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TECH NEWS

Avio PowerSense power meter to launch at £250

British crank-based system is due to be released next month

A new British power meter called the Avio PowerSense is set to launch in the next few weeks at a retail price of £250. The system retrofits to an existing crank and can communicate with a head unit via ANT+ or Bluetooth.

The Avio PowerSense has been adapted from a design used in rowing – hugely modified, obviously. Like the vast majority of other power meters, it relies on a strain gauge as the basis for its measurement, here attached to the left (non-driveside) crank.

Avio PowerSense - 4.jpg

Avio says that you can fix the PowerSense to any crank, including carbon-fibre options. That’s interesting because Stages took a few years between launching its power meter on aluminium cranks and eventually getting to a point where it was happy to go with carbon cranks too. 

The only limitation, according to Avio, is that you need a certain amount of clearance between the crank and the frame – the unit extends about 10.5mm from the crank’s inner face. This is just a little more than a Stages pod, for example. That means PowerSense (like Stages) isn’t compatible with every frame and crank combination, but it’s simple to measure to see whether it’ll work with your setup before you buy.

It tends to be higher end bikes that have less frame to crank clearance while more affordable bikes tend to have more, as a general rule. That’s fine with Avio because it is aiming the PowerSense at the mass market of riders who want to optimise their training rather than just at those who have a high level of disposable income.

You can fit the Avio yourself or have a bike shop do it for you. Avio reckons that the bonding process, using industrial structural adhesive, is pretty much foolproof and will take a typical user about 15 minutes. Once in place, initial calibration involves hanging a 10kg weight (which could be 10 litres of water less the weight of the container) from your crank arm. This only has to be done once. 

Avio PowerSense - 3.jpg

You don’t need to zero offset the device at the start of every ride to account for changes in temperature because there’s a thermo probe in the processor chip. If the system experiences zero force after the temperature has changed by +/- 3°, that’s taken as the new zero. However, Avio suggests that you perform a zero offset before a ride if the conditions are significantly different to those of your previous ride – if you’ve gone to ride in the Alps, say – because temperature compensation can only do so much to ensure that you get a true reflection of the power generated, and it advises a zero offset every week or two as a matter of course in order to establish the correct baseline.

The PowerSense is powered by a CR2032 coin cell – a type that’s readily available in supermarkets, garages and so on. You can twist the battery compartment open using the replacement cell rather than needing to root around for a coin that fits, which is a thoughtful touch! Avio says that the cell will last for about a year with typical use. 

The PowerSense unit is certified IP67 which means that it has complete protection from dust and “ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 metre of submersion).”

I’ve already mentioned that the PowerSense is 10.5mm deep; it’s 90mm long, 30mm wide at its widest point, and weighs 120g. For comparison, a Stages system adds less than 20g to your bike, but 120g is hardly heavy. 

The strain gauge is contained in what Avio calls the sensor leaf, which is the hinged part that reaches around to the leading edge of the left crank. Like the body of the PowerSense, it is bonded in position. The leaf sensor might look vulnerable to damage but Avio says there has been none during extensive testing, the cranks just spinning backwards if it is subject to any force with no rider on board.

Avio PowerSense - 2.jpg

The PowerSense has a clever way of taking your cadence (no magnet is required) that Avio wants to keep quiet. You don’t need to set anything up there, it works automatically. 

Avio has compared the PowerSense’s results with those of existing power meters and also used its own specialist equipment to gauge its performance.

“What we’re looking for is repeatability,” says PowerSense’s Mike Devaney. “What’s important is that what the system is calling 20 watts on Tuesday is the same as what it’s calling 20 watts on Wednesday, and it does that.

“We’ve tested the product, blasted it with a fire extinguisher, put it in water for a little while… The electronics don’t suffer, the code for this is perfect. 

“When you put electronic devices like this together the components you use all have a level of accuracy. We can obtain these components with a multitude of different levels of accuracy, the more accurate ones begin more expensive. The component we use that has the largest range of accuracy is 1%, so that’s what we claim for the device.”

Avio PowerSense - 7.jpg

The system sends data via ANT+ or Bluetooth so it’s compatible with all popular head units, like Garmin Edge bike computers. You can get all of the main power data that you’d expect – current power, averages, normalised power, intensity factor and training stress score. As a single sided unit, it doesn’t offer left/right balance (so you can’t tell how much power is coming from your left leg and how much from your right leg) although Avio suggests that it could release a dual sided option at some point in the future. All of this data is uploadable via the head unit to Strava, Training Peaks, Golden Cheetah, Zwift and so on.

