Power meters appear to be the Holy Grail of cycling, with the ultimate quest of creating a system that is not only accurate, but dead simple to use. Last week we profiled the new CycleOps heart rate based power meter, which is definitely simple, but the jury is still out on accuracy. Dublin based Brim Brothers believes they have the solution with their new cycling shoe based power meter.
Recently formed Brim Brothers was founded by a team of engineers and keen competitive cyclists, with many decades of electronic and software system design experience. Looking at the advantages and disadvantages of the various power meters available today, the team decided they could do better.
With Zone, the cycling shoe based power meter, Brim Brothers hopes to offer all the benefits of existing devices without the drawback. Namely, making it dead easy to use, easy to fit and easy to move between bikes.
Two components make up the Zone power meter system. This first is a pair of electronic pods affixed to the top of your cycling shoes, much like a Nike+ run sensor would. The Zone pods break into two parts, the top pod and the base. The base remains attached to your shoe, while the top pod can be removed for charging or firmware upgrades.
A tiny cable connects the pods to the second component, a force sensor attached inside your cleat. The sensor measures the forces between your shoe and the pedal, calculating your power output accordingly. The sensor will ultimately measure all forces you apply to a pedal (up, down, sideways), however, the initial product may not measure the upward pull forces to start.
The Zone power meter system uses ANT+ to send cadence and power information to your cycling computer. Weighing just 18 grams, the pods will not add a ton of weight to your cycling shoes. The system is completely waterproof, so you won't have to worry about riding in the rain.
Brim Brothers is hoping to have the Zone cycling shoe power meter ready for 2012. The company claims to have a bunch of testing yet to do before a beta release is possible. No word yet on pricing or which pedal versions will be supported in the initial product launch.