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InfoCrank review

27 Apr 2016
Verdict:

The InfoCrank is the easiest and best power meter we’ve used, plus it's now £250 cheaper and no longer needs cadence magnets.

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£1,149
For 
Incredibly easy to use
Against 
Virtually none

The consumer market is changing and power meters are getting cheaper, so to come across a product that bucks the trend like the InfoCrank is a refreshing change. The race in the power meter market is currently to the bottom, and the products suffer because of it. They’re getting less accurate, more difficult to install, require more maintenance and can be less reliable. The InfoCrank is none of those things.

The InfoCrank is available in two guises: Compact M30 and Classic standard. The Compact M30 (the model we have) has a 110mm BCD and a 30mm axle. The Classic has a 130mm BCD (so just 53/39 rings) and a 24mm axle. There is one downside to this set up – if you want standard chainrings then you can’t take advantage of the stiffer 30mm axle.

Both types have independent dual-leg power measurement and integrated strain gauges for maximum accuracy. In fact, at 0.2% accuracy they’re the most accurate power meters available. They transmit via ANT+ so they’re compatible with most bike computers.

Installation

InfoCrank bottom bracket installation

Compared to a pair of power meter pedals, installing an InfoCrank is definitely more involved. Fitting the InfoCrank M30 first requires fitting a Praxis bottom bracket, which are available for most bottom bracket types (including 68mm English threaded). You then have to attach a pair of cadence magnets (either to the shell or the cups) and insert the crank.

I did find the initial attachment of the cadence magnets a faff but the instructions are excellent, so it was more my clumsiness than anything. Either way, from start to finish it’s only really a 15-minute job.

Update - 27/05/16

Verve has released a firmware update to the InfoCrank so that you no longer need to use the cadence magnets. The InfoCrank can now calculate candence using an in-built accelerometer. Not only does this make the installation easy, it makes for a cleaner finish on the bike and would make it fairly easy to swap them from bike to bike. Verve does say that opting to forgo the magnets reduces battery life by approximately 10%.

The InfoCrank takes little SR44 batteries (two in each crank arm) that are installed with a 2mm allen key. Take care here – the max torque permitted on that bolt is 2nm and it would be very easily to snap one off inside the thread. Should that happen, InfoCrank can fix it but you’d have to send the unit back.

InfoCrank cadence magnet

If you’ve got multiple bikes, fitting Praxis bottom brackets in all of them and swapping the InfoCrank between them would take 5 minutes at most. Not much more time than swapping a Stages or Vector unit.

Pairing and calibration

The final job before riding is to pair the InfoCrank with a head unit and calibrate it. The InfoCrank came packaged with an o-synce (pronounced O-Science) navi2coach so we used that for the bulk of the test. Calibrating the InfoCrank is simple (an offset of 0 is the expected outcome) and, unlike most other power meters, only needs to be done once.

The strain gauges on the power meter are also able to account for different temperatures, so they don’t suffer from drift like some others. It’s the closest we’ve come to fit and forget, and left us wondering why others can’t implement this system.

Riding 

In my opinion, the most important job for a power meter is to be consistent and being accurate is second. The InfoCrank is both. Because there are no repeat calibrations, there is no risk of bringing user error in to harm the data. The InfoCrank never once failed to record, or transmit for that matter, and there were no dropouts or missed efforts. In terms of data transmission it was simply flawless.

InfoCrank left crank arm

The accuracy was also a welcome change. When we drilled down into the data, the averages were always very similar to our reference power meter, although often a little higher. The big difference was in max power during intervals – the max power recorded by the InfoCrank was always higher than the reference power meter. This is because the sampling rate on the InfoCrank is much higher than on our reference power meter, so the data you get is more accurate. No peaks are clipped out by the smoothing curve created due to big sampling gaps.

So how do you sum up the InfoCrank? More reliable than the Garmin Vectors, as usable as Stages, cheaper than an SRM, easier battery swap than a Powertap and more accurate than all of them? Yeah, that should do it.

vervecycling.com

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