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New system that can be added to any cranks will launch next year

US company Watteam have unveiled a new powermeter called PowerBeat that fixes to any crank arm and costs as little as US$499 (about £300). It’ll go on sale next spring.

PowerBeat measures the power from each leg separately, it sends data to a head unit via ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart, and Watteam say that it weighs just 48g (you add two devices weighing 24g each).

“Watteam PowerBeat uses the most advanced strain gauge technology, along with an optimized processor, accelerators and gyros to accurately detect your power output,” say Watteam.

“Built from rods and springs, our worldwide patented sensor attaches easily to both of your crank arms. It senses your pedal stroke up to the millisecond, recording the direct and immediate torque that you apply.

“Our sensor then feeds the data to our patented algorithm, located inside the comp unit, where it is translated into accurate power data.

“The Comp Unit, once attached to each of your pedals, transmits the data to your smartphone via ANT+ or low power Bluetooth or to your cycling computer, enabling live tracking of your energy output.”

One of the most attractive features of PowerBeat seems to be that it is an add-on that can be attached to any bike without the need to remove existing equipment. With Garmin’s pedal-based Vector system, for example, you need to use Garmin's pedals.

With Stages you need to take off your existing left crank arm and replace it with a new crank arm that has the Stages system pre-installed. Currently, Stages can’t offer carbon-fibre cranks whereas PowerBeat can be installed on both aluminium and carbon-fibre, according to Watteam.

In terms of weight, the Stages crank-based system is lighter, adding just 20g to your bike, but PowerBeat is lighter than a Garmin Vector setup. 

PowerBeat provides direct force measurements for each leg separately providing you with the basis for correcting imbalances in your pedal stroke. Garmin Vector also provides this, but Stages and PowerTap do not.

With a comp unit, a sensor and a cable running between them on each crank, PowerBeat doesn’t look the tidiest powermeter on the market, but as long as the data provided is good, the cost is going to attract people.

Watteam, a California-based company whose R&D department is located in Israel, reckon that PowerBeat is “on par with the market’s top power meter brands in terms of accuracy and consistency” with a built-in temperature compensation mechanism. They don’t put a figure on that level of accuracy.

Installation and calibration are said to be simple with YouTube videos to help you get everything right.

PowerBeam uses a 3.6 volt battery that, Watteam say, will provide 360 hours of life. When the battery runs out of juice, you just pop in a new one.

PowerBeat is targeted for commercial launch in spring 2015.

http://watteam.com/

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

55 comments

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abudhabiChris [692 posts] 1 year ago
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If it does what it says on the tin this promises to be awesome.

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zanf [759 posts] 1 year ago
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At last a power meter that I dont need to sell off a kidney to afford!

Look forward to a review for accuracy/consistency.

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andybnk [97 posts] 1 year ago
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If it works I'll be getting one!

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deblemund [262 posts] 1 year ago
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I bet US$499 actually translates to £499. But if I'm wrong..

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beanrtw [1 post] 1 year ago
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I think they've finally hit the sweet spot price wise. Not too much more than a Garmin with heart rate makes it much easier to swallow!

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 1 year ago
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I suspect it will be closer to £499 when it arrives here - $499 will exclude sales tax, so add 20% to your £300, plus some import and marketing costs. Maybe £400, but still, this would beat the competitors by some margin, and below the rich person/kit is provided to me price bracket.

Looks great, although I wonder how much the replacement batteries will be, or whether they will be rechargeable.

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pedalpowerDC [323 posts] 1 year ago
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I'd say that my SRAM Stages is still easier to swap between bikes. All I need is an 8mm hex, swap the NDS crank, already have pedals on the existing driveside arms; 45 seconds tops.

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RobD [282 posts] 1 year ago
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I hope this does live up to the claims (and the price is fairly reasonable) I have no desperate need of a power meter, but if the price is right then it becomes much easier to swallow as a gadget/toy for casual interest.
Hopefully this will make other manufacturers look hard at their pricing and be good for the whole market.

I don't think they even look that bad really, especially if they did one with a black mountin piece so it hides more on carbon cranks.

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fukawitribe [1430 posts] 1 year ago
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pedalpowerDC wrote:

I'd say that my SRAM Stages is still easier to swap between bikes. All I need is an 8mm hex, swap the NDS crank, already have pedals on the existing driveside arms; 45 seconds tops.

I'd say you're right. However the main reason I don't have a Stage PM (despite them being rather good) is that they're still too expensive for me, especially as I don't actually need a power meter.

If it works, this might sneak in under the affordability limit.

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pwake [374 posts] 1 year ago
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Clever stuff and no reason why it should be any less accurate than anything else out there. Sounds like they have a miniature spring-mass system in the sensors and can thus be used on any crank as they don't really on measuring the strain in the actual crank material. Nice!

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P3t3 [198 posts] 1 year ago
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pwake wrote:

Sounds like they have a miniature spring-mass system in the sensors and can thus be used on any crank as they don't really on measuring the strain in the actual crank material. Nice!

I can't work out if they have strain gauges or not? They are not very clear what they are actually measuring, certainly if it is strain then I can't see how it works on any crank. Interesting to see the first reviews by people that know about PMs.

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glynr36 [637 posts] 1 year ago
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deblemund wrote:

I bet US$499 actually translates to £499. But if I'm wrong..

It'll be exactly that or more...

