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Gear Review: PowerTap P1 Pedals


Price is always a consideration when shopping for a power meter, and today they are more affordable than ever with a variety of choices in the marketplace. Aside from price, at the top of your priority list should be accuracy, ease of use, reliability, and the ability to seamlessly sync with your current electronic devices or training log software for data analysis. With the PowerTap P1 pedals, you’ve got those bases covered.

Long gone are the days where you could only take advantage of the PowerTap quality and reliability with their hub only option – limiting you to specific wheelsets for training and racing. PowerTap has two more options. They’ve added the PowerTap C1 Chainring, which provides great value at $699.99 USD, if you only have one bike for training and racing.

However, the PowerTap P1 Pedals are the most versatile, and are the best choice if you’ve got multiple bikes, race wheels, travel often to races or training locations, or are one of those fortunate athletes who gets new bikes every year or two. Why? You can quickly remove the pedals and re-install them from bike to bike or remove them for travel to keep them safe. It’s a true plug and play device. This portability does come at a price, and it’s PowerTap most expensive power meter option at $1199.99 USD (unless you lace a hub to a high priced rear wheel of course). But you essentially have the pedals forever.

There’s lots to like with the P1’s, but here are a few major highlights:

Ease of Use and Installation
It’s as easy as screwing the pedals in with a Hex Key as you would normally install any pedal, sync it with your watch, bike computer or Smart device and off you go. No specific torque, other attachments or other equipment is required. Unlike some other systems – which are a huge nuisance to try and get those systems set up properly to get accurate and reliable readings. Not having to deal with that frustration and time suck alone is worth the price of the P1’s. Take a look how quick and easy they are to set up.

I’ve ridden PowerTap hubs regularly each week for the for the past 9 years and all of the wheels are still working flawlessly. I could always count on their reliability to provide accurate readings in all sorts of racing or training conditions. When compared with a CompuTrainer, the readings aligned quite nicely, and the CompuTrainer provides rock solid wattage readings. So data geeks, you should have no concerns. Plus, PowerTap boasts an accuracy standard of +/-1.5%. Here is the data from a random indoor ride where I rode a PowerTap P1 and PowerTap PRO+ at the same time. You’ll notice that the hub wattage is marginally higher but for all practical purposes it is virtually the same. A possible explanation for that discrepancy could be due to me being a bit lazy with my pedal stroke. Or simply some signal reception differences between devices since a Garmin 920XT was used to collect the PRO+ data, and a Joule GPS+ for the P1 Pedal data.

PowerTap P1 Pedals Graph
PowerTap P1 Pedals
PowerTap PRO+ Hub Graph
PowerTap PRO+ Hub (the same ride, just time kept recording for an extra 5 minutes)
PowerTap P1 Details 1
PowerTap P1 Pedals
PowerTap PRO+ Hub Details 1
PowerTap PRO+ Hub
PowerTap P1 Pedals Details 2
PowerTap P1 Pedals
PowerTap PRO+ Hub Details 2
PowerTap PRO+ Hub

Right and Left Power Measurement
The P1’s offer this metric (so do the C1 Chainring) so you can analyze the data for any imbalances that need correcting. The pedals do also provide a cadence reading too.

As discussed earlier. This is the huge benefit of the P1’s. You can easily swap them from bike to bike. Just install and sync with your preferred device and get riding within a few minutes without sacrificing accuracy. You can even share them within your household if need be.

ANT+ and Bluetooth SMART
You’ll be able to connect to pretty much any watch, bike computer, or Smart device since it provides connectivity to ANT+ or BLE (Bluetooth SMART). Connection is quick and easy too. From there, you can upload that data into your preferred software for analysis later.

The Battery
The P1’s use 2 AAA batteries (one for each pedal). AAA batteries are relatively inexpensive, can be found practically anywhere, and will provide approximately 60 hours of use. The pedals will send a low battery warning when down to about 20% of power so you will get fair warning before you get total power failure. A fresh set of batteries before a big race will ensure nothing like that happens though. If you do happen to ignore any low battery warnings and the right pedal battery dies, the left pedal will double its output to provide a wattage reading.

Possible negatives?
You’ll really have to dig for some but one could be that you are forced to use the PowerTap P1 specific cleat for full compatibility. They are slightly different from the Look Keo but I was still able use a Keo cleat with the pedals (not suggested if you’ve got a lot of wear in them though as you will have problem clipping and/or staying in). So for those of you who prefer other types of pedals, this may be a deal breaker. The other one I can think of would be weight as they are a bit chunky at 398 grams (for both).

Hub Prices Just Dropped Today
Just as we were set to publish this today, PowerTap announced a price drop to $599.99 USD on their G3 and GS Hubs. Those are still viable options and offer that same plug and play ability. But at those prices you could even get two and have a training and racing set of wheels.

Find out more about the various PowerTap Power Meters.