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CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried?

 

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tigerchik

Nov 19, 11 13:38

Post #1 of 56 (12581 views)
CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? Quote | Reply

This month's Outside magazine mentions this on p. 120. It says "though it looks like a standard heart-rate strap, the Power Cal parses your heart rate and data from a 20-minute baseline test to extrapolate your power output. It's not as accurate as a hub-based meter, but at $250 it's poised to bring the technology to the masses."

I've been half-heartedly searching for a cheap PM. Is this any good? Couldn't you also do your own 20-min test and extrapolate your own power data? (IE, if HR = X yields Watts = Y, and there is likely some y ~ x formula, right?)

Reviews?
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GREG_n_SD

Nov 19, 11 14:15

Post #2 of 56 (12559 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [tigerchik] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

funny you ask, I was reading this blog the other day. The author is a San Diego based coach and exercise physiologist

http://www.crankcycling.com/...-this-is-ridiculous/

Team Beam


jmaley

Nov 19, 11 14:25

Post #3 of 56 (12548 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [tigerchik] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

This seems like a gimmic to me. Not saying thay HR and power are not correlated normally but as most know our HR varies as a result of a multitude of other factors. Sure maybe in a normal situation on a normal day our HR will correlate to X power but what about on the abnormal day...ie. race day. We are a little anxious, a little nervous, is the correlation still the same? I doubt it. If you are going to use HR to "guess" your power then why not just use HR.
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tigerchik

Nov 19, 11 14:31

Post #4 of 56 (12541 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [jmaley] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

That was my impression. Still hoping for a review from someone who has used both.
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dcrainmaker

Nov 19, 11 16:11

Post #5 of 56 (12500 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [tigerchik] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

It's not bad actually. Been using it on and off.

In steady state riding - it's really darn precise. Within a few percent in my experiance. In surges, or drills - it tends to be off (initially for surges). Drills are tough because if you're doing for example one-legged or high cadence, the driver for that is more aerobic than leg power. But honestly, that's fine. The author of that article doesn't appear to grasp who the market of this device is for.

And honestly, it's not for most on ST.

It's for people like my dad. He loves to go out, ride, maybe do a few century rides a year, and just enjoy time on the bike. He's not about to lay down $800+ for power meter. But he's curious. His riding doesn't include drills, nor too many random surges. So for that price, it gives him a rough order of magnitude on his power.

Having been to the CycleOps product launch about it - their goal isn't to be 100% accurate. Thier goal is to be within a few percent. And based on my testing thus far, it does that. I'll be posting a full in depth review, but I've been spending less time on the bike the past month so I didn't have all the time to get all the rides that I wanted with it.

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tigerchik

Nov 19, 11 16:14

Post #6 of 56 (12495 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [dcrainmaker] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

So, how about for winter usage for a girl who is not good on the bike but can run and swim. I'd be using it on the trainer to do intervals. If a PM is a perfect 10 for that, what would you rate this, 1-10, for that use? Can you compare that use to just a HRM (same, better)?

Thanks :-) I appreciate your feedback and time. I'd love to read your review when it's written.
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(This post was edited by tigerchik on Nov 19, 11 16:15)


dcrainmaker

Nov 19, 11 16:17

Post #7 of 56 (12486 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [tigerchik] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

tigerchik wrote:
So, how about for winter usage for a girl who is not good on the bike but can run and swim. I'd be using it on the trainer to do intervals. If a PM is a perfect 10 for that, what would you rate this, 1-10, for that use?

Depends on the length of the intervals. Assuming more than 30-45 seconds - then it'll do fairly well in my experiance. If you're doing 30x30's, not as much (at least initially). It'll give you a road order of magnitude.

Now, depending on your trainer - check out TrainerRoad, they can do Virtual Power as well, worth a shot and probably a bit more accurate (since it's mostly simple math).

As for a scale #, I'd put it at a 7 in your case. It's not perfect, but not failing either. It gives you a rough order of magnitude. Just ensure as you improve you continue to recalibrate (Read: Find a friend with a PM or CT).

-
My tiny little slice of the internets: dcrainmaker.com


gmd

Nov 19, 11 16:19

Post #8 of 56 (12480 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [dcrainmaker] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

The little ad for it on cycleops web site claims it needs to be calibrated against a powertap hub. If that's the case, how is it useful for people who don't want to own a powertap hub? (or am I not interpreting the ad correctly).


dcrainmaker

Nov 19, 11 16:20

Post #9 of 56 (12478 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [inuse] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

inuse wrote:
The little ad for it on cycleops web site claims it needs to be calibrated against a powertap hub. If that's the case, how is it useful for people who don't want to own a powertap hub? (or am I not interpreting the ad correctly).

You can calibrate it against any ANT+ enabled hub. I calibrated mine against a Cinqo (all I had).

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My tiny little slice of the internets: dcrainmaker.com


dcrainmaker

Nov 19, 11 16:21

Post #10 of 56 (12474 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [dcrainmaker] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

dcrainmaker wrote:
inuse wrote:
The little ad for it on cycleops web site claims it needs to be calibrated against a powertap hub. If that's the case, how is it useful for people who don't want to own a powertap hub? (or am I not interpreting the ad correctly).


You can calibrate it against any ANT+ enabled hub. I calibrated mine against a Cinqo (all I had).

Actually, to clarify, you need a Joule head unit - the actual PM doesn't matter. I'd have to think if I can import a non-Joule file into PowerAgent and base it on that (which is where you can do calibration). Don't have it handy at the moment.

