We’ve just got our hands on the first UK sample of PowerTap’s eagerly awaited P1 power meter pedals, the first rival to the Garmin Vector 2s. We’ll have a full test very soon – in the meantime, here’s an overview.
The P1 pedals cost £999 / US$1,199 / AU$1,700, weigh 430g a pair, have no pods, use an AAA battery each side (giving around 60 hours use), and install exactly like normal pedals. Unlike the Garmin Vectors, no special calibration is required after installation (the pedals calculate their orientation as you set off) and the torque setting isn’t crucial to accuracy. The P1 is compatible with Look Keo-type cleats but comes with a slightly different red version which PowerTap recommends you use.
As well as power and cadence (and all the data such as Training Stress Score that your computer can then calculate), the P1 pedals can of course provide left/right power balance – useful if you’re recovering from an injury or experimenting with cleat wedges or riding position. PowerTap says they have a lateral power application feature (where on the pedal your force is focused: inside, centre or outside) on the way and we expect a spin scan feature to follow, keeping the P1 on pace with the Garmin Vector 2’s Cycling Dynamics features.
Now to some techier stuff. The P1 uses both Bluetooth and ANT+, the former for wireless firmware updates via a phone/tablet app and the latter to communicate with your computer. Each pedal has an LED indicator that flashes green once you’ve woken the system by spinning each pedal or red in various patterns if there is a problem. The right pedal is the slave and sends its data to the left pedal, which transmits to the computer – they are identical on the outside though.
The steel axle houses eight strain gauges
Each pedal houses eight strain gauges in the steel axle, spinning on two needle bearings and one case bearing. PowerTap claims the bearings should be good for many thousands of miles, but you can’t service them yourself – the electronics mean you’d have to send the pedals back to the US firm. The top plates are replaceable though.
Housing everything in the pedal body has made the P1 a little bulkier than normal pedals and the Garmin Vector 2. Ground clearance will be slightly reduced, but that only affects crit racers – when did you last scuff a pedal on a ride?
The weight penalty is higher than some other systems, too. At 215g each, the P1 is around 200g heavier than a pair of light road pedals and about 70g up on Garmin Vector 2s with their pods.
PowerTap is introducing a whole family of new power meters – more on which very soon
Up to now PowerTap has been known for its popular power meter hubs; now it's launching a whole family of power meters – the P1 will be followed by the C1 chainring meter and updated hubs, plus PowerTap is offering the PowerCal heart rate strap.
The P1 pedals come with a two-year warranty and an offer of 40 percent off for crash replacement. There will be a pool of warranty replacements kept in the UK, so that you won’t be without your power meter for long if something does go wrong.
We’ll have a complete review very soon, including testing against multiple other power meters, as well as more on the rest of PowerTap's new C1 and hubs.