This is the era of affordable power. Single-sided power has broken the $400 price point and offers “good enough” power data for the majority of riders. But a German company called Power2Max isn’t content with “good enough” and has been working on the affordable power problem for quite a while. In fact, they just might have something to interest those of us who believe that “good” is the enemy of “great.” It’s called the Type S, and it starts at just $610 for a full crankset with dual-leg power. How does it stack up? Let’s take a look.
The Type S is available in a number of varieties and bottom bracket standards. At the time of this writing, there are 10 different bottom brackets supported, 7 different BCDs, and crank lengths from 150mm all the way to 180mm – if you can’t find an option that works for you, we’re not sure what to tell you. There are even options to replace just the spider and spindle with the Type S hardware if you have a crank that supports it, including Specialized, SRAM, Cannondale, and Rotor. This option is $640, $30 more than the most basic offering, an FSA Gossamer at the aforementioned $610 price point. But you get to use the cranks you already know and love, especially since the price for the FSA offering does not include chainrings, but does come in 110 and 130 BCD, so you should be able to use your old ones, too.
Our review crankset came with a Rotor 3D+ in 175mm with Praxis Works 54/42T chainrings with the Power2Max Type S already installed, which meant that installation was about as simple as it gets. To get started, remove the crank bolt from the non-drive side of the crank, pull the left arm off, and then remove the crank and spindle out the drive side. From here, installation is very simply the reverse of this process, plus any adapters or spacers you might need for your bottom bracket and crank selection. Total elapsed time is perhaps an hour.
Calibration is equally simple; according to Power2Max, you don’t. Specifically, we’re talking about the zero-offset figure, or the “resting” measurement when you’re not pedaling, which your Garmin head unit will constantly remind you to calibrate every time you connect the meter to the head unit. Power2Max simply updates this automatically any time the unit is at rest for three seconds or more – ours, just for the sake of completeness, tells us this figure is 720. We’re not sure what units that figure is in, but it doesn’t really matter because the meter has never been far enough off for us to have thought it to be anything but what is “normal.” That works for us.
A power meter is generally judged on two things: consistency and accuracy. Seeing as we have a small problem of only riding one power meter at a time, we’re going to have to focus on the former instead of the latter. Accuracy, we’ll leave to DC Rainmaker, who quite likes Power2Max’s offerings in that regard. Good enough for us. But is the unit consistent, especially within the price point that it is now being offered? That’s something we can tackle. Specifically, let’s take a look at a left-only power meter (that will remain nameless) and the Power2Max on the same section of our favorite TrainerRoad interval workout.
Here’s the left-leg only data.
Here’s the Power2Max data.
We certainly know which one we’d like to be using. The Power2Max data is much more in line with our perceptions, as well. The variance in the measurement is much smaller, doesn’t have large spikes or dips, and presents an overall smoother readout than the left-only power meter. What’s more, this was consistently true – the data from the Power2Max, simply put, had significantly less noise than our other power meter.
Part of this may come from the fact that a dual-leg meter has double the number of potential data points throughout the pedal stroke available to make calculations from, but this is the nature of having brought true dual-leg power to a left-only price-point. Throw in left-right balance and a longer battery life (300-400 hours per CR2032 battery), and the reasons to go left-only get somewhat hard to see. When you consider the difference in price between them was less than $100, the choice becomes even clearer.
Now there’s a note on that left-right balance and how it gets calculated. Because the unit is measuring power at the crank spider, it doesn’t really know for certain which leg is delivering the torque it’s measuring, so it makes an educated guess. Effectively, it divides the complete pedal stroke into two zones, corresponding roughly with the 6- and 12-o’clock positions of the crank. Noon to six is right, six to noon is left. If you have a pedal stroke where you pull through the upstroke, it’ll get added to the other leg’s balance figure. Similarly if you sweep through the bottom of the pedal stroke, there will be some bleed into the other leg’s balance figure. This isn’t a big deal, your left-right balance doesn’t really matter unless it’s really, really out of whack, and it doesn’t affect the power numbers at all, either. It’s just something to be aware of when you’re looking at the data.
So is the Power2Max Type S worth your hard-earned cash? In our opinion, absolutely. It’s aggressively priced, offers dual-leg power in an attractive package, gives fantastically consistent data, and is backed by a company that has been doing this a long time. At $610 for the base option, against the current competition at that price point, it’s just a no-brainer. We think that if you give the Power2Max a shot, you’ll quickly see why we’re such big fans.