Home
Verdict: 
Very well-priced power meter that's easy to swap between bikes
Weight: 
417g
Contact: 
PowerTap P1S Single Side Powermeter Set
8 10

PowerTap P1S pedals are the single-sided version of the popular PowerTap P1 power meter pedals. They're easy to set up and to swap between bikes and if you're not bothered about measuring power from both legs, they're well worth a look.

The big advantage of measuring power at the pedals is supposed to be that pedals are easy to swap between bikes. However, only the PowerTap P1 pedals have really delivered on that promise. Garmin's Vector 2 pedals and Look's similar Keo Power pedals require you to faff with their external electronics pods, while the intriguing Favero Assioma pedals only started shipping at the beginning of August, so it's too early to tell how well they work.

> Find your nearest dealer here

The PowerTap P1S pedals are a single-sided version of the PowerTap P1 pedals that Dave Arthur reviewed a couple of years ago.

That means that only the left pedal contains the necessary strain gauges and electronic gubbins to measure your power, and it simply doubles the reading to work out your power.

PowerTap P1S power meter pedals 2.jpg

PowerTap P1S power meter pedals 2.jpg

Superficially that sounds like a bad idea, but other single-sided power meters such as Stages and 4iiii produce good, useful data, at considerably less than the cost of a double-sided system.

And this is what we find with the PowerTap P1S. You can pick up a set for £440 against about £800 for the double-sided version. That makes the PowerTap P1S pedals a very cost-effective way of getting started with training with power. There are slightly cheaper systems, but none of them offer the PowerTap P1S's full range of features:

  • Easy switching between bikes
  • Compatibility with any bike, regardless of transmission manufacturer
  • Compatibility with a wide range of head units
  • Both Bluetooth and ANT+ communication protocols

The important question here, then, is does it matter that you only get power readings from one leg?

The short answer is: no.

I fitted the PowerTap P1S pedals to a bike mounted in a CycleOps Hammer direct drive trainer. Power readings from the P1S closely tracked the readings from the Hammer, though they were consistently slightly higher.

That's to be expected. The closer to your legs that you measure power, the higher the reading, because power is lost in flexing the cranks and in friction in the chain. None of these losses are large (unless your chain is very dirty) but power meters are sufficiently sensitive to detect the few watts we're talking about.

Using a double-sided power meter indicates I have a slight difference in power between left and right legs too, and my left leg is the stronger one. That's the leg the P1S is measuring, so that accounts for some of the difference in power readings between the pedal and the Hammer trainer.

Does that matter? Not really. As long as the P1S is consistently accurate from one ride to the next, then it's not a big deal that it's over- or under-reading by a per cent or two. Us regular punters are going to use a power meter to make the most of our training time. We're going to measure our functional threshold power in one of those 20-minute torture sessions coaches are so fond of, then tailor our training accordingly.

You can do that just as well if your power measurement is out by a couple of per cent as if it's bang on, as long as it's consistently out. The P1S is. In several tests on the trainer and on the road, it's read slightly higher than a crank power meter or measurement at the turbo.

Now, if you're going up against Chris Froome, it's a different story. You need accurate power measurement because you have a target: Froome's 6.25 watts/kg power-to-weight ratio. If you think you're generating 6.3 watts/kg, but you're actually only putting out 6.1 watts/kg, you're in for a nasty surprise on l'Alpe d'Huez.

The increased accuracy of the very best double-sided power meters is therefore a must-have for elite riders. For the rest of us, not so much.

Aside from that, everything that David Arthur had to say about the double-sided P1 pedals applies to the P1S. They're well made, easy to set up and use, and very easy to switch between bikes.

I did have to update to the latest firmware after unboxing the PowerTap P1Ses, but that's very easy with the free CycleOps Virtual Training iPhone app, which you can also use to set the zero offset before a ride.

The only significant gripe is that PowerTap is very cagey about compatibility with Look Keo cleats. Lots of people (including our Davey) have found that you can use Keo cleats with PowerTap pedals. However, PowerTap strongly recommends that you use the supplied PowerTap cleats, and replace them with the same when they wear out.

