More Power to the People

People (don’t really) ask me all the time, “What could you possibly do to make that black cross bike of yours even more black?” Maybe a black crank with black rings?

Cinqo de Pedal

This — a Quarq Cinqo crank-based power meter –is something I’ve wanted to try for quite a while. Since I purchased a Garmin Edge 500 and sold off all of my older wired Powertap wheels, the time was ripe for a test crank.

Why? I’m fundamentally convinced that a power meter is the best tool you can have if you want to maximize your cycling workouts and/or get better/stronger on the bike. PowerTap has (to me, at least) always represented the best value for a power meter, but at the cost of constraining the consumer to a single wheel. The folks most generally concerned about the wheel thing are bike racers and triathletes who possess (or wish to possess) a serious investment in training and racing wheels. For them, a crank-based power meter has incredible appeal. And since I am one of those people (at a very low level), I figured I’d get one and try it out.

Quarq is a cool company located in Spearfish, South Dakota and was purchased by SRAM in May of 2011. Quarq makes power meters on a variety of “donor” cranks including FSA, Rotor, SRAM, Specialized and Cannondale. I picked a Cinqo built on a SRAM S975 carbon crankset with Red chainrings and a GXP bottom bracket interface. In case confusion reigns, Quarq is the company and Cinqo is the product.

Small aside re: current bottom bracket trends. I have a bike with a BB30 bottom bracket and another with a standard 68mm threaded BB. With appropriate spacers, I can get a “normal” crank to work with BB30 bike, but there’s no way in heck to make a BB30 crank to work with a “normal” frame. Plus, a BB30 crank will set you back an additional fifty bucks. While I can get behind the idea that a BB30 bike is stiffer than the same bike with a standard bottom bracket, it sure makes it a PITA for the guy or gal with bikes that cross standards. Huge PITA.

That said, my initial impression of the Cinqo are very positive. The weight penalty of this crank over a similar SRAM crank is less than 100 grams. Nice. The weight penalty of this crank over a similar Red crank is a mere 114 grams. Super nice.  Installation of the crank couldn’t be easier. Simply unscrew the drive side bottom bracket cup, install a little magnet bracket, reinstall the drive side cup and install the crank. The crank came with a nice installation and user guide, which had helpful pairing instructions for a few Garmin cycling computers. Couldn’t be much easier.

Once all that’s done: Ride. Train and race with power. I’ll report back once I get a decent amount of miles on Cinqo, but things look very excellent at the start.