Saris PowerTap G3
Type: Hub-based power meter, which makes it easy to use on multiple bikes, but limits race-day wheel options if you want to record data.
Benefits: Simple to use and easily swaps between bikes
Drawback: Can’t alternate between race and training wheels
Getting it to work: Having installed four different power meter systems as part of this testing, the PowerTap was definitely the easiest and quickest to set up with the least amount of complications. Installing the G3 is very simple, so long as you know how to mount tires and install a cassette. The hub was matched to a Garmin Edge 500 using its ANT+ connectivity, and calibration went without a hitch. Calibration only takes a few moments but cannot be done while riding. If you are not mechanically inclined and want a simple, reliable and easy-to-use power meter system, this is the product for you.
What it does: Price aside, easily moving the power meter between bikes is the system’s biggest draw over the others, especially since there are no additional sensors, magnets or wires required. The only strike against the PowerTap system is that if you would care to use a variety of different wheels during the course of your training and racing, then you’ll need to buy a PowerTap hub for each wheel. Many triathletes have gotten around this costly situation by building a PowerTap hub into a very sturdy training wheel and using a disc wheel cover for racing. This option adds a little bit of weight to your rear wheel, but it also provides you with a cost-effective solution. Lacing it to a rim that can perform training and racing double duty is another option.
How well it works: The G3 is lighter than all previous PowerTap hubs and is easier to service. All of the electronics associated with the PowerTap are built into the small, removable outer cap, so if anything were to go wrong with your unit, you only have to mail in this small piece rather than the whole wheel. The PowerTap G3 uses a typical watch battery, so replacing the battery is quite simple, yet it requires a simple but proprietary tool that’s included with the unit.
Buy it for: Reliability in an affordable package that can be adapted for race day.