A power meter for a spin bike is a device that measures the power delivered by the cyclist.
There are a variety of different types and designs of power meters available, which attach to various parts of the bike, as well as measure a number of metrics that will vary from model to model.
They are a great product for helping you to really push yourself in your training.
You can set goals and work on progressions by measuring your power, allowing you to get the most out of the time you spend working out.
They also let you get a better idea of your weaknesses by identifying things like pedal stroke efficiency or helping you to improve endurance by showing you when your power decreases.
In order to get the most out of your purchase though, you need to find the best power meter for a spin bike based on your own personal needs.
This is doubly important as, despite the fact they are gradually becoming more affordable and accessible to the public, they are still relatively expensive.
With that in mind, I want to show you some of the best options for power meters you currently have available.
We will look at what different types there are and how they differ. This should hopefully help you to have the most successful and efficient workouts possible going forward.
Types Of Power Meter
The most obvious difference between different power meters is where abouts on the bike they attach.
Different styles are designed to be placed on different parts of the bike, including the bottom bracket, chain rings, cranks, pedals, spindle, and wheel hubs.
The most appropriate option may depend on which model or type of bike you will be using it with but it can also vary based on personal preference as well.
Another factor to bear in mind when choosing is that each model will have its own specific advantages and disadvantages.
For example, some are extremely accurate, others are incredibly easy to install, while prices can also vary wildly from very cheap to extremely expensive.
In order to help you get an idea of what you are looking for, let’s first take a look at some of the most common types of power meter that are currently on the market.
Pedal Power Meters
Pedal power meters are placed in the pedals themselves and are usually among the easiest to install and swap between bikes.
The dual options have a meter attached to either pedal and allow for individual information on each foot, while sometimes being able to provide additional information, such as center offset, phased power, and standing time.
The drawbacks to pedal power meters are that they can tend to be slightly less accurate than other options, while their exposure on the side of the bike leaves them more open to being damaged.
Crank Based Power Meters
Crank based power meters are placed on the crank arms.
A single crank meter will only measure a single side but using a dual crank system allows you to track each side individually. Crank based power meters are usually among the more reasonably priced options as well.
These types of meters are relatively quick and easy to install and swap between bikes, while also having a large range of compatible options.
That said, once you have started tracking your progress, you will need to switch between bikes with the same sort of chain to keep the readings consistent.
Hub Power Meters
Hub power meters are placed on the rear hub of the bike and are one of the simplest types of power meter to both install and use.
They are considered one of the most accurate and reliable options, as there are fewer forces acting on the strain gauges.
Unfortunately, as they are limited to one wheel, there is not a lot of variety to the information they can provide, and there is no differentiation between the left and right pedal.
Additionally, the power readout can often be slightly lower than if you are measuring at the crank or pedal.
Bottom Bracket & Chain Ring Power Meters
Bottom bracket and chain ring power meters are placed directly onto the chain rings of the bike.
While they can be a little more difficult to install compared to other alternatives, they are extremely accurate and require very little maintenance.
The only other drawback is that they don’t offer individual data for each of your feet independently.
Spindle Power Meters
Spindle power meters are placed on the spindle of a chain set and are one of the newest options on the market.
They are fairly easy to install, and their discrete location means they are protected from damage and don’t affect the aesthetic of your bike.
The downside is that they are all single sided, meaning they can’t offer separate readings for each of your feet.
Additionally, as they measure power on the non-drive side and double it to produce a reading, they can be less accurate than some other alternatives.
Best Power Meters For A Spin Bike
So, now you know what to look out for, I am going to show you 6 of the best power meters for a spin bike currently available. This collection covers almost all of the most common needs, so should help you to determine which one is right for you, based on your own expectations of the product.
The Garmin Rally RS200 Power meter features a superior pedal design that can be easily installed like any other bike pedal.
It can be quickly transferred between bikes and is fully compatible with Shimano SPD-SL cleats.
The Rally RS200 is a dual-sensing power meter, which can measure numerous metrics, including cadence, left/right balance, power phasing, and total power, as well as being able to identify the difference between a seated versus standing rider.
The item is compactly designed, with measurements of 8.66 x 3.54 x 5.91 inches. Weighing just 1.19 pounds, it is a product that is equally convenient to both use and transport. It runs on a single lithium polymer battery, which is included with your purchase.
The Meter works seamlessly with the Garmin ecosystem and the software can be easily updated from your Garmin watch or Edge cycling computers on any compatible smartphone. It also boasts the option to be upgraded to a dual sensing system.
Additional features include data sharing, mapping, route planning, and post-ride analysis.
You can also sync your data with the Garmin Connect app, as well as with platforms like Strava, Training Peaks, and Zwift.
