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Introducing PowerTap PowerCal, the world's first-ever power meter calculated from heart rate. For years there has been a widely recognized correlation between power and heart rate. In a lab one can predict power output or intensity by knowing heart rate, and vice versa. But once you leave the lab and enter variables such as hills, wind and fatigue, the relationship gets a bit trickier. This is why many cyclists and triathletes use both a heart rate monitor and a power meter in training.
Through the use of these tools and the analysis of tens of thousands of power files over the years, the experts at PowerTap and the University of Colorado Boulder have identified patterns which can correlate an athlete's heart rate to power across all real world conditions. We've utilized this knowledge to create a technology which provides power based on this correlation; in the real world and in real time.
We're all familiar with the key difference between a power meter and a HR monitor: that HR is a response to the work you're doing, whereas power is the actual work. The algorithms in PowerCal translate heart rate data into the vernacular of power-based training- watts, kilojoules, peak power, etc.
Unlike a standard heart rate monitor PowerCal contains an algorithm that is sensitive to acute changes in heart rate (HR) and can account for rapid changes in power output. It translates these conversations into the vernacular of power training: watts, kilojoules, peak power, FTP, etc. A PowerTap hub directly measures power through strain gauges on the torque tube, which is a direct measurement of power. PowerCal is an estimated value derived from HR
So you may ask how after all these years of saying HR alone is not the best measurement for training, can you now measure power from HR? There has always been a correlation between HR and power, it's just that it varies depending on conditions. PowerTap have simply designed algorithms which predict power based on HR monitoring. Think of the PowerCal as a super accurate HR device benefitting from the supply of wattage data.
The beauty of this set-up is that even if you’re already a fully signed up member of the PowerTap wheel club, you can jump on an alternative ride (where you’re unable to derive feedback from a hub based power meter) using the PowerCal strap for uninterrupted training load data. Effectively PowerCal takes the role of bridging device for racers who are using a non PowerTap wheel but crucially need to keep TrainingPeaks, PowerAgent and other training resources fully up to date with acute and chronic training loads, i.e short and long term loads.
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Where reviews refer to foods or cosmetic products, results may vary from person to person. Customer reviews are independent and do not represent the views of The Hut Group.
This version of the Powercal is not as good as the original PowerCal Ant+ version which could be calibrated to match your heart rate characteristics. Now I am well into my Vets years my heart rate is a lot lower for the same power than 20 odd years ago. When I compare the PowerCal to my Stages PM it follows the power fluctuations quite well but reports the power at around 50W less than the Stages PM. As long as you accept that absolute power values may not be correct for you it can still be a very useful training aid and is easily used on multiple bikes.
I use a heart rate monitor and crank-based power meters all the time. So why this? Well I wanted something that I could use when away on holiday using an exercise bike in a gym and that would allow me to use Zwift to reduce the tedium. This does the job nicely. The power readings are somewhat random, rather like those made up by Strava, But they're okay enough and mean that I don't have to stare at a blank wall or a Boring Garmin monitor. Glad that I found this really (the alternative would be to take a pedal based power meter and swap the pedals over - not really what I wanted to be doing).