Pioneer Electronics has a new power meter on the market.
The Pioneer offering is intriguing “on paper”: it measures power from both cranks and there is a head unit can display the power from each crank independently. Moreover it supports a wide variety of DuraAce and Ultegra cranks.
- Total weight is hard to understand given all the parts and the two different head units. Mounting bracket for the head unit is another not-stated weight.
- Mounting looks relatively complicated, with magnets on both sides and two two transmitters. My concern would reliability over time as well as whether the 2% accuracy (no mention of precison) figure means no more than 2% between crank arms.
- The per-crank power readout is of keen interest to me in optimizing my pedaling, assuming the two measurements are as accurate as claimed. As is the stated 12-point measurement system (every 30° of rotation).
- Iit seems that it is a system has to be installed on a user-supplied crank, which makes its price closer to the SRM offering than one might otherwise realize.
- ANT based wireless.
- Battery life of ~180 hours at normal temperatures is about 1/16 as long as the latest SRM offering (3000 hours), but is a user-replaceable CR2025. I’m not thrilled about battery swapping; all my experience tells me that the risk of water leaks goes up every time something is opened (gaskets wear). 180 hours is only 90 days of riding for me.
- 2 year warranty vs 3 year worldwide warranty for SRM.
- Software support is online (Cyclo-Sphere “cloud” software “Robust and Effective Post Ride Cloud Based Analysis”). Which means an internet upload is required to make use of the recorded data. The analysis sample shows some promise in data analysis, but as soon as the window is refreshed, all my sizing changes (of a graph) reset back to the small size. The presented data also looks quite choppy even with smoothing.
My initial impression of support is not a good one, simply based on trying: I was frustrated in finding any means to inquire (press or customer) short of a detailed generic form for all Pioneer products.
A product is the total of the hardware, its track record of reliability, support, software, etc. As it stands, the premium for an SRM power meter still looks well worth it to anyone who values proven reliability with support. For me, a power meter is a serious tool. I’m not looking to save money by compromising the experience, which makes assessing such a new product quite a challenge.
There is a new SRM head unit and software coming in late summer, and I expect this will raise the SRM game in several ways. SRM support has been terrific and the reliability has been outstanding. While the software has its shortcomings, its simple and fast to use. It takes a lot to sway me in another direction.