The power meter market continues to expand and the latest option comes from Italian company FSA. Its new Powerbox power meter crack borrows power2max technology and costs £599 for the aluminium version (including chainrings) we’ve just got our hands on today.
FSA has worked with the German power meter company previously when it launched the Gossamer power meter crank a few years ago. But FSA is ramping up its power meter offering this year since it has launched its first complete groupset, WE, a semi-wireless electronic drivetrain.
Instead of developing its own power meter technology, FSA partnered with power2max to utilise its knowledge and experience. No surprise that the FSA Powerbox has a striking similarity to a power2max, but you’re getting FSA’s quality crank arms and chainrings.
The electronic gubbins are integrated neatly into the crankset and it measures left and right leg power and uses ANT+ to pass the data to a compatible computer, like a Garmin Edge or to a computer with an ANT+ receiver for use with Zwift, TrainerRoad and like that. Bluetooth should soon be available too so you can use it with suitable smartphone apps.
FSA has ensured the Powerbox is simple to use, just get on and ride with full power measurement. An internal accelerometer is used instead of a separate cadence sensor, and there’s no need to auto zero before every ride as the power meter auto zeros before a ride, or whenever you stop pedalling for three seconds. Battery life is a claimed 400 hours or 12,000km and can be changed easily.
We’ve got our hands on one of the first aluminium samples to land in the UK with a compact 50/34 chainring setup. On the scales the drive side crankset weighs 669g and the non-drive side crank arm is 255g. If you want less weight there’s a carbon fibre version which brings the weight down to a claimed 585g but ramps up the price to £1,199.
Regardless of which version your budget accommodates, both use FSA’s BB386EVO 30mm bottom bracket standard. The chainrings are the same across both versions and made from 7075 aluminium and compatible with 10/11-speed Shimano and SRAM groupsets. There’ll be a choice of 53/39, 52/36, 50/34 and a new 48/32 ratio; we’ve got the compact 50/34 setup as that’s the only one currently available.
The price makes it one of the most affordable crank-based power meters we’ve yet come across. To put it in some perspective, an SRM is going to set you back about £1,800, Pioneer’s Dual Leg Powermeter is £1,100, the Verve Infocrank will relieve you of £1,149 and the Quarq DZero 11R aluminium power meter is £693 without chainrings. A Stages 105 power meter comes in cheaper at £449 but you’re just paying for the non-drive side crank arm, not the whole chainset.
We expect to see this become a popular aftermarket power meter and it’ll be interesting to see how many bike brands choose to spec it. We’ve seen a few already including Boardman choose this chainset.
So those are the key details of the new FSA Powerbox power meter, all that remains now is to fit it to a bike and get the miles in, we’ll report back with a full review soon.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.