New Watteam PowerBeat Charges Up Left-Right Power Measurement on Any Crankset for $499

watteam powerbeat affordable bicycle power meter for any crankset

Nothing gives power to the people like a power meter that’ll fit any crankset and costs a fraction of competing units. That’s just what Watteam has done, surging to market with their new PowerBeat power meters.

Using a processing unit with built in transmitter wired to a strain gauge, the PowerBeat measures the effort put into each pedal stroke on each side. That means true, independent left and right side measurement. Each side weighs just 24.2g, yet it’s packed with features like dual ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart (LE) data transmission and a combination of strain gauges, gyros and accelerometers. It’s all housed in a weatherproof construction with user replaceable batteries.

The best part? It’ll mount to any crank arm -carbon, alloy, old, new, whatever- and it costs as little as $499…

watteam powerbeat affordable bicycle power meter for any crankset

PowerBeat was designed by engineers with input from former Israeli national cycling team coach Ofir Gal-on, who’s a co-founder of Watteam. The product is developed in Israel, but the company’s based in California.

The parts are small and light, and a bit of electrical tape can keep that wire from ending up anywhere it shouldn’t. Battery life is rated at 360 hours of use.

watteam powerbeat affordable bicycle power meter for any crankset

The unit will also transmit cadence, and all data can be read by any compatible ANT+ or Bluetooth 4.0 cycling computer or smart phone app. They’ll also have their own app for iOS and Android.

Installation and calibration is supposedly extremely easy and can be done anywhere by anyone. They’ll have tutorial videos at launch, which is pegged for Interbike in September. At the moment, they’re finalizing the algorithms and development details, so all they’ll tell us about how exactly it calibrates to any crankset is that you’ll go through a short calibration process during set up.

Another nice feature of the system is that it’ll let you switch it to a new crankset by simply replacing the sensors, which they’ve told us will be inexpensive. As for accuracy, they’re only saying that when ridden simultaneously with a PowerTap rear hub, it’s showing the same power measurement. We’ll grill them more at Interbike. In the meantime, enjoy this video:

Watteam.com

Comments

GrantT - 08/07/14 - 3:21pm

Are they $499 each or for the pair?

Ezra - 08/07/14 - 3:21pm

Im so excited. This is competing at the price point of the iNewton, but without the strange measurements and lack of garmin/strava connectivity. If the first reviews are good, will definitely buy

Jonathan - 08/07/14 - 3:23pm

What’s their distribution plan?

Alexander Ioannidis - 08/07/14 - 3:26pm

Does this system require special pedals like the Garmin Vector?

jeffle - 08/07/14 - 4:14pm

I would love to see a robust mtb version!

SamSkjord - 08/07/14 - 4:17pm

If this is near 2% accurate, SHUTUPANDTAKEMYMONEY.JPG

Rico - 08/07/14 - 4:43pm

Pretty cool to see new options! That wire looks like a potential snag.

Rustydog - 08/07/14 - 4:47pm

Very cool. For that price I’d buy one even though I am not sure if I could REALLY put the data to use making me a better cyclist.
I’m trying to envision what the calibration process would be for something like this. How can it ever be setup to show true wattage? To set a baseline I can see, but how can it be truly calibrated? So many variables; mounting position, crank brands, etc….

A - 08/07/14 - 4:49pm

I only need one leg power just like my Stages , so I can buy a left side for 1/2 the price. Someone wants to split with me ? :)

anonymous - 08/07/14 - 4:51pm

It seems the way to get something close to self-calibrated torque is to put it on a trainer, weigh yourself, input crank length and stand on the pedals.

That would tell it a known torque value.

eadm - 08/07/14 - 5:14pm

Almost any crankset, might have problems sticking it onto the narrow ones, or with a pointed ridge – how wide does the surface have to be

Ben - 08/07/14 - 5:17pm

I can’t wait til DC Rainmaker gets one.

dereksmalls - 08/07/14 - 5:36pm

Make that metal mounting bracket carbon and I’m sold

MaLóL - 08/07/14 - 5:50pm

would be great if they sell just one for 250$. Still, this whole “just stik it to your crank” system is really suspicious. Also looking forward to DC rainmaker to test it.

Gosuckabee - 08/07/14 - 6:11pm

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Lodz - 08/07/14 - 6:36pm

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Psi Squared - 08/07/14 - 6:46pm

The proof will be in the test data. I can’t wait.

Jonathan - 08/07/14 - 6:50pm

They look promising. I have a stages but would love some kind of mountain bike alternative. (deleted)

Jonathan - 08/07/14 - 6:53pm

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Psi Squared - 08/07/14 - 6:56pm

It looks like DCRainmaker is on it: LINK

GrantT - 08/07/14 - 9:00pm

@Psi Squared Thanks for that, looks like it’s $499 for the pair.

Rako - 08/07/14 - 9:33pm

Looks great!
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Joey Brown - 08/07/14 - 9:44pm

Rako +1

phyz - 08/07/14 - 9:45pm

I seriously doubt about the accuracy of this. How does a small device like that measure the strain of a crank arm and derive the power, not knowing what it’s made of, its length, shape, etc. Garmin and Look took forever to try to get it right on pedals and pedals are a much more controlled device. Let us know a bit more about the technology, we might get interested. Or I’d be interested seeing someone compare the results with a SRM, Powertap, etc.

