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Tech & Wearables

Wahoo Powrlink Zero power-meter pedals — full details, power comparisons, and ride impressions

Single- and dual-sided power measurement based on the Speedplay Zero pedal.

Pros

Independent left/right power measurement; adjustable heel-in and heel-out float; available in single-side measurement for $649

Cons

For non-Speedplay fans, requires abandoning your pedal system of choice; big swings in temperature seem to require recalibration


Weight

139

Price

$999

Brand

Wahoo


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Adding to the Favero Assioma and Garmin Vector 3 options, riders who want power-meter pedals now also have the option of the new Speedplay Powrlink pedals, which come in $649 single- and $999 dual-sided measurement options.

I have done three test rides on the dual-sided Powrlink pedals, and found them to generally track well with other meters, but a big temperature shift required a recalibration on one ride.

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The power meters are built on Speedplay’s dual-sided Zero pedal body, with 55mm stainless steel spindles. The battery and guts of the meters are housed at the crank side of each spindle and include LED indicators and recharging ports.

Speedplay claims the meters read with a +/- 1 percent accuracy, and that battery life is more than 75 hours per full charge.

The pedals weigh a claimed 138g each (I weighed mine at 139g on a Feedback Alpine scale), and the cleat and hardware add another 74g. (For reference, a Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL pedal and cleat weigh 159g combined.)

Stack height is 13mm, a bit more than Favero’s 11mm or Garmin Vector 3’s 12mm. Speedplay uses a rechargeable system similar to Favero’s, but with a claimed 50 hours of life, while Garmin uses disposable batteries for a claimed 120 hours.

Cleat set-up is more complicated than with Shimano or Look systems, but you can fine-tune the float in both directions. (Photo: Ben Delaney)

Wahoo purchased Speedplay in September of 2019, following its purchase of indoor training software company The Sufferfest (which Wahoo has since rebranded as Systm). Speedplay had been making dual-sided ‘lollipop’ pedals since the early ’90s in Southern California. In taking over the pedal brand, Wahoo reduced the large number of pedal models, and went to work on building a power meter option. Wahoo has offered power measurement in its Kickr line of smart trainers since 2012, but this is its first on-bike power meter.

Early ride power comparisons and ride impressions

I tested the Powrlink Zero pedals against power meters from Quarq and Stages, which I had previously tested against various smart trainers and meters from Shimano and SRM.

Riding inside on the new Wahoo Kickr Rollr, I tested the pedals against a Quarq meter. Data from the pedals and the spider-based meter rose and fell in rough synchronicity, with the Quarq reading slighter higher as it often does with other meters.

The Powrlink Zero pedals’ data rose and fell in tandem with that of a Quarq meter. The Quarq measured consistently a few watts higher, which is in line with its behavior vis-à-vis meters from Shimano, Stages, and Garmin.

Riding outside with the pedals and a Stages meter, the pedals tracked well with the crank-based meter for the first portion of a ride where I calibrated both before leaving my cold garage.

As the day warmed up, from around freezing to the mid-50s, the pedals’ measurement began to read low. For example, riding at sweet-spot, the Stages read around 300w while the pedals read around 270w. I stopped and recalibrated the pedals, and they immediately fell back in sync with the Stages’ data.

Riding with a Stages meter and the Powrlink Zero pedals, I calibrated both before the start of a ride in my cold garage. The data from each meter tracked similarly in the first 30min, at which point I stopped for a flat. Powrlink Zero data is in bold green; Stages data is in light green. As the day warmed up, the Powrlink Zero began to read low. I stopped and recalibrated, and afterward, it read in line with the Stages meter for the rest of the ride. (Photo: Ben Delaney)

The pedals have an automatic calibration function, but it only works when the bike is not moving. Stages and Quarq meters have temperature calibration functions that work while riding. (Full disclosure: I’m friends with — and ride and race with — many of the guys at Stages Cycling.)

A Wahoo spokesperson told me that the pedals’ automatic calibration works when the pedals sense no force being applied, and when the bike is upright and stationary. 

“In short, the pedals will recalibrate on their own, but not while you’re riding,” Wahoo spokesperson Andrew Bernstein said. “Someone concerned with getting the most accurate data possible might want to calibrate their pedals after their bike has a few minutes to adjust to a temp change from indoors to outdoors.”

As for left/right measurement, the pedals do indeed provide separate data, and they pass the one-leg test with the unclipped pedal reading zero. Some left/right systems do not! (Looking at you, Specialized S-Works Power.)

As for the mechanical function of the pedals themselves, the Speedplay system is rather polarizing. Some people love the ‘icy’ float feel; others do not.

Personally, I prefer Shimano pedals for their super low maintenance and easy cleat set-up. But Speedplay’s precision adjustment of heel-in and heel-out float is commendable.

All that to say, these new power-meter pedals will likely be a boon for Speedplay users who want a transferable power meter, while fans of other pedals will likely approach them with interest but not necessarily immediate fanaticism.