Looking for spin bike power meter options? Or a spinning bike with a power meter? Or do you have a road bike converted to an indoor exercise bike and wondering if you can add a power meter to a spin bike? Then you are at the right place.
The best power meters will provide reliable, accurate measurement data in a compact, lightweight, insulated box. Also, the power meter will push your training to the next level. Stationary bike power meters, when used correctly, will help you get the most out of a ride, work your progress against realistic goals, and, most importantly, know when to relax and recharge.
Indoor power training is just as necessary, if not even more than outdoor power training. In addition, as opposed to riding outdoors, indoor power training has many distinct benefits, such as it has a faster start-up and finish time, not wasting time, and is safer at night and in poor weather. Fortunately as outlined in this article, you have several options of indoor spinning bike power meter based on your budget and conditions. So, continue training. Let’s have a look at what we think is the best power meter.
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1. Power Meter Pedals for Spin Bike (if you have a spin bike)
2. Spin Bike with Power Meter (If you don’t have any bike)
3. Dumb Trainers (If you have an outdoor bike / mountain bike with a power meter)
4. Smart Trainers (If you have an outdoor bike / mountain bike but without a power meter)
Types of Cycling Power Meters & Buying Guide
Over the years several manufacturers have produced numerous types of power meters that can be used on different road bike locations. Here are several categories of power meters depending on the places to be installed:
- Pedal power meters –placed in the pedals
- Hub power meters –placed in the rear hub
- Crank power meters –placed on the on crank arms
- Bottom bracket & Chain ring power meter –a bit difficult to mount
- Spindle power meter –place in the in the spindle of a chain set
The different power meter locations have specific advantages and disadvantages hub-based systems. These are amongst the most simple power meters on the market because there are far fewer different forces acting on the strain gauges which means that they can be very accurate and reliable a lot of engineers regard hub-based systems like this to be amongst the most accurate power meters on the market.
On the other hand, you can expect your power readout to be slightly lower than if you’re measuring at the crank or the pedal because you’re actually accounting for drivetrain losses through the chain the other key thing that you need to be aware of with a hub-based system is that you won’t get any differentiation between right and left pedal.
Pedal based power meters are really easy to fit and swap between bikes but they can be slightly less accurate because of the complexity of the force measurement being measured at the pedal and also being exposed on the side of the bike that can also be at greater risk of damage
Single sided crank arm systems can also be relatively easy and quick to swap between bikes but it does mean that you need to have the same sort of chainset on both your bikes and not everyone always does
Bottom bracket and chainring based systems can be very accurate and also offer very low maintenance however they are arguably harder to fit and this is something that’s made even more difficult by the seemingly endless number of bottom bracket standards on the market today.
Finally, you should also consider the warranty of the power meter that you want to buy because in our experience they’re quite complicated bits of electronics that can go wrong and they can wear out so if something does go wrong you want to make sure you’re covered.
Indoor Biking Power Meter Options
Below, we break your indoor power meter options into four buckets, based on what equipment you currently have as well as what some of your goals might be. Choose the best power meter with the correct type of bike setup you have.
- Option 1- Already have an indoor spin bike-then Buy the best power pedals for spin bike
- Option 2- If you don’t have any bike- then buy a spinning bike with power meter
- Option 3- If you already have a power meter on your bike- then buy a Dumb Trainer
- Option 4- No power meter on your bike-buy a Smart Trainer
Option 1- Already Have an Indoor Bike- Then Buy the Best Power Pedals for Spin Bike
Some users already have an indoor bike trainer, but they are simply missing the necessary power and cadence data. It’s no problem. Spin bike power meter pedals to the rescue. Almost all spin bikes allow you to install out your current pedals for new ones, making it simple to attach a set of power pedals. Please keep in mind that these spin bike pedals power meters need road cycling shoes.
A power meter pedal attaches to the pedal of your bike and measures the amount of power you generate when cycling, whether it’s on an indoor cycling bike, or outside on a road or mountain bike.
Power meter pedals are ideal for someone who wants to get something out of their cycling performance or who wants to link to apps like Zwift to see their cadence, speed, watts, and distance traveled in real-time.
Crank Power Meter for Spin Bike
If you’re looking for a crank-based power meter for a spin bike we would not encourage you. These crank-based power meters require specific cranksets these are a hassle to install the power meter crank arm on a spin bike. Crank-based power meters, such as those made by Stages, 4iiii (crank-based 4iii precision power meter), and Pioneer, replace your non-drive crank arm and calculate the power provided by your left leg. These are also the cheapest cycling power meter.
These crank-based power meters take about ten minutes to install. Although the only drawback with the crank-based power meter is that you have to confirm that the cranksets are compatible.
You can also use a crank-based power meter but just make sure the dimensions is right and fits well onto the bike’s crank arm. Crank-based power meters like those from Stages use small pods packed with electronics. You can go DIY and bond the crank-based power meter to the back of one of the exercise bike’s crank arms.
