CycleOps PowerCal Heart Rate Monitor


The CycleOps PowerCal is the world's first-ever power meter calculated from heart rate. Simple to install, set-up and it's compatible with any ANT+ device.


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[Jul 20, 2013]
Cross Country Rider


Reasonable introduction to Power at a low price (Estimates Power Output from your Heart Rate)
No Calibration Required (Cycleops claims it doesn't improve accuracy enough to be worth it)
Useful for Relative Comparisons (not absolute) on the same courses
Easily pairs with Ant+ to Garmin, Wahoo, etc. as a Heart Rate Monitor and Power Meter simultaneously.


Numerous spiking heartrate readings which causes frequent spiking Power Readings
Slowness to react in power since based on Heart Rate
No calibration? With varying body types, age, gender, etc. one would think some form of calibration would be beneficial to improve estimation.

After using Garmin Heart Rate Monitor for several years, I decided to try the new CycleOps Power Cal to explore the world of power without the $700-$1200 expense of crank & hub power meters. I knew full well it would not be accurate in the absolute sense but I wanted to explore if it could be a reasonable guide for comparison of power workouts along the same courses. The unit easily paired with Garmin 500, and iPhone with Ant+ Key (Wahoo, Strava, MapMyRide, etc.) For those units capable of receiving power, it registered as a Heart Rate Monitor and a Power Meter seamlessly.

Regarding Power

I experienced reasonable comparisons for longer term efforts 20 min - 2 hrs based on previous power measurements/estimates for my riding. It at least gave a sense of how much power they output over longer periods of time even though accuracy appears to be only within 15-20% of absolute measurements.

Regarding accuracy versus real power meters. DCRAINMAKER writes a very good comparison article relative to his roadbike.

Regarding Heart Rate Monitoring Capability
I have used the Garmin older plastic version of Heart Rate Monitor and also the newer Garmin cloth based Heart Rate Monitors for comparison. The former rarely spiked whereas the latter has notable spiking issues and has a reputation on the internet of being a bit problematic. The PowerCal's Heart Rate spiking was slightly worse in spiking frequency to the cloth based Garmin.

Bottom Line:
Low cost price (not much more than a HRM alone) if you are curious type about exploring the world of power for comparisons purpose on your rides for 20+ min lengths of time and don't care about exact absolute accuracy. However, if you want more than averages and get annoyed at too many inaccurate peak measurements (HR & Power), it might be better to wait until CycleOps improves the Heart Rate Spiking issue (most likely related to the skin sensor's impedance sensitivity to varying impedances (dry skin, static electricity, etc.) which has some suggested fixes (avoid modern day stay dry shirts that create static electricity problems, wetting the sensor, cleaning sensor periodically to remove sweat/salt deposits, etc.)

Similar Products Used:

Garmin Hard Plastic & Soft Strap HRM

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