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UK power meter maker eyes US market

Published March 14, 2019
PowerSense meters start at about $300 including shop-install.

OXFORD, United Kingdom (BRAIN) — A new power meter brand based here is looking to expand its sales in the U.S. with a crank-based meter that retails for about $300 including installation.

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Avio already is selling its PowerSense meters though a handful of retailers in the U.S. who buy direct from the company. Avio hopes to have an agreement with a U.S. distributor by the start of the third quarter this year. 

The PowerSense meters look similar to left-crank based power meters from Stages, 4iii and other brands. The difference is that Avio sells the meters without a crank. 

Retailers install them on customers’ existing left crank, including most recent Shimano road and mountain bike cranks. The meters sell for $260, with a suggested installation charge of $42. Customers can opt to install the meters themselves, but there’s little incentive because they’ll have to buy an installation kit that costs $42. 

Retailers earn margin on the sale and additional revenue from the installation; they can also bundle the installation with other service work, said Mike Devaney, the company’s managing director. 

“We’ve seen shops here offer to do other service on the bike, like a tuneup or bike clean, and then they charge for the service and the power meter and do the installation for free. Margins can go through the roof,” Devaney said.

PowerSense meters are assembled in Oxford from components largely made in China and the Middle East. 

Avio was founded by entrepreneur Darryl Mattocks, who also owns a company that produces industrial sensors and a power meter for rowing. The bike product was in development for about three years before launching last year. It is distributed in the UK by Raleigh. 

The PowerSense is among the lowest priced power meters on the market assuming the customer already has a crank. Stages’ power meters start at $350 for its own carbon fiber crank arm with sensor, which fits SRAM, RaceFace and FSA cranksets. Its lowest priced Shimano power meter is $529. 4iii cranks start at $400 if 4iii installs its meter on a customer’s crank at its factory. Watteam offered user-installed meters that started at $260 retail, but that company ended production last year and said it was refocusing on the OEM market.

Besides the kits that fit recent Shimano alloy cranks, PowerSense will install meters on some carbon cranks from SRAM and Campagnolo at its facility in the U.K. The company does not expect to immediately offer that option in the U.S., but might eventually set up a U.S. office to do those installations, said Devaney

The PowerSense is rated to IP67 weather resistance; Devaney said Avio’s experience making rowing power meters helped it learn how to make waterproof products. 

The device communicates with head units via ANT+, so it works with Garmin and Wahoo units. It also has a Bluetooth transmitter that can be used to communicate with mobile phone apps. 

It has 100 hours of battery life. That’s less than the life claimed by some other power meters, but Devaney said that unlike others, the PowerSense does not drain the battery when the bike is at rest, so it actually can last longer between battery changes. 

Devaney said Avio is developing a power meter that takes measurements from the left and right arms, as well as a head unit and other products. 

More information at avio.mobi/powermeter-cycling.

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