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Brent's Stages Review
CBD Cycles - 23/04/2014
Recently Antho and the crew at http://www.cbdcycles.com.au/ hooked me up with a Stages power meter. I knew this power meter had been available in the US for some time and up until recently not available for sale in Australia with strict sales rules. I had been trying to work out a way to get my hands on one so when the announcement was made there was going to be Australian distribution I was chomping at the bit to get one!

This is currently the lightest power meter on the market, weighing in at only 20g (yes, 20g). The power meter itself is a thermally bonded strain gauge on the non-drive side crank arm. The strain gauge measures force applied to the crank arm and through various egg-head mathematical equations converts this into a wattage reading, displayed on ANT+ and Bluetooth compatible devices. Ie garmin head units/ iPhones etc.

Firmware/Software upgrades are made available via an iPhone app (sorry android people, silly you for getting a samsung in the first place) and updating it is as simple as opening the app on your phone, turning on Bluetooth and hitting a button.

Stages claims +/- 2% accuracy - keep in mind this is based on a 100w reading - so the more power you produce the more accurate the reading becomes.

Calibrating (setting 0w) is also a cinch - put the crank arm to vertical (pedal down) and use the calibrate function in bike setting on your garmin, 30 sec later you are ready to ride. This is important as it affects the accuracy of your readings.

I have been using this power meter for almost 3 months now and must say I am impressed by its ease of use and the consistency of readings it gives. In terms of power output readings, I am of the opinion that the consistency/ repeat ability of readings is more important the the actual number - similar to weighing yourself on a set of scales - the number as such is arbitrary, just so long as the same force applied produces the same number. I have been using power a lot on the indoor trainer - using trainerroad.com - using my laptop as a heads up display and can attest to the consistency of the readings - same set up each time, same resistance on the tyre, same tyre pressure)

Sure, it isn't an SRM - but at $900 Aus for the stages meter vs $3000 for SRM this is a great product and will give you consistent data to effectively train using power. For this this also brings the product in at a price point where I can justify having a power meter on my road bike AND one on my TT bike.

I definitely recommend this as a good product and great training tool. It is catching on in the pro peleton as well, Team Sky are now using this power meter.

Gone are the days for me of chasing heart rate zones in training sessions. Power is where it's at!

Give Anth, Mig, Dave or Cam a call and let CBD Cycles look after helping you to find your power too!