Watteam to offer £300 PowerBeat powermeter + video

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

by Mat Brett   August 20, 2014  

WATTEAM_PowerBeat_whole-crank1

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/

55 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

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 Smile

posted by usedtobefaster [97 posts]
20th August 2014 - 22:54

32 Likes

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

posted by Binky [113 posts]
20th August 2014 - 23:39

28 Likes

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.

fukawitribe's picture

posted by fukawitribe [438 posts]
20th August 2014 - 23:55

26 Likes

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).

posted by Paul J [629 posts]
21st August 2014 - 10:19

24 Likes

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.

glynr36's picture

posted by glynr36 [428 posts]
21st August 2014 - 11:12

27 Likes

lookmanohands wrote:
So just because its made in Israel yoy won't get one? Laughing so everyone over there is evil? Just like everyone in Germany in ww2 was evil. Grow up Silly

A well thought out comment there. Well done.

posted by iamelectron [108 posts]
21st August 2014 - 11:21

19 Likes

glynr36 wrote:
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.

Their missile defence has only been in place since late 2011 and tbh, the rockets Hamas are launching are not very high tech at all and pre 2011 the IDF were quite capable of racking up massively disproportionate retaliatory killings via their inherently racist regulars and reserves – it’s their forte.

posted by iamelectron [108 posts]
21st August 2014 - 11:32

23 Likes

I welcome this to be honest, just think that $499 isn't going to equate to £300, I'm going for £399...

posted by plowsie [15 posts]
21st August 2014 - 11:39

16 Likes

would be nice to have a list of different cycle computers its fully compatible with. Not mentioned on their website. Also what IPX rating it has been tested to if at all due to its location on the pedal/crank if it can withstand water submersion.

posted by toothache90 [35 posts]
21st August 2014 - 11:44

27 Likes

glynr36: Again, trying my best to stick to objective facts and not introduce opinion:

* Israel is bombing Gaza with sophisticated munitions, many made by the USAs defence industry, including guided air-to-surface missiles, large artillery rounds, and tank shells. All of which deliver sizable amounts (10 kg to 1000 kg) of high-explosive, delivered from sophisticated aircraft, drones and tanks.

* Hamas has fairly small, home-made unguided artillery rockets, powered by home-made propellant made from fertiliser and the like, carrying warheads of 1.5 to 10 kg. It's not clear whether the warhead explosives are also home-made. I.e. there's a good chance the Hamas rockets explosives are much less powerful than those in Israeli munitions.

* The space Hamas is firing into, Israel, has a relatively low-density population compared to Gaza.

* Israel has used 1 tonne bombs, at least 120 times:

(https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13004-israeli-army-ra...)

* The UNOCHA calculated that in just the first 4 days of Operation Protective Edge, Israel bombed Gaza with over 2000 tonnes of explosives. I have read claims that Israel has so far expended at least 17,000 tonnes of explosive on Gaza, but can't find a good source for this, however it's consistent with the UNOCHA figure.

( http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/07/11/233078_gaza-death-toll-climbs-as-i...)

* Hamas has fired circa 3000 rockets at Israel since this operation began. Even if each rocket was Hamas most capable rocket (which I don't think is anywhere near the case), capable of carrying 10 kg of explosives, that would be 30 tonnes. If it was mostly their smaller rockets, that'd be 4.5 tonnes. And again, that may be a significantly lower grade of explosive to those in the Israeli munitions.

* It is not clear Iron Dome is exceptionally effective. There is some analysis on the net pointing out Iron Dome has some short-comings, with tentative photographic evidence of these short-comings in action.

* 3 people have been killed in Israel. Over 2 thousand have been killed in Gaza. More than 60,000 have been made homeless and destitute in Gaza, due to systematic demolition through bombing of certain parts of Gaza.

The lack of casualties in Israel may simply be due to the ineffectiveness of these rockets. Even before Iron Dome, these rockets weren't causing anything but the odd casualty in Israel.

Even without Iron Dome, it is clear that there is a cavernous gulf of disparity in military capability between Hamas and Israel. There is little reason to speculate that Hamas has the military capability to inflict much damage to Israel. If Hamas did, it surely would. Further, it is painfully clear that Israel does have that capability.

Israel has killed hundreds times more People in Gaza than Hamas has killed people in Israel. This is not a matter of speculation.

posted by Paul J [629 posts]
21st August 2014 - 12:03

31 Likes

Israel is not the only country in the world that are doing bad things.

I don't see anyone getting rid of there American, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, English etc products (They give money to weapons to Israel) as well as doing there own human rights violations.

When you empty your homes of all the products from all the country's that are doing atrocious things maybe you will have a leg to stand on, instead of being a bandwagon banner waver.

I guess you will be taking all the items from the above places to the skip in protest (bye bye bike and accessories, bye computer and phones)

It's a blooming cycling forum

posted by Binky [113 posts]
21st August 2014 - 12:31

21 Likes

Binky wrote:
I don't see anyone getting rid of there American, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, English etc products

English products?

posted by iamelectron [108 posts]
21st August 2014 - 12:45

21 Likes

Oh, and some other objective facts:

Netanyahu's Likud party, the main party of Israel's government:

1. Does not recognise the right of Palestine to exist, in its charter.

2. Claims *all* the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan as being for Israel.

http://www.juancole.com/2014/08/charter-destruction-palestinian.html

Netanyahu is quite clear on point 2, e.g. recently:

http://972mag.com/netanyahu-clarifies-the-occupation-will-last-forever/9...