PowerTap cleats are available with either six degrees of float (the red cleats) or none, in black. They can be found for about £18 a pair whereas a small amount of clicking around will find Look Keo cleats for under a tenner.

If you've got several pairs of shoes, you'll need to budget for some extra cleats.

> Buyer's Guide: Your power measuring options

The only thing that would make me hesitate about dropping £440 on a PowerTap P1S right now is the Garmin Vector 3. In the latest version of its power-measuring pedals, Garmin has incorporated the electronics into the pedal body; the pods of the Vector 1 and 2 are no more. The Vector 3 also supports Bluetooth, softening Garmin's previous singular devotion to its ANT+ protocol.

The Vector 3 has caught up with the PowerTap P1's advantages, then. The decision will then come down to price (a Vector 3S is £500, and is lighter and arguably tidier than the P1S), and whether you're prepared to go through the waiting-for-a-firmware-update rigmarole that goes with any new cycling electronics.

The PowerTap P1S pedals work extremely well with the latest firmware. If you want a sensibly priced power meter that can be easily swapped between bikes, and you want it right now, the PowerTap P1S pedals deserve your very serious consideration.

Verdict

Very well-priced power meter that's easy to swap between bikes

road.cc test report

Make and model: PowerTap P1S Power Meter Pedals

Size tested: One

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

PowerTap says:

Single-sided measurement.

An affordable way to measure power at the pedals.

Doubles left pedal measurement to calculate total power.

Easily swap between bikes for a vast range of compatibility.

BRINGING POWER TO THE PEDALS FOR THE PEOPLE

Built to be just as robust and just as precise as its world-renowned sibling, the PowerTap Single-Sided Pedal has all the innovation of the P1 pedals – at a fraction of the price. Named for its single-sided nature, the PowerTap Single-Sided Pedal doubles the watts produced by the left pedal to calculate total power. The PowerTap Single-Sided Pedal also touts the same plug-and-play installation, easy-to-swap, cross-bike compatibility, along with dual-band ANT+ and Bluetooth as its bi-lateral counterpart.

Ideal for the bike enthusiast, the weekend warrior or the power-training curious, there is no better way to get started with accurate pedal-based power than the PowerTap Single-Sided Pedal.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Full specs:

Weight: 390 grams per pair of pedals (without batteries)

Thread Type: 9/16"

Cleat Interface: 3 bolt

Cleat: Red, 6 degree floating

Spring Type: Adjustable Elastomer

Proven PowerTap accuracy

Release Tension: 6-20 Nm

Stack Height: 14mm

Center of Pedal: 53mm (measured from crank to pedal)

Lean Angle: 25.5 degrees (based on 175mm crank length, 75mm BB drop and 147mm Q-Factor crank)

Firmware Updates: Over the air

Connectivity: ANT+ and Bluetooth SMART

Battery: AAA Lithium (alkaline and/or rechargeable alkaline batteries not recommended for extended use)

Battery Life: 60 hours

No weight limit

PowerTap Single-Sided Pedals are not capable of providing advanced pedal metric data. In order to display advanced pedal metric data you must be using dual sided P1 pedals.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Fit and finish is very tidy.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Easy to pair with Garmin head units and with the PowerTap app on an iPhone. Consistent power readings with no odd spikes or drop-outs.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10

They're not the lightest pedals, thanks to having all the electronics contained in the body, plus an AAA battery, but the weight disadvantage is well worth it for the function.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

This is currently one of the cheapest ways to get into training with power. Take into account the ease of swapping between bikes, reliability and PowerTap's track record in the sector and they're very very good value.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well; provides consistent power readings with no unusual behaviour.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Ease of use: fit the pedals, set the zero offset, and away you go.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Having to get used to single-sided pedals after years of using Speedplays.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

I'm tempted to give the PowerTap P1S pedals an extra half a point over the dual-sided P1 pedals because they're only a little over half the price, but I'm going to agree with David Arthur and give them four stars because they're very good, but I suspect the Garmin Vector 3 and Favero Assioma pedals are going to put them under serious pressure for weight, features and price.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 5ft 11in  Weight: 85kg

I usually ride: Scapin Style  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

13 comments

Avatar
me [94 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

I got the double sided version a year or two ago as they're easier to take on holiday than a powertap wheel.  Screw them in and away you go works a treat.

