10/21 Update: There’s a new blog entry on the Metrigear site, with a few seconds of raw data graphed. Instead of one data point for both legs per second, we’re looking at about 38 per leg per second! Pretty amazing stuff, you can see the rider’s pedaling technique change as he gets tired. If you add up the total power from each leg, you can see that when he gets tired he produces almost no power in the dead spots.
The Metrigear Vector power meter was by far and away the most exciting thing at the show. Why? Because it’s a $1000 power meter that weights 50 grams and can easily be switched from bike to bike, and works on the road and the track. It’s been under development for the last five years, and Metrigear hopes to release it in the first quarter of 2010.
For now, the Vector comes complete only with Speedplay pedals, because its hollow steel axle hasn’t changed in years and has no reports of failure. Sensors are mounted inside the axle to measure flex. By adding the vectors from two axes, force can be measured through the full 360 degrees of a pedal stroke. Sensors are also mounted at each end of the axle to detect wasted force. 3 axis accelerometers measure cadence instantaneously, so the Vector knows the actual speed of the pedal for each sampling (SRM and Quarq take one measurement per revolution for cadence). The accelerometer also can detect side to side swaying, so the Vector can be programmed to sample at a higher rate while you’re sprinting. A pod is attached to the back side of each pedal. One pod communicates with the other, which then transmits the data to any ANT+ compatible head unit.
The Vector can give separate readouts for each leg, but until someone programs such a screen for their head unit or creates an application, that information can’t be displayed. However, the potential for all that data is huge – a kilo rider can break down every pedal stroke of his standing start. For an event that can be decided by a thousandth of a second, that could prove to be a real asset. The instantaneous cadence feature can also measure how smoothly you pedal – smoother strokes waste less energy on micro-accelerations, especially when climbing.
Crazy pie in the sky power meter concepts seem to hit the show every year, never to make it to market. Metrigear, however, seem to have their act together. The concept seems sound, and they had working prototypes on hand. We hope to get a set to test once they’re ready to go. If this thing works, it would be the lightest (at 248 grams for the whole package, you’d actually drop weight switching from most pedals), cleanest, most versatile power meter on the market. The implications for the entire industry boggle the mind.