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  1. #1
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    What first: power meter or cycle computer

    Trying to get a little more serious about my training but mostly because I want to get faster on the climbs on group rides and cover distance faster on backcountry rides (gravel, mtb). I'm not racing and I don't really see myself doing this but I am interested in a systematic approach. Budget currently is around $2-300. Seems like I can either choose to get a good cycle computer or a crank arm power meter.

    I've been using my Coros Apex GPS watch (ANT+ and bluetooth sensor support) for training with a little out in front mount on my gravel bike for training. Honestly, this seems to work decently even though the GPS can be a little finicky when it gets heavily wooded.

    If I were to buy a cycle computer I am leaning toward the Lezyne XL for price/value from the thread that I read on here (thanks @climberevan). Other suggestions would be helpful. If I were to buy a crank arm power meter I would probably need to send my arm to 4iiii or similar to have it done (I'm on a SRAM Force carbon crankset on the gravel bike).

    Training with HR seems to be okay but I continue to read that power meters are better than HR for training and I have no doubt this is true. I'll likely get both in the next 12 months, so which should I prioritize?

    Seth

  2. #2
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    If you're actively trying to use it for training, I would say computer first. You want to be able to see your watts real time if you're going to have a watt meter for training. Just tracking your efforts may give you an idea of an effort for a day, but for active training I don't see a ton of value there.

  3. #3
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    Someone might correct me, but i don't think that you'll find a power meter that will work on it's own (without a nice computer). So get a good computer and HR monitor. I recently bought the Garmin 530 and like the integration to trailforks and Strava. I can flag a segment and it will show my time vs. my PR. That provides good motivation and has made me push harder then norm a few times.

    Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    There are _some_ devices that can store activities for upload after the fact. My 4iii HR monitor can do it. I'm pretty sure I can pair a power meter upto it, and it'll store all the data from a ride... but yeah, it's not a super common use case and you will want a computer of sorts...

    ... though I'm pretty sure OPs watch would track/save as well.

  5. #5
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    My Coros Apex GPS watch can connect to ANT+ power meters and display real time, 3 sec avg, 10 sec avg and 30 sec avg power. So, although the display is small, it can show power. Unlike the HR display on the watch, however, power doesn't appear to show zone info also. In other words, my watch will show real time HR along with which zone I'm currently in. It doesn't appear that power also includes Zone - just the value.

    Do the cycle computers show zones in addition to discrete power values (real time or average)?

  6. #6
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    So if your GPS watch can display that power can it also store it and sync with your Strava or more preferably TrainingPeaks/Golden Cheetah account? If so sounds like you have a pretty decent bike computer already, unless i'm missing something. Having a power meter just for uploading after-wards defeats the training purpose mostly IMO, b/c you'll have a tougher time tracking it along with duration and TSS etc.

    My Wahoo bolt will show lights indicating zones setup for your HR or Power, though I generally ignored those and just knew my numbers. Friend of mine loves the wahoo color for racing his MTB, if it's not red he's not going hard enough (red I think is threshold).

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTskibum View Post
    So if your GPS watch can display that power can it also store it and sync with your Strava or more preferably TrainingPeaks/Golden Cheetah account? If so sounds like you have a pretty decent bike computer already, unless i'm missing something. Having a power meter just for uploading after-wards defeats the training purpose mostly IMO, b/c you'll have a tougher time tracking it along with duration and TSS etc.

    My Wahoo bolt will show lights indicating zones setup for your HR or Power, though I generally ignored those and just knew my numbers. Friend of mine loves the wahoo color for racing his MTB, if it's not red he's not going hard enough (red I think is threshold).
    Yes. My watch can store and sync power numbers with Strava and Training Peaks. I originally had it connected to my smart trainer over the winter and it would sync both.

    I'm training with HR right now and like the ability to have a quick look and see where I am in my HR zone (see attached). I had to draw the arrow on by hand for this example but you get the picture...

    Name:  Screenshot_20210610-145654_COROS.jpg
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    I'm sure I can memorize my power numbers but the gauge is really nice. I'm not sure that this is possible on my water, currently. The LED lights sound like they do a similar thing - I can see how this would make it much easier to see where you were at a glance.

  8. #8
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    I think before a power meter you need to shave your legs
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by XXX-er View Post
    I think before a power meter you need to shave your legs
    Obviously.

    Get a PM and use your watch on the bar to keep track while you save up for the out front mounted computer.

    I noticed that Stages lowered their prices recently and has a decent amount of stock, at least for Shimano arms.

    Sent from my SM-G970U1 using TGR Forums mobile app
    Last edited by climberevan; 06-11-2021 at 09:54 AM.
    ride bikes, climb, ski, travel, cook, work to fund former, repeat.

  10. #10
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    I mean if the watch is mounted in the bars and a reasonable substitute, then go with power meter. as long as you can read the metrics while riding. if you don't have zones just remember your thresholds, I would assume you would be targeting specific zones for training anyway so you wouldn't have to memorize all of them.

  11. #11
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    Dec 2008
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    You might have already looked into this, but if you're putting power on a gravel bike I'd make sure your chainstays will clear a L side meter. Mine don't (checkpoint SL) and left me waiting on a (perpetually out of stock and more expensive) R side Ultegra meter.

    That said, nice computers are great, but it's not like you have to spend $200. If all you want is power/maps/hr/workouts there are cheaper options out there if you want to skip using your watch.

    Oh and good luck in the race we had exchanged about! Family vacation got booked for the same weekend so I won't be able to make it this year, but hopefully next. I will however be up that way for the JCPR in early July. Should be a fun one.
    Last edited by kathleenturneroverdrive; 06-11-2021 at 01:55 PM.

  12. #12
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    That's a great consideration. I printed out a 4iiii template but haven't checked it yet. I'm leaning toward the power meter - seems like it gives me the biggest functionality improvement.

    Thanks! Enjoy the JCPR. I didn't sign up for that one and last I checked (it's been a while) it was full. Wish I would have signed up earlier.

    Seth

  13. #13
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    Been riding road for the last year and enjoying it... thought was to build/maintain fitness for MTB during work from home, but with two young kids it's way easier to get in a 50-90min road ride versus MTB which is 1+ hour of logistics (loading/unloading bikes, 25-30 min drive each way to trailhead) plus ride time.

    Anyway been thinking about a power meter as clearly power is the most useful metric. I've read some people suggest computer first (I don't have a smart watch, just a phone), but how useful is a computer with a power meter? Speed can't be that relevant (wind), cadence I get for workouts but I feel like I don't have an issue in that area generally, heart rate that useful?

  14. #14
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    ^ I guess the question is what are you trying to achieve?

    Is this just to track progress?

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