argue that some locations give you a more accurate reading of your power because it is closer to where the power is being produced (e.g. pedal vs. hub), how well it captures the true output of your power throughout your pedaling stroke (cranks and chainsets vs others), how many strain gauges can be placed in a given type of power meter (more in cranks and chainsets), and other reasons.
For me, these are engineering and marketing debates rather than ones that affect the performance and measures most road cycling enthusiasts need from a power meter.
Accuracy within 2% is good enough for most enthusiasts. Consistency from ride to ride is most important and built in temperature compensation/calibration is essential and commonplace among most of the better power meters. The ability to easily do a zero-offset before each ride is key. Getting at least a month or about 1000 miles of battery life is also a key performance measure.
The Favero, Garmin and Powertap power meter pedals, as do most of the established power meters that go on your cranks, chainset and rear hub, meet those performance marks.
However, if you want a full-function power meter that’s the easiest to install on any road bike or move between them, is reasonably priced, and you don’t have knee or hip issues, pedals with a built-in power meter are your best option.
With that bar cleared, net cost (which is more than just price – see above) and the ease of installation and transfer between bikes are the next important selection criteria to consider. Reliability is critically important. Finally, your preference is always important.
While I’ll get into other reasons for and against power meter pedals below, the biggest reason for not using them would be if you have a strong preference for a pedal other than the LOOK KEO style pedal used in all of the power meter pedals.
Shimano’s Dura Ace, Ultegra, and 105 SPD SL road pedals are the biggest sellers and for good reason. Price, simplicity, maintenance, and durability are all superior to other road peds.
LOOK KEO pedals are more similar in function and design if not in performance to Shimano road pedals, at least compared to Speedplay and TIME pedals.
The good news is that the durability and stability of the LOOK KEO style power meter pedals and cleats are better than just the pedals made by LOOK themselves. The Favero, Powertap, and Garmin power meter pedal bodies seem to be higher quality and the cleats made for the Favero and Powertap power meters are more durable than the LOOK KEO cleats themselves.
They still aren’t as maintenance-free or durable as the Shimano SPD SL road pedals and cleats but they aren’t bad and a perfectly good option if you use Shimano now. If you are willing to clean and change out the cleats a little more frequently than you do with your Shimano SPD SL pedals, I think most Shimano pedal users will find the LOOK KEO style power meter pedals easy to adopt and quite acceptable.
Note, Shimano makes an underperforming, overpriced power meter that integrates into their chainset. They don’t make power meter pedals and there is no talk or even rumor of them doing so.
If you use Speedplay pedals, it’s likely that you have had knee issues that are relieved by the wide range of float adjustment the pedals provide or your lack of hip flexibility benefits from the longer spindles you can get with their pedals that you can’t get with others. For me, it’s both my right knee and left hip that caused my fitter to insist that I get them.
There’s really no other reason to go with Speedplay. They are at least half again the price of Shimano and LOOK pedals and require a lot of maintenance both in the pedal and the cleats.
If you bought them because you can clip in on both sides, you’ve been had. A properly-greased Speedplay will not spin to give you access to both sides. Further, Shimano SPD SL and LOOK KEO pedals (and power meter pedals) are weighted such that the side of the pedal you clip into should always be up.
When Wahoo bought Speedplay, there was speculation a Speedplay power meter pedal was a likely outcome. It might be, but as I tweeted on the day of the sale, don’t count on it any time soon.
If you prefer TIME pedals, please let me know why. While they look good, my testing and all my research suggest they are inferior to the point that I don’t recommend even considering them.
The other preference worth considering is left or single-sided vs. dual-sided power measurement. As I’ve written above, unless there is a significant difference in the power you put out between your left and right legs or you want to analyze all the data you can from a power meter, you don’t need to use a dual-side power meter on your bike.
I’d always used a single-sided power meter. Then I broke my left femur in a few places and created a lot of muscle trauma for my IT band. After recovering and doing my PT, I got the right side power meter that went with my left because I was convinced the left leg was going to be weaker and my vanity told me I wanted the highest total power reading I could get.
Turns out, my “imbalance” was typically 48%-52% or 49%-51%. 1 to 2% difference. But the left leg that I broke wasn’t always the weaker one. Sometimes the 48% or 49% was the right leg power. Perhaps my rehab had strengthened the left leg in a way that caused it to perform differently on some types of terrain or at different places on a course than others. Or maybe my fitter adjusted things to minimize the difference. Or maybe there was essentially no difference and 1% or 2% was within the power meter’s left-right balance accuracy range.
