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Power Meters and Battery Life

There are some things out there with regards to power meters, seemingly perpetuated by those who don’t own one, or who cannot separate cost from value.

Having used the SRM power meters for three years now (about 30,000 miles), I can vouch that they are reliable, and that includes the crankset and the PC7 head unit.

Specifications are not performance, and reliability is the total system over time. New stuff can sound good on paper, but my long experience with Stuff of all kinds makes me wary of paper claims.

Let’s take one downright goofy “issue” bandied about: user-replaceable batteries for a power meter.

Consider that '3000' hours number fist: that’s two hours of training for 1500 days = 4.1 years training two hours a day. For me that would be about 37,500 miles and I would have long since worn out the chainrings. Yet battery life is an “issue”? It’s ludicrous to call that a legitimate concern.

Now consider the 180 hour battery life of the new Pioneer unit (claimed, to be proven out with real use). In reality, once usage goes beyond 130 hours or so, that nagging thought pops up before a trip or race: maybe the battery is further long than it ought to be?

So to be sure, it has to be replaced! And you have to do this 16 times over the same time span as that 3000-hour SRM, even if you took it to 180 hours each time, which you don’t because you start to worry around 150 hours, which is much more realistic.

Then the chances of not getting the Pioneer unit sealed up properly (a worn or damaged gasket, gasket not fitted in quite right, etc) means that the chances of a failure go WAY UP from water leakage. Moreover, the time wasted replacing batteries could be spent riding, or drinking red wine. And the batteries are neither free nor free of some losses over several years. And with two transmitters and two batteries (one in each crank), the risk of an issue is in reality doubled. That is the Way Stuff Works in the Real World.

The SRM approach is far superior in my book—long term trouble-free operation.

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