Off Topic…the Stages Power Meter (Sigma DP1 Quattro)

Although this is a place I like to share thoughts mainly around the hobby of photography, sometimes cycling related topics come up. The only photography related slant in this post will be that all the photos were taken with the polarizing, yet outstanding, Sigma DP1 Quattro. In a controlled environment like a studio or your home this camera is just about unbeatable. The images were all converted from X3F files that were worked over in Sigma’s Photo Pro 6.2.

Direct from Boulder, Colorado.

Direct from Boulder, Colorado.

One of my favorite things about photography is that the enjoyment lasts long beyond the moment of capture. I enjoy reviewing the photos and playing with them a bit in post production with Lightroom, Sigma Photo Pro 6.2 and Silver Efex Pro.

I have similar feelings about cycling. The ride might be over, but there’s still so much to do with the ride once it’s over. A cycling computer can provide an overwhelming amount of data to look at, and I look forward to that after every ride. Speed and distance are the most obvious chunks of data, but are in many ways the least helpful for analysis and training. Other bits such as cadence, heart rate, grade, vertical climbing speed and the king of all, power can be much more informative.

This is where it all happens. There's a small device in there that measures the deflection of the the metal and converts that to a power reading measured in watts. There's also a temperature gauge to compensate for the minute changes in the metal's properties with temperature change.

This is where it all happens. There’s a small device in there that measures the deflection of the the metal and converts that to a power reading measured in watts. There’s also a temperature gauge to compensate for the minute changes in the metal’s properties with temperature change.

Even without a power meter measuring power can be estimated through a variety of algorithms, but getting accurate power numbers is easily done with the right equipment. Until recently, this equipment was almost exclusively used by professional cyclists and/or teams. There was, of course, the occasional rider that could easily drop a few thousand dollars on a power meter, but for most of us this equipment was out of reach and consider a luxury.

The bottom bracket, Left crank (with power meter) and right side crank with 50/34 compact chainrings.

The bottom bracket, Left crank (with power meter) and right side crank with 50/34 compact chainrings.

Stages has managed to bring the price of power meters down a tremendous amount over the last couple years. Now, it’s within reach of many recreational cyclist. Adding a power meter is probably the most objective way to judge your cycling strength and/or weakness and create a customized training program.

Left crank with power meter weighs in at 227 grams.

Left crank with power meter weighs in at 227 grams.

DP1Q0907

Right side and chainrings come in at 512 grams.

DP1Q0908

For a total of 739 grams. Stages claims there is only a 20 gram weight penalty for the power meter unit. The training information that’s returned from that minuscule 20 grams is amazing.

Just like photography has a number of applications for post production work, cycling has dozens of programs for recording and analyzing data. Some of the biggest names in this category are Strava, TrainingPeaks and Garmin Connect are some of the most popular.

It’s off to the bike shop tomorrow for the installation and calibration. Excited.

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