Race Tech

Shimano power meter enters production, Team Sunweb and FDJ using unit at 2017 Tour de France

Stock expected in six to eight weeks, priced at £1,299.99

It has been a long time coming but Shimano’s much-anticipated Dura-Ace power meter has now entered production, with Team Sunweb and FDJ both using final prototypes of the unit at the 2017 Tour de France.

Shimano announced a move into the power meter market with the launch of the Dura-Ace R9100 groupset in June 2016. Now, 12 months later, the power meter has received the green light to ship, with stock expected in the UK in six to eight weeks, and priced at £1,299.99.

We saw Shimano representatives arrive at the Team Subweb hotel in Dusseldorf, Grand Départ city of the 2017 Tour, to hand over boxes of the power meters to the German squad’s mechanics, less than 24 hours before the start of the race and having been flown direct from Japan.

Box fresh: Shimano’s FC-R9100-P power meter, ready for the Tour de France

The FC-R9100-P, as Shimano’s creation is officially known, is a dual-sided, crankset-based power meter. It neatly integrates into the R9100 chainset, with strain gauges in both crank arms and the battery housed within the axle.

The Ant+ sensor is located on the right-hand crank arm, where the power meter can also be given life by a Macbook-style magnetic charger.

While the power meters to be used by Team Subweb and FDJ are marked as prototypes, they are exactly the same as the version to go into production, having passed Shimano’s final round of testing.

The power meter's battery is housed in the axle
The FC-R9100-P is a dual-sided unit. The left arm plugs into the axle for power
Charging comes via a magnetic cable, similar to what you'd fine on a Macbook laptop

Shimano’s Rudy Bouwmeester told us power meter’s delay in coming to market was the result of waterproofing the unit. Shimano sought to achieve a high IPX waterproof rating to ensure the FC-R9100-P not only produced the data required by the world’s best cyclists, but had the durability and longevity required in the wider market.

Bouwmeester said Shimano were happy to bring the power meter to life according to the original specification set out at launch. “We’ve created what we said we would,” said Bouwmeester.

While the units delivered to Team Sunweb are marked as prototypes, they are exactly the same as the version to go into production

That includes claimed accuracy of +/-2 per cent, roughly in line with the rest of the industry, and, because the power meter is a dual-sided unit, the capability of measuring left and right leg power independently.

The power meter adds around 70g to the standard chainset setup and Shimano say the chainrings can be changed without affecting accuracy.

Upon delivery, Team Sunweb’s mechanics set about installing the power meters ahead of Sunday’s first road stage

The arrival of the FC-R9100-P is significant for Shimano as the firm looks to further increase market share. While Team Sunweb and FDJ are using the power meter at this year’s Tour de France, we’d bet more teams will take up the unit come the 2018, when existing sponsorship arrangements will be reviewed or expire, such is Shimano’s influence.

Website: Shimano
UK distributor: Madison

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