Something we have been eagerly awaiting to land in the office ever since we saw them at Interbike 09 is a new power meter coming from MetriGear.
MetriGear are an American based company working out of Silicon Valley in the San Francisco Bay Area. The company has been formed with a common desire by athletes and technologists to create solutions that change the game for improving performance at all levels of the sport.
This is their first item to be offered to the cycling industry and it is really showing the way forward for the cycling world in advancements of technology. This has to be one of the most exciting products to land on our shelves in years!
The ‘MetriGear Vector’ is a powermeter with a whole host of features: most of this tiny unit fits inside the hollow spindles of a pair of Speedplay Zero pedals where the sensors and electronics are environmentally sealed within. Each unit is calibrated by MetriGear with the only external parts consisting of a very neat rechargeable battery compartment and wireless ANT+ transmitter, which attaches to the backside of the crankarm.
At the heart of Vector is a custom-designed system with over 60 piezoresistive strain gauges, accelerometers, and temperature sensors. The piezoresistive strain gauges work by measuring the applied mechanical stress due to the changing electrical resistance going through them. All this technology means they are accurate too +/- 1.5% of actual force on the pedals, which brings the system in line with its competitors. At the same time they precisely measure cadence with no cadence sensor or magnet required.
The host of features on offer are really appealing, from weighing in at less than 50g for the whole system, being transferable between bikes with no calibration required and independent measurements of each leg for a more complete report of the total power (watts) being produced. The units communicate via ANT+ wireless, which means it’s compatible with a lot of third party head units; such as Garmin’s Edge 500 for example.
All this makes an amazing package and with a suggested retail price of £630 (approx US$1,000) it’s coming in at an amazing price. Taking into account this includes a set of Speedplay pedals, plus all the amazing benefits over other powermeters, they really are worth a closer look when they are released. The only negative at the moment is the restriction with Speedplay pedals. This is due to Speedplay being MetriGear’s pedal of choice between its athletes and technologists, but I would imagine that it won’t be long before they start working with other manufacturers.
Due for release mid 2010, this tiny bit of engineering excellence is set to make a big difference to the way we train and perform.