Should you race with a PowerTap?

I used to think No, because I didn't have one. And then I thought Yes, justifying the weight penalty of the heavier hub with the insight of the valuable game day data. And that justification wasn't easy back then, as the weight penalty a few years ago was significantly higher than it is today - not just within the hub, but because my PowerTap wheel (like many of the earlier generation) was a 32-spoke Mavic Open Pro. It's a fine wheel of course, but really has no place on a race course this side of the Arenberg Forest.

Soon, though, I thought No again because I wanted sweet wheels (not to be confused with Friggin Sweet Wheels or Really Friggin Sweet Wheels) and couldn't justify the expense of adding a PowerTap hub to most of the racing alloy clincher or carbon tubular options available. 

But now November is a PowerTap dealer and we're offering PRO+ and SL+ hubs in both our wheelsets. The PowerTap hub is heavier than our standard rear hub, by 150 - 200g, depending on which PT hub you go with. But we keep the spoke count down to 24, so you don't turn your rear wheel into a windtrainer fan just to see how many watts you laid down during that preme on lap 8 when you were still fresh. So the penalty, as it were, is certainly mitigated.

The other reason not to race with a PowerTap hub is because race wheels are uncommonly expensive, and that expense is amplified when you put a really expensive hub in the middle of them. Got a couple sets of race wheels? Forget about it - suddenly it makes more economic sense to buy a crank-based power meter.

Until now, that is. Our PowerTap wheelsets start at $1200 for the FSWs and $1539 for the RFSWs. You can pay that much for comparable wheelsets without that fancy smart hub. Want a slick new Joule with it? It's only $350 more. 

So now, am I back to Yes on racing with a PowerTap? Personally, I'm not, but mostly because I want to spend as much of my time as possible on our standard build wheels (and because I have a scientific fondness for the iBike). Fortunately for you PowerTap fans, November is about what you want, not what I want.

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