I'll be awaiting DCRainmakers report on these, usually indepth and compares with a number of other PM's

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Pub bike [132 posts] 1 year ago
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P3t3 wrote:

I can't work out if they have strain gauges or not? They are not very clear what they are actually measuring, certainly if it is strain then I can't see how it works on any crank. Interesting to see the first reviews by people that know about PMs.

To estimate power you need torque and rotational velocity. In all probability the torque is estimated using strain gauges which they mention in the 3rd paragraph directly under the photo, whilst the rotational velocity is estimated using accelerometers.

I’m guessing there will be some form of calibration procedure once the strain gauges have been mounted on the cranks to deal with variations in the amount by which different crank arms bend at the point where the gauges are mounted according to the amount of force applied to them.

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giobox [352 posts] 1 year ago
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glynr36 wrote:
deblemund wrote:

I bet US$499 actually translates to £499. But if I'm wrong..

It'll be exactly that or more...
s

As others have quite rightly pointed out, US prices never include sales tax, as it differs from state to state and normally doesn't apply to online sales. In the UK this is a whopping 20% for VAT alone, and thats before any other import taxes/shipping/fees/hedging against currency changes the business incurs.

As much as people like to complain about this, it's rarely the company to blame.

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Bigringrider [179 posts] 1 year ago
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"Based in California, with all R&D performed in Israel"

No thanks.

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ronin [263 posts] 1 year ago
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iamelectron wrote:

"Based in California, with all R&D performed in Israel"

No thanks.

When I first read about it, perhaps on BikeRumour.com, it mentioned it's not just the R&D, Israel's national team coach is actually the co-founder.

I was too young to understand apartheid in South Africa, but now Israel is surely worse. My conscience doesn't allow me to knowingly buy goods from Israel or from companies that proudly support Israel.

A UN spokesperson stated, "Israel bombs the houses of Palestinians so we provide them tents, as they have nowhere else to go, and then they bomb the tents".

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 1 year ago
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I deliberately avoided the political bit just to see what reaction it received, I wonder if it will have much of an impact on sales.

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lookmanohands [119 posts] 1 year ago
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So just because its made in Israel yoy won't get one?  21 so everyone over there is evil? Just like everyone in Germany in ww2 was evil. Grow up  35

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glynr36 [637 posts] 1 year ago
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giobox wrote:
glynr36 wrote:
deblemund wrote:

I bet US$499 actually translates to £499. But if I'm wrong..

It'll be exactly that or more...
s

As others have quite rightly pointed out, US prices never include sales tax, as it differs from state to state and normally doesn't apply to online sales. In the UK this is a whopping 20% for VAT alone, and thats before any other import taxes/shipping/fees/hedging against currency changes the business incurs.

As much as people like to complain about this, it's rarely the company to blame.

I'm aware how it ends up at the UK cost, but perhaps Road.cc(or other placess)shouldn't be reporting it as a £300 powermeter

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Dropped [80 posts] 1 year ago
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The commenter did not say everyone in Israel is evil but rather inferred (rightly in my opinion) that the regime is extremely unpleasant. Oh and if you are going to tell someone to grow up check your spelling (yoy is not a word) and don't insert emoticons all over your posting like an immature 12 year old child.

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matttheaudit [69 posts] 1 year ago
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Can't wait to see some reviews but at the moment it is a definite pencil-in on the wish list.

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georgeince [75 posts] 1 year ago
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but then thats only one leg, who know what your other leg is doing!  39

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MNgraveur [62 posts] 1 year ago
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A UN spokesperson ought to have stated, "Israel bombs the houses of Palestinians who lob missiles at Israeli civilians, so we provide them with concrete so that they can make tunnels to kill more civilians, instead of homes, schools or factories".

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Paul J [839 posts] 1 year ago
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lookmanohands: The people in Watteam in Israel could be the nicest & most reasonable people in the world. However, if you buy this powermeter you're still going to be choosing to put money into and help support the economy of a violently racist, land-grabbing, apartheid state.

If you're fine with that…

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Flying Scot [908 posts] 1 year ago
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Looks a bit flimsy.

I'm into power measurement, I just still think it's too early to invest, I like to get 30 years out my kit!

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usedtobefaster [155 posts] 1 year ago
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Think I'll be keeping an eye on DC Rainmaker's site for an in depth review of this when it's released. He does extremely in depth reviews on kit.

What will a power meter tell me, simple, I don't generate enough  1

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Binky [116 posts] 1 year ago
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How many of these will be sent back due to the English weather and road gunk and salt killing it.

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fukawitribe [1430 posts] 1 year ago
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Binky wrote:

How many of these will be sent back due to the English weather and road gunk and salt killing it.

9. I have foreseen it.

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Paul J [839 posts] 1 year ago
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MNgraveur: Just some objective facts:

* In this recent conflict, Hamas killed 3 civilians in Israel. Israel has killed more than a thousand.

* Israel started this recent conflict. Hamas had been observing a cease-fire on rockets for more than a year, until Israel attacked Hamas on the pretext that the 3 murdered settler teens in the West Bank had something to do with Hamas (there's no evidence it did, other than Israel's assertion).

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glynr36 [637 posts] 1 year ago
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Paul J wrote:

MNgraveur: Just some objective facts:

* In this recent conflict, Hamas killed 3 civilians in Israel. Israel has killed more than a thousand.

Just to play devils advocate a bit, take away the Iron dome, or what ever they call Israels defence system, and I'm sure the numbers would be fairly equal.
The result might be different, but the intent in both sides is the same.

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