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Would love to make the jump to power based training, but don't want to buy a expensive/heavy wheel or change my crank. Does Polar's system work?
 

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I've heard of a couple of people that tried it on a mountain bike. It worked fine, but they ripped off the rear derailleur sensor/cable on trail debris/rocks. So, works, but maybe not too practical for a mountain bike.
 

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I did try a demo on a road bike. It would get flakey on real rough roads because it works off of chain tension.
There are no cheap solutions to power meters...they either work and cost $$..or they just guess and are cheap.
 

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I have one on my road bike, and so far no major issues with it. As stated above it works off chain tension so it wouldn't be ideal for off-road use. Another thing that Polar has the advantage is you can use any wheelset on your bike, and can change them without losing out on data.
 

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I've got the older (more) wired version & it worked/works for me on two bikes set up with IGHs (Internal Gear Hub). I think it's ideal for this sort of set up as the chain remains in a fixed location which, I believe, makes it more accurate. Did have to get creative in mounting the chain speed sensor since I'm not using a derailleur (obviously) or even a chain tensioner. The locations I chose on both bikes were protected & I've ridden both on-trail without issue. I've had vines, brush, etc get caught in the rear hub without affecting the chain speed sensor. Will admit though, that the power meter worked better on the bike with an EBB (Eccentric Bottom Bracket) which allowed chain tension adjustment. My current bike doesn't have any way of tensioning the chain built-in so the chain is a bit long & the readings don't appear to be as accurate in this set up.

FWIW, if you can wait, there's supposed to be a pedal system out this quarter (March?) for around $150(?) that's supposed to provide accuracy comparable to the "gold standard" of power meters, the SRAM. Last I read, it was only going to be available with a certain pedal but I believe the axles alone (which contain the hardware) may become available separately to retrofit other pedals.
 

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I tried my CS600 on my hardtail once. It wasn't very useful due to the way the power data is filtered. The displayed/recorded power value is an average of a number of previous crank revolutions. That wouldn't be too terrible, as I was mainly interested in "Normalized Power". However, it abruptly cuts power to zero whenever cadence goes to zero. As a result, an all-out effort on singletrack looked like an easy endurance ride in terms of NP.
 
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