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VirtualPower vs. Power Meters

Looking for more information on what differentiates power and VirtualPower-based workouts? You're in the right place.

VirtualPower Defined

VirtualPower turns your indoor-cycling trainer into a power meter. Just hook up an ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart speed sensor and select your trainer. When you start to ride, your speed will be converted to power based on the known power curve for the trainer.

How VirtualPower Works

The faster you go on a trainer, the more watts you put out. We've quantified this into a resistance curve specific to your trainer. This allows us to plug in your current speed and display watts. We've built this into our software so it happens on the fly and is seamless to you.

Training with Power

Training with power means using a device that directly measures power, such as a power meter (e.g. PowerTap, SRM, Quarq), or an electronic trainer (e.g. KICKR, Computrainer, Powerbeam Pro).

VirtualPower vs. Power - Which is the right choice for me?

The main factor to consider when choosing between power and VirtualPower is cost. Power meters and electronic trainers are, simply put, pricey! If you're not ready to shell out USD$800-3,000, you'll want to use VirtualPower. Power meters are great to race and train with but if you're not quite ready to make the leap, or just want to get a feel for training with power, VirtualPower is a great option. Obviously this won't give you power data for your outdoor rides.

We think VirtualPower is a much better way to train than by heart rate or RPE. But when it comes down to it, a power meter will still be more accurate than VirtualPower.

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  • Avatar
    Michael Campbell

    Is the Kurt Kinetic inRide more accurate than your VirtualPower? DC Rainmaker claims it is. However, other sources say it may not be. I know they both calculate the power based on how fast the trainer is turning, so is there any advantage to adding inRide to my existing trainer? I'm using the Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll with Garmin's cadence/speed sensor connected via ANT+ and was considering adding the inRide if it increased accuracy. Only trouble is, I can't find enough information to support that decision. I was hoping you could help me out.

  • Avatar
    Bryce La May

    @Michael, the inRide will be able to take inertia into account, so you'll have more accurate readings while accelerating and decelerating, but it shouldn't affect your power readings during steady efforts.

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