Updated: Taipei Cycle: Xpedo to launch power meter

Wellgo’s high-end brand develops Thrust E pedal-based power meter

by Mat Brett   March 4, 2014  

Xpedo is entering the power-measuring market with its new pedal-based Thrust E system.

The system is contained entirely on the pedal. It’s different from any of the other major power-measuring systems out there in that the data comes from a strain gauge located in the pedal contact area. Having a strain gauge in each pedal allows Xpedo, the high-end arm of Wellgo, to provide you with separate left and right power output.

Garmin’s Vector system is also pedal-based but it transmits the data to a head unit via ‘pods’ that are located close to the end of each crank, fixed on the pedal axle. Like the Xpedo setup, Garmin’s can provide individual power output for each leg, but the measurement is made via strain gauges in each pedal axle. Xpedo say that their system collects the raw data from the precise point where the force is applied – the pedal contact area – and requires no further correction.

A data transmitter is integrated into the body of each pedal without the need for any additional hardware. Well, that’s how Xpedo describe it, anyway. It might be more accurate to say that the transmitters are already attached to the aluminium body of the pedal and that it’s an integrated design. They sit externally on the bottom of the pedals. It has to be said that the design does add quite a bit of bulk to the underside of the pedal, the concern there, from our point of view, being slightly reduced clearance (obviously, you’ll always take tight corners with your inside pedal high anyway).

Like Garmin, Xpedo claims an accuracy of +/- 2% for its system (Stages says that its crank-based system is within 2% at 100W and 90rpm, and more accurate than that at higher outputs).

The data is sent using ANT+ so you can display it on many different kinds of head unit including, for example, Garmin Edge computers. Xpedo say that the rechargeable battery in each pedal offers 150-190 hours of use per charge. The pedals weigh 373g per pair, including batteries, and they're compatible with Look Kéo cleats.

You want to know the price, right? Sorry, we don’t have it yet. These pedals are only just breaking cover here at Taipei International Cycle Show and the cost isn’t yet sorted although Xpedo suggest that we’re talking about the more affordable end of the market. We don’t have details on UK availability either, but we’re working on it.

 

Update: We've today had the chance to visit Xpedo at Taipei Cycle to get some clearer photos which are now included in the gallery. Unfortunately, Xpedo were unable to give us any news on pricing; they simply don't know yet. In terms of availability, they're aiming to have the Thrust E pedals ready for launch at Eurobike which takes place at the end of August.

21 user comments

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Damn it i want a price haha

posted by dave2041 [22 posts]
4th March 2014 - 10:57

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They will be onto a winner if they can get their costs down with good reliability. Looking forward to these coming to the UK.

posted by laterrehaute [16 posts]
4th March 2014 - 10:57

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It looks to me as if this thing will easily touch the ground when cornering, the pedal's height seems almost twice of normal shimano race pedals.

posted by KnightBiker [40 posts]
4th March 2014 - 11:02

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dave2041 wrote:
Damn it i want a price haha

It was just a press conference today, the Taipei show opens properly tomorrow. I'll see if Xpedo can give any sort of indication then.

posted by Mat Brett [1859 posts]
4th March 2014 - 11:05

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Ugly, wouldn't want that on my bike!!! Sad

Marky

Marky Legs's picture

posted by Marky Legs [107 posts]
4th March 2014 - 11:46

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i thought ... "bloody nora they're big" ... until I realised it's
the cleat sitting on top ... Smile Still, not the prettiest of
setups !

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [698 posts]
4th March 2014 - 11:58

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KnightBiker wrote:
It looks to me as if this thing will easily touch the ground when cornering, the pedal's height seems almost twice of normal shimano race pedals.

It's extremely rare to clip a pedal on the road through a bend, and usually only happens when you get back on the power too soon out of the corner. It's something I've only ever done once or twice ever, and both occasions were in crit races - I didn't make the same mistake again

Really interesting product development though, looks better packaged than the Garmin system and is probably easier to setup as well. Impressed they managed to keep it such a secret too until the launch

David Arthur's picture

posted by David Arthur [1484 posts]
4th March 2014 - 12:03

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Some of the other pictures I've seen make it look half as bulky as the pics here.

posted by redmeat [68 posts]
4th March 2014 - 12:11

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how's it pronounced? might want to have a word with marketing before i pop out for a set of 'pedos

Racer 074 for the 2014 Transcontinental Race; 2,000 miles from London to Istanbul.

http://themartincox.co.uk/2014/03/racer-074-transcontinental-race-2014/

posted by themartincox [337 posts]
4th March 2014 - 12:14

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themartincox wrote:
how's it pronounced? might want to have a word with marketing before i pop out for a set of 'pedos

In the pub: "You're a fan of ex-paedos? Reeeaallly?!"

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3094 posts]
4th March 2014 - 12:31

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My fear is the same as others... that this will present cornering challenges.

Not proper corners but on exit when starting to pedal again. Now we've all done it, and the fact is, you'll be doing it more in these pedals. I would suggest a revised design should place as much of the 'junk', towards the crank side of the pedal and away from that trailing edge.

