Not all that long ago, if you wanted a power meter, you had only two options, SRM or PowerTap. With the rise of cycling and improvements in technology, we now have multiple brands offering different types of power meters including cranks, hubs and pedals at all price points.
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All this combines to make the power meter market a very competitive one and that’s great news for us. Competition drives innovation, forces standards to remain high and prices to remain reasonable.
All great reasons to get in on the action.
If you’re looking for a power meter, you now have more choices than ever. This list of 10 of the top power meter brands is just the beginning!
SRM (Schoberer Rad Messtechnik), a German company was the first company to deliver a viable power meter to market in the late 80’s. It’s always been considered the gold standard among power meters with an accuracy of ±1.5%.
Since then SRM has expanded its product lineup into indoor bikes, bike computer (Power Control 8) and also improved its power meters.
Today, SRM manufactures crank based power meters all this while until recently where they introduced a pedal based power meter called the Exakt in 2018.
SRM provides power meters to pro teams such as Lotto Soudal, Bahrain-Merida and Cofidis. SRM power meters are not cheap but if they are reliable enough for pro teams, they should be more than enough for us.
2. Quarq (SRAM)
Quarq designed their first power meter back in 2006 in Australia.
The company name is a deliberate misspelling of quark, a speedy subatomic particle and is a good name for cycling. The first Quarq power meter was released in 2008 and since then the company has gone from strength to strength.
With more power meters than ever before and having been acquired by SRAM in 2011, Quarq delivers great quality products that look as good as they feel.
Most power meters from Quarq are crank units that work with most bottom bracket standards. Their power meter lineup today includes the SRAM Red AXS, Quarq DZero, Quarq DFour91.
In March 2019, SRAM acquired PowerTap to expand its product lineup into hub and pedal based power meters.
Stages is an American company based in Portland, Oregon. It started making power meters in 2010 but came to prominence when it started to sponsor Team Sky in 2014.
They do it slightly differently than SRM or Quarq though. They take pre-manufactured cranks and machine their power meters into them. This allows them to take industry standard fittings and crank lengths that we already know and use and implant their power meter into the arm.
It’s a novel idea that seems to work.
Stages power meters come as entire cranks or as separate crank arms such as the Gen 3 Stages.
Power2Max is a German power meter manufacturer founded in 2006. Their original aim was to develop an affordable power meter that they themselves would like to ride and in 2010 they achieved just that with their very first power meter.
Since then, the company has widened its product portfolio and have been ridden by Team Movistar and Team EF Education First.
Power2Max power meters are predominantly crank-based and include road, track and mountain bike units including NG Road, NGECO and Type S power meters. The power meters are compatible with a wide variety of crank arms, from Rotor to Cannondale, Specialized, Campagnolo, Easton, Praxis Works, FSA and SRAM.
Shimano should need little introduction. Established in Japan in 1912 as Shimano Iron Works to build bicycle freewheels, the company grew slowly but steadily until after WW2.
The demand for bicycles in Japan and improvements in technology since then drove the company to the giant it is today.
At present, Shimano only has one power meter, the Shimano Dura-Ace 9100 which is a crankset. Despite its history, the company has been slow to market with its first power meter. Having said that, we can expect Shimano to release more power meter models in the coming months, especially the mid-tier Ultegra ones.
Known more for its bikes than its components, Specialized nevertheless does both.
It’s an American company that has a long history in cycling and started to manufactures its own power meters in 2017. Today, Specialized produces crankset based power meters for S-Works or an upgrade kit for Ultegra cranksets.
The power meter comes as a standard set up in all its S-Works bike series, namely the Venge, Tarmac and Roubaix. As Bora-Hansgrohe and Deceuninck Quick-Step both use S-Works bikes, they both use S-Works Power Cranks as part of the deal.
Pioneer Cyclesports is a division of the audio and electronics giant and is a relative newcomer to the scene. The company is known for creating top quality AV equipment and it has used its design and manufacturing knowhow to deliver very competent power meters.
Pioneer makes both crankset and crank arm power meters that use a unique 12-point measurement system. Team Jumbo-Visma uses Pioneer power meters.
Even though Pioneer is relatively new to the cycling industry, reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. Their power meters are manufactured to fit Shimano Dura Ace and Ultegra crankarms.
Garmin manufactures the pedal-based Vector range of power meters.
The American company has been around cycling forever and is best known for its cycling computers and navigation. It joined the power meter revolution a few years ago with the original Vector pedal. The current Vector 3 is its latest power meter and has gone down well so far.
Not afraid to go their own way, Garmin has taken a different approach to power meters by shifting from the crank or arm to the pedals. They claim ease of use, ease of installation and removal and natural integration with Garmin cycle computers make them a great choice for cyclists.
PowerTap were one of the originals in power meters having begun developing theirs back in the 1990s. It, along with SRM were the only companies offering power meters and bringing them to market.
Their goal was to make their power meters more accurate and more affordable than SRM, and they delivered.
Owned by Saris, PowerTap manufactures crankset, pedal and hub power meters. Products include PowerTap Pedals, PowerTap G3 Hub, PowerTap C1 chainrings among others. PowerTap are the only company to manufacturer all of the currently available types of power meter.
In April 2019, SRAM has acquired PowerTap from Saris. In the coming months, PowerTap’s product line up will be merged into SRAM’s Quarq power meter line up.
4iiii is a Canadian fitness company that partnered with bicycle manufacturer Schwinn. It launched its first power meter back in 2009 and has launched many others since.
It’s partnership with Schwinn offers great insight into bikes and cyclists which has given it something of an edge some other power meter manufacturers don’t have.
4iiii manufactures crankset and crank arm power meters for most systems. Products include Precision Pro cranksets, Precision crank arms and Podiiium crank arms. Besides power meters, they also manufacturer heart rate monitors for cycling, which is known as the Viiiva.
The Bottom Line
If the current power meter market is anything to go by, increased competition between these manufacturers has been a real benefit. Power meters have become more accurate, more durable, lighter, easier to zero, fit and maintain and offer more in terms of measurements.
Power meters are also more compatible than before and work with more cranksets, bottom brackets and chainset systems too. Where once we had SRM or nothing, we now have thirteen major manufacturers and more minor manufacturers all producing great quality equipment at a much lower price than before.