What's the catch? Well, although we've seen the Avio PowerSense, we've not used it so we can't comment on the performance. The team behind it – comprising genuine cycle enthusiasts – wants it to be a commercial success, obviously, but says it is also motivated by the desire to get the technology out there for the benefit of other riders, hence a price of £250 rather than £350, say, which would still undercut other crank-based options.

The Avio PowerSense will be available next month through independent bike dealers and from www.avio.mobi. The £249.99 price includes a 12 month warranty.  

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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31 comments

Avatar
fenix | 4 years ago
0 likes

More recent article here -
https://road.cc/content/tech-news/252499-just-avios-ps199-powersense-pow...

Not seen the long term review yet though ?

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HLaB | 4 years ago
0 likes

My first Avio unit was all over the place, especially with temps around 0deg, either reading 'superman' when I was soft pedalling or not at all until I recalibrated.  They provided good customer support however and replaced the unit, and the new unit seems nice and stable.  I may think about relegating this one to the winter bike and getting a 2nd.  PS it's a much nicer aestectically the one pictured in the review.

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kev435 | 5 years ago
0 likes

guys it has launched and there is a code of Facebook to get it for only £124

well worth a go at that price.lookung forward to testing it out as was just about to hire a stages crank arm to see if power can help my training as got used to power data on zwift through winter 

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Team EPO | 6 years ago
0 likes

I emailed them a few weeks ago on distribution and have heard nothing back, will be interestging to see when they actually launch, end of May and nothig yet.

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pablo | 6 years ago
0 likes

The hard bit with PM has always been people always compare power numbers between brands which unless you are plus/minus 10 watts gets slated. The second key point is consistency between rides. It sounds like like they believe they have the second but I'm not so sure about the first.
That isn't a problem if all you every ride is one bike and aren't to fussed comparing to others but what about 2 bikes if the numbers aren't consistent between them that starts getting annoying. (I have this issue with my trainer). Everyone has always struggled with carbon crank arms because of the variation in manufacture so if they've cracked that I'd be amazed.

If they have cracked it though and my first 2 points work out I'd be more than happy splashing £250 for my winter bike.

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tom_w | 6 years ago
0 likes

I know Mike, he rides for our club and is a top guy. He runs our winter spin pain cave too.  I don't know massive amounts about the Avio thing, I've not ridden with the club for a while, but they are definitely a legit company and Mike's really passionate about getting power measurement into more hands.  He is also a f**king machine on a bike!

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allgearnoidea | 6 years ago
1 like

at least its  actually being release and not on indiegogo or kickstarter waiting for funding!

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FatBoyW | 6 years ago
0 likes

Got a rotor crank so had to be a rotor inpower arm! Not that much more than this (100 quid more) once I'd haggled the price with the velotech people who were the only dealers at the time.

Super discrete, incredibly easy  to set up and accurate.

As for being amateurs! Not sure what that has to do with  it!!! And we nearly all are pretty much amateurs certainly when it comes to understanding the numbers. 

Anyway I would be very wary of this with its home brew attachment as I am such a gorrilla I'd end up knocking it off somehow. 

Nah - going to do it? Do it properly.

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Team EPO | 6 years ago
1 like

Hopefully given their rowing background it will be more water resistant than my Stages was.

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Butty | 6 years ago
7 likes

Forget about the container neeed to put 10 Kg in, worry more about how many noodle-armed cyclists are going to deal with manhandling that enormous weight.

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sergius | 6 years ago
0 likes

I hadn't seen that Watteam one before, it's $499 or £485 from the UK distributor.  Yay for exchange rates/markup.

 

They certainly look very different at least, seems to be a case of same idea - different implementation.

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crom | 6 years ago
0 likes

Doesn't the Watteam meter come with a bag that holds a specific weight of water to calibrate? The DCR review shows the bike upside down with the weight on the meter side pedal and you hold the other pedal steady.

 

Is Avio a legit company or just Watteam by another name?

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Jimmy Ray Will | 6 years ago
0 likes

I reckon they have caught on to something here... they are not promising accuracy with other systems, they are promising accuracy with itself.

This means that the numbers could be fairly wildly different to those seen on other systems. However the point is that the system is accurate to itself... which means it can be used as an effective training tool. 

 

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muffies | 6 years ago
0 likes

the 1% thing is not great marketing but it doesnt have to be wrong. at the end of the day lets see the first tests, and if its reliable and somewhat accurate... this thing is going to sell fast

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Bob Smythe | 6 years ago
2 likes

“What’s important is that what the system is calling 20 watts on Tuesday is the same as what it’s calling 20 watts on Wednesday, and it does that.