Rako - 08/07/14 - 10:25pm

Thanks Joey!

Brian - 08/08/14 - 5:25am

@phys: As I see it there are three things that makes it possible to make it work as they do with out knowing the specific material characteristics beforehand. 1) One assumes that the material is linear elastic (which is fair for both carbon-epoxy and aluminium), 2) they measure the strain with strain gauges in three directions e.g. 0, 45 and 90 degrees and 3) when calibrating they apply a force for which they know the magnitude and direction.

For the same reasons it seems odd that they do not put stage on carbon cranks. I am guessing they are not comfortable with anisotropic materials or find it hard to mount them properly on the surface.

JasonK - 08/08/14 - 11:59am

Brian, you’re totally right in your response to Phyz. All you need to know is indicated strain values under a number of known loads. The gauges don’t even read out strain directly…they’re usually outputting either a change in voltage or a change in resistance.

Stages doesn’t offer their product on carbon cranks partly because of carbon’s anisotropy, but mostly (IMNSHO) because carbon’s sample-to-sample stiffness variation is enormous. Lots of variables affect the stiffness of a particular carbon crank, especially (a) how carefully the worker who laid it up paid attention to the intended fiber directions, and (b) voids and resin pools resulting from the molding process. These and other factors make it almost impossible to use a single calibration for multiple samples of a particular carbon crank.

But this meter seems to be calibrated upon installation, which is why it’s not necessary for the Powerbeat to know anything about crank shape or material. All it needs to know is a the structural response (strain gage readings) to a given load. This does indeed assume that the material is linear elastic as Brian said.

Strictly speaking, carbon/epoxy parts are linear elastic under some stresses and not others, so it’s not safe to assume linear elastic behavior. For example, most resins exhibit some degree of viscoelasticity, which means that they act stiffer or more flexible depending on how fast the load is applied.

However, Brian is right–a given carbon crank may be close enough to linear elastic to allow this meter to work pretty well. Time will tell.

Joe P - 08/08/14 - 12:59pm

No no, the crank material is irrelevant if you are measuring at the pedal which they are appearing to do? Force at the pedal is simple to measure, the crank and drivetrain and everything else would have to go into play to calculate the force at the ground, but realistically that is not why we measure wattage. Wattage is a measurement of input power from the rider, rear wheel wattage is best measured in MPH :-)

JayCee - 08/09/14 - 1:30pm

Not a particularly good time to be linking your company with Israel. I wonder how quickly that will disappear from their press releases.

In any case we are talking about bikes here, not aerospace or NASA. All this talk of viscoelasticity and anisotropic materials is all well and good but in the realms of the power outputs of the average Fred using this kind of doohickey a reasonable margin of error is going to have a negligible effect on its overall useful accuracy. And you gets what you pays for.

Ronin - 08/10/14 - 11:37am

If this is so good, and so cheap, why are others so expensive?

Does a power meter for the masses mean it’s not pro level?

Vassiliy - 08/11/14 - 12:36am

great news for amateur cyclists who don’t need insane accuracy. For that price tag and compatibility with almost eveything I could accept even lower accuracy.
until now, every power meter on the market required some tradeoff, rather a specific spider, or cranks (like there is no Stages pm for SISL2 cranks) or pedals. Now we can use our favourite setups.
My concerns are quality and toubleless use. Let’s wait for real-world reviews.

adam - 08/11/14 - 12:22pm

I was going to buy the Pioneer crank this Friday because it looked awesome and affordable. I may now have to wait. I knew free market capitalism was good for something!

SnowyV - 08/12/14 - 1:44pm

Strain Gauges are what they are (They measure Strain).

Like others above have stated it’s the other variables that have to be taken into account to spit out an accurate Power figure to a display or database.

A strain gauge doesn’t know where it is but it knows what it experiences in terms of the strain placed upon it.

My gut feeling is the calibration process for this device is going to be a tad more involved than other power measuring gadgets out there if accurate results are to be experienced. That might include applying accurate known masses on each crank arm, at various positions throughout various positions of a 360 degree crank rotation.

I too am also eager to see how this product compares to other products that also claim to measure power and be within 2% accuracy.

Regarding Israel being a sensitive subject area at the moment then I have to agree with that. I also have to say that when it comes to high tech stuff then Israel doesn’t mess about, as they are no clowns in that arena. Israel’s tech on a bike that is VFM I would have no problem with.
The price is about right-ish (for the over interested cycling man in the street) for a not so complicated engineering want, that all companies at the moment that supply the cycling boom exploit.

I was heart set on Garmin Vector for my next purchase due to the option of having to be able to transfer pedals ‘n’ pods from bike to bike. If $50 per extra bike maps out to be correct then I can live with that. Garmin was paining me by having to use ‘Look Keo’ type pedals and the required cleats on all my shoes and bikes to make them interchangeable because of a want for Garmin Vector that is a crazily price no matter where you live.

Hopefully this product will do what it says on the tin and lets other manufactures know they are taking the p*ss re what they want to extort from a cycling punters wallet.

I/we can only wait and see…

myke - 08/14/14 - 3:01am

the only concern i have is the poor cabling design they are using. a ribbon would of been much better.

Ronin - 08/14/14 - 5:12am

I didn’t realize Israel had a national cycling team.
For a head coach of a national team to be co-founder of a product should say a lot…Then again, I didn’t realize Israel had a national cycling team. :-)

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