The other parties in Israel's governing coalition are even more right-wing than Likud.

Now for my opinion: This conflict has nothing to do with Israel facing an existential threat from Hamas or the Palestinians. It is about the Israeli right wanting the land for Israel (their invisible sky friend says it's theirs!), and waging a long, deliberate, slow campaign of strangulation to ethnically cleanse their "Eretz Israel" of Palestinians.

Actually, that isn't even my opinion, because the right-wing in Israel are quite open that this is their goal - this is a member of the ruling coalition in Israel and a deputy speaker of the Knesset:

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/15326

He's not alone:

http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israeli-lawmakers-call-...

This is about grabbing the land.

posted by Paul J [629 posts]
21st August 2014 - 12:57

26 Likes

Oh, the biggest existential threat Israel as a righteous, democratic, Jewish state are those right-wingers who refuse to make peace with the Palestinians.

If Israel does not make peace, it is responsible for the Palestinians under its control, in which case it can not be both democratic and Jewish.

To stay Jewish, while retaining control of all land and people west of the Jordan, it can not be democratic. It must instead deny the human rights of circa half the people living west of the Jordan, or it must ethnically cleanse the Palestinians.

The former is abhorrent to any right-thinking person with a shred of humanity. The latter would stain the character of Israel forever.

The right-wing of Israel, in driving Israel to a point where two-state is impossible, have done the most to threaten its existence in recent times.

posted by Paul J [629 posts]
21st August 2014 - 13:04

25 Likes

Paul J wrote:
...........................This is about grabbing the land.

And of course Hamas and the Palestinians' only concern is about living in harmony with Israel.

One more objective fact which you appear to have missed. The intention of Hamas is the destruction of the state of Israel.

If you were in the position of the Israelis, rather than being an apologist for the Palestinians and the UN, what would you do? Would you allow your citizens to be bombed and shot and murdered by people trying to destroy your country? No, you'd respond with ALL the technology at your disposal.

You think it unfair that the Israelis have better weapons than Hamas. First rule of war; if you're going to pick a fight make sure you have bigger guns.

Hamas would do well to remember the old saying; No point going to a gun fight with a knife.

Did Nightrider 2013 and 2014 for Parkinson's UK. Might just have one last go in 2015.

jova54's picture

posted by jova54 [622 posts]
21st August 2014 - 13:09

19 Likes

jova54 wrote:
Paul J wrote:
...........................This is about grabbing the land.

And of course Hamas and the Palestinians' only concern is about living in harmony with Israel.

One more objective fact which you appear to have missed. The intention of Hamas is the destruction of the state of Israel.

If you were in the position of the Israelis, rather than being an apologist for the Palestinians and the UN, what would you do? Would you allow your citizens to be bombed and shot and murdered by people trying to destroy your country? No, you'd respond with ALL the technology at your disposal.

You think it unfair that the Israelis have better weapons than Hamas. First rule of war; if you're going to pick a fight make sure you have bigger guns.

Hamas would do well to remember the old saying; No point going to a gun fight with a knife.

You're right of course. Hamas are making the same mistake as the French Resistance during WW2 with the Germans. I mean who the hell were they to think they could fight the Wehrmacht with grenades and Sten Guns?

posted by HalfWheeler [55 posts]
21st August 2014 - 13:14

22 Likes

jova54: The chartered intention of Likud is to get all the land. What's your point exactly?

I know what I'd do, I wouldn't kill hundreds of civilians of the other side *before* they'd killed any of mine. I wouldn't attack them when they were honouring a cease-fire for over a year. I wouldn't go make up a reason to attack them. I couldn't live with myself if I did that really.

posted by Paul J [629 posts]
21st August 2014 - 13:19

15 Likes

Joava54: In particular, the many hundreds of children who were killed. I'm pretty sure they couldn't have been in any way responsible for any prior attacks on my country.

How many Israeli children have Gaza Hamas killed in the last year again? Pretty sure it's 0.

posted by Paul J [629 posts]
21st August 2014 - 13:22

12 Likes

HalfWheeler: Indeed, and when the SS would retaliate to resistance attacks by going into villages and massacring everyone they could find, that was completely justified too.

E.g. these murderous arab scum, sorry french villagers, totally had it coming to them, given what the french resistance did to the righteous and moral SS:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oradour-sur-Glane

posted by Paul J [629 posts]
21st August 2014 - 13:29

21 Likes

Middle eastern history..... why focus on the last few weeks? The past few thousand years are far more interesting?
But these 'home made' rockets? The ones with 'Made on Tehran' written on them? Ineffective.... Thinking

posted by SideBurn [815 posts]
21st August 2014 - 14:21

23 Likes

Paul J wrote:
HalfWheeler: Indeed, and when the SS would retaliate to resistance attacks by going into villages and massacring everyone they could find, that was completely justified too.