Who knows. After thinking about it way too much for way too long, I seldom look at that left-right balance anymore. It just doesn’t matter. Instead, when my testing or riding causes me to go back and forth between a couple of bikes often during a stretch of time, I’ll put the left power meter on one bike and leave the right one on the other.
The Favero Assioma, Garmin Vector 3, and SRM EXAKT give you the option of single or independent dual-sided power measurement. The Powertap P2 only has a dual-side option.
Several power meter cranks give you both options. Power meter chainsets use an algorithm to calculate your left and right leg power but don’t measure them independently though they come pretty close in my experience. If you prefer true independent left-right measurement and are willing to pay about 55% to 75% more for it, power meter pedals (except the Powertap) give you that option.
Note that if you are big into Zwift, the app gives you overall power but does not give you left-right power or balance information. You need to rely on your Wahoo or Garmin head unit for those metrics.
Installation and Transfer
Power meter pedals are the easiest of all power meter types to install. With the exception of the SRM (which I’ll get to in my reliability comparison discussion below), you merely hand screw them into your cranks as you would any set of pedals, synch them down with an 8mm hex wrench (or a pedal wrench for the Garmin), and you’re done. You don’t need to torque them to a specific level or calibrate them (again, except the SRM).
Here’s a demonstration.
As with any other power meter, you then pair it to your head unit if it’s your first time using the power meter, set your pedal lengths and make whatever other setting adjustments you want. Clip-in, ride for a few hundred yards/meters, zero-offset and off you go.
If you have more than one bike, power meter pedals are also the easiest to transfer. Loosen them with the wrench, unscrew them, and put them on your other bike.
Unlike seemingly every other bike component, any set of pedals can screw into any crankset regardless of brand or model. It takes two minutes tops and most of that time is usually taken finding and putting away your wrench and then cleaning any grease off your hands.
For some, the ease of installation and transfer is one of the top two or three reasons for picking one type of power meter over another.
When considering what a power meter costs, you should look at both its purchase price and any costs associated with adding it to your bike and riding plans.
A purchase price comparison is pretty straightforward. Power meter pedals with the sensor on just the left side pedal retail from $415 (Favero Assioma) to $600 (Garmin Vector 3) to $750 (SRM EXAKT). If you want power meter pedals with sensors in both, you are looking at $650 (Favero Assioma), $900 (Powertap P2), $1000 (Garmin Vector 3), and $1300 (SRM EXAKT).
Single or left-side crankarm power meters price out at $450-$650 for the current generation, more common 105 R7000, Ultegra R8000, and Dura Ace R9100 Shimano models. This range is similar to the purchase price of the left-side sensor power meter pedals. If you have an older crankset, you can get often find an older crankarm power meter to match it for $50 to $100 less but it might also have an older generation sensor, enclosure or attachment process.
Left-side crankarm power meters made for SRAM, Campagnolo, and Cannondale go for $600-$900. Those for FSA run in the $550-$650 range.
Dual-side crankarm power meters for Shiman cranksets run $800 for the 105, $1000 for the Ultegra and $1300 for the Dura Ace. That’s a bit more than using dual-sided power meter pedals.
You can have power meter sensors added to your existing crank arms for many common models. This will cost $400 for the left and $750 for the left and right. Those amounts are a small discount compared to power meter pedals and crankarms for the left side and about $250 off for both the left and right, with the exception of the Favero Assioma dual-sided power meter, which is still less at $650.
You won’t find many (any?) dual-sided crankarm power meters for other brands of cranksets. If you’ve got a SRAM, Campagnolo, Specialized, FSA, Cannondale, Rotor or another crankset and you don’t want your left side power doubled to compute your power, you’ve got a range of options.
If you’ve got one of those models, only power meter pedals will give you independently measured left and right power. Using either a spider, crankset, spindle or hub power meter, you get your overall power measured. In some cases, you can get an algorithm-generated estimate (rather than actual measurement) of your left-right balance from spider, crankset and spindle power meter.
Spiders, depending on what brand and model of crankset they are designed for, will range from $500 to $1000. Power meter cranksets will start in the higher end of that range with most pricing out at less than $1500 but can also run to over $2000. Of course, if you are building a bike and don’t already have a crankset, buying one with a power meter in it will save you that cost.
