Thursday, 6 October 2011

Product Review - CycleOps PowerTap Elite Plus

Last week I purchased a PowerTap Elite built into a DT Swiss wheel. Within the hour, I had changed over cassettes (which I cleaned at the same time) and had the wheel speaking with my Garmin 500 head unit. From there, it was a little fiddly trying to calibrate (the wheel kept going to sleep), but with a little bit of help from Google I was out on the road getting power accurate to within +/- 1.5%, and boy is it fun. The Powertap Elite Plus is the bottom of the range wheel, but importantly to myself it is still wireless and affordable with the same power management as the more expensive models. Basically it has everything I could want in a training wheel (strong, sturdy, reliable) and realistically, power figures are not much use in a normal race (I was putting out like 2000w but I still got dropped).
(Picture from

Giddy with excitement, I planned to complete the AIS Power Profile test at my next training session (as covered by Cycling Tips here). I gave it my all in the prescribed intervals below to help build my Critical Power Curve: 6 sec, 6 sec, 15 sec, 30 sec, 60 sec, 240 sec & 600 sec.  

This test proved extremely painful (I almost threw up after one interval), but the 10min interval was especially testing as I got my heart rate to average 180bpm. It was worth it as I got some great data to review and will definitely complete this test again in a month to measure my progress (if any). Based on a discussion with Paul from the Velbourne Giant Racing Team, I downloaded the free Golden Cheetah software (found here) to help analyse the data (in addition to Garmin Connect and Strava). I found this blog by Cycling Musings website very useful in starting to understand the variety of different functions of the program. My favorite has to the Critical Power curve, which compiles all your rides and creates a personal best curve for each interval.

Over the coming weeks, I am going to have a lot of fun adding to this curve and I will use it as a benchmark for my training. I definitely need to have a real crack at my maximum power output and a figure >1000w being my first goal.

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