Two day a week accuracy. No good for me, I train in the weekends  1 Hopefully they tested it at a bit more than 20w ........

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Sanderstorm | 6 years ago
0 likes
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Rich_cb | 6 years ago
0 likes

With FSA/Power2max producing a crank set with dual power for £600 I think this is the sort of price we'll start seeing for single sided systems.

I'll wait for the rainmaker verdict on this one though!

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usedtobefaster | 6 years ago
2 likes

Think this needs a DC Rainmaker review ...

 

How big does the container have to be to hold 10 litres of water

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Jackson replied to usedtobefaster | 6 years ago
8 likes
usedtobefaster wrote:

Think this needs a DC Rainmaker review ...

 

How big does the container have to be to hold 10 litres of water

10 litres

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Rapha Nadal replied to Jackson | 6 years ago
2 likes
Jackson wrote:
usedtobefaster wrote:

Think this needs a DC Rainmaker review ...

 

How big does the container have to be to hold 10 litres of water

10 litres

ZING!!

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Al__S replied to Jackson | 6 years ago
1 like
Jackson wrote:
usedtobefaster wrote:

Think this needs a DC Rainmaker review ...

 

How big does the container have to be to hold 10 litres of water

10 litres

 

laugh

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Man of Lard replied to usedtobefaster | 6 years ago
0 likes
usedtobefaster wrote:

Think this needs a DC Rainmaker review ...

 

How big does the container have to be to hold 10 litres of water

1 litre is a cube of side 10cm - 10 litres would bea cube of side 10cm*cuberoot(10) which I make 21.5cm or thereabouts.

For those stuck in 1937, about 2¼ Imperial gallons

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Yorkshire wallet | 6 years ago
1 like

Can't be worse than Limits.

If it does turn out to be usable it could really ruffle the feathers of Stages and 4iiii.

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sergius | 6 years ago
0 likes

Get one in for review please!

 

At £250 I'd get one in a shot, most seem to be around £500+ which is too much for something that's only of interest for an amateur cyclist - rather than a stone cold requirement.

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RobD | 6 years ago
0 likes

'The component we use that has the largest range of accuracy is 1%, so that’s what we claim for the device'

Not sure about the logic of that, if you had 9 components with 0.5% accuracy and one with 1% surely the cumulative potential innacuracy could add up to greater than 1%? I don't know how many components there are that could actually cause discrepencies, but it seems a slightly odd way to report it.

Good to see a power meter at this kind of price though, I hope it does well.

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mrml | 6 years ago
1 like

“When you put electronic devices like this together the components you use all have a level of accuracy. We can obtain these components with a multitude of different levels of accuracy, the more accurate ones begin more expensive. The component we use that has the largest range of accuracy is 1%, so that’s what we claim for the device.”

 

Erm, won't inaccuracies in the system of components potentially be cumulative, rather than contained within the range of the 1% component?

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RobD replied to mrml | 6 years ago
0 likes
mrml wrote:

“When you put electronic devices like this together the components you use all have a level of accuracy. We can obtain these components with a multitude of different levels of accuracy, the more accurate ones begin more expensive. The component we use that has the largest range of accuracy is 1%, so that’s what we claim for the device.”

 

Erm, won't inaccuracies in the system of components potentially be cumulative, rather than contained within the range of the 1% component?

I was too slow typing my comment, you beat me to it.

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keirik | 6 years ago
0 likes

anyone tell me where |I can get a container to hold 10 litres of water that will fit under my crank!?!

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pamplemoose replied to keirik | 6 years ago
2 likes
keirik wrote:

anyone tell me where |I can get a container to hold 10 litres of water that will fit under my crank!?!

Use a repair stand to raise your bike would seem like the obvious thing to do...

 

£250 for a crank based power-meter seems too good to be true.  If it's even vaguely accurate (or more importantly, consistent) I'll be getting one for sure.

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ashliejay replied to pamplemoose | 6 years ago
0 likes
pamplemoose wrote:
keirik wrote:

anyone tell me where |I can get a container to hold 10 litres of water that will fit under my crank!?!

Use a repair stand to raise your bike would seem like the obvious thing to do...

 

£250 for a crank based power-meter seems too good to be true.  If it's even vaguely accurate (or more importantly, consistent) I'll be getting one for sure.

their "1 year warranty" kinda shows how much faith they have in it, even though they have to honor a 2 year EU warranty as well as a 5 year UK warranty,  so it could be worth a gander  as almost anything  is better than estimated power.

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