At the time of writing this article, no manufacturer produces a power meter crank for a spin bike. Power meter pedals are by far the fastest and most straightforward method of adding power meters to spin bikes and some of the best types of power meters for a spin bike.
List of Best Power Pedals for Spin Bike
1. Favero Assioma Pedal Based Cycling Power Meter
A spin bike wattmeter unit must, first and foremost, be dependable, have a manageable weight, and, most importantly, be quick to switch between bikes. All of these features are used in the Favero Assioma power meter pedals.
These pedals gave us consistent results during our testing time and had no issues attaching to the computer or phone app.
The pedals are magnetically connected to a USB charger, eliminating the need to fiddle with seals and ports. FAVERO claims accuracy of +/- 1%, which is amazing, making it one of the best power meters for a spin bike.
The pedals are operated by a battery pack that is housed in a pod on the spindle, with a battery life of up to 50 hours of riding time, that’s more than enough to prevent you from having to re-charge often. The power pedals are water and dust resistant to IP67 standards, meaning you won’t have to think about the weather destroying your pedal. A single option (the ‘Uno’) that is equipped to collect readings from a single leg. There is one power sensor attached to the left pedal which weighs around 302 grams.
Specs & Features
“I’ve had the Uno power pedals for a few years and it’s been great. Customer experience has also been excellent. As I began to get incorrect readings with the power pedals, they were able to make an initial evaluation remotely using the app before telling me to submit the pedal back for repair, which was also painless.”
2. PowerTap P2 Bike Pedal Based Power Meter
The PowerTap Quarq P2 weighs marginally less than 400 g with batteries, compared to 437g we saw with their predecessor P1. This is just what you see on the scales though it’s still heavier than the Garmin Vector and Favero Assioma pedals.
When compared to P1, there are no noticeable variations in appearance or size on the outside. The weight gap is considerable. It protects all of the expensive components by enclosing them in a neat protective aluminum shell. They have an impressive battery life too.
The company estimated that the pedals would now last up to 80 hours on a single battery, but with longer more steady-state drives, the battery life could last up to 100 hours.
The PowerTap Quarq also has an impressive accuracy rate of around +/- 1.5 and when we tested them, it proved to be a good training buddy, with no data problems after 40 hours of riding.
The pedals provide ANT+ and Bluetooth broadcast, as well as details on power, power management, and cadence. The pedals are also IPX7 waterproof, but if you happen to pedal on water, the power pedals can last 30 minutes at a one-meter depth.
Specs & Features
“I’ve been using P2 power pedals for over two months. Typically combined with wahoo bolt. The power pedals transmit a wealth of pedaling data (in addition to power): balance, smoothness, and torque for each leg.”
3. Garmin Vector 3 Pedal-Based Power Meter
The Garmin Vector 3 is a pedal-based spinning bike wattmeter with a lot of features. Version 3 has a dual-sided power reading measure, unlike the Vector 3S model. As a result, instead of just the left leg, you get balanced input on both sides.
The Garmin Vector 3 seems to address the drawbacks of the previous model. Unlike its predecessor, the Vector 2, the V3 power meter is entirely enclosed inside a stylish pedal – this configuration avoids the unpopular practice of dangling unprotected strain gauges off the pedal.
It also eliminates the need to set the pedals with the correct level of torque.
Garmin advertised their pedals as weighing 316 grams, but we found that they weigh 324 grams. The pedals themselves, which were initially manufactured by Exustar, a third-party brand, have now become a Garmin in-house venture.
They use needle bearings instead of the bronze pedals which can comfortably accommodate a heavier rider weighing up to 100 kilograms.
They are compatible with both Bluetooth and Ant+, allowing them to work with a wider range of software. The Garmin Vector 3 uses LR44 batteries, which have more reliable performance over 120 hours of riding. Both of the power pedals does have its own battery compartment.
Specs & Features
“These are excellent power meter pedals that are simple to install and configure. You can set your Garmin power pedals to automatically trigger a calibration any time you use them, which is sure when swapping between bikes with different crank lengths or simply to make your readings are accurate. The 3S only has a left pedal power meter, but it operates flawlessly and has accurate power readings. These are one of the best power meters I have.”
Option 2 – Don’t Have a Spinning Bike- Then Buy a Spin Bike with Power Meter
This option is by far the most expensive, but it comes with a number of advantages regardless of what equipment you currently have. Indoor bikes with smart trainer technology are referred to as smart bikes. So you get the advantages of a spin bike fast and easy to use with a built-in power meter and adjustable resistance.
List of Top Spin Bikes with Power Meter
The Stages SC3 bike is recommended if you want the best commercial spin bike with a power meter but don’t mind letting go of some smart bike features. This stage indoor bike with a power meter is of excellent gym quality. They have built-in power meters which are a little less expensive than their smart bike equivalent.
Another high-end option is Precor’s Spinner Chrono, which stands out from the crowd of half-baked magnetic-ride indoor bike trainers with a power meter with a hassle-free experience for owners, cutting-edge power meter technology for coaches, and a sleek and unique feel for riders. This is our choice for the best spin bike with a power meter.
