This is a review of Quarq power meters which I’ve been using for the past six months.
I bought the model Quarq Elsa. It weighs 735g. It was 85 grams lighter than the cheaper Riken model. The Riken has non hollow crank arms and a heavier spider. The Quarq Elsa cost me around £1,500 from local bike shop.
How the Quarq works
The Quarq power meters work by measuring the torque (pressure) applied to the chainset and crank * cadence. Torque is measured by tiny strain gauges, which measure how much pressure is applied. The power readings are relayed by ANT to a suitable power device.
Much of the cost of the Quarq is the cranks themselves. If you already have a good crank, you are buying a surplus crank arm. It does make it quite an expensive power meter, especially with cheaper models coming on the market.
To swap between bikes, you need to remove the crank arm and fit to the bottom bracket. This job is OK, if you have the right tools. In theory, I should be swapping the Quarq power meter between my road bike and TT bike quite frequently. But, in practise, I don’t want even that 10-15 minute job. So I just end up leaving it on one time trial bike. I like riding with a power meter, but not enough to religiously change it every time I swap bikes.
Features of the Quarq Elsa
Power Balance. The Else features independent left-right leg power measurement. Quarq say that it measures total torque on left / right leg. It doesn’t just include the down-force, but also measures power from pulling up on the pedal. It displays the power balance as the % of work done with left / right, e.g. 45% / 55%. I haven’t yet used this feature, because left/right is not supported by a Garmin 500. However, it is a good feature to have given my past left-right leg imbalances. I would like to upgrade my Garmin, when it seems like there is money to justify thr expense.