Spindle power meters ($500 for the spindle, $1000 as part of the crankset) go in the bottom bracket of a crankset, are unique to each crankset and are only made for a few, less well-established cranksets (e.g. Easton). Hub power meters, long made only by Powertap, can be built into the rear wheel of most any wheelset, run $500 for rim brake wheels and $600 for disc brake ones.
As you hopefully can begin to see, there can be added costs involved in buying some power meters. If you aren’t comfortable changing out your crank arms or crankset or putting a spider on it, you can have some installation costs.
Most enthusiasts won’t build their own wheels and many who do will have multiple wheels. So you’ll need a power meter for each wheelset or plan to use power on only one of them.
If you only plan to own one wheelset and are good with the relatively fewer wheelset options that you can build up with a hub power meter compared to those available without one, a hub power meter is a competitively priced choice assuming you don’t have to pay much more to have it built into your wheelset.
If you already have a crankset or wheels that you weren’t planning to change out anytime soon, buying a power meter that forces you to replace them gives you a sunk cost to add to the overall tally. Of course, you could sell this gear to help defray the cost of your power meter.
Bikes don’t come with pedals and Ultegra level pedals cost no more $100. That’s the least sunk cost of any power meter option.
When you net it all out and depending on the specific models you chose, power meter pedals along with crankarms are generally two of the lowest cost types of power meters you can buy.
There is nothing I’m aware of that makes a power meter more or less reliable or durable than another based on where it is on your bike. Some brands and models are more or less reliable but that has more to do with the design and manufacturing of the power meter rather than what component the power meter is built into or attached to on your bike.
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COMPARE PRICES, PERFORMANCE, AND FEATURES
As I wrote in my recommendations at the top of this review, the price and reliability of the Favero Assioma make it the clear winner among power meter pedals. It is available using this link from Power Meter City, a store I recommend very highly for its outstanding independent customer satisfaction ratings and competitive pricing, and at Clever Training, another store I recommend.
It’s certainly worth knowing how each of the power meter pedals do on the other performance, design, and quality criteria I use to evaluate and choose which to recommend. I’ll go through those in the discussion below.
Safe to say, they perform similarly enough on most of the other measures. On those where there are some differences, there isn’t enough of a practical effect to make the case that you should buy something other than the Assioma.
Below I go through the differences that matter, the ones that don’t and the criteria where there is no difference between these power meter pedals.
Differences That Lead to My Recommendation
PRICE – There are significant price differences for products that for all practical purpose perform equivalently. Below you can see the brands in order of increasing price. The dual-sided model is listed first for each brand.
Powertap P2 – $900, £800, €925
Powertap does not offer a single-sided model
Available through these links to Competitive Cyclist, Power Meter City 10% off w/code ITK10, Clever Training, Amazon, Chain Reaction Cycles, Wiggle
Garmin Vector 3 – $1000, £790, €915
Garmin Vector 3S – $600, £400, €510
Available through these links to Competitive Cyclist, Power Meter City, Clever Training, Amazon, Merlin, Tredz, Chain Reaction Cycles, Wiggle
SRM EXAKT Dual – $1299
SRM EXAKT Single – $749
Available through this link to Power Meter City 10% off w/code ITK10
RELIABILITY – As best as I can tell from all the user forums and reviews I’ve read and from the retailers I’ve spoken with, there are absolutely no reliability issues with the Favero and Powertap power meter pedals.
That’s not the case with the Garmin. With the current Vector 3 model, similar to the problems with the Vector 2, there are reliability issues that plague some users. The problem originates with the battery doors or caps and how well the connections are made between the batteries and the door and pedal contacts. Users with the problem see dropouts, low readings, random readings, or no readings at all.
Many say they’ve never had this issue and others say this is no longer an issue with Vector 3. I respect their experience and hope it’s not an issue if you own one. Unfortunately, I’ve seen in forums and heard from retailers enough credible reports to know this is still an issue for some.
While Garmin is reportedly very responsive (a replacement typically within a week), the solution ranges from replacing the doors to replacing the pedals to replacing them multiple times. Beyond not being able to train with power for some number of rides, you can lose confidence that the “fixed” or replaced Vector is showing the right readings.
The SRM EXAKT has a different type of reliability issue. Because its installation requires such a level of a) effort and b) precision, it’s not likely you’ll always get it right. And if I can’t get it right, the data is not going to be reliably consistent, no matter how high a level of accuracy they claim.
If you plan to move your EXAKT pedals between bikes, you may get better at the whole process. But, since installation still requires the same level of a) effort and b) precision, I don’t think the data will become any more reliable and may actually become less consistent.
