Power meters truly are neat gadgets. They are a “must-have” training tool for any athlete who wants to take their performance to the next level. CycleOps, a popular manufacturer of high quality cycling products, has created the world’s first-ever power meter calculated from heart rate. According to their tech team, they have developed “an advanced algorithm that translates your heart rate data into vernacular of power-based training (watts, kilojoules, peak power, etc.).”
But what does all that really mean?
Out of the package, the PowerCal looks just like an ordinary heart rate monitor. It is extremely easy to set up. The straps are soft, comfortable, and easy to adjust. It is very lightweight (weighing only 48 grams), and once you have tweaked the proper fit, it honestly disappears. Another key feature of the PowerCal is that it is ANT+ compatible, which means it will easily pair with any Garmin unit you may be using.
After familiarizing myself with the unit and instructions, I quickly broke out my new Edge 510 for some research and testing. Within seconds, my computer detected both a heart rate monitor and power meter. All I had to do was adjust my training pages to display my power in watts. There was no real calibration needed.
So I mounted my 510, hopped on my saddle, and off I went – just a quick 45 minute ride through the city that never sleeps. As I digested the sites and sounds of the Big Apple, I was able to see exactly what CycleOps is talking about when they refer to their “advanced algorithm”. The monitor quickly analyzed my heart rate to display the corresponding wattage, and thus, I was able to effectively gauge how hard I was actually pushing myself. I immediately started pushing harder to see the impact. Then I thought to myself, “Wow, this thing actually works.”
While the PowerCal is not as accurate as the PowerTap hub, it still provides the rider with benchmarks that allow you to always keep track of where and how you would like to improve. The data that is recorded can easily be analyzed after a ride to spot areas of improvement. In the price range, this is the ideal accessory for the new cyclist or triathlete. Don’t believe us? Check out this video from Dr. Allen Lim: