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LOOKing forward

Freiburg, Germany (VN) — Look and Polar are finally ready to ship the world’s first pedal-based power meter, the Look KeO Power. As the name suggests, the system is based around a Look KeO pedal, combining data from 16 pedal-axle strain gauges and an externally mounted Polar P5 accelerometer and sensor setup to calculate power. The system will cost $2,200.

Look and Polar invited a host of international cycling journalists to the Rad Labor test facility in Freiburg, Germany for a presentation on the new power meter.

The case for pedal-based power

Pedal-based power meters provide a solution to practical problems posed by crank-based or hub-based meters — SRM, Quarq, Power2Max, and Powertap all included. Most importantly, they are easier to install and move between bikes than a crank-based system, and they don’t limit wheel choice as a hub-based system does.

The latter is self explanatory: with a hub-based meter the only options are to lace a heavy Powertap hub into a burly training rim that isn’t ideal for racing, or into a light race rim that isn’t likely to last over extensive training, or buy two Powertaps. No solution is ideal. It is possible to buy two low-level Powertaps for the cost of a single KeO Power system, but weight remains an issue. The KeO power adds very little weight compared to a regular set of Look KeO pedals, and can actually be lighter if switching from a heavier set of pedals.

The perk of easy installation with the KeO Power has become increasingly important as the number of bottom bracket “standards” has exploded. Throwing down a few thousand dollars for a crank-based power meter becomes even less appetizing when it is far from guaranteed to work with your next frame. Plus, switching a crank-based meter between multiple bikes is a pain.

Pedal-based meters can also provide a data set not available from a crank-based or hub-based power meter: left vs. right power. This helps identify deficiencies and allow those deficiencies to be corrected.