FSA has joined the growing power meter market with its new Powerbox, a crank-based power meter that, costing £629, might just be the best value crank power meter we've yet seen.
The Italian company, following its big launch of its first complete groupset earlier this year (K-Force WE: read about it here), quietly unveiled its first power meter at the Cycle Show last week with very little fanfare. Boardman Bikes proudly told us it’s the first bike brand to be speccing the new power meter as an upgrade on all its race bikes.
FSA has worked with German company power2max, using its technology to develop a power meter integrated into its crankset. It measures both left and right leg power output and uses ANT+ to relay data to a compatible cycling computer. There will be a Bluetooth option as an upgrade choice too.
Simplicity of use is a promise from FSA, with Auto Zero meaning there’s no need to re-zero manually before every ride, the power meter does this task every time you stop pedalling for three-seconds. There’s no need for a cadence magnet, an internal accelerometer takes care of that. The battery lasts for up to 400-hours (12,000km) and the battery can easily be changed by the user, so no need to send it back to the company.
The Powerbox will be available in two versions, one with aluminium crank arms and one with carbon. The FSA Powerbox Alloy features cold forged 6061 T6 aluminium crank arms with an aluminium spindle and chainrings, which are available in regular 53/39, 52/36 and 50/34 ratios, but also a new 48/32 combination which looks ideal for adventure bikes, where lower gears for tackling steep off-road climbs is a good thing. Could also apply to touring bikes as well. It weighs a claimed 751g.
The use of hollow carbon fibre arms brings the weight down to 585g, with the same aluminium BB386Evo 30mm spindle. Chainrings are similarly aluminium with the same 53/39, 52/36 and 50/34 ratios, and a 46/36 for cyclocross setups.
The aluminium version will cost £629, the carbon one is £1,129. Okay, that's still a lot of money, we realise that, but considering it’s a crank-based system and measures left and right leg power, the aluminium model compares very favourably to similar systems from the likes of SRM (from £1,300), Shimano R9100 (£1,300) and Verve Cycling (£1,410), which are all twice the money.
The Rotor INpower 3D+ (£699) measures power at the bottom bracket but the price doesn’t include chainrings. The new Quarq DZero aluminium power meter costs £693 but like the Rotor, that price doesn’t include chainrings. Considering a set of Shimano Dura-Ace chainrings cost in the region of £160, it’s a considerable consideration and makes the Powerbox look like really good value for money.
Availability is schedule for early 2017. More at www.fullspeedahead.com
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.