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Power measuring technology expands to new hubs, wheels and trainers for 2009

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The SuperMagneto Pro trainer

The SuperMagneto Pro trainer (Image credit: Saris)
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The included console

The included console (Image credit: James Huang)
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Housed within is a small circuit board

Housed within is a small circuit board (Image credit: James Huang)
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The brand-new CycleOps Pro series frame

The brand-new CycleOps Pro series frame (Image credit: James Huang)
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The PowerTap's 'brain' is hidden within and each unit is individually hand-assembled, calibrated and tested before shipment.

The PowerTap's 'brain' is hidden within and each unit is individually hand-assembled, calibrated and tested before shipment. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The brand-new CycleOps Pro series frame is easier to use, more stable and more compact than previous iterations.

The brand-new CycleOps Pro series frame is easier to use, more stable and more compact than previous iterations. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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New one-sided hardware makes for easier loading and removal and reduced movement since the other side is now firmly fixed to the frame.

New one-sided hardware makes for easier loading and removal and reduced movement since the other side is now firmly fixed to the frame. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The resistance unit cam affords reasonably consistent tire pressure on the roller.

The resistance unit cam affords reasonably consistent tire pressure on the roller. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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Locking legs are more secure and don't flop around when the trainer is being transported. Careful design means the locking pins aren't loaded when the trainer is in use.

Locking legs are more secure and don't flop around when the trainer is being transported. Careful design means the locking pins aren't loaded when the trainer is in use. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The new resistance unit adjustment bolt requires only a simple 90 degree twist, not numerous turns, to move the unit in and out.

The new resistance unit adjustment bolt requires only a simple 90 degree twist, not numerous turns, to move the unit in and out. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The innovative new PowerBeam resistance unit packs all of its hardware in a compact space.

The innovative new PowerBeam resistance unit packs all of its hardware in a compact space. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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Housed within is a small circuit board and linear stepper motor that alters the resistance either manually or according to a customizable program.

Housed within is a small circuit board and linear stepper motor that alters the resistance either manually or according to a customizable program. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The linear stepper motor simply alters the distance from the magnets to the conductive zinc flywheel, thus altering the strength of the magnetic field and resistance.

The linear stepper motor simply alters the distance from the magnets to the conductive zinc flywheel, thus altering the strength of the magnetic field and resistance. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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A special strain gage applied to the beam provides the same real-time power measurement accuracy as on the company's full-blown PowerTap hubs.

A special strain gage applied to the beam provides the same real-time power measurement accuracy as on the company's full-blown PowerTap hubs. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The included console provides plenty of easy-to-read information.

The included console provides plenty of easy-to-read information. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The new JetFluid Pro resistance unit is decidedly more modern-looking than older versions.

The new JetFluid Pro resistance unit is decidedly more modern-looking than older versions. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The plastic shroud isn't just for show; it funnels cooling air from the bladed flywheel directly on to the finned fluid housing.

The plastic shroud isn't just for show; it funnels cooling air from the bladed flywheel directly on to the finned fluid housing. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The SuperMagneto resistance unit can be set to one of four resistance curves depending on workout needs.

The SuperMagneto resistance unit can be set to one of four resistance curves depending on workout needs. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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We were surprised to see that every flywheel is individually tuned and balanced to nearly eliminate vibration and noise during use.

We were surprised to see that every flywheel is individually tuned and balanced to nearly eliminate vibration and noise during use. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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Most of the mass of the flywheels is concentrated on the circumference where it's most effective, thus reducing 'dead weight' towards the center of rotation.

Most of the mass of the flywheels is concentrated on the circumference where it's most effective, thus reducing 'dead weight' towards the center of rotation. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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Fluid impeller blades are carefully shaped to achieve the desired resistance curves.

Fluid impeller blades are carefully shaped to achieve the desired resistance curves. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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Ha! Go figure. Saris tests every one of its CycleOps fluid resistance units with one of its own PowerTap hubs to verify the intended resistance curve.

Ha! Go figure. Saris tests every one of its CycleOps fluid resistance units with one of its own PowerTap hubs to verify the intended resistance curve. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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Saris is also introducing a revamped range of CycleOps trainers for 2009, including a new electronically controlled PowerBeam Pro.

Saris is also introducing a revamped range of CycleOps trainers for 2009, including a new electronically controlled PowerBeam Pro. (Image credit: Saris)
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The new JetFluid Pro trainer uses CycleOps' proven fluid technology and a revised resistance unit design that runs cooler than before.

The new JetFluid Pro trainer uses CycleOps' proven fluid technology and a revised resistance unit design that runs cooler than before. (Image credit: Saris)
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The SuperMagneto Pro trainer is arguably the most versatile of the new offerings.

The SuperMagneto Pro trainer is arguably the most versatile of the new offerings. (Image credit: Saris)
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An easily adjusted foot on one leg quickly adapts to uneven floors.

An easily adjusted foot on one leg quickly adapts to uneven floors. (Image credit: Saris)
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Two mounting holes for the resistance unit makes for easy changes to accommodate 650c road and 29" MTB wheels.

Two mounting holes for the resistance unit makes for easy changes to accommodate 650c road and 29" MTB wheels. (Image credit: Saris)
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Revised geometry allows the new Pro series trainers to fold nearly flat for easier storage.