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My tiny little slice of the internets: dcrainmaker.com


tigerchik

Nov 19, 11 17:47

Post #11 of 56 (12441 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [dcrainmaker] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

In Reply To:
You can calibrate it against any ANT+ enabled hub. I calibrated mine against a Cinqo (all I had).


OK, good to know. So you need a friend with a PM to get the Cyclops Thing up and off the ground.
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RChung

Nov 19, 11 18:43

Post #12 of 56 (12403 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [tigerchik] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

tigerchik wrote:
So, how about for winter usage for a girl who is not good on the bike but can run and swim. I'd be using it on the trainer to do intervals.
Sounds like it would depend on the type of intervals.

Just to give you an idea of the type of variability you can expect between HR and power, here are plots (at one-second intervals) for the same guy in three different types of races.



tigerchik

Nov 20, 11 1:45

Post #13 of 56 (12346 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [RChung] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Ooooh, scatterplots! Thanks. Me likey.
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RChung

Nov 20, 11 9:36

Post #14 of 56 (12276 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [tigerchik] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

It's not that hard getting something that's close on average -- what's hard is figuring out the conditions when it's not, and when the average isn't good enough.

Just to give you a bit more context, here's a different rider in a road race. First, the raw HR and power data (HR in red, using right hand scale):



It's obvious that there is *some* relationship between HR and power but it's very, very noisy. Here's a first cut (i.e., not what I'd do if I were really interested in modeling the HR-power relationship but it'll give you an idea of the degree of difficulty), which is smoothing the raw data over 60 second spans:



Better, eh? Still, even at 60-second smoothing, what's the correlation?



That correlation coeff means that the R^2 is still < 70%.

Now, this is, of course, a naive model of an inherently bursty power demand so it's likely that if the demand were closer to steady-state the fit would be better. How much better is the issue. As I said, it's not how close you can get on average -- it's knowing the conditions when it's not.


Tom A.

Nov 20, 11 9:45

Post #15 of 56 (12271 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [RChung] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I thought Dede Demet had a restraining order on you using her data ;-)


http://bikeblather.blogspot.com/


RChung

Nov 20, 11 10:50

Post #16 of 56 (12254 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [Tom A.] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

The term is "courting," thank you. The restraining order says "no-no," but her eyes say "yes-yes."


Tom A.

Nov 20, 11 10:53

Post #17 of 56 (12250 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [RChung] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

 
I have a feeling the word she would use is "stalking"... ;-)


http://bikeblather.blogspot.com/


atomic916

Nov 20, 11 17:17

Post #18 of 56 (12199 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [tigerchik] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Tigerchick,
Did you check out TrainerRoad.com yet? If you are planning on trainer based interval rides for the winter, it may be just what you are after.

I am not affiliated, just a happy customer.


Insidious

Nov 25, 11 17:30

Post #19 of 56 (12086 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [atomic916] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I think some of the saris guys are on here.....maybe they will chime in. I am definitely excited about a $250 power meter even if it's more of a guide than a provider of hard data. Seems like plenty of info to be useful for many of us. I'd think it would be better than training/racing with no data if its used properly. There are still some folks that manage to pace themselves and train effectively without power meters out there though ;)


MaverickNH

Dec 3, 11 12:59

Post #20 of 56 (11916 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [Insidious] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I'm liking this for 60-90min spin classes at the gym over the Winter, when I'm not on a PT-enabled bike or Computrainer. At present, I'm just using TRIMPS, and might do better.


Charlielevy

Jan 6, 12 16:11

Post #21 of 56 (11497 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [MaverickNH] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I'm confused. How is this better than a heart rate meter? Could I not just go through a calibration process and learn that at 150bpm im probably putting something that once evened out should be about 150 watts, and 200 watts at say 170bpm???

Am I missing the point here.


echappist

Jan 6, 12 16:34

Post #22 of 56 (11482 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [Charlielevy] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

why are you anti-business?


jsharp9242

Jan 6, 12 17:42

Post #23 of 56 (11452 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [tigerchik] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I second the suggestion for trainerroad.com. Really cool program and really cheap at 10 bucks a month.


tigerchik

Jan 7, 12 9:40

Post #24 of 56 (11390 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [jsharp9242] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

That looks the most feasible if I get a Garmin HR monitor and the ANT+ usb device.
When you use it in HR mode does it tell you power output?
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PM for blog accesshttp://www.tigerchik2.wordpress.com"]


dcrainmaker

Jan 7, 12 15:30

Post #25 of 56 (11350 views)
Re: CycleOps' Power Cal : anyone tried? [tigerchik] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

tigerchik wrote:
That looks the most feasible if I get a Garmin HR monitor and the ANT+ usb device.
When you use it in HR mode does it tell you power output?

If you have certain trainers it will do Virtual Power. There's a bit thread here on it, and the guys behind it (Nate and Reid) will happily answer questions all day long.

As far as Power Cal guys, I've still gotta write something up - but the market largely isn't folks on ST, but rather our friends and family that just want a rough order of magnitude for $150. For that, based on my tests, it does pretty well. I wouldn't use it to pace an Ironman by power, but if you're out there doing a few hour rides for fun, it's interesting (and generally, based on what I've seen - for most conditions, fairly accurate).

Conditions it slacks in: Drills, high cadence, some low cadence, very short power surges/sprints (less than enough time to get your HR up significantly). For lower sprints/surges it tends to do better.

-
My tiny little slice of the internets: dcrainmaker.com

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