New Power Meter: iBike Pro

Cyclists apply forces to bike pedals to overcome the forces resisting forward motion (hill climbs, wind resistance, rolling resistance, acceleration, etc.) Traditional power meters like SRM, Powertap, and Ergomo measure the forces applied by the cyclist (direct measuring).

The new Ibike Pro is the first power meter that measures the resistive forces working against the cyclist (indirect measuring).

iBike Pro is the first power meter measuring resistive forces

The principle of iBike Pro is that forces applied by the cyclist are precisely the same as the forces from wind resistance, rolling resistance, and gravity. Thus, if you know these factors, you can calculate the forces applied by the cyclist. The iBike Pro measures wind speed, hill gradient, and bike speed.

Body position does not affect power output

As you can guess, several variables can possibly affect the measuring. One of the biggest problems, in my opinion is that the power output will not change if you change body position. That means that data from the rides will reflect the average power output rather than the actual power output.

iBike Pro website FAQ about the body position problem:

“Most riders stay in the same position about 90% of the time or more, so the percentage of the total ride where there is a wattage difference won’t be great. In addition, the iBike Pro assumes that the athlete remains in the same riding position, so changes in riding position will not be reflected by changes in the iBike’s wattage readings.”

My opinion about iBike Pro (I haven’t tried it yet…)
It is an exciting concept, but it is challenging for me to understand why they measure power indirectly. That doesn’t make sense to me. I am not sure that this product can be used for serious wattage training, but I would like to try one to see how it performs. Some good things could make iBike Pro a competitor for the other power meters: It weighs only 60g and costs 399$, which is nothing compared to the more expensive and heavier products on the market.

12 thoughts on “New Power Meter: iBike Pro”

  1. Thanks for showing these threads.

    It is very difficult to review these power meters only by viewing these curves. All curves with power files from Polar, SRM, Ergomo, Powertap, iBike Pro etc. look similar on distance. E.g. when you use a Polar power meter your average watt might likely be the same as if you used a more expensive power meter. But you will probably not notice how you are performing during intervals because it is not reliable enough. The Polar is not sensitive enough for accelerations, which make it difficult to use it during intervals for pacing strategy. I don’t know how precisely iBike Pro react to accelerations/change in speed. I think that is a much more interesting thing to know than how it performs on average during a long ride. So if iBike Pro send me a power meter there will be a comprehensive review of it during the winter.

  2. Why is everyone beating around the bush about this product. It obviously sucks! I have an iBike and a Powertap and I have been comparing them side by side and here are the conclusions:

    The iBike is NOT useful for training it is strictly a gadget and here is why:
    The iBike is not at all accurate real time. MOST OF THE TIME the iBike is significantly (often 50-100 Watts) high or low. If you have ever (seriously) trained to power then you know that just a few watts (let’s say 10% of your max) high or low makes a HUGE difference when you are trying to hold a set wattage for a while; and with this much error, you will have a horrible workout with the iBike. Sure, the marketing folks at iBike like to point to average watts and say that it is accurate but this is not relevant to real time training on the bike. The iBike is USELESS as a real time wattage training tool. There are also several other serious problems for example:
    1) What about WINTER time ??? YOU CAN’T USE THE iBIKE INDOORS ! You will have to buy 2 power meters anyhow so what good is it ?
    2) The iBike is completely inaccurate on the slightest rough road.
    3) Turns. The iBike is flat out wrong when going through turns.
    4) Drafting. Yes, the marketing team at iBike want you to think that it is more accurate when in bigger packs. BS ! I have tried it. It is WRONG WRONG WRONG in the draft.
    So here is the conclusion, If:
    1) You just like gadgets and don’t care if they really work.
    2) You never turn.
    3) You never ride in the draft.
    4) You don’t mind a significantly wrong watts readout while you are training.
    5) You are a sucker and believe all of the BS that iBike and those that stand to benefit from iBike sales tell you.
    Then go buy an iBike — There are plenty of them for sale on eBay from the people who have gotten suckered into buying one and can’t get a refund.
    Otherwise, if you are smart, go buy a PowerTap, Ergomo etc…

  3. Just for clarification, when I said “let”™s say 10% of your max”, I meant 10% of your max hour of power, which is probably 25-50 Watts unless you are Lance Armstrong prior to 2006 (Sorry Lance!).

  4. Another iBike Owner

    IBike Owner, a Google search of reviews for the iBike show that you’ve been on several of these forums and championing the same cause. So far, you’re a voice of one.

    I just started using the iBike. For this rec rider who is only interested in training to be as fast or faster than the other rec riders in the club, the iBike is priced just right and is more than good enough.

    So, why aren’t you slamming Dr. Coggan and Mr. Allen for support a “useless” device in their CyclingPeaks software? Don’t you think that they are able to see the uselessness of the device, too? Or, maybe they know something you don’t know.