Anyone who is a fan of the Vector 3 Series will be particularly happy with the Rally RS200, as this is the latest progression of that model.
At present, the Rally RS200 retails for $1,099.99, making it one of the more expensive options on the market.
- Can be upgraded
- Battery is included and replaceable
- Provides an incredible amount of data
- Quick and easy to connect to the app and other devices
- Extremely expensive
- Can sometimes be annoying to swap between bikes
The Wahoo RPM Cycling Speed and Cadence Sensor is designed to capture and track cycling speed and cadence in real time.
The data can then be displayed on your bike computer or a compatible training app on your smart phone, ensuring you can use the device however you prefer.
The cadence sensor attaches to your bike’s crank arm or shoe, while the speed sensor connects to your bike’s wheel hub with the included mounts. Both are incredibly lightweight and easy to install, at just 0.08 of a kilogram, making the system a pleasure to use, before, during, and after your session.
With built-in Bluetooth, it can send data between the ANT+ and RPM sensors and a range of compatible bike computers, smartphones, and tablets, giving you plenty of ways to analyse and keep track of your results.
You can then record this data with the Wahoo Fitness app and sync it to your favourite training platforms, such as Strava.
Its unique design is unlike most other power meters, creating a suitable alternative for those who don’t like the traditional options.
At just $69.99, it is also notably more affordable than similar options on the market.
- Much more affordable than similar alternatives
- Works great with a number of popular apps, including Peloton
- Better suited for speed and cadence than power measurement
- Only estimates power so results on this metric can be a little inaccurate
- Does not install directly into bike
The Shimano Dura-Ace FC-R9100-P Power Meter is made from lightweight aluminium and weighs just 685 grams.
Combined with its compact size of 10.83 x 8.86 x 8.46 inches, it can be comfortably attached to most bikes without you even realising it is there.
Designed to fit a range of different bike types and sizes, most people will have no problems with this fitting their bike. Incredibly easy to both install and calibrate; it also means even less experienced users shouldn’t have any issues getting it up and running.
A dual sided meter, it provides individual data on both legs which is incredibly reliable and easy to read. The only issue with this is that it seems occasionally it only receives information from one leg, but this can usually be resolved by simply rebooting the meter.
It features a long-life battery that can easily be recharged using the USB charging port, ensuring you never have to worry about the meter running out of power.
It is also a stylish item, which means you can attach it to your bike with the knowledge that it will improve the appearance, as opposed to hindering it.
The only drawback for most people is, at $1,374.99 for the single option and $1,763.82 for the dual, it is insanely expensive.
This means it is an option best reserved for elite level athletes, professional cyclists, or those who have plenty of spare money to burn.
- Extremely accurate
- Long battery life that is easy to recharge
- Incredibly easy to install and calibrate
- Designed to be used with bikes of a wide range of sizes
- Provides independent data on both legs
- Lightweight and stylish design makes it a joy to use
- Sturdy construction
- Extremely expensive
- First generation model has some flaws and bugs in the software
- Occasionally only provides data from a single leg
The 4iii Precision Power Meter features dual channel, ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart technology, to seamlessly transmit data to a number of different devices.
With a coin cell battery than offers more than 100 hours life, it will provide high-quality readings for the foreseeable future.
At just 0.6 pounds and measuring 10 x 3 x 2 inches, it is incredibly compact and light weight, while also being extremely easy to install. It comes in a choice of either crank based, left side only or dual sided units, giving you complete control over the data you receive.
Speaking of which, this power meter has an accuracy rating of 99%, meaning you can have complete confidence in the readings it gives you.
While there are some compatibility issues due to the crank clearance at the chain stays, if this is the device for you then you can send your own crank directly to 4iii innovations and they will retrofit a power pod for you.
At $299.99 for the single option and $349.99 for the dual, it is reasonable affordable, especially when considering the accuracy of the data it provides.
As an added bonus, you will also receive a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty, to ensure you have complete confidence in your purchase.
- Compact and lightweight
- High quality at affordable price
- Easy to install
- 3-year manufacturer guarantee
- Choice of single or dual units
- Extremely accurate
- Some clearance issues with certain models
- Hard to tell what size you need
The GEN 3 Stages Power L ULTEGRA R8000 features upgraded ANT+ and BLE radios, providing a data transmission strength that is 6 times more powerful than previous versions.
Combined with an updated accelerometer and the inclusion of a gyroscope for improved cadence resolution that can track anywhere in the range of 10 to 220 rotations per minute, it offers readings accurate to within 1.5% of your actual output.
Weighing just 20 grams, it can be easily added to your bike without even being noticed, while a water resistance rating of IPX7 ensures you can confidently use your meter in almost any conditions.
