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Rotor POWER 3D+ LT review

Rotor power meter
8 May 2015

Spanish brand Rotor best known for it's Q rings brings power meters to the people with its one sided offering.

Cyclist Rating: 

Spanish brand Rotor is best known for its innovative oval chainrings which peer-reviewed literature has shown boost power over round rings. They work by speeding up the motion through the dead spot of the pedal stroke and maximising the moment arm where the legs are at their most powerful. To go with the chainrings, Rotor also makes cranks and bottom brackets, and the company has recently added power cranks to the catalogue. There are two basic options with Rotor’s power offering: single-sided (LT, as tested here) or double-sided. Single-sided costs £799, while the dual-sided option is £1,450 and adds about 11g to the weight.

Set-up is simple. Rotor makes a range of bottom brackets to allow its 30mm axle to be used in any frame, but as we were using a BB30, it couldn’t have been easier – the cranks slotted right in, with spacers as detailed in the manual. Pairing of the crank with a head unit (Garmin Edge 800) was quick, and the zeroing process (to ensure that the power reading is accurate) was straightforward – simply put the left crank to six o’clock, hit ‘Calibrate’ on the Garmin and wait a couple of seconds. Once it’s done, there’s no need to re-zero until 30 hours of riding have elapsed.

Rotor provides its own custom software with the Power LT, which allows you to update the firmware wirelessly using an ANT+ USB adaptor. The software also has training pages so you can set up your laptop while you’re on the turbo to get a graphical representation of the work you’re doing. It’s not as much fun as Breaking Bad, but provides an easy way to interpret your results. The Power LT cranks produce data at a rate of 500Hz and on the road the readings you see are easy to use, being less ‘noisy’ than the Quarq (see page 126). Our test rides on the road were mostly in temperatures around zero degrees and we found no strange shifts in readings as the unit adapted from room temperature downwards.

Rotor unsurprisingly recommends against pressure washing the unit, and while the roads were damp during our test period, we avoided deep puddles and torrential rain, which would be the most likely cause of problems. We’ve recently read a handful of reports suggesting that earlier Rotor power meters overestimated power output. While not officially lab-tested, our readings were consistent with what we expected and, most importantly, consistent from one ride to the next.

Unlike the Quarq over the page, there’s no magnet (cadence is measured by an accelerometer inside the crank), so combined with Rotor’s broad range of bottom brackets, transferring the cranks between bikes has the potential to be surprisingly easy. It’s far from cheap but it’s a top-end crankset in its own right. It’s lightweight, impressively user-friendly and if you take the option of adding Rotor’s ovalised Q-rings, offers a real performance benefit too.

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