Pioneer Improves & Simplifies Power Meters, Keeps All the Tech
In 2012, consumer electronics giant Pioneer debuted their Cyclocomputer power meter system. It was a high tech watt measuring device that produced some interesting data points, but the design was a bit cumbersome and the initial installation procedure wasn’t ideal. Full details on are in our interview from last spring.
Now, they’ve completely revamped the design, making it not only much, much easier to install, but also more streamlined, lighter and just better all around.
The distinct 360º torque measurement for left and right legs remains, as do all the other important tech features, but the parts themselves slim down. Two strain gauges, one for each crank arm, are slimmer and now fit both Ultegra and Dura-Ace (latest 9000 and 6800 models only). The transmitter now secures to the spider with bolts rather than zip ties (thank goodness!), and there’s no longer a proprietary bottom bracket and ring to measure cadence and such. Instead, you simply use a magnetic patch on the frame. Altogether, it not only adds compatibility with a lower priced crankset, it fits more frames, too.
The transmitter now clamps itself into place, and everything’s factory installed rather than having a bike shop secure the strain gauges to the arms. While there are plenty of competent shops out there, that sales method left too much margin for error…simply unacceptable on equipment at this price point. Now, it’s sold as a complete crankset, which means you’ll need to buy an entire crankset. Plan ahead on that if you’re upgrading your drivetrain.
The cranks will hold three parts: Two strain gauges bonded to the insides of each crank arm and the transmitter in the spider (red). The gauges analyze the pedal stroke using six independent sensors (three located on each side of the crank). At every 30 degrees of each rotation, it captures power, force direction and torque location. It’s all then sent via ANT+ to the computer.
Price for the Dura-Ace model is $1,850 and Ultegra is $1,550. Battery life for the parts is up to 120 hours. Options include:
To read the data, you’ll need the SGX-CA500 Cycle-Computer, which retails for $300:
The new computer is less expensive than the original, and it’s 58% smaller and 65% lighter. It downgrades to a black-and-white screen rather than full color but still shows all the data, including a sweet left-versus-right power balance in full circles. And it maintains touchscreen functionality!
No more guessing where your dead spots are thanks to Force Vector measurement, which is the real secret sauce of Pioneer’s system. That said, it’ll read power data from any ANT+ power meter, it just won’t display all the various rotational data. It should, however, still capture left/right data from pedal-based systems (and other things that may come) which capture it.
Other features it can read and display include left and right power output, pedaling stroke efficiency, power loss, force vector analysis, torque, cadence, heart rate, GPS positioning, speed, distance, elevation gain/loss, barometric pressure, ambient temperature and more. It’ll display up to nine of those points at once, and you can customize six screens to your liking. On top of all that, it can save six bike profiles and 4-gigabytes of memory for ride data. It’s IPX 6 and 7 certified water resistant. Battery life is 12 hours.
Lastly, there’s built in WiFi, letting it wirelessly communicate with your the Cyclo-Sphere program on your computer for post-ride data uploads.
Cyclo-Sphere is a free online training software that pulls all that data together in more ways than you can imagine. As in, 200 data points, so you won’t have any more excuses.