Power meters are a great training aid, and there’s a good reason why almost every pro on the world tour uses one. However, with many units costing well over 1000 dollars, it’s no surprise that they’re a bit of a stretch for many everyday cyclists.
Velocomp is a company producing great power meters for a fraction of the cost of many of the larger brands, so if you’re looking for accurate power without emptying your wallet, the PowerPod might be worth a closer look.
How it works
Your speed is determined by a number of factors: your power, the gradient, the wind resistance, and the friction coefficient of the surface you’re riding on. To determine your power output, you can directly measure the power that you put through your pedals via strain gauges. Alternatively, you could measure every other variable, and from that, calculate your power. The developers behind PowerPod did the math and realised that it’s much cheaper to do the latter, rather than create extremely delicate strain gauges which would require specialised machinery and expensive metals.
The PowerPod is Velocomp’s second attempt at an oppositional power meter. A few years ago, the same company produced the Newton, a power meter used by professional teams. By all reports, it was a great power meter but it made the mistake of including a head unit, and it simply couldn’t compete with Garmin’s Edge series. A good product, released at the wrong time.
But now Velocomp is back, this time with a much simpler device. The PowerPod is a little device that sits below your handlebars and measures and/or estimates the previously stated variables. Equipped with Bluetooth and Ant+ technology, it pairs easily with compatible cycling computers.
The most important feature, the power meter, is claimed to be as accurate as power meters three times the price, and independent analysis, such as the one by DC rainmaker, show it to be on par with the Garmin Vector pedals, Powertap hubs, and a Quarq crank based power meter.
The PowerPod also features dynamic calibration, which means that all you need to do is sync the PowerPod with your cycling computer and start riding. Your computer will count up to 100, indicating the percentage of the calibration completed. After about 5 minutes, your unit will start displaying an accurate, instantaneous power measurement.
Another great benefit of the PowerPod is it’s tolerance to temperature fluctuations. Many power meters need to be recalibrated for hot or cold conditions, but the PowerPod doesn’t. Whatever the conditions, just start riding and it’s good to go!
To help you get the most out of your rides, the PowerPod records all the data you could possibly need, even including the amount of energy you lose swinging your handle bars, and transfers it to Velocomp’s own program, ISAAC. The Isaac software is free to download, and gives an in-depth analysis of your ride as well as suggesting training programs to fast-track your fitness goals. The software includes an analysis of overall power, drafting, power stroke and wasted motion, just to name a few.
For a guide on how to get started with the ISAAC software, check out the video below.
If you’re looking for an easier, cheaper way to record and improve your riding, the Powerpod Road Power Meter is worth a look.