SRM’s All New PC8 – Production Announced @ USA Pro Challenge

SRM PC8_close up

Last week’s USA Pro Cycling Challenge may be over, but the product news continues. SRM chose the Colorado stage race as the venue for their public release of the all new PowerControl PC8. After years of listening to the pros and weekend-warriors alike, after nearly two years of development and research, the production model is finally being released. Power past the break for details, pics, and some rumors on future SRM developments…

SRM PC8_1

During an SRM sponsored event just prior to stage 4 of last week’s Pro Challenge, I had the opportunity to chat with SRM founder/owner Ulrich Schoberer about development goals for the new PC8. As evidenced by its size, the PC8 unit has been geared for training purposes — when compared to the still-in-production PC7 (78g), the new machined aluminum PC8 head unit (93g) sports a far larger screen for more data at one glance. Specific dimensions are height: 65mm; width: 71mm; depth: 20mm, with its 2.7” LCD screen by Sharp now featuring an auto backlight for your moonlight training rides.

SRM PC8_2

SRM has piled on the goods while upping the simplicity factor. With the PC8 you will now be able to wirelessly transfer data for easy downloads to SRM software. PC8’s internal sensors now include GPS — a longtime called-for SRM feature; GPS recording intervals can be user set for increased accuracy or longer battery life. Additional internal sensors include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Smart, and ANT+ allowing for third party peripherals such as heart rate monitors.

The PC8 will be available for pre-orders at Interbike, and retail availability in December. All PC8 units are being hand-built in SRM’s USA offices in Colorado Springs.

SRM PC8_Press Party Ulrich Schoberer

Schoberer also tipped his hand slightly with some talk of a likely PC8 Pro version coming out next year with a display that is half the size of the new PC8. Other SRM staff members talked about the pros not wanting to see wattage info in real time, but still wanting to track it over the course of a race. This, along with racers’ disinterest in GPS would allow the new Pro model to be smaller and lighter. Keep watching here for more on this as it develops.

SRM PC8 Dura Ace w PowerMeter

In other rumor news I also received some very limited info on a new circuit board SRM is working on — potentially to be found in future power meters (i.e., a yet to be seen PM8). This new unit is more power efficient, using less battery draw. This news was mentioned in combination with SRM playing with various BlueTooth standards, as well as possible charging options for batteries — for this, time will only tell. But for the battery options they are waiting for more feedback regarding the public’s preferences. Do riders want, 1) a battery that lasts 2,000+ hours and is only factory replaceable, or 2) a user chargeable unit via plug-in that has to charge every couple weeks, or 3) user replaceable batteries like the system SRM now specs in their FSA K-Force Light BB386, called UCB (user changeable battery)? If you have a strong preference, drop a note in the comments below.

Comments

G. E. Barnett - 08/25/14 - 10:13pm

Can’t wait to upgrade from PC7 to PC8! Will the PC8 calculate speed from the GPS, or will a speed sensor still be required on the front wheel?

zurp - 08/25/14 - 11:11pm

Definitely option #3. If they want more people on their power meters that’s the way to go. As a Quarq owner, being able to replace the battery whenever is really convenient

Will - 08/25/14 - 11:27pm

any option that is User Replacable > any option that is Not User Replacable

lonefrontranger - 08/25/14 - 11:47pm

yea the battery has to be user replaceable or I’m not interested. After having sent a couple of powertap wheels back for various service issues I’d be super reluctant to be forced to deal with that as a regular item.

fast foreward freddie - 08/25/14 - 11:53pm

I want to pick my wattage range, and have it shift my di2 into whatever gear achieves that via sequential shift patterns like xtr. Then use the shift buttons to change my desired wattage output. Make it happen!

Greg - 08/26/14 - 12:13am

I’m firmly in the 2000+ hour camp.

I like sending my unit back once a year to have the battery checked and the unhurt calibrated.

This ensures continued accuracy. And I’ve only had my battery changed every other year. I ride appx 800 hours a year so 2000 hours battery life is more than enough.

With my Quarq I have had the unit die on me in the middle of a stage race and ok various training rides. The user replaceable battery options last maybe 100 hours, really. In the Quarq. Powertap burn through battery these days.

The must have feature from srm needs to be the ability to swap chain rings without recall Re-calibration as I would like to be able to use my pm from road in to cx season without a trip back.

Sample schedule:

Day after cx season ends – send unit back to srm.

Train from December though road season.

Swap chainrings – race cx season.

Repeat.

A battery that, for any practical reason, you never need to worry about is the way to go. Once a year have the dumb thing calibrated. They can test your battery and I can tell from experience, they only replace it if necessary.

