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PowerTap C1 Chainring power meter review

29 Nov 2016

Simple, subtle and effective – a great option for those with a five-arm crank

Cyclist Rating: 
Elegant design and solution, good value, reliable and accurate
Occasionally disappointing shifting, missing that 34-tooth inner ring

Trust the originators of the first cost-effective power meter, the PowerTap Hub, to blow our socks off with another budget alternative by creating the PowerTap C1 chainring power meter.

We all want a bit more power while we're out riding. Sadly, buying a power meter alone won't instantly give us that extra oomph – it’s not a hidden motor, after all. But having one should lead to an improvement all the same. It's all about riding to the numbers.

Unfortunately, to date most power systems have meant the hassle of having to replace something. It could be your pedals, your hub or your cranks, or it could even involve having something machined off to allow fitment.

The upshot is that you invariably end up spending more than you though you would, and power meter systems themselves are far from cheap to begin with.

No spider required

What’s so clever about the PowerTap C1 chainring is that it uses your current chainring spider, with just the chainrings themselves needing to be removed.

The system is designed to work with five-arm cranks that have a 110-bolt circle diameter (that is, the bolt circle diameter congruent with compact or semi-compact chainrings).

The PowerTap website has a compatibility list of more than 20 models from Shimano and SRAM. Sadly, Campagnolo cranks are notable by their omission, though there's no such problem with FSA – no surprise given they make the 'rings on the C1 itself.

Due to the power meter spider fitting around the original spider, the minimum inner chainring size is a 36-tooth, while the outer can be either 50 or 52 (39/53 is also an option).

For a weight penalty of around 150g, you gain left and right leg measurement via dual-band ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart connectivity. Function-wise we couldn’t fault the electronics or readings, which are on a par with other leading systems.

It has to be said that FSA’s chainrings didn’t always provide the best shifting, but that  was our only letdown.

The battery is good for around three months of use and replacing it was an easy job.

Verdict: Simple, subtle and effective, a great option for those with a five arm crank. 4.5/5



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