Buy a power meter or not?
This is the number one wannahave gadget for all cyclists who are getting more and more serious about their training. But they also cost a lot of money. The least expensive yet reliable power meter is probably the Stages left crank meter. These cost around €350, depending on the type of crank. So we are talking a serious commitment. Are they worth it? The answer, as we might expect, is: that depends.
You can get a lot of information about your training intensity and performance from a simple old-fashioned (and cheap) heart-rate monitor. In the days before power metres became the standard measuring device for cyclists. There are several books on the subject of training with a heart rate meter. This is really the way to start, if you are thinking seriously about giving more structure to your cycling training. Cheap and cheerful.
But heart rate meters (HRMs) are not the most accurate indicators of your training. HRMs measure output. They measure what happened to your body as a result of the effort. But this ‘output data’ can be influenced by a whole number of factors. Power metres, on the other hand, measure input. The input of power to the pedals. This is a brutally honest data set. But if you are getting serious about training and can afford to make the big dent in your finances which a power meter will make, then buy one. You won’t regret it, and it will automatically make you more aware of your training and improvements, once you get into analysing the data be it via Golden Cheetah, Zwift, Strava or Training Peaks.