A power meter is a great option for those who want to keep track of their performance. However, if you are a casual rider, this article will help you decide if you really need this device.
1. You're An Old School Cyclist
We can all agree that a good bike is nice, and a good bike fit is even better, but let's take a look at the essentials on that list. Do you really need a power meter to tell you that you're riding slow? Does it matter? Is it important to know how your training is affecting your heart rate and cadence?
As a cyclist, I love technology, and I love to see people enjoy it. I also love to see people get on their bike and enjoy it because it makes them happy. I also like for people to put the technology down and just enjoy the bike, enjoy the ride, and enjoy the time and place that they are.
If you're an old-school cyclist, one who loves the bike and doesn't want the tech, you should be riding your bike as often as you can, and I hope you're enjoying the ride. Happy cycling!
2. You're A Weekend Warrior
They can be very expensive
Expect to be in the position to pay more for a good power meter, and that's if you go with one of the cheaper options. It's a lot for an upgrade that you'll rarely ever notice.
They don't get more accurate over time
Top-notch power meters are very accurate right out of the box. They don't improve with use. So you can't stay with a cheaper model over time and think you're saving money – you're not.
They don't increase your performance
On the surface, power meters might seem like a good way to monitor your workouts and track your improvements. But the truth is that good training comes from knowing what's right, not from precise numbers.
3. You Just Want to Enjoy the Ride
If you’re at the beginning of your cycling experience, you might want to go out and have fun on the bike. A power meter can be a bit of a distraction when all you want to do is enjoy the ride. So, if you’re just starting, you might consider taking a test ride without a power meter.
4. You're on A Budget
For those on a tight budget, a power meter or even a computer may be completely out of the question. This is especially true when you don't even know if you're interested in using it regularly. While meters and computers seem like a worthwhile investment, you’re better off spending that money on a more reliable bike or high-quality components. A good bike is much less likely to let you down when you're training and competing, and high-quality components help you get the most out of that purchase when it comes to wear and tear.
You’re Not Competing
If you're not competing in races or riding for any specific event (like your work commute), you don't have to worry about registering your time or following any predetermined training schedule. This takes away the need to know exactly how far you've gone. It can be nice to track your progress, but if you're simply riding for enjoyment, you don't have time to obsess over whether or not you're meeting your personal goals. Instead, you can just go for a fun ride and forget about your mileage or your heart rate zone.
5. You're not A Data-Driven Cyclist
Many cyclists become data-driven to the point of suffering from quantifying their training and tracking their progress for every single ride. If this sounds a little like you, you may benefit from using a power meter to back up your training. Power meters give you instant feedback on how you're performing, giving you a huge amount of data to help drive your training.
Power meters are also essential if you want to do some serious racing. Most races now have a power requirement and even have power meters at the start/finish to ensure you're hitting the power numbers you need to succeed.
The Bottom Line
If you are an amateur who is just starting in cycling, then it would be okay to wait until you get more experience before getting a power meter.
However, if you are serious about cycling, then you should consider investing in a power meter in order to have a better competitive advantage in your cycling competitions.