Riding with an InfoCrank power Meter.
Our friends at Verve Cycling have introduced their InfoCrank to the US market. The main attributes versus the competition are increased accuracy and power readings from both the right and left crank arms. Other crank based power meters read from one crank arm……and multiply that by two. InfoCrank’s power meter measures each leg’s power with unprecedented precision. No guesses, no math.
After having reviewed other power meters and found discrepancies between lab results and those from real world use out on the road, Verve’s focus is in producing a hyper-accurate power meter. The true tangential force is measured by a precision placed Wheatstone bridge arrangement of industrial quality strain gauges. The strain gauges (4 in each crank arm) measure only the torque that moves your bike forward, eliminating any other “noise” generated by additional stress or strain on the cranks, chainrings or pedals that do nothing to propel your bike forward.
The first thing you’ll notice is its’ very stout look. In addition to the coolness factor this sturdy construction helps ensure that it will remain intact even through wicked impact. Power meters aren’t cheap, and so this is what we like to hear given the insanity that bike racing can create. The 694 gram InfoCrank is a forged 6000 series aluminum crankset with an integral 110 BCD compact spider and machined recesses in each arm housing individual left and right power metering modules. The cranks are available in 170, 172.5, and 175mm lengths, and in a black anodized finish.
Verve does it right. They focus on what they do best, which is to create as accurate a power as is possible to build. They’ve left the spindle and chain rings to the experts at PraxisWorks- These guys know what they’re doing, and with the ever driven Adam Haverstock at the helm have been making hay.
The End of Constant Calibration.
Another great feature is that this power meter does not require you to re-calibrate prior to a ride. You may have to re-calibrate after a crash, but after a crash this is the least of your worries. The design and layout of the strain gauges automatically eliminates data drift over time, compensating for temperature and pressure changes. This ensures that it will reliably measures power in all conditions. Per Verve: “accuracy of an InfoCrank will not change over time. This means you DO NOT need to Calibrate using your bike computer, ever.”
I May Never Ride Without Right/Left Power Again.
The most exciting aspect from a coaching perspective is the very accurate independent right/left side power measurement. Assuming you use a Garmin head unit you can take advantage while riding by using the “% of Power” display on your Edge head unit. Verve offers the O synce Navi2Coach head unit and it will do the same. It is a very telling set of numbers! Inconsistencies are right there in front of your face. Being a right-handed person mine is skewed to the right leg. A typical reading for me is 40-45% power from the left and 55-60% from the right. It takes some effort to balance these out by focusing more on the left leg while almost soft-pedaling with the right. As a coach this jumps out as an area ripe for improvement. Both in the gym and on the bike it has become a limiter that I now can easily focus on and improve.
The goal is to get a 50/50 reading without having to limit or increase effort with either leg, and in addition to the on-the-bike % display you can download your power files and see right and left power numbers using these: Cyclinganalytics.com and Garmin Connect and even the new Trainingpeaks.com. Right now the only numbers I am seeing are my own. We’ll have both an elite road racer and triathlete on a set ASAP and look forward to a better analysis via those at the top of their sport.
More Efficient Training- Instantly.
This feature has inspired change to the fields I suggest for viewing on a head unit. The first order of business during the base phases of training is to build your aerobic threshold. These are the types of intervals that I’ve found to be most effective. By looking at the % of power per side, power, watts/kilo, cadence and heart rate you can drill down further into the perfect scenario to build the duration and wattage at aerobic threshold. It also makes the trainer time go faster!
Your balance in power is like cadence; ride without thinking about it, look down and that is what you’re physically comfortable with. I am already seeing about a 2% – 5% improvement in my left versus right leg power. This is the result of 3 weeks of pedal stroke focus, while riding in general and also with reps like these, and work in the gym that is geared toward strengthening the left leg while maintaining the right. It will take some time to realize the true impact through the base and build phases. For a cycling coach this is a found piece of gold!
Per Joe Friel there are “three markers of endurance fitness: aerobic capacity, anaerobic/lactate threshold and economy.” We’ll see as we progress in our testing, but it seems a given that using this tool correctly will increase economy. Even small changes in the right direction to these markers provide gains in effectiveness. So it’s looking like this system increases the universe and accuracy of information in ways that can make you go faster.
We’ll keep working with our InfoCrank and let you know the effect it has as we mine more data.
TRAINING BIBLE COACH