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Is a Campagnolo power meter on the way? Patent application suggests crank-based system could be coming

Recent patent application from Italian brand is for a wake mechanism “particularly suitable for a power meter”

Campagnolo could be planning to add a power meter to its range, judging by a recent patent application.

The US patent application is for a wake mechanism for an electronic device – to switch it from standby mode to running mode. What’s more interesting, though, is that the electronic device in question could be a crank-based power meter.

Campagnolo mentions other electronic devices but the images it uses relate to a crank that wakes when rotation is detected and certain conditions are met.

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“This type of wake mechanism is… particularly suitable for electronic devices such as torque or power meters applied for example to a crank arm or other transmission component, since such type of torque or power meter must necessarily pass through specific angular positions, in a specific order, bound by the fact the cyclist must pedal to generate power.”

Campagnolo talks about the bicycle component in question being a crank that is “monolithic and made of composite material comprising structural fibre incorporated in a polymeric matrix, the crank arm being co-moulded with one or more printed circuit boards that implement said electronic device.”

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There’s nothing here about the design of the power meter itself but Campagnolo did file patents relating to power measurement back in 2019 when engineer Keith Wakeham was working with the brand. Wakeham is currently CEO of cycling electronics company Titan Lab and worked on power meters for 4iiii in the past. 

2019 Campagnolo patent application Bicycle crank arm on the transmission side - 1

One European patent application was for a ‘Bicycle crank arm on the transmission side, provided with stress/strain detector for a torque meter or a power meter’. This invention relates to composite cranks with a detector housed internally.

Another patent application shows a rechargeable battery cell in the face of a crank arm body. The chainset is equipped with an electronic “detection system [that] can be used in a torque meter or in a power meter”.

“An electronic device of particular interest here is for example a torque or power meter that can be associated with a bicycle component like, for example, a transmission component,” the patent application says.

2019 Campagnolo patent application crank arm detection system - 1

“Power measurements can be obtained by a processor by combining the output of a torque meter with the output of an angular speed meter.”

It could be that the wake mechanism mentioned up top is intended for this power meter design or that another power meter design from Campagnolo is currently going through the patenting process.

There is also the possibility that Campagnolo has no intention of producing a power meter. Patent applications get filed all the time for designs that never make it off the drawing board.

However, this seems unlikely to us with Shimano and SRAM, the other major groupset brands, having offered power meters for years. Of course, there are loads of power meters available from brands that don’t produce groupsets too. Campagnolo owners currently have to go to the likes of SRM and 4iiii for power meters that use Campag cranks, and that can’t be seen as ideal by the Italian brand.

Our hunch would be that Campagnolo will offer a power meter in the not too distant future – possibly as part of an updated Super Record groupset. The current Super Record (Campag’s top-level) mechanical groupset was introduced in 2018 with the EPS (electronic) version the following year, so a new version may be on the way. As ever with patents, we’ll just have to wait and see.

www.campagnolo.com

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, 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 winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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