Little effort and no precision is required in the setup of the Favero, Powertap2, and Garmin. You screw in the pedals and tighten slightly. No torque measurement needed.
BATTERIES – When it comes to powering your power meter pedals, I take both battery life and battery type into consideration.
By the numbers, it looks like the Garmin Vector 3’s claimed 120-150 hours of battery life and SRM EXACT’s 100 hours significantly outlast the manufacturer claims for the Powertap P2 (80 hours) and Favero Assioma (50 hours).
But, for my riding and I think for most road cycling enthusiasts, even the Favero with its 50 hours of battery life is more than enough between charges. I don’t see a lot of benefit from having 2 or 3 times that battery life.
I ride 10-12 hours a week. When I tested the Favero, I got a little over a month between power meter charges. While I know my electronic shifting Di2 battery lasts longer, I recharge it at the beginning of every month just so I don’t have to ever wonder or worry about when I last charged it.
My GPS head unit and front and rear lights don’t last nearly as long. They get plugged in every Sunday after a week of riding or on Friday if I’ve got a century ride or longer event planned for that weekend.
I consider battery type more important than battery life. For me, plugging a USB cord into your power meter to recharge it, as you do with the Favero and SRM is easy and hassle-free. Buying and keeping batteries around and replacing them, AAAs for the Powertap and the less common LR44 button cells for the Garmin is a bit more of a hassle. And, as I wrote above, replacing batteries and problems with battery doors and contacts has created reliability issues for some Garmin Vector users.
While not as important as price or reliability, the simplicity of merely plugging in the pedals nudges the Favero further ahead of Powertap’s or Garmin’s power meter pedals.
Differences That Don’t Matter in Practical Use or My Recommendation
ACCURACY – Garmin and Favero quote +/- 1% whereas Powertap and SRM claim +/-1.5%. That’s a difference of +/- 1 watt if you are putting out 200 watts, or +/-2 watts at 400 watts. I’m not going to notice that, certainly not relative to all the other ways I can save a lot more watts in a dozen different ways.
Yes, you can get super geeky on me and refer me to reviews that compare these power meters and others and in different situations to show some measurable differences. Some of these pedals report power readings a little higher or lower overall or smooth differently or react faster or slower under acceleration.
I’ve looked at this kind of data and I admire and appreciate the heck out of Ray and some of the others that create it. It’s interesting data but in the end, the differences are not ones that will matter to most enthusiast-level riders or will affect your training and riding and Zwifting.
Except for the SRM EXAKT power meter pedals. If you haven’t already eliminated them for their price and reliability, you can now do so for their lack of consistency. Ray’s tests show that their readings compared against other power meters tested along side them are inconsistent over multiple tests.
CONSISTENCY – While it is important that your power meter provides accurate readings, it is far more important that those readings be consistent from ride to ride for the same level of effort. In other words, I care less that my power meter may read slightly high or low or the same compared to others than I do that it is consistently high or low or the same.
If your power meter is consistent, you can compare your performance and improvement over time. If it’s not, then you really don’t know how you are doing relative to your training plan or goals or where you best slot in with your fellow Zwift riders or whether you are getting any faster on a given course you may regularly ride to test yourself.
Independent tests done by Ray have shown that, with the exception of the EXAKT, each of these power meter pedals are consistent.
This is probably as good a time as any to remind you that you want to zero-offset your power meter at the beginning of each ride, regardless of the type of you are using. If you don’t, there’s no guarantee that it will read consistently with the last time you used it.
Zero-offset is an easy process for most power meters. Put your bike outside for a few minutes for it to come to ambient temperature while you put on your shoes, helmet, etc. Turn on your head unit, wake up the power meter by moving whatever it’s attached to, move the power meters into position if one is prescribed, and push the zero-offset button on your head unit. Within a few seconds the zero-offset is done and off you go on your ride.
If it is the first ride since you transferred your power meter from another bike or you didn’t have a chance to put it outside for a few minutes before you jumped on, ride it for a few hundred yards/meters to make sure everything is on tight and at temperature and then do your zero-offset.
BLUETOOTH APP PAIRING – Because of the number of available channels, Zwift and other live app platforms using Bluetooth only pair with your power meter across one channel. Since the independent left and right leg power meters use two channels, Favero, Garmin, and SRM have each come up with a way to combine the power from each pedal’s sensor and send it over one channel rather than doubling the power of one of your channels. Powertap doesn’t.
