Power meters have been getting much more affordable over the past few years, and the latest comes from Zwatt, which costs from €170 (about £142). There’s a catch: the company is recruiting a team of volunteer testers to help it through the final phase of real world development.
Team Zwatt is a Copenhagen-based startup and three years ago it started out with the aim to develop a low-cost but high-quality power meter. It wants to make power meters affordable for everyone, and has come up with a novel use for Kickstarter to get a team of cyclists together to help it through the final steps of development.
“We want to get more out of the data and bring down the cost to the point where all your bikes can have one,” the company proudly declares in a promotional video.
The key aim is to optimise the software algorithms in the three power meters it has developed.
On offer is a power meter at a really low price and in return you have to provide a minimum of 30 minutes of ride data every month, either on a trainer or out on the open road. The cost is split between a low hardware cost and a small monthly maintenance fee.
“Team ZWATT Kickstarter supporters become voting members on the closed forum and can influence product decisions like better support for oval chainrings, other arm lengths, max torque display, pedalling style assist, surface roughness logging, air time, landing impact logging, and more,” adds the company.
The power meter the company has developed both crank arm- and spider-based solutions, powered by a rechargeable battery and is fully waterproof. Bluetooth 4.0 LE and ANT+ are both supported so it’s compatible with a host of computers and sites like Strava and Zwift.
Zwatt claims the accuracy of its power meter is comparable to rival products, and that it will only improve as test data is gathered and compiled to help it to refine the complex algorithms in the software it has developed. Firmware can easily be updated via the smartphone app with no cables needed, it just uses Bluetooth.
It claims to release three power meter products. Zimanox is an arm-based power meter, Zpider uses the crank spider and Zpindle uses the bottom bracket spindle. Zimanox and Zpindle will measure just left leg power, Zpider will measure dual-leg power.
So how much does it cost?
The Zimanox costs from €170 plus a €4.46 monthly fee, while the Zpider costs from €270 plus the same €4.46 monthly fee. It is looking for 670,000 Swedish Krone and with 27 days to go has already hit kr581,285 from 381 backers, so it’s clearly hit a nerve with cyclists that want an affordable power meter and don’t mind being part of the test team.
There's a lot more detail and of course, you can back the product yourself at Kickstarter
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.