As we all know if you’re serious about training then you are going to have to get serious about numbers. And when I say numbers it’s specifically power we’re talking about. While heart rate can give you an idea of how your body’s reacting, coaches don’t regard it as the main metric for your sessions. Despite being almost as expensive as your bike, plenty of riders have invested in a power-meter. Thankfully you no longer have to sell a kidney to buy into the world of power based training. The Avio PowerSense can see you joining the power ranks for as little as £199.
The Avio PowerSense seriously undercuts some of the opposition, which may make some people worry about the Avio PowerSense; is it the real deal, or a cheap copy? Part of the reason it is so cheap is that you’re only buying the sensor. Most other power meters are built into hubs or cranks, so that’s a big chunk of the cost sorted. Avio also manufacture the PowerSense in the UK, keeping that carbon footprint down.
There are various ways of getting your Avio PowerSense. First off and the cheapest, is to retro-fit your PowerSense yourself. This DIY option only works with Shimano Hollowtech II cranks, but it looks simple and is the cheapest way in. Alternatively you can buy a crank-arm or complete chainset from Avio with the PowerSense attached. If you go this route you can choose from Shimano or SRAM Red cranks and there is a possible Avio chainset in the future.
Other cranks such as Campagnolo, SRAM, Cannondale and Shimano MTB cranks can be fitted, but have to be sent off to Oxford, where Avio will custom fit them. The only limitation when it comes to which frame it will fit is to make sure you have 10mm between crank and chainstay.
Once you’ve fitted you PowerSense what can it do? Well, looking at their website it reports power and cadence and is ANT+ enabled. It can also communicate with your Android phone using a proprietary Bluetooth system, Avio are hoping to add Bluetooth Cycling Power capability at some point soon. Weighing in at just 25 grams, it’s IP67 water-resistant and runs off a single CR2032 cell, which should give you 100 hours of use. Avio offer a 24 month comprehensive warranty replacement, which you’ll hopefully never need.
Power accuracy is +/-2% and the PowerSense uses Active Temperature Compensation to ensure consistency of readings no matter what the environmental conditions. If you’re training with power accuracy is important and it will be interesting to see how the Avio PowerSense fares in this area. The power readings are obviously only single-sided, but a dual-sided version may be coming out. I’m happy to admit that I’m ignorant when it comes to power training, so not sure if only having one sided measurements is an issue.
So there you go, power based training is now available to a lot more of us. You will of course have to make an effort to read up on what you need to do once you have your Avio PowerSense! Just fitting it won’t make you a better rider, but there are plenty of articles/programmes/coaches out there to guide you. To quote Avio, “Historically, power has always been expensive. We’ve flipped that around and designed a high-end, affordable power meter which has been manufactured here in Oxford, England especially for those who deserve affordable power; everyone!”
We’re hoping to get an Avio PowerSense to try out soon and will let you know when it arrives. In the meantime head over to the Avio website and take a look at the PowerSense.