Stages' crank-based power meter continues to impress for its ease of use, low weight and (relatively) affordable price
The Stages power meter has been a neat solution to the collection of power data without much in the way of weight penalty for a few years now. In fact, to the general onlooker, it’s easy to miss the fact that you have a Stages device attached to your bike at all.
Stages power meters take the form of a left crank arm, of which there are many to suit different cranksets, subbed in for your standard arm but with a strain gauge built into it. This approach, Stages say, adds less than 20g to the overall weight of your crankset, making it one of the least obtrusive power meters out there.
Naturally, with the strain gauge in only the left crank arm, the downside is that power is measured through the one leg, with an overall reading calculated by simply multiplying that number by two. However, in reality, single-sided power measurement will satisfy most riders and Stages-sponsored Team Sky doesn’t seem to have a problem.
This single-sided power meter is packed with relevant tech, too. It’s virtually bombproof thanks to there being no moving parts – unless, of course, you count the whole crank arm rotation as movement – and it has an accelerometer to provide cadence readings. On top of this, it will compensate for temperature changes.
It does this by altering the algorithm it uses to work out your power data in response to what the ambient temperature of the unit is. Strain gauges tend to be made up of small metallic wires that flex to measure torque. When it’s particularly cold or hot, the behaviour of the wires – as with any metal – changes, resulting in different readings. The brains of the power meter compensates for this predictable change in behaviour, giving a more accurate and consistent reading to the tune of +/- 2 per cent on anything up to 2,500 watts.
Additionally, whichever power meter crank arm matches your groupset, you get full connectivity in the form of ANT+ and Bluetooth, with Bluetooth the connection method through which you update the firmware on the unit via your smartphone and the StagesPower app.
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