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2011 Reader Poll: Pedal-based power meters voted best tech innovation

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The Garmin Vector is one of the most hotly anticipated power meter designs in years.

The Garmin Vector is one of the most hotly anticipated power meter designs in years.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Acros hydraulic front derailleur uses a parallelogram mechanism like conventional derailleurs but the mechanism is rotated on its side.

The Acros hydraulic front derailleur uses a parallelogram mechanism like conventional derailleurs but the mechanism is rotated on its side.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Volagi Liscio is an outlier at the moment but similarly disc-equipped road bikes may become the norm before too long.

The Volagi Liscio is an outlier at the moment but similarly disc-equipped road bikes may become the norm before too long.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Mechanical-to-hydraulic adapters like the TRP Parabox improves lever feel and power on disc-equipped road and 'cross bikes but a fully integrated hydraulic system would be the best ultimate solution.

Mechanical-to-hydraulic adapters like the TRP Parabox improves lever feel and power on disc-equipped road and 'cross bikes but a fully integrated hydraulic system would be the best ultimate solution.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Look's new KeO Power power meter looks promising but its reliance on a Polar computer head rather than compatibility with more widely available ANT+ devices may be a limiting factor.

Look's new KeO Power power meter looks promising but its reliance on a Polar computer head rather than compatibility with more widely available ANT+ devices may be a limiting factor.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Look's new KeO Power power meter was a joint development with Polar.

Look's new KeO Power power meter was a joint development with Polar.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Several companies were already showing disc-equipped 'cross rigs at this year's Eurobike show.

Several companies were already showing disc-equipped 'cross rigs at this year's Eurobike show.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Disc-equipped 'cross - and even road - bikes will likely be commonplace within just a couple of years.

Disc-equipped 'cross - and even road - bikes will likely be commonplace within just a couple of years.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Pedal-based power meters promise easy left-right output resolution.

Pedal-based power meters promise easy left-right output resolution.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The tidy Acros hydraulic shifter uses a pivoting paddle to select up- or downshifts. The sealed hydraulic mechanism should be virtually impervious to the elements and also doesn't rely on battery power.

The tidy Acros hydraulic shifter uses a pivoting paddle to select up- or downshifts. The sealed hydraulic mechanism should be virtually impervious to the elements and also doesn't rely on battery power.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The current Acros hydraulic rear derailleur is a masterpiece of CNC engineering but an expected forged version should be both stronger and cheaper.

The current Acros hydraulic rear derailleur is a masterpiece of CNC engineering but an expected forged version should be both stronger and cheaper.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The main advantage of disc brakes on road and 'cross bikes isn't power but rather modulation, plus more predictable performance in foul weather.

The main advantage of disc brakes on road and 'cross bikes isn't power but rather modulation, plus more predictable performance in foul weather.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)

Cyclingnews readers have again identified power meters as one of the continuing hot tech topics of 2011, giving nearly 40 percent of the total vote for Best Tech Innovation towards the new crop of pedal-based power meters, including the Garmin Vector and Look KéO Power.

While effectively having two separate power meters instead of one can create some logistical complexities for manufacturers, pedal-based systems offer some practical benefits to users, namely the ability to more easily transfer them between multiple bikes and automatic left/right power output splits depending on the computer head.

The full-blown scientific version of Garmin's Vector system will also provide an extraordinary amount of directional power data for biomechanists, which may lend greater insight into cycling performance, fit, and training methodology.

Look's KéO Power is starting to trickle into the marketplace now but Garmin's Vector still won't land in consumer hands until later this spring.

Curmudgeons and retro-grouches will undoubtedly decry the second-place finisher: disc brakes for 'cross and road bikes. While current rim brakes certainly get the job done, the mountain bike world has certainly demonstrated that disc brakes are not only more consistent and predictable but can also help riders go faster by providing more control.

And while greater power is also a distinct benefit in those circles, disc-equipped road and 'cross riders will benefit most from the vastly improved modulation, which should shorten braking distances and improve safety, particularly on long descents that might otherwise cause clinchers to blowout or tubular glue to soften.

Current options include a variety of dated mechanical systems or a few mechanical-to-hydraulic converters from the likes of TRP, Hope, and Tr!ckstuff. Ultimately, though, the full performance potential won't be realized until bike companies and major component manufacturers introduce dedicated disc-only frames and fully integrated hydraulic systems – then things will really get interesting.

Hydraulic shifting systems land in a solid third place with over 10 percent of the vote. Electronic transmissions such as Shimano Dura-Ace (and now Ultegra) Di2 and Campagnolo's new Record and Super Record EPS systems dominate the conversation at the moment but Acros' A-GE system has certainly captured the public's attention. Touted benefits include a fully sealed system that's impervious to weather, light weight, and a human-powered mechanism that lends more feedback of what's going on at the other end.

Moreover, it doesn't require a battery, to which many riders simply have a philosophical objection.

The Acros system is currently still exorbitantly expensive with its vast array of intricately CNC-machined aluminum bits but assuming there's enough interest, we expect the company to follow-up with a less expensive version using forged components. Electronic shifting is on the cutting edge for sure but Acros is demonstrating batteries and motors aren't the only advanced option moving forward.

Best Tech Innovation
1 Pedal-based power meters 8,205 (37.9%)
2 Disc brakes for 'cross and road bikes 5,149 (23.8%)
3 Hydraulic shifting 2,349 (10.9%)
4 FSA BB386 Evo bottom bracket standard 1,310 (6.1%)
5 Long-travel 29ers 1,224 (5.7%)
6 Ridley Noah FB integrated brake calipers 974 (4.5%)
7 Selle Italia Monolink saddle/seatpost interface 846 (3.9%)
8 Specialized/Fox Racing ShoxAutoSag rear shocks 676 (3.1%)
9 142x12mm thru-axle rear dropouts 612 (2.8%)
10 Slack-angled cross-country mountain bikes 289 (1.3%)