Cyclingnews has discovered that several FDJ riders at the Tour de France are using the new Shimano power meter that was presented by the Japanese brand on the eve of the race along with the new Shimano Dura Ace disc brake mechanical and Di2 electronic group set. The devices Cyclingnews spotted are a final prototype without any kind of Shimano logo on them. The final product is expected to arrive on the market later in the year.
Cyclingnews spotted four riders with a prototype model of the power meter on their Lapierre bikes as they carry out final testing in the extreme race conditions of the Tour de France. However, FDJ team leader Thibaut Pinot is not one of them. FDJ is sponsored by SRM this season and the French team does not want to risk any problems with Pinot's bike during the Tour de France.
Pinot will continue to use a SRM power meter and has been spotted using both a Garmin and SRM headunit this season.
The Shimano power meter is built into the new Hollowtech II Dura Ace crankset that again has a chunky four-arm design. The power measuring 'brain' sits between the arms of the cranks, much like the Pioneer power meter used by the LottoNL-Jumbo team.
Another measuring device is on the left crank, with the two connected via the hollow bottom bracket.
Power output can be determined individually from each leg, as well as information on cadence, giving what Shimano says, is the "truest measure of performance, isolated from external factors such as gradient, road surface and wind".
System diagnostics and firmware uploads can be managed through a smartphone or tablet thanks to new Bluetooth-enabled versions of Shimano's E-TUBE app. The internal battery is charged via a small magnetic adaptor that can be accessed without having to remove any covers or casings.
The device was developed from Shimano's bike fitting technology with important input from the FDJ riders and the French team's director of performance Fred Grappe.
"Ten riders in the FDJ team have been testing the Shimano power meter since August last year. We did a lot of work with the Shimano engineers. At the beginning it was a real prototype but now the system and the data is very reliable and valuable. The response to the environmental and weather conditions is also good," Grappe told Cyclingnews.
"It's been interesting to work with Shimano and bring together the Shimano engineers, the FDJ riders and the FSJ performance staff. We've all learnt from each other. We now have a special relationship. We've used their bike fit system for more than a year. The bike fitting system was built before the power meter but the technology is the same. We're using a final prototype but the final product will be even better."