Long ago, when I wanted to see what I was capable of doing, I purchased a power meter and learned how to use it. Though my current goals are significantly more modest, I still like to have a power meter because it helps me make the most of out of time on the bike. This is important, as I don’t want my friends to shame me too terribly.

I bought my first Quarq about six year ago, and it’s going strong still. However, times change, technology advances and prices (sometimes) drop, so I bought the most current version a couple of months ago, a DZero with aluminum crank arms. Many are your power meter options these days: pedals, hubs, cranks (under which umbrella are several different measurement designs), crank arms, and probably something I haven’t thought of, so why Quarq? I’ve found them to be durable and accurate. Also, what little support I’ve required from Quarq has been top shelf. Finally, I am 100% comfortable and competent moving a crank from one bike to another, should the need present itself.

Quarq’s done a nice job of streamlining their product line. It used to be that there was the base meter that did this and the next one that did more and then the super fancy one with all the options. These days it’s a small selection of metering devices based on your application and a small selection of crank arms. One of the neat things about the new meters is the inclusion of low energy Bluetooth transmission. ANT+ is still included, but it seems that new advances in Bluetooth are moving devices in that direction. Oh no! Should you sell all your ANT+ stuff and run for Bluetooth? No. Not yet.

An advantage of Bluetooth communication is that pretty much every smart phone in the world can communicate with the power meter. Qualvin, Quarq’s diagnostic tool, has moved from the computer to the smart phone in its most recent incarnation, allowing you to, say, update the firmware on your crank anywhere you can get cell or wifi reception, including my basement, which is a good distance from the nearest computer.

A digression into bottom brackets. Quarqs are available with two types of spindle, BB30 and GXP. All factors being equal (if this is ever the case), I recommend a GXP interface because it has proven to be future-proof. You can buy a frame that won’t accept your BB30 crank. You cannot say the same for GXP. Now: you may well need to buy a new bottom bracket or adapter kit or something to get your GXP Quarq to work on your bike, but we’re almost always talking about a less than $100 part. I used a Praxis bottom bracket to put a GXP crank on my BB30 road bike and a Wheels Manufacturing bottom bracket for this new crank. My experience with both has been quite good. No, wait. My experience has been terrific.

So I put the crank on the bike and put the bike in the basement. Then I rode the bike and watched TV, completely oblivious to the data spewing from the Quarq.

Until I bought a computer, a Lezyne Macro GPS. I chose this because I liked the price, the size and the features. It’s also Bluetooth-only, which would give me a chance to check out the transmitter on the Quarq.

I charged the computer overnight, and put it to work this morning. It comes with the small, sad manual that’s so common these days. Still, I managed to pair the computer to the power meter, pair it to my phone, adjust the data screens to my satisfaction and a host of other things WHILE watching “Hard to Kill” on the TV. Yeah, it’s that easy.

So this is early feedback for this system, but the feedback is good. The computer seems like a really great $100 GPS computer, and I’m anxious to spend more time with it. The power meter is what I expected — it just works. You wouldn’t know it was there were the computer telling me that it was.

Monkeys on Typewriters

Each month we go to the zoo and hand out typewriters to monkeys. After a few days, we collect their thoughts and format them into an email newsletter suitable for framing or birdcage lining. Sound good? Enter your email below and check it out.

Note: we will never ever ever ever share your email. Ever. No monkey will contact you directly.