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Object of Desire: SRM Origin Powermeter 9

A closer look at the new, modular power meter from industry pioneers SRM. Say hello to the Powermeter 9

What is a hands on review?
SRM Powermeter 9
(Image: © Aaron Borrill)

Our Early Verdict

SRM's latest hardware offering, the Powermeter 9 or PM9, is accurate, reliable and desirable as ever

For

  • - +/-1% accuracy
  • - Magnetless cadence
  • - Left-right balance
  • - Oval chainring compatible
  • - 100-hour battery runtime
  • - ANT+, Bluetooth and Zwift compatible

Against

  • - Expensive but you knew that already

SRM needs no introduction - particularly to number-crunching cycling aficionados who eat, sleep and breathe watts. The German company is a pioneer of data harvesting and has been manufacturing, what have broadly been considered, the most accurate, reliable and best power meters on the market for nearly four decades now. In recent years however, the popularity and affordability of pod-based single-sided power meters led by company's such as Stages and 4iiii have brought power to a broader demographic but SRM is under no pressure to conform or water down its brand cachet. The €1,190 / £1,150 SRM X-Power power meter pedals are a case in point, as is the Powermeter 9 you see here. 

But just what does the SRM PM9 offer that other contemporary power meters don't? Let's take a closer look.

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SRM Powermeter 9

PM9 is understated in appearance, which helps keep things neutral and sophisticated (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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SRM Powermeter 9

The PM9 can be had in myriad configurations, including full carbon (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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SRM Powermeter 9

Our test unit came outfitted in aluminium Origin chainrings and Look carbon cranks (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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SRM Powermeter 9

The complete unit is beautiful to behold with a contrasting meld of dark hues and textures at play (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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SRM Powermeter 9

Look-manufactured and designed carbon crank arms (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Design and aesthetics

The PM9 adopts SRM's typical understated design philosophy, which helps keep things neutral and sophisticated. Eagle-eyed readers will have no doubt spotted the lack of official PM9 graphics, which consist of a honeycomb pattern and yellow 'Nine' logo. We've been told that our particular test sample is an 'advance press unit' and shipped without the new decal owing to supply issues around the availability of the new scratch-resistant sticker material. (SRM has assured us that all Powermeter 9s will be shipped with the new decal).

Depending on which configuration you opt for, the visuals will vary between models. The upper echelons of the PM9 range come outfitted in carbon-Ti chainrings and carbon-fibre crankarms. Our particular test unit features a stunning meld of materials - most notably the company's Origin aluminium chainrings and Look-designed carbon-fibre cranks. The interplay between the darker hues and textures,  particularly the carbon weave on the cranks, provides a premium look and feel, and adds to the depth of field.

Despite lacking the official sticker kit, I quite like the look of this model. The SRM logo is proudly positioned on the spider with further 'SRM Power' and 'SRM Origin' graphics taking up residence on the crank arms and chainring respectively.

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SRM Powermeter 9

The charging port is magnetised and located on the spider (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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SRM Powermeter 9

Cranks are carbon fibre and come compliments of Look (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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SRM Powermeter 9

The crank length can be altered by way of a metal plate (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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SRM Powermeter 9

A closer look at the crank length recess (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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SRM Powermeter 9

Chainrings are from SRM's Origin line, 52/36T (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Specifications 

The SRM Powermeter 9 is a lot like the Rotor INspider power meter we featured last year in that it's a spider-based unit with a modular design philosophy. As a result, the PM9 can be tailored to fit any bike, allowing users to mix and match spindles to fit various bottom bracket standards, crank arms and chainring configurations. You can purchase it as a spider only or spec it as a complete SRAM, Shimano or Campagnolo crankarm/chainring system. It uses a four-bolt BCD pattern so it plays nicely with most popular brands and sizes, 1x and double chainrings included. It can also be used across disciplines, mountain bikes included. 

The PM9 itself is claimed to conform to even higher standards of accuracy and reliability than previous iterations while meeting the modern demands of user connectivity through a dedicated app. The SRM PM9 app can be downloaded from the Playstore or Appstore and used to track all sorts of metrics such as live torque data, monitor battery status and update the firmware. You can also use it to perform a zero offset calibration (something that can be also be done via any of the best cycling computers, too).

Of the new features, it's the magnetless cadence measurement functionality, oval and osymmetric chainring compatibility, left/right balance and pedal smoothness that stand out - I will touch on temperature compensation a little later. According to SRM, the new PM9 records power in greater accuracy across the board (low-cadence situations and oval chainrings included) thanks to improved angle and torque measuring protocols - the integrated temperature sensor auto-corrects for even greater accuracy in changing conditions. Accuracy is pegged at +/-1 per cent.

The strain gauge layout adheres to the same philosophy as SRM's previous models with eight gauges placed symmetrically in pairs in what is called a 'Wheatstone Bridge'. This setup allows for a degree of compensation between each other, especially when the aluminium of the spider is affected by changes in temperature. Not only does this guarantee a stable offset over the whole temperature range, but SRM has also gone one step further and dialled in a temperature compensation feature.

What this means is that every PM9 receives a temperature calibration where the offset is saved at room temperature followed by a deep freeze at -10°C. This provides the basis on which SRM can calculate the temperature drift of each individual Powermeter and improve accuracy across the spectrum.

The carbon cranks - made by Look - use what is called 'Trilobe Technology', a system that lets you flip between three crank lengths (170, 172.5 or 175mm) by way of a threaded insert plate and it works very, very well. What of battery life? Well, like the previous-generation SRM Origin, the battery will serve up 100 hours of runtime and can be charged through the magnetic port located on the spider - no more sending the unit to Germany for a battery replacement.

The Powermeter 9 broadcasts over both ANT+ and Bluetooth LE, and is compatible with Zwift.

View the Powermeter 9 at SRM

View the Powermeter 9 at SRM

Early impressions

I'm still in the early testing period but the SRM Powermeter 9 has been impressive to say the least. The installation process is simple and intuitive, the app is easy to navigate and the unit itself is tracking accurately against the Elite Direto XR direct drive smart trainer and Favero Assioma Duo power pedals - further in-depth accuracy testing awaits, as does a selection of outdoor time trials to establish how it tracks vs indoors.

At $2,299 / €2,249, it's hard to ignore the price point. It really is an exorbitant amount of cash but, then again, SRM has never proclaimed to cater for the masses but rather provide the best trouble-free and reliable user experience on the market. To that end, the PM9 is difficult to fault and while there are significantly cheaper units available, nothing comes close to the status and peace of mind that SRM brings to the party.

Be sure to check back in the coming weeks for the complete review of the SRM Powermeter 9.

SRM Powermeter 9

The complete SRM Powermeter 9 system (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Tech Specs: SRM Origin Powermeter 9 

  • RRP: $2,299 / €2,249 (pictured)
  • Weight: 700g, claimed
  • Accuracy: +/-1%
  • Connectivity: ANT+, Bluetooth and Zwift compatible
  • Battery life: 100 hours
  • Battery type: Rechargeable
  • Measurement: Dual-sided
  • Type: Spider
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What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.