For me, the balance is around 50/50 +/- 1 and I wouldn't have thought single sided would be any less accurate for most of us.

Lithium AAA batteries last ages but ordinary alkaline ones easily last weeks.  There's no problem taking them through airport security (unlike taking an inner tube through Bristol past some jobsworth adding nothing to safety.  What a shthole of an airport).

No, I don't work for powertap and yes, I bought them with my own money.  I'd struggle to make 4W/kg but I want stuff to work and not need dicking about with when I could be riding.

Avatar
rkemb [53 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
Quote:

Froome's 6.25 watts/kg power-to-weight ratio. If you think you're generating 6.3 watts/kg, but you're actually only putting out 6.1 watts/kg, you're in for a nasty surprise on l'Alpe d'Huez.

The difference between 6.1 and 6.3 is about 3%, which is within the range of uncertainty of a powermeter. Add in variation of weight due to whether or not you've recently eaten, drunk (or sweated) much, or done a poo and I'd be surprised if you could get any consistent comparison of performance versus output to that degree of accuracy (a point also roundly ignored by Ross Tucker).

Avatar
Yorkshire wallet [1575 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

I was hoping power meters would be below the £350 by now seeing how technology marches on and prices fall in most areas of electronics.

I've got a powerpod but it's wind measurement seems to have packed in rendering it useless on the flats on most days. Probably opt for a used stages as I'm on 165mm cranks and they sometimes go relatively cheaply.

Avatar
philhubbard [70 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
Yorkshire wallet wrote:

I was hoping power meters would be below the £350 by now seeing how technology marches on and prices fall in most areas of electronics. I've got a powerpod but it's wind measurement seems to have packed in rendering it useless on the flats on most days. Probably opt for a used stages as I'm on 165mm cranks and they sometimes go relatively cheaply.

 

Have you looked at Powermeters.com recently? You can get the new Favero pedals for about £450ish and with the new style coming out hopefully there will be some reductions

Avatar
fluffed [53 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Powertap lost me with their Apple device only updates. Stuff that.

Avatar
OR_biker [25 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
fluffed wrote:

Powertap lost me with their Apple device only updates. Stuff that.

 

That gave me pause too when I was looking to get the P1S (had them a few weeks now and love them!), but I found that the CycleOps Virtual Training app allows you to do the updates too.  Not sure why the article only mentioned it's an Apple app?  It's now called "Rouvy" (at least for Android), but it worked just fine for updating the firmware.

Avatar
fluffed [53 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Things changed recently then? Pretty sure a few months ago when I looked Apple was the only way to update, and an Android app had been in the works for over a year.

Avatar
OR_biker [25 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

Yeah, not sure how recent but I was able to find this when I was researching a few weeks ago before buying my pedals:

https://www.powertap.com/support/firmware/virtualtraining-android

Avatar
fluffed [53 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Thanks for the info, was actually waiting on the new Favero Assioma (stock due end of August), but maybe the Powertaps back in the mix now.

Avatar
BeatPoet [83 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
fluffed wrote:

Thanks for the info, was actually waiting on the new Favero Assioma (stock due end of August), but maybe the Powertaps back in the mix now.

I got the double sided BePro last November. Highly recommend. Pity Brexit has totally f'd the pound against the euro tho. Was "cheap" at £595.

Avatar
Gasman Jim [209 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

I used the dual sided P1 pedals for about 18 months. There are many things to like about them, but they also have their problems.

I bought them after having significant battery issues with a couple of Stages units and their warranty replacements.

The P1 pedals' electronics were a big improvement on the Stages. Through out the 18 months I owned them they were always reliable. Having dual sided measurements was a revelation as it showed I had a significant L-R imbalance when seated which became perfectly balanced when out of the saddle. This has convinced me that making do with a one sided PM is a complete waste of time; you need to at least measure your whole power output as the inbalance is a dynamic thing which changes with output, fatigue and position.

The ease with which the P1s can be transferred from bike to bike is unparalleled; you just screw them in, calibrate and ride.