Revised geometry allows the new Pro series trainers to fold nearly flat for easier storage. (Image credit: Saris)
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The folding legs are moved further forward for added stability when sprinting out of the saddle.

The folding legs are moved further forward for added stability when sprinting out of the saddle. (Image credit: Saris)

Tech feature: Saris/CycleOps/PowerTap 2009 product launch, June 17, 2008

PowerTap cuts the cord

Saris will expand its popular range of CycleOps PowerTap power measuring hubs for 2009 at both ends of the pricing spectrum while also adding refinement across the board. A new PowerTap Comp model will lower the price of entry to US$799.99 but will also serve as the sole wired offering in the company catalog. All of the other PowerTap models will now go wireless and will switch to the open-format ANT+Sport protocol, thus making the hubs compatible with Garmin’s new 705 GPS computer and possibly others, such as the iBike and Quarq Qranium, in the future.

Conveniently, ANT+Sport operates on the same general 2.4GHz frequency band as current models. An eventual firmware upgrade (price and exact availability to be determined) will easily bring existing wireless units up to date without the need for any additional hardware.

The 2009 range will feature five models in total, all of which are hand-assembled and independently calibrated and certified at Saris’ factory in Madison, Wisconsin. Next up from the PowerTap Comp model come the PowerTap Elite+ (US$999.99, 625g) and PowerTap Pro+ (US$1199.99, 475g), both with new all-aluminum oversized hub shells. The Elite+ will use a lower-cost steel freehub body and steel axle but the Pro+ will incorporate an alloy body and axle to help bring the weight down.

The upper-end PowerTap SL+ (US$1599.99, 416g) will retain its current carbon-and-aluminum hub shell and alloy freehub body but gains a new 15mm-diameter aluminum axle and correspondingly upsized cartridge bearings for increased stiffness and a moderate weight loss. New for 2009 will be an ultra-premium PowerTap SLC+ (US$2399.99) that adds top-quality hybrid ceramic bearings, possibly from CeramicSpeed. All of the new hubs will begin landing in stores around fall.

Saris will also increase the availability of complete PowerTap wheelsets (which already includes two Zipp disc wheels) thanks to a new partnership with Mavic. The French wheel giant will offer PowerTap-equipped versions of its Cosmic Carbone SL road wheels in both clincher and tubular varieties starting this fall, using a radial driveside and two-cross non-drive lacing pattern similar to what it uses on its Ksyrium ES.

Sharp readers will recognize that this lacing pattern marks a departure from PowerTap’s once-adamant (and overly restrictive) insistence on three-cross lacing on both sides. Apparently the new hub shells have tested to be more than adequate stiffness-wise to support the reduced-cross patterns (and have for some time now). According to Saris’ Jesse Bartholomew, the non-driveside still needs a minimum cross pattern for accurate power measurements, though, and included manuals will be updated for 2009.

High-tech features for new Pro series trainers

Saris will also introduce a new Pro series of trainers that will mark the division’s first major redesign since the company purchased CycleOps ten years ago. All of the new models will boast a decidedly more modern appearance as well as a more stable foundation and added convenience.

The folding legs reach further forward for less movement when sprinting and a new single-sided mounting system cuts down on flex while also speeding up mounting and dismounting. Softer feet provide a better grip on hard surfaces (and easily adjust for uneven floors) and a new resistance unit clamp puts an end to tiresome knob twisting while also providing more consistent tire contact. Finally, all of the Pro series trainers fold far more compactly than before with all components locking firmly in place, too, for easier storage and transport.

Saris will outfit the Pro series frame with one of three new resistance units. The new JetFluid Pro (US$399.99) uses a new oil-based resistance unit similar to the existing Fluid2 and also provides a similar resistance curve. A new shroud funnels cooling air directly on to the new finned fluid housing, though, for cooler operating temperatures.

The SuperMagneto Pro (US$399.99) builds on CycleOps’ innovative Magneto concept (still the only magnetic-based unit with a progressive resistance curve) but now adds four easily selectable power curves to suit a particular workout need. A ‘spin’ setting mimics the feel of rollers for high-cadence pre-race warm-ups while a ‘road’ setting bumps things up for more a more life-like feel. More intensive sessions can make use of the ‘interval’ setting while the ‘mountain’ setting is reserved for only the strongest riders.

Sitting at the top of the heap is the new PowerBeam Pro (US$1199.99) which provides variable resistance by altering the distance between a set of magnets and the zinc flywheel in a system analogous to the Magneto. In this case, however, that distance is controlled by a linear stepper motor inside the resistance unit housing. Built-in PowerTap hardware offers real-time feedback on your actual power output and the PowerBeam Pro will even self-adjust the resistance to maintain the desired target power setting. When combined with the included heart rate monitor, the result is the most precisely controlled workout in the range.

The resistance can be manually adjusted via a wireless handlebar console but custom programs can also be uploaded via CycleOps’ Power Agent 7 software. For now, the software doesn’t quite allow users to upload actual ride profiles although the company is working on the issue and hopes to have a software upgrade available before too long. According to Saris, the PowerBeam Pro resistance unit offers sustained resistance of over 1300W which should make it suitable for all but the most elite athletes.

New 2009 models will arrive in stores this fall; the rest of the CycleOps trainer line will carry over unchanged.

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