When used as a single sided meter, the coin cell battery lasts for over 200 hours and can then be replaced without the need for any tools, ensuring you need never run the risk of it losing power at the worst possible time.
Priced at $349.99, it is a mid-range option. However, with incredibly accurate readings that compare to some of the top options on the market, it is a product that is able to offer great value.
- Incredibly accurate
- Affordable and provides great value considering its performance
- Easy to install
- System is simple to use and understand, making it suitable for all
- Provides a good level of water resistance
- Some issues have been reported with pairing
- Readings can drop out at low cadence
The Favero Assioma Duo Side Pedal Based Power Meter uses cutting edge cycling technology to carefully track each pedal stroke.
Its Smart system then connects via Bluetooth and ANT+ radio to bike computers and smartphones, to ensure you can keep track of your progress at all times.
With an accuracy of 1% differential from your actual performance, it provides readings you can have complete confidence in and that will help you gauge your true progress.
The Favero Assioma is available in both single (UNO) or dual (DUO) options, both of which are easy to install and switch between bikes.
Both also feature a manageable weight, ensuring the use of the meter never hinders your performance.
Powered by rechargeable batteries, it guarantees 50 hours of use from a full charge and can be topped up by magnetically connecting it to its USB charger.
Combined with a dust resistance grade of IP67, it is a highly dependable product that you can always count on
Priced at $745.00, it is a little on the expensive side. However, with an incredible level of accuracy, this is clearly a case of you get what you pay for and isn’t out of the ordinary when compared to other pedal-based options.
- Pedal based option
- Easy to install or switch between bikes
- Long life battery with magnetic charging design for maximum convenience
- Pairs easily with bike computers and smart phones
- Available in both single and double options
- Some complaints regarding its linking to head unit
- Quite expensive
How Is Power Measured On A Spin Bike?
Spin bikes use strain gauges to measure the force of a component on the bike.
This is then converted to power by multiplying it by the angular velocity or cadence of the component.
The power is then registered in watts and transmitted wirelessly to a head unit or device where the rider can read it.
Will A Power Meter Improve My Cycling?
Power meters have the ability to improve your cycling performance as they allow you to review first-hand data on your previous sessions, including metrics like cadence, power, and speed.
This allows you to alter things like your pace or technique, in order to achieve the results you are after.
Another way in which it can help is that a power meter can be used to set goals and follow progressions. This way, you can experiment with different approaches and see what works best, so you can really test yourself and push your performances to your very limits.
By providing accurate information, it eliminates guesswork, tracking your fitness and showing you the areas where you are strongest, as well as those where you need to improve. This allows you to schedule structured training sessions that are more effective and make optimal use of your time.
The real-time information even has benefits like the ability to pace yourself over long distances or share the data with coaches and friends who can make suggestions to help you improve even more.
How To Choose A Power Meter
When it comes to choosing a power meter, there are number of factors you need to take into consideration, in order to ensure you select the option that meets your own personal needs.
Type Of Power Meter
There are a number of different types of power meter available that attach to various parts of your bike. These include bottom bracket, crank, hub, spindle, and pedal power meters.
Make sure you select an option that is not only compatible with your bike but that also suits your own personal style.
Power meters can be extremely expensive, so be sure that you set yourself a budget, so you don’t end up falling in love with an option that you can’t afford.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you should just go for a cheap option though, as they are often noticeably less accurate or reliable.
Things you should factor in include the fact that some of the most expensive models are often that way as they include features that only elite cyclists are ever likely to use.
You will also find that single side meters are cheaper, while the dual sided options are more expensive.
Taking factors like these into account, as well as knowing what you are expecting from your power meter, should help you to choose a reliable model that is within your price range.
Power meters aren’t all created equal and there is a wide range of different features that can vary from model to model.
Among the most popular features people often look for from a power meter are a lightweight build, high levels of accuracy, easy installation or transference, compatibility with numerous types of bikes, Bluetooth compatible data transmissions, and long life rechargeable or replaceable batteries.
Other factors to consider are if it uses a left/right power measurement and if it needs to connect to a tablet or smart device, as well as what other metrics it tracks, such as cadence, center offset, distance, phase power, power, speed, and standing and sitting time.
By this point, you should have a much better idea on exactly the type of power meter you are looking for for your spin bike.
Hopefully, you will have found your ideal option in the selection we have provided but, if not, you will at least know the type you are looking for.
While they may all seem very similar to the untrained eye, making the right decision when choosing a power meter will greatly impact the type and quality of the information it provides, as well as how much of a dent it makes to your bank balance.
So, all that’s left is to go and buy your perfect power meter and start making changes to push your cycling performance to levels you may have never even dreamed of.