They are tough. I had a significant crash while using them which involved sliding across the road and the loss of some metal from the right hand pedal, but it kept working just fine. However, that toughness comes at the expense of being quite weighty units.

Now the not so good stuff.

My first pair developed play in the bearings within 3 months. They were replaced under warranty, but despite claims that the bearings had been upgraded in later batches the problem recurred. They never progressed to becoming unrideable, but I'd previously had Dura Ace pedals which were still perfect after 10,000 miles. This is a big disappointment in a £1000 pair of pedals.

The not-Look cleats are treacherous for walking in as the non-slip insert st the toe is in the wrong place. The matching non-PM pedals for these cleats (I forget what make they are) are cheap and nasty feeling. I wanted a pair for my turbo-trainer bike, but ended up using Look Keos for this, and since I only had one pair of shoes ended up using Keo cleats with the P1s. I had no compatibility issues in terms of engagement or release but they did become very squeaky over time which really began to annoy me!

Eventually, however, my left sided P1 began to consume batteries (lithium ones) at an alarming rate. Instead of getting 40hrs use I was probably down to 4hrs. Powertap replaced these under warranty again (they have a 2 year warranty on electronics) but by this time the bearing, cleat and now electronic issues had annoyed me sufficiently that I just sold the warranty replacements on eBay.

So I'm now "between power meters". I'm waiting for either the new Dura Ace unit or a P2M which is compatible with Shimano chainrings and Rotor 24mm crank, which ever is available first.

The P1 isn't a bad unit, but it's far from perfect. I can't fault Powertap's warranty support, they really do stand behind their products (although turn around time could be faster but I suspect a lot of the delay is due to them being based in the USA).

Switching back to SPD-SL pedals has been a revelation after using Looks. The SPD-SLs are in another league for silent efficiency and quality of construction. I think while cramming all that power measuring technology into a pedal is impressive, it's probably not the best place to put expensive electronics, so my next PM will definitely be crank-based.

Hope my long term experience helps others decide what to buy.

Avatar
ibr17xvii [255 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
Gasman Jim wrote:

I used the dual sided P1 pedals for about 18 months. There are many things to like about them, but they also have their problems.

I bought them after having significant battery issues with a couple of Stages units and their warranty replacements.

The P1 pedals' electronics were a big improvement on the Stages. Through out the 18 months I owned them they were always reliable. Having dual sided measurements was a revelation as it showed I had a significant L-R imbalance when seated which became perfectly balanced when out of the saddle. This has convinced me that making do with a one sided PM is a complete waste of time; you need to at least measure your whole power output as the inbalance is a dynamic thing which changes with output, fatigue and position.

The ease with which the P1s can be transferred from bike to bike is unparalleled; you just screw them in, calibrate and ride.

They are tough. I had a significant crash while using them which involved sliding across the road and the loss of some metal from the right hand pedal, but it kept working just fine. However, that toughness comes at the expense of being quite weighty units.

Now the not so good stuff.

My first pair developed play in the bearings within 3 months. They were replaced under warranty, but despite claims that the bearings had been upgraded in later batches the problem recurred. They never progressed to becoming unrideable, but I'd previously had Dura Ace pedals which were still perfect after 10,000 miles. This is a big disappointment in a £1000 pair of pedals.

The not-Look cleats are treacherous for walking in as the non-slip insert st the toe is in the wrong place. The matching non-PM pedals for these cleats (I forget what make they are) are cheap and nasty feeling. I wanted a pair for my turbo-trainer bike, but ended up using Look Keos for this, and since I only had one pair of shoes ended up using Keo cleats with the P1s. I had no compatibility issues in terms of engagement or release but they did become very squeaky over time which really began to annoy me!

Eventually, however, my left sided P1 began to consume batteries (lithium ones) at an alarming rate. Instead of getting 40hrs use I was probably down to 4hrs. Powertap replaced these under warranty again (they have a 2 year warranty on electronics) but by this time the bearing, cleat and now electronic issues had annoyed me sufficiently that I just sold the warranty replacements on eBay.

