Saturday, August 3, 2013

PowerTap Price Drop

About 4 years ago I bought a Powertap wheel from Neuvation for what was at the time a fantastic price: $900 without a head unit. The hubs were, at the time, selling for over $1000. So a built wheel for $900 seemed like a fantastic price.

For years Cycle-Ops had the market pretty much to itself, and the prices reflected it.

Imagine then my amazement to read on DC Rainmaker that Cycle-Ops has cut the price of their wheelset to $1000. For that price you get a 1800g wheelset (not light, but then again it does have a powermeter attached). Even better, you can get it for $900 through that blog's affiliation with Clever Training (code DCR10ZTG, apparently). Of course the hub has ANT+, and will work swimmingly with your Garmin computer.

For once, this leaves Neuvation looking almost pricey, at $849 for just a rear Powertap wheel.

I imagine this is the inevitable result of the plethora of power options that have come on the market in the last couple years. Pedal based systems, Crank based systems, heart-rate strap based sytems. There's even a handle-bar mounted powermeter that uses airflow and a gradometer, which name I can't recall. Of all of them, I still prefer the hub-based powertap, since it's trivial to move it among bikes.

Anyway, I don't really have a point here. I was just surprised at the price drop, and wanted to vent.


Max said...

At $900 I think I may end up with a second one.. That is pretty amazing. Its also evidence of the deflationary nature of the high end bike gear market. Although deflation is probably the wrong word for competitive forces at work.

Unknown said...

What do you guys use your PTs for? Interval training? I'd have put power meters pretty far down the list of things to spend money on for guys who aren't really racing bikes and who, in Max's case, is on the outs with triathlon as well.

I had a PT for a year or two; maybe two, actually. Wound up selling those wheels when I got my Trek, which has a Quarq. I don't use it as much as I thought I would, although it's nice to have to force me to behave in important races.

If I were looking to spend that sort of money on power training equipment, I'd be pretty tempted to go for a used Computrainer or one of the new Wahoo Kickers. My Computrainer's been my single best purchase since getting into cycling.

Max said...

Post-hoc ride data, as well as trainer intervals. Maybe one day I consider planning power output in advance of a ride, but that day hasn't yet come. I can see the computrainer argument except that I abhor riding indoors!

sam said...

I won't claim that my PT provides any "real" value, but I like numbers, and it gives me some relative comparison between now and the past (and the future..)

Honestly, I'd put the PowerTap on equal footing with Titanium frames, aero-bars, clipless pedals, and high output lights (all of which I also have...). None of those make me faster. But they give me something to obsess about.

The guys who are serious bikers don't have any of that shit, and put in more miles as a result. The rest of us are data geeks who use cycling as an outlet. If it weren't bikes, we'd be buying unnecessary accessories for some other hobby.

Max said...

Well, KB does ride titanium . . .

Unknown said...

Sam, you'd say that aerobars and clipless pedals don't make you faster?

There was one older guy on BWR, name of Olsen, I think -- a very experienced rider who does several 1200ks each year. He was out there on platform pedals. There were times when I envied him.

sam said...

I was being a little facetious -- there are benefits from those things. But at brevet speeds and distances, I don't think either aerobars or clipless pedals give a noticeable performance boost. Notably, times at P-B-P where aerobars are not allowed are faster than other 1200s (of course other factors, such as a larger talent pool, also impact this). That said, I use aerobars for comfort, and they make a big difference there.

Many alleged aero advantages are quantified in a wind tunnel. At non-pro speeds and real-world conditions, benefits are far more fleeting. Like with the skinny high pressure tires, laboratory results often do not hold up in the real world especially when, as on a 1200, you are going to experience every weather condition.

Funny about Bill Olsen.. I was volunteering on a 1200 years ago. He was the last guy out of the final control, and I was riding to the end from that control. Halfway up the first climb (Washington Pass, out of Mazama), I see him on the side of the road, shoes off, cooling his feet in a waterfall. He said that he gets hot-foot really easily. That's probably why he's riding platform pedals.