  5. The ibike is a tool. It might not be the right tool for everyone but it is still a very useful tool. It provides information that other devices do not such as wind, altitude, aero/drivetrain friction and grade. It costs significantly less than other devices. There appears to be an on going debate about its watt accuracy, while I have seen an occasional power spike after hitting potholes I find that the ibike gives me the same readings as my Computrainer. Some ibike riders have used the ibike to improve their aero friction.

    There are alot of new tools available to cyclist, iBike will be one of the more popular choices. The product works, and the customer service is excellent.

    There are a few people trash talking the iBike, my experience does not support their claims, since their claims are so exaggerated I can only conclude that they feel threatened by the iBike.

  6. I advise everyone to avoid ibike. It is definitely NOT worth the money. Last September I was naively intrigued by ibike’s guaranteed accuracy and staggeringly low price. With the hopes of using it to monitor my training, I ordered the unit. Upon receiving it I discovered that it came without the essential handlebar mounting equipment. I called ibike and they shipped me the parts. On my first ride with the ibike it started raining halfway in. It wasn’t a hard rain, just steady. Not long after that the ibike began to fill with water. It didn’t take more than ten minutes before the computer short-circuited and died. Surprised that any company would make an expensive cycling computer that leaked, (I have never ever seen a non-waterproof cycling computer, water is part of the sport) I contacted ibike and they made it clear that the unit should not have leaked and wanted it back for some sort of failure analysis. They replaced it with what looked like a refurbished model. (That didn’t really matter to me because I was sick of all the setbacks and just wanted to use it) Unfortunately at this point the New England winter had set in and the ibike could not be used on a trainer. In March I mounted the ibike and used it for several rides. On one of the rides it rained, and again the ibike filled with water. However, this time it did not stop working (although using it in its wet state was similar to swimming with goggles full of water). It took a week to completely dry the unit out, and when I remounted it I noticed that the adhesive used to hold together the handlebar mount had failed. Consequently the unit was not secure and could not properly measure power. When I contacted ibike about the matter asking about the leaking unit and internally fractured handlebar mount, they responded with THE IBIKE WARRANTY ONLY LASTS 45 DAYS! There is really nothing I can do about the unit now. I will have to eBay it. Overall, the customer service is good, but I am disappointed with the quality of ibike. It is clear the company has not spent enough time testing their product. The 45 day warranty is evidence that they have no faith in there own product. This is a case and point of you get what you pay for. Sure the ibike is cheaper than PowerTap, SRM and ciclosport, but that is exactly what it is – cheaper. If you want a training tool that can be used in rain or shine to accurately record power, find another product.

  7. Here are the facts. Sam’s father Ken purchased an iBike at a bike shop in September 2007. Ken emailed us on September 13 2007 and informed us that some parts were missing. They were shipped on September 14. Ken next emailed us on September 18, stating there was a water issue with the iBike. We sent a replacement iBike on September 18 2007. Sam’s original iBike was received by us on October 16 2007. It was examined thoroughly and was found to be working with no apparent problems. We emailed Ken on October 16 to inform him of our findings. Ken next emailed us on June 16 2008 and stated that there was another problem and that he wanted us to give him a full refund. We replied the same day and told Ken that if there was a problem the warranty period was ONE YEAR, that his iBike was eligible for repairs through September 2008, and that once we received his iBike we would repair it as needed under warranty. As of today (June 29 2008) we have not received any items for repairs. With regard to Ken’s request for a full refund from us, we explained that because the iBike was purchased from a bike shop it was the shop, not us, who had his money and that he needed to contact the shop regarding any possible refund. We also informed Ken that products purchased directly from the iBike Store can be returned for full refunds during the first 45 days of ownership. We have not received and email from Ken or Sam since our June 16 reply but because of this forum posting we have sent another email to Ken, reminding him and Sam of our one year warranty policy and requesting that the iBike sent to us for examination and repairs if necessary.

  8. Question for John Hamann -: Just wondering whether warranty is transferable when purchasing an iBike product second hand. Also, are there any restrictions with purchasing from certain online stores etc with regards to warranty as is the case with some manufacturers such as ZIPP?

  9. I got an email from Aaron Timmer regarding warranty.
    He said it was of no concern where their product was purchased, the warranty is 12 months from date of manufacture. The conclusion for me on this was to check with eaby sellers (selling new units) what the serial number is and email Ibike for manufacture date.

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  11. The concept of the ibike is good but if you are looking for a valid and reliable power meter look elsewhere. WHY?
    1. Power readings are inaccurate by up 10% or more. That is huge for power base training
    2. Menus are often confusing and difficult to navigate
    3. Eats through batteries like no other computer I know. They last no londer than 2 to 4hours maximum. Very frustrating and pointless. Why have a computer that dies mid way through a ride.
    4. Power reading only good for a trainer but you can get the same data with a $50 bike computer

    It is not all bad. The software is good, the data is extensive BUT you can get the a Garmin Edge 500 for $200 to $300 and get the same features PLUS downloadable maps, gps, a reliable battery and valid data. Yes you will not receive a power reading but what is the point of a power meter if it is often inaccurate. Save your $600 plus dollars and put it towards a real power meter.

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