E.g. these murderous arab scum, sorry french villagers, totally had it coming to them, given what the french resistance did to the righteous and moral SS:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oradour-sur-Glane

Nice attempt at equating the IDF with the SS. Very reasoned argument. You forget that the resistance in all occupied countries during WWII knew they had the support of the Allies. The Palestinians have no friends. They all heaved a huge sight of relief when the UN finally managed to shoehorn them into Gaza and they have no interest in supporting them now.

Did Nightrider 2013 and 2014 for Parkinson's UK. Might just have one last go in 2015.

jova54's picture

posted by jova54 [622 posts]
21st August 2014 - 15:08

9 Likes

Jova54: The WWII comparisons are exasperated analogies. Feel free to debate the more objective and direct facts in the longer comments I made earlier, if you wish.

posted by Paul J [629 posts]
21st August 2014 - 15:32

23 Likes

Paul J wrote:
Jova54: The WWII comparisons are exasperated analogies. Feel free to debate the more objective and direct facts in the longer comments I made earlier, if you wish.

You used them but obviously can't support them now you've been found out. Rather than spouting propaganda, perhaps you'd like to deal with the fact that the Palestinians have no friends or visible support from their neighbours.

Did Nightrider 2013 and 2014 for Parkinson's UK. Might just have one last go in 2015.

jova54's picture

posted by jova54 [622 posts]
21st August 2014 - 16:06

10 Likes

What propaganda have I spouted? Other than jumping on the analogy, I've tried hard in my previous comments to stick to objective facts. Point out a factual error I've made - I'll be glad to hear of it so I won't make it again.

PS: Your previous comment basically says the French had allies, the Palestinians don't. What, exactly, are you inviting the reader to conclude? That killing thousands of Palestinians, most of them civilians, many of them children, is therefore perfectly acceptable?

It may have escaped your attention that these actions are causing Israel to lose friends. Which may eventually cause our western governments to back off on the aid and open trade Israel currently enjoys from and with them.

Finally, my aim is to support the right of all those in Israel and Palestine to peace, justice and security. I try to support the Israeli progressive left, and the non-violent resistance/civil-rights moment on the Palestinian side, to advance that goal.

posted by Paul J [629 posts]
21st August 2014 - 16:14

28 Likes

Oh, my only problem with the WWII SS analogy is that analogies are a really bad form of argument. However, there is definitely a most tragic irony in how the descendents of a people who were so desperately persecuted in Russia and Europe, culminating in the genocide of many of them, would then go and do onto others as was done to them. Those others had no part in what happened to the Jewish people in Europe and Russia.

The IDF is being used to confine Palestinians in ghettos in the West Bank, subject to military law, and a large, blockaded, open-air prison in Gaza. While settlers are allowed to annex the West Bank, hill top by hill top, olive grove by olive grove. The IDF practice collective punishment (a war crime), blowing up apartment blocks of families, because 1 person is suspected of being part of the resistance. Etc. Every few years, the IDF "mow the lawn" in Gaza, killing thousands and displacing many more, again a means of collective punishment.

It is a terrible, tragic irony which is not lost on many Jewish people either, including holocaust survivors, who greatly disapprove of what Israel is doing.

posted by Paul J [629 posts]
21st August 2014 - 16:26

22 Likes

can Road.cc moderators delete all the BS posts about Israel. Keep these posts for another forum, I want to read peoples opinions on cycling ONLY!!

posted by toothache90 [35 posts]
21st August 2014 - 16:33

30 Likes

Looks and sounds good, if tests well should sell well at £500 or<.

Forum rudeness is for the weak - pity them.

posted by Eebijeebi [59 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 9:59

8 Likes

Pub bike wrote:
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.

I can't see it being strain gauges; if you've ever tried using them you know they need bonding to whatever is being measured.
Yes, Power is given in rotary systems by torque x angular velocity and as torque = force x distance, if you have a spring-mass system with force being mass x acceleration, I think you've got it covered.

posted by pwake [298 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 13:38

13 Likes

pwake: Interesting. I've been trying to figure out how this thing could possibly work, or read from others on the same. Yours is the most plausible I've read so far.

Thing is, on F = ma. For this formulae to be meaningful in the context of the power the rider is producing, the m and a have to refer to the bicycle. If you measure just a mass and its acceleration confined in that rotational system around the crank, surely the force and hence the resultant power that you're measuring is /only/ the power being dissipated in that rotational system? Which doesn't seem that interesting?

E.g., if I'm spinning my cranks smoothly and easily at, say 95 rpm on the flat, how could this powermeter possibly distinguish this from spinning smoothly but with more force at 95 rpm up a hill in a lower gear?

I just get the feeling there must be some huge assumptions being made this power meter. ??

posted by Paul J [629 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 17:30

6 Likes

This could wipe the floor with the competition. Not the best looking thing though.

I don't understand why the Chinese don't make power meters, they're good at that sort of thing, judging by all the electronics they make. They could sell them for £9.99!

posted by J90 [118 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 21:10

0 Likes