Jeff H - 08/26/14 - 12:21am

SRM needs to get rid of both the speed sensor and the cadence magnet. Hopefully the GPS will do speed. If the far cheaper Power 2 Max can figure out cadence without a magnet hopefully so can SRM. A rechargeable battery is far superior to either form of replaceable since you’ll have a better handle on how long it will last between charges and you won’t have to deal with a dead new battery that sat on the drug store display for 2 years.

Max G. - 08/26/14 - 12:45am

Can’t wait for the version without GPS! Ive been using SRM’s for years and as a training tool
you just can’t beat it. In the end even the clunky looking software is unbeaten.

I didn’t understand how good it is until I started to use other solutions tired of battery
replacement in mid season or abroad.
Replaceable battery’s and I will never stray again, I promise.

Ronin - 08/26/14 - 5:14am

Replaceable batteries…for those times when you plan ahead.

Also, glad to hear the screen tech is moving on, and wifi updates – shame Garmin didn’t take these two points seriously. Have to check the year on the calendar sometimes, that in 2014 some companies still feel it’s ok to release products that just don’t cut it.

If my cycle computer has a screen, I want to be able to see it at a glance, in any weather, ’cause like I’m cycling. So kudos to SRM that they get this point.

Rico - 08/26/14 - 5:55am

I love the look of that new PC8 computer and would love to own a SRM unit.

To each his own about the battery though. I don’t like the idea of sending a unit in for service. I always seem to need everything fixed same day, under my own power. With the Quarq – 4x 2032 battery -$9, keep a pack in cycling travel bag, no problem. I also got a Suuno Ant+ dongle for $20 on Amazon and can update all the firmware, calibrate, etc. SRM is still the best for accuracy though.

Andrew - 08/26/14 - 6:19am

Go Micah!

Henry - 08/26/14 - 11:21am

A wired SRM pickup sensor that sends wireless data to PC8.

Sam - 08/26/14 - 11:24am

I want a rechargeable solution with 300-500 hours on it; charge my di2 and it every month overnight and no worries!

As for replaceable I only hope they could do it without losing the reliability that has made them my go to powermeter! Having used quarq for two years I had to send the damn thing back every six months, whenever it rained or was below 10 degrees F! SRM just plugs along and I’m going to send it back during my season end break. User replaceable battery is moot if the unit itself in unreliable.

Dave - 08/26/14 - 12:04pm

How come production moving from Germany to US?
Bluetooth in future PMs? I thought ANT+ was more power efficient

John M. - 08/26/14 - 12:49pm

As the owner of four SRM’s (two PM5′s and two PM7′s) I would like the rechargeable battery. The cadence magnet isn’t a big deal, but if it were eliminated that would be great. And I wish I wouldn’t have to send my PM in for recalibration every time I change out my chainrings. All of the other features of the PC8 look really great.

Brian C - 08/26/14 - 1:34pm

My preference is for something like I have in my DA9000 SRM. A 3000hr battery that is non-user replaceable. 600hrs/year of use is a lot of saddle time (correlates to roughly 11,000 miles). Means that I only send it in every 5 years. At that point it probably needs a clean and calibration anyway. I live in Texas and can ship this thing in on a Monday and have it back the next Monday and I’m good for another 5 years. I’ve just had bad luck with reliability of other manufactures over than type of time. Just my opinion though.

I would love to see cadence without that damn magnet though. Also, some kind of automatic temperature compensator for zero-offset would be nice. I prefer to use the auto-zero off but find that over 20 degree F fluctuations really throw the zero-offset off. I know stages has something like that.

For as long as I’m training, I’ll continue to own multiple SRMs.

MTNBKR83 - 08/26/14 - 2:13pm

According to SRM, re-calibration isn’t required when you change chainrings.

Chris Lee - 08/26/14 - 8:06pm

I have found the battery to last a really long time on my current cranks, but sending them back to new zealand is a bit of a hassle. It would be great if the battery lasted as long as it did now but a standard bike shop could replace the battery.

If not, a charging option would be good, just charge the SRM at the same time as Di2 battery once a month.

Durianrider - 08/27/14 - 1:25am

People still use SRM? Is it 2004? Oh I just checked my calendar, its 2014 coming up to 2015!

What is the lightest, cheapest and most popular power meter on the 2014 market? Stages.
What do Team Sky use now instead of SRM? Stages.

What power meter is easiest to change battery?
What power meter is stiffest?
What power meter is easiest to fit?

Ive 5 Stages. All running sweet. Ive seen ALL power meters being sent back for warranty issues and Stages is the easiest to send back. You already have a spare crank arm in your draw that takes very little space.

I can afford any power meters for my personal fleet and SRM was the least attractive to me. Price wasnt an issue, I want something I can swap a battery out in 30 seconds. A battery I can buy from any gas station. I want something that is easy to fit and can run whatever chainrings, easy to calibrate and has software updates as the technology improves.

