Stages Cycling are launching three new Stages Power models: a Shimano Ultegra 6800 option, plus a new partnership with FSA that brings MegaExo and BB30 models.
We’ve covered the Stages system a couple of times on road.cc, most recently last week when we picked one up for review.
In brief, Stages take a standard left (non-driveside) crank and add a very small sensor that measures strain and cadence in order to calculate power. It adds just 20g to the crank and it sends the data via both ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart protocols. You buy just the relevant left crank with the sensor fitted, with prices ranging from £599 up to £799.
“The basic design of these new models is based on what we’ve already had in the field,” said Stages’ Matt Pacocha. “These new models simply open Stages Power to a broader base of cranks specced on new bikes and already available in the field. We’re excited to support Shimano’s Ultegra 6800 drivetrain, and for the much broader BB30 fitment that FSA will afford.”
The new Ultegra 6800 model will cost £699 and should be available in the UK from December or January. Stages expect to start shipping the FSA MegaExo and BB30 models some time in the new year but UK distributor Saddleback doesn't have details on UK availability or prices yet.
After our last Stages story, 700c asked on the road.cc forum about Campagnolo compatibility. Stages don’t currently offer a power meter fitted to a Campag crank. We asked Matt Pacocha about the situation, and this is what he said…
“Our solution doesn't work on carbon, because we require the crank arm's material properties to be linear under deflection so that we can accurately measure it. Alloy/metal/aluminum has a linear response to a given force input, or temperature input. Carbon does not, which is why we can't use this exact design for carbon cranks.”
Several of the higher-end Campagnolo groupsets use carbon cranks, so that rules out a Stages option for the moment, although the know-how might exist soon.
“We have ideas for carbon, but especially when considering Campag, we need to understand the opportunity cost: will we sell enough to justify the development and production costs? We know we can do it, but we don't know that we can do it cost effectively enough.”
That all seems reasonable enough: Stages can do it, but only if it makes sound business sense. But not all Campagnolo chainsets are carbon, so why not produce a Campag-compatible alloy option. Over to Matt…
“It is plausible, but we don't think that they'd be adopted as readily as the SRAM version. We believe the Campag enthusiast is much more in tune with the aesthetic, thus will not adopt the utilitarian approach to fitting a lesser crank or mismatched non-drive crank arm to their bikes as readily. In this case again, we don't think we can sell enough to offset the production costs of bringing it to market.
“We’re launching both Ultegra 6800 and two FSA models (see above) and feel the latter may be the best opportunity for Campag riders, in the short term anyway.”
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 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.