The Spinner Chrono indoor spin bike with a power meter has the brightest console backlight in the market, which stays on until the ride is over. It doesn’t require any batteries or electricity. The most accurate spin bike watt meter on the market today is direct power measurement, which allows instructors to see riders’ true effort and guarantee actual fitness performance. The groundbreaking magnetic resistance mechanism on the Spinner Chrono provides a smooth operation and the feel of a normal road bike.
The ultra-bright backlight on the state-of-the-art LCD color display is always on and needs no batteries. The streamlined display metrics, which are designed to work smoothly with SPIN Power programming, make it easy to set up and use.
The console can receive updates via its USB port; also this stationary bike with a power meter is compatible with both BluetoothTM and ANT+.
Option 3 – If You Already Have a Power Meter on Your Bike- Then Buy a Trainer
This could be the most popular and easy of all options for a power meter stationary bike setup. You can easily use it as your road bike if you already have a Bluetooth or ant+ power meter on your bike. The power meter will transmit data to your bike computer with power and rates. It can also connect with indoor fitness apps like Zwift. The only thing you’ll need is a trainer and if you like to then read our step-by-step guide on how to turn your bike into a stationary bike.
Top Dumb Trainers for Indoor Cycling
There are several bike trainers available. They usually start at about $250 and go up from there, but you can get them for less if you look around. In addition to having a great road feel, they’re also extremely compact. The Saris Fluid 2 is another great trainer. In reality, it’s one of the best-selling trainers ever and features a big, accurate flywheel that gives a road-like time.
If you go this way, there is one thing to keep in mind. Many popular indoor training apps will directly transmit gradient changes to the trainer, and provide a more actual training experience. However, they will only do so if you have a ‘smart trainer’. But, if you choose a dumb trainer like the ones mentioned above, be aware that your trainer would not be able to provide this input. As a result, certain people, whether or not they have a power meter on their bike, would use a smart trainer like the Garmin TacX Neo 2T Smart Trainer.
Option 4 – No Power Meter on Your Bike – Then Buy a Smart Trainer
If you do not have a power meter on your road bike at present and you want to drive indoors, you may need a smart trainer. These sophisticated but expensive trainers take indoor cycling with a power meter to the next level. They have an integrated power meter. The power meter transmits cadence and power data to your bike console or training app.
Best Smart Trainers for Indoor Cycling
Moreover, as the trainer determines power at the rear wheel, they measure power from both legs.
When used in conjunction with a training app, these trainers can send suggestions right to the pedals. The trainer basically takes care of the resistance.
This further simplifies professional training. Once interval training is scheduled in your training app, the intelligent trainer will change the wattage from one interval to the next to precisely match your training. What you have to do is spin the pedals.
Smart trainers start at around $400, but most popular versions sell at or above $700. Saris H3 Smart Trainer or the Saris M2 Smart Indoor Electromagnetic Resistance Bike Trainer is among the popular trainers.
The Garmin TacX Neo 2T Smart Trainer is also a popular model. The NEO 2T features adaptive inertia technology that accounts for rider weight as well as other variables to provide a fair and seamless ride. It can also withstand sprints of up to 2,200 watts, simulate incline up to 25% and measure the power data in a 1.0% error range.
These smart trainers are nice, but you can’t ride outside in them. So the disadvantage to this option is that you would not be able to use a power meter on your bike for outdoor training trips.
Spin Bike Power Meter & Zwift
When some questions, can I use Zwift with just a power meter? Does a power meter provide a decent Zwift experience on spin bikes?
The metrics would be close to accurate. To replicate hills in Zwift, however, you must manually alter the resistance, while smart bikes or smart trainers can set the resistance automatically for you.
Another piece of advice is heard is “grab a cadence and speed sensor and you’re free to go.” The well-intended recommendation makes use of Zwift’s option of combining a speed and cadence sensor with a dumb trainer. Zwift has essentially checked some dumb classic trainers, and other supported trainers and basically, you’re calculating Z watts for Z speed.
They have a different-looking table but possibly are based on estimates that may or may not be accurate, for unlisted trainers. A spin bike will be more accurate in Zwift with a power meter or an indoor bike with a power meter like the Stages SC3.
Stages SC3 spin bike with a built-in crank power meter is compatible with Zwift. Although it does not immediately change resistance, we believe it still offers a strong Zwift experience.
It isn’t the best experience because there is no freewheeling because you have to adjust the resistance manually, but it is a better experience than a dumb trainer because the spin bike is nearly quiet and has no maintenance. Simply get on and ride and if you don’t like to buy here is a video.
DIY Spin Bike Power Meter
Here is a video of how to make a DIY power meter for a spin bike for peloton like experience.
So there you have it, if you are looking for the following hopefully there is an option here that works for you.
- What is a spin bike power meter?
- Best indoor bike trainer with power meter
- Cheap power meter for exercise bike
We hope you’ve come to the conclusion that a power meter is an essential training tool for any rider looking to enhance their cycling performance. In comparison to other training aids, a power meter will unleash your endurance and speed.