PowerTap P1 Pedals

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Finally, a true plug-’n-play power experience

Power meters are tricky things. They have two major drawbacks: you need to be a rocket scientist to fit them (or a bike mechanic) and you have to be a rocket scientist to make the most out of them.

PowerTap has led the way in simple power measurement, with their wide range of hubs and wheels, for many years now. Their systems have been, typically, the most user-friendly (we did enjoy the Stages crank-arm set-up, too, although it only measures one side, and extrapolates for the other).

So when we heard they were getting into the power-pedal game, we kinda knew what would happen: take a look at the shortcomings of the currently available systems, and fix. The first of these comes straight out of the box, almost: unscrew your current pedals, screw the P1s in with an 8mm allen key, and they are fitted. Boom.

I say kinda, because they are boxed with a proprietary cleat that the firm insists you use. Kéo cleats clip in and out just fine, we found, but we are told the accuracy of the system relies on these supplied cleats, so we listened to the experts and used them exclusively. Riding, they do everything they should, but just be warned they have quite a death grip when you clip out, and are a little trickier to get into. A small price to pay for accuracy.

Once you have fitted them, pairing with PowerTap’s Joule GPS+ unit is almost too simple. As is zeroing the system every time you ride – PowerTap says you should, but also that you shouldn’t need to; the system stays accurate in all but the most extreme conditions. Spring in South Africa qualifies as non-extreme.

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Batteries are housed underneath the pedal, and are an AAA apiece. The thinking here is that you will find replacements at 4am, before a big race, when the shops that stock CR2032s are long-closed. You should get 60 hours of life from a single AAA, a month or more before panicking.

We also paired with our smartphone – on Android – for seamless Strava power, cadence and heart-rate data, and apparently iPhone users can run the entire system through the dedicated app. Downloading for the rest of us is via cable – we used the firm’s PowerAgent software, which eventually worked perfectly on a Mac OSX platform, after downloading the Mac Java, not the normal Java. If that sounds too complicated, give the Bicycle Power guys a ring, they will help you through it. The P1s also pair with most GPS units, through Bluetooth or ANT+

The data you can download is extreme. Speed, power, temperature, cadence, left/right balance, freewheeling time, power zones, heart rate, etc, etc, etc. And all with accuracy that is better than many units on the market, independent testers seem to think. Reliable, accurate and easy to use.

So, is this expensive, heavy (220g/side vs 120-odd for Kéo Carbons) set of pedals worth the outlay? Absolutely, if you are prepared to work the data properly. We would recommend using a coach – virtual or human – who can interpret your numbers and guide you. PowerTap and Bicycle Power can both help here, as can any number of the coaches Google will find in South Africa. This will transform an extravagance into better performance. Without guidance, there is little point.

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PowerTap P1 Pedals
Price R17 999
www.bicyclepower.co.za

  • Justin Henkel

    Tim- great read. A point of clarification on the cleats- accuracy is unaffected by using other cleats with the P1’s but your experience and ride feel will be sacrificed. The pedals were designed around the cleat that is shipped with the pedals and give the most secure, connected feel with the P1 pedals. Thus, we feel it is a must.

    Sincerely,

    Justin Henkel
    PowerTap