Powertap C1 Chainring Review

A Deep Dive Into ​Powertap C1 Chainring

​The Powertap C1 power meter has been reviewed by Tristan Haskins for Power-Pedals.com. A fully-featured, crank-based power meter that features dual-sided measurement (estimated, not actual). The chainring is a one-piece FSA-made design ensuring stiffness for shifting no matter the terrain. The C1 is available in 53/39, 52/36, and 50/36T options (5 bolt, 110 BCD cranks). It is reasonably easily mounted to your bike’s existing hardware. For future-proofing, the PowerTap C1 (like all other Powertap products) broadcasts training data in both ANT+ and Bluetooth SMART.

Read Related Article: Garmin Vector 2 Review

​A great option for cyclists wanting a good estimation of  Left and Right balance but don’t want to spend £1K on a genuine dual sided power meters like the 4iiii Precision Dual or the Powertap P1 / Garmin Vector 2 power meter pedals. PowerTap pitch the C1 as “the only dual-sided power meter at this price point”. If you want to keep your existing crank arms and pedals then the C1 is a good option working with all your existing gear with exception of the chainrings.

PROS

  • Provides an accurate estimation of power balance (Left v Right)
  • Internal sensors provide cadence data as well as power
  • Works with your existing crank arms, pedals, etc
  • Compatible with a wide range of alloy and carbon cranks
  • Reasonably easy to fit – may require LBS

CONS

  • nothing really …. a great product at a very reasonable price

Method of Installation

How easy is it to install the Powertap C1 power meter chainring? I give the same answer for all power meters, it depends on who’s installing it. Personally, I’d struggle to fit this system but I know a man who can. The left crank arm needs to be removed first, this is quite easy and can be done with limited tools and no specialist skill. Next, the right side drive-train and axle are removed completely with chain ring assembly.

Transfer your existing crank arm and spider to the new Powertap C1 chainring. The complete drivetrain assembly is then inserted back into the bottom bracket and the left crank arm is fitted. Personally, it’s too much for me. I’d suggest asking your local bike shop what they’d charge to fit it. However, I know a lot of cyclists that could do this quite easily, ask around and you may find someone who can do it for you / teach you how to do it ….

The images below show Justin Henkel from Powertap removing the old chainring and replacing it with the new C1 power meter chainring

Tools Required to fit this Power Meter

  • Crank arm removal tool for your crank e.g. Shimano Hollowtech
  • Allen key set to remove left crank and chainring
  • Soft mallet to tap axle through BB …
  • or consider your LBS ….

Alternative Power Meters

​The C1 is a hugely popular power meter due to its accuracy, long battery life, relative ease of installation, and estimated LEFT and RIGHT leg power balance. If you want actually measured power balance the options are limited to more expensive units like the dual-sided power metering pedals, the 2INPower crankset, and the 4iiii Dual-sided system. If you are happy to train with TOTAL power only, from a single leg measurement, then consider the 4iiii Precision crank arm or the PowerTap P1S (single-sided). These two alternatives are far easier to fit and require no workshop skills or specialist tools.

Technical Specification

  • Crank Interface: 5 bolt, 110 BCD compact
  • Connectivity: ANT+ and Bluetooth SMART
  • Tooth Combinations: 50/36, 52-36 and 53/39
  • Firmware Updates: Over the air
  • Added Weight: About 150 grams
  • Battery: CR2032
  • Battery Life: 200 hours

Photo Gallery

​Remember, the Powertap C1 does provide a detailed LEFT and RIGHT power balance, but it’s not ACTUAL. It’s only an estimation. From various detailed tests and third-party reviews, it’s a very good estimation, making the C1 one of the best value power meters on the market providing power balance data.

 

External Videos

Powertap C1 Marketing Video

How to Install the C1 Power Meter

Justin Henkel from Powertap shows how to install the C1 chainring. If you have ever removed your drive-side crankarm and bottom bracket axle assembly it shouldn’t present too much trouble. Another advantage of the C1 system is that you get to use your existing crank arms, axle etc

External Resources

The purpose of Power-Pedals.com product presentations is to give the visitor a summary overview of each power meter. They are NOT intended as an in-depth technical review, more a summary providing essential top-level features, functions, pros, and cons. Further information can be found at these links to other external reference sites.

Product Summary

The Powertap C1 sits between the expensive DUAL sided power meters like the 2INPower crankset / Powertap P1 pedals and the cheaper single sided solutions like the 4iiii crank arm power meters. The C1 has it’s strain gauges in the chainring assembly and measure actual power from the right leg (drivetrain side). What is also does, that you won’t get from crank arm solutions, is estimate the LEFT and RIGHT power balance. It’s not an ACTUAL bi-lateral power measurement, just an accurate estimation. From several third-party reviews and reports I’ve consulted, it seems to be very good.

Read Related Article: Rotor INPower 3D+ Review

Currently I am training with a power meter crank arm, mainly because they’re reasonably cheap and easy to fit. However, I am attracted to the Powertap C1 as my next upgrade because of this power balance option. Other attributes of this product that I find appealing are it’s 200 hour battery life (from a CR2032) and the super simple battery change process. It also features built-in sensors that eliminate the need for an external CADENCE sensor (no magnets or cable ties)

I read the Powertap website intro when researching this product and want to share this quote describing their products ….

“The bottom line is our shit just works, day after day, year after year. If it didn’t, well then we would never been able to sell more power meters than anyone else in the history of cycling power meters. End of story

Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt has been a tech geek for as long as he can remember. Whether it's laptops, cameras, or projects, he's obsessed with it all. When he's not researching the latest tech products, he likes to go on long hikes with his dogs.

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