Validity, Sensitivity, Reproducibility, and Robustness of the PowerTap, Stages, and Garmin Vector Power Meters in Comparison With the SRM Device

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Anthony Bouillod
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Julien Pinot
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Georges Soto-Romero
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William Bertucci
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Frederic Grappe
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A large number of power meters have been produced on the market for nearly 20 y according to user requirements.

Purpose:

To determine the validity, sensitivity, reproducibility, and robustness of the PowerTap (PWT), Stages (STG), and Garmin Vector (VCT) power meters in comparison with the SRM device.

Methods:

A national-level male competitive cyclist completed 3 laboratory cycling tests: a submaximal incremental test, a submaximal 30-min continuous test, and a sprint test. Two additional tests were performed, the first on vibration exposures in the laboratory and the second in the field.

Results:

The VCT provided a significantly lower 5-s power output (PO) during the sprint test with a low gear ratio than the SRM did (–36.9%). The STG PO was significantly lower than the SRM PO in the heavy-exercise-intensity zone (zone 2, –5.1%) and the low part of the severe-intensity zone (zone 3, –4.9%). The VCT PO was significantly lower than the SRM PO only in zone 2 (–4.5%). The STG PO was significantly lower in standing position than in the seated position (–4.4%). The reproducibility of the PWT, STG, and VCT was similar to that of the SRM system. The STG and VCT PO were significantly decreased from a vibration frequency of 48 Hz and 52 Hz, respectively.

Conclusions:

The PWT, STG, and VCT systems appear to be reproducible, but the validity, sensitivity, and robustness of the STG and VCT systems should be treated with some caution according to the conditions of measurement.

Bouillod, Pinot, and Grappe are with EA4660, C3S Health—Sport Dept, Sports University of Besancon, Besancon, France. Soto-Romero is with the Laboratory for Analysis and Architecture of Systems, National Center for Scientific Research, Toulouse, France. Bertucci is with the Groupe de Recherche en Sciences Pour l’Ingénieur (EA 4694), UFR STAPS, University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne, Reims, France.

Bouillod (anthonybouillod@gmail.com) is corresponding author.
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