In 2017 most power meter companies will be out of business and will be taking calls at Stages customer service call center.

A cycling mate offered me a hollowgram SRM for 300$. Almost new. Needs a new battery. Thats about 500$ here in Australia. It would make a cool paper weight I guess. Not worth much to me cos you can’t even upload your wattage to Strava LOL!

5000$ unit and not even Strava compatible.

The main purchaser of power meters in 2015 is noob cyclists who want to learn how to pace better on climbs and learn the relationship of how cadence affects power. They want something under 1000$, easy to use, upload to Strava. Who is gonna drop $$ on a Quarq or SRM in 2015?

Laughable.

wallymann - 08/27/14 - 8:55am

“Compatible with all ANT+ power measuring devices”

really, including powertap? that would be a welcome change from prior SRM CPUs and their proprietary ANT+ derivative protocol.

MTNBKR83 - 08/27/14 - 10:36am

Go ask Team Sky how much they love their Stages powermeters….massive water damage issues and powermeters breaking when the crank arm flexes…just the left arm mind you because Stages only measures ONE side! Stages and the new Garmin Vector S are in their own camp…measure one side to keep the price down but sacrifice accuracy and reliability.

That’s great that Stages is known for being the “easiest to send back to for warranty issues”…sounds like they have some massive warranty issues then!

Brian C - 08/27/14 - 12:56pm

Durianrider- Not sure you have really ever used an SRM. They are FAR more accurate than a stages. Stages is a great budget-friendly PM though. I have one on my CX bike. SRMs are way more reliable and having to change the battery every 5 years is really not that big of a deal. Also, it is widely know that Sky uses SRM for training data. Yes, stages is a sponsor but ask any of them off camera and they will tell you which is most reliable and accurate. And you can upload power data to Strava if that’s you thing. That is headunit dependent. Maybe you just use your phone for headunti via BT, which in that case, no you can’t without an ANT+ key. Glad you dig your stages though. Tell you friend I’ll buy his hollogram SRM for $300. And if you ever needed a new battery they are about $125 here in US so I’m guessing it’d be cheaper to just ship here if it really costs you $500

powerless - 08/29/14 - 12:46am

Brian C, I’m just not sure what the extra $1650 for the SRM gets me over the Quarq. And, yes, it may be more accurate than the Stages, but is it $2500 more accurate?

“SRM’s Sebastian Raebiger explained to me: ‘We want to be a high end product, with no product for the masses.’” (dcrainmaker.com)

At what point am just I paying the SRM tax, for the caché of having the most expensive power meter?

Livers - 08/29/14 - 11:13am

Oh man .. this is the first power control I have wanted.
(deleted)
Please .. please .. please make it in time for Christmas in the UK !

SRM - 08/29/14 - 1:42pm

Thanks for the feedback everyone! To confirm a few things:

• PC8 will have the ability to take speed from an external speed sensor or from GPS.
With the preference being a speed sensor to insure more reliable and accurate
speed and distance data in varying conditions.

• Swapping chain rings does not require a re-calibration. The only time we recommend
this is when going to a solid TT style ring with a complete inner circle.

• The reasoning behind continuing with a cadence magnet is it allows us to provide
more consistent, accurate cadence detection and thus data. We understand it makes
for an extra step upon installation but believe the benefits out-weigh the effort. This
step has also gotten much easier with new mounting solutions such as our K-
Edge/SRM chain catcher with integrated magnet to make for a more seamless setup.

• To clarify, just like our current PowerControls and PowerMeters, production of the
PC8 will be handled in the US for the North American Market and in Germany for the
European and Asian market from primarily US and German suppliers.

Andy - 09/15/14 - 5:21pm

3) user replaceable batteries like the system SRM now specs in their FSA K-Force Light BB386, called UCB (user changeable battery) – every single time.

MTBKRTOO - 09/15/14 - 6:09pm

There is three things I want from my power meter:
1 Reliability
2 Reliability
3 Reliability
And maybe two other little things:
4 The ability to program interval training sessions.
5 Fast booting of the system. Several other (high end) units take up to 10 minutes to get ready to go (finding satellites).

Just nothing more frustrating than “gadgets” braking down during, before or after training. I guess any charging or battery changing option needs sealing and with that would be prone to water damage etc. Rather send it in every 5 years.

Shawn - 09/17/14 - 7:55am

USER CHANGABLE BATTERY or I will stick with my POWERTAP

CXisfun - 09/20/14 - 2:10pm

@MTBKRTOO: Fast booting and finding satellites has nothing to do with your power meter, that’s your head unit.

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