The Cheap Kurt Kinetic Cycling Powermeter…Sorta!

kurt kinetic power computerKurt Kinetic is one of my favorite companies. They make a great set of bike trainers.

And now they offer the Kurt Kinetic power computer.  Notice that they don’t say a power meter…as I did in the misleading title to this post.  They have a sense of integrity to maintain, while I don’t have much to maintain other than a consistent body temperature, and that only because I’m warm blooded.

A real power meter, such as my Power Tap (made by my other favorite company, the Saris Group), has pressure gauges and an assortment of other high-tech nonsense in it in order to measure how much torque’s being applied to the hub…or to the crank if it’s an SRM…or to the crank arm spider if it’s the Quarq….or to the pedal spindles if it’s the new MetriGear (since purchased by Garmin; and who knows when it’ll be roaming the streets).

These are the real power meters, and you’ll pay handsomely for them.  But there’s a way to cheat the ‘power-man’.

I’m talking about a cheap way to ‘estimate’ power if you’re riding on a bike trainer.  It’s called the Kurt Kinetic Power Computer.

Because the Kurt Kinetic trainers have been carefully calibrated to provide resistance at a specific intensity for each given speed, it doesn’t take Dr. Einstein to figure out that for any given speed on a Kurt Kinetic trainer, there will be a consistent resistance level (wattage…power, my good man) for that speed.

So…if you get a Kurt Kinetic Trainer and hook up a Kurt Kinetic Power Computer, you’ll get a reading of speed, cadence, heart rate, and power…except the power is a value that’s extrapolated from the speed.  I suppose that’s a calculation you could do for yourself as you’re riding, if your brain wasn’t lending most of it’s oxygen to your overtaxed legs.

I ride my bike on my trainer with my Power Tap wheel attached.

But when I’m trying to do a hard interval at a specific power level, I find it just as helpful to look at the speed (and try to maintain that speed) as I do from looking at the power wattage.

After-all, without the variability of an outdoor ride (incline, descent, headwind, tailwind, drafting), the speed and power on a calibrated bike trainer are more closely married than…I’m at a loss for an analogy here, since marriage is now treated in such a cavalier way.

You get the picture.

And in case you don’t (after re-reading this post, I don’t blame you), here’s a full ten minutes of Graeme Street clarifying the issue.

Graeme, my man, help me out here!

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