That said, this design is particularly interesting to me, as we are one step closer to what I think will ultimately be the power answer. The fact that the power measurement is taking place directly under the cleat is great as well....

However.... does it manage to calculate 'pull' as well as 'push'? When riding normally this will not be relevant, but in a max sprint or a 30sec effort, you are likely to be generating significant force on the upstroke... which will be missed in a system that simply measure compression forces.

posted by Jimmy Ray Will [261 posts]
4th March 2014 - 12:33

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A reformed sex offender then!

posted by lookmanohands [97 posts]
4th March 2014 - 12:36

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They look a bit Gary Glitter.

posted by Nick T [795 posts]
4th March 2014 - 12:45

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Jimmy Ray Will wrote:
...you are likely to be generating significant force on the upstroke

Seriously?

David Arthur's picture

posted by David Arthur [1484 posts]
4th March 2014 - 12:56

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@ david arthur - yes it doesn't happen that often, but it does happen. Product like speedplay even promote their pedals with exactly that argument of having a low height.
It's definitely not fictional, thus adding a few centimeters to the bottom of your pedal might not be the wisest thing to do.
(before you know it you'l end up with a bike that can only go straight) Let's await final conclusions when the product is properly tested.

posted by KnightBiker [40 posts]
4th March 2014 - 14:50

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KnightBiker wrote:
@ david arthur - yes it doesn't happen that often, but it does happen. Product like speedplay even promote their pedals with exactly that argument of having a low height.

Is that not in relation to stack height though - the height the foot is above the pedal axle - and not in relation to the risk of clipping the road going round a corner?

posted by adscrim [108 posts]
4th March 2014 - 17:05

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Price is the only thing that matters here! There has become a wide array of power meter choices but the ability to really bring the price way down to say around $500 would be a game changer for the market...especially in a pedal based system

posted by jarredscycling [443 posts]
4th March 2014 - 19:33

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I agree. Price and reliability is the key to bringing power to the masses. Sub£500 please and I will but it tomorrow.

posted by Jacob [38 posts]
4th March 2014 - 23:46

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I agree with Dave about the interesting product design, and how impressive it is that they've kept them a secret so weel, especially considering the build up and anticipation for the Vectors.
Can't say I've ever really had an issue with pedals catching the ground, I like to get the bike over pretty far but habit of keeping the inside pedal raised and not stamping on the pedals coming out seems to work.
I wasn't that interested with the idea of buying any kind of power meter until the stages came out, this provides another interesting option, especially if the price is low enough and the reliability is high.

Former Fat Lad on a Bike

posted by RobD [99 posts]
5th March 2014 - 8:53

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KnightBiker wrote:
It looks to me as if this thing will easily touch the ground when cornering, the pedal's height seems almost twice of normal shimano race pedals.

With all the extra gubbins I can't even work out how you attach your shoe - does the pic include a custom cleat already clipped in?

EDIT: Additional pics now make it a lot clearer!

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3094 posts]
5th March 2014 - 10:58

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Jimmy Ray Will wrote:
My fear is the same as others... that this will present cornering challenges.

Not proper corners but on exit when starting to pedal again. Now we've all done it, and the fact is, you'll be doing it more in these pedals. I would suggest a revised design should place as much of the 'junk', towards the crank side of the pedal and away from that trailing edge.

That said, this design is particularly interesting to me, as we are one step closer to what I think will ultimately be the power answer. The fact that the power measurement is taking place directly under the cleat is great as well....

However.... does it manage to calculate 'pull' as well as 'push'? When riding normally this will not be relevant, but in a max sprint or a 30sec effort, you are likely to be generating significant force on the upstroke... which will be missed in a system that simply measure compression forces.

Moving stuff to the crank side presents clearance issues, which was the same challenge faced by the Vector team. In fact the Garmin solution has been equally criticised for pedal clearance owing to the pod positioning. Which you prefer is a personal thing, but I'd guess that the Garmin pod would shear off more easily than the design shown here. Obviously everything comes down to individual crash dynamics, but if you assume the pedal does make contact it could boil down to $150 for a replacement pod vs $x for a replacement powermeter and patching yourself up after a big off.

I've been running the Vectors for months now and not observed any issue - but with conventional aggressive cornering the inside pedal is at 12 'o' clock anyway and I'm not a crit racer.

With regards the manner in which the forces are recorded, strain gauges are multi-axial rosettes build into the spindle - capable of measuring any input (even non-planar). The greatest limiter in many respects comes down to sample rate and having the resolution to generate meaningful data - and then having a defined protocol for communicating it. The new Pioneer system has made a few steps forward in that area.

EDIT to add: It would appear the xpedo uses a sensor on the pedal contact surface, not in the spindle. This makes them less "capable" than the Vector solution from a hardware POV - but you pay your money and take your choice I guess.

posted by merckxissimo [59 posts]
5th March 2014 - 16:15

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