WEIGHT – We have all had it drilled into our heads that weight matters when choosing between cycling components. Weight does matter to your speed and performance when you are talking about hundreds of grams of difference and after you consider other factors like your own weight, your bike weight, getting proper rest and nutrition, your position on the bike, and a half dozen other things. (See my list and explanation of the top 10 ways to ride faster on your road bike for more.)
There are weight differences between these power meter pedals. The Assiomas are 150 grams/pedal. Compared to the Asssioma, the EXAKT weighs 5 grams/pedal more, the Vector 11 grams/pedal more, and the EXAKT 49 grams/pedal more.
That amount of weight difference doesn’t matter.
Don’t believe it? Watch this TrainerRoad video that analyzed the effect of 80 grams of difference in shoe weight.
CLEATS – With the exception of the SRM EXACT, none use a pedal body made by LOOK in their power meters. Garmin and SRM use the standard KEO cleats made by LOOK. Favero and Powertap use KEO cleats made by Xpedo which users report are more durable than those made by LOOK. Clean and replace them as necessary and you shouldn’t have an issue.
STACK HEIGHT – For shoes, stack height is essentially the combined thickness of your insole and outsole or the distance between the bottom of your foot and the top of your pedal. It’s important to know so that you can adjust your seat up or down a millimeter or two if you get a new set of shoes that have a slightly thinner or thicker combination of soles.
Pedal stack height works much the same way. It is measured from the height from the center of your pedal spindle to the top of the pedal body where it meets your shoe. The Favero measures 10.5mm, Vector 12.5mm, and PowerTap 14mm.
Again these are differences that don’t matter to your performance once you adjust your seat height to accommodate for it.
It’s also good to know what unpowered pedals you are moving from so you can figure out a net stack height difference from your unpowered to powered pedals. In order of stack height, they are Speedplay Zero 8.5mm without an adapter, Speedplay Zero 11.5mm with a 3-hole adapter, Shimano SPD SL 13.7 mm, LOOK KEO 17.1mm. The TIME pedals vary widely.
Note that if you are getting single or left-sided power meter pedals, you will get a right pedal and cleat with it that has the same pedal body and stack height. It just won’t have a power meter sensor installed in it. (Sorry, I should have mentioned that earlier.)
AESTHETICS – The Powertap’s taller stack height and greater weight cause some to say it looks “chunky”. The pod on the inside of the Favero gets others to comment that it looks “odd.” I don’t know what is said about the Garmin or EXAKT.
These are subjective views that don’t make any practical difference to the performance of these power meter pedals.
CYCLING METRICS – Garmin’s Cycling Dynamics is a suite of proprietary measures that provide additional information about your pedaling and power performance. They include metrics like right-left balance, pedal smoothness, torque effectiveness, seated/standing time, power phase, platform center offset.
While you may find some of these measures interesting and you can see them in real-time on your Garmin head unit or TrainerRoad app, there’s not a whole lot you can really do with them. It’s not used in any prescriptive fashion by standard training program providers like TrainerRoad, Sufferfest, and FasCat Coaching or on Zwift.
None of these plans or platforms are telling you, for example to work on getting your right-left balance within a certain range or how much time you should spend seated vs. standing. Some individual coaches may see some benefit in using them to get you to develop a more efficient pedal stroke and the Training Peaks WKO4 platform records these metrics for them to use if your power meter captures and uploads them.
Garmin opened up this suite of metrics to other power meter makers and developers. Favero has adopted it under their IAV Cycling Dynamics branding. Powertap and SRM have not. I’m not other companies that make power meters for other locations on the bike that are using these metrics.
OVAL RING COMPATIBILITY – Some cyclists use oval rings to improve the effectiveness of their power stroke. Chris Froome is one of the more famous proponents. Oval rings can play havoc with power measurement. Favero and Powertap claim to have developed approaches to get correct power readings from oval rings. I’ve not seen any independently developed data that verifies this.
Finally, here are the important things they all do.
- AUTO START when you begin pedaling
- AUTO ZERO-OFFSET through your head unit or phone
- AUTOMATIC TEMPERATURE COMPENSATION during each ride
- CADENCE TRANSMISSION to your head unit
- USE SMARTPHONE APP for settings and performance metrics
- PEDAL/CLEAT ENGAGEMENT RANGE to allow for the right level of clip in/out tension
- LOW BATTERY WARNING sent to your head unit
That’s it. Thank you for reading. Please let me know what you think of anything I’ve written or ask any questions you might have in the comment section below.
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