So I'm now "between power meters". I'm waiting for either the new Dura Ace unit or a P2M which is compatible with Shimano chainrings and Rotor 24mm crank, which ever is available first.

The P1 isn't a bad unit, but it's far from perfect. I can't fault Powertap's warranty support, they really do stand behind their products (although turn around time could be faster but I suspect a lot of the delay is due to them being based in the USA).

Switching back to SPD-SL pedals has been a revelation after using Looks. The SPD-SLs are in another league for silent efficiency and quality of construction. I think while cramming all that power measuring technology into a pedal is impressive, it's probably not the best place to put expensive electronics, so my next PM will definitely be crank-based.

Hope my long term experience helps others decide what to buy.

Good insight from a long term user.

Crank based is the way to go for me as well, I'd love to send my crank off to 4iii for them to fit a power meter but the shipping costs associated with possible oter costs just make it too expensive at the moment.

If 4iii had a UK presence I'd be sorely tempted even though I probably don't "need" a power meter.

Avatar
Tass Whitby [39 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

ibr17xvii wrote:

Gasman Jim wrote:

I used the dual sided P1 pedals for about 18 months. There are many things to like about them, but they also have their problems.

I bought them after having significant battery issues with a couple of Stages units and their warranty replacements.

The P1 pedals' electronics were a big improvement on the Stages. Through out the 18 months I owned them they were always reliable. Having dual sided measurements was a revelation as it showed I had a significant L-R imbalance when seated which became perfectly balanced when out of the saddle. This has convinced me that making do with a one sided PM is a complete waste of time; you need to at least measure your whole power output as the inbalance is a dynamic thing which changes with output, fatigue and position.

The ease with which the P1s can be transferred from bike to bike is unparalleled; you just screw them in, calibrate and ride.

They are tough. I had a significant crash while using them which involved sliding across the road and the loss of some metal from the right hand pedal, but it kept working just fine. However, that toughness comes at the expense of being quite weighty units.

Now the not so good stuff.

My first pair developed play in the bearings within 3 months. They were replaced under warranty, but despite claims that the bearings had been upgraded in later batches the problem recurred. They never progressed to becoming unrideable, but I'd previously had Dura Ace pedals which were still perfect after 10,000 miles. This is a big disappointment in a £1000 pair of pedals.

The not-Look cleats are treacherous for walking in as the non-slip insert st the toe is in the wrong place. The matching non-PM pedals for these cleats (I forget what make they are) are cheap and nasty feeling. I wanted a pair for my turbo-trainer bike, but ended up using Look Keos for this, and since I only had one pair of shoes ended up using Keo cleats with the P1s. I had no compatibility issues in terms of engagement or release but they did become very squeaky over time which really began to annoy me!

Eventually, however, my left sided P1 began to consume batteries (lithium ones) at an alarming rate. Instead of getting 40hrs use I was probably down to 4hrs. Powertap replaced these under warranty again (they have a 2 year warranty on electronics) but by this time the bearing, cleat and now electronic issues had annoyed me sufficiently that I just sold the warranty replacements on eBay.

So I'm now "between power meters". I'm waiting for either the new Dura Ace unit or a P2M which is compatible with Shimano chainrings and Rotor 24mm crank, which ever is available first.

The P1 isn't a bad unit, but it's far from perfect. I can't fault Powertap's warranty support, they really do stand behind their products (although turn around time could be faster but I suspect a lot of the delay is due to them being based in the USA).

Switching back to SPD-SL pedals has been a revelation after using Looks. The SPD-SLs are in another league for silent efficiency and quality of construction. I think while cramming all that power measuring technology into a pedal is impressive, it's probably not the best place to put expensive electronics, so my next PM will definitely be crank-based.

Hope my long term experience helps others decide what to buy.

Good insight from a long term user.

Crank based is the way to go for me as well, I'd love to send my crank off to 4iii for them to fit a power meter but the shipping costs associated with possible oter costs just make it too expensive at the moment.

If 4iii had a UK presence I'd be sorely tempted even though I probably don't "need" a power meter.

 

Hello Gasman Jim - 4iiii's UK contact suggests you try one of the stockists listed here: http://www.4iiiiuk.com