I love the Pioneer Pedaling Monitor System (P.M.S.) so much that I decided to draft its merit and superiority in English, as simple as I can.
- Superiority of the Pioneer Pedaling Monitor System
- The Power
- Power and body weight – Watt per kilogram (W/kg)
- Power and duration – Mean Maximal Power
- Power is the outcome of effort and efficiency
- Torque analysis: The first dimension
- Overlooked/hidden force components
- Whole new dimension : Pedaling Force Vector Analysis by Pioneer P.M.S.
- What we get with the Force Vector Analysis?
- Advice from the professionals
Superiority of the Pioneer Pedaling Monitor System
Pioneer Pedaling Monitor System (P.M.S.) gives riders “two dimension” pedaling Force Vector information which no other power meters ever supply, to enable analyzing the pedaling efficiency in “higher dimension”.
Everyone talks about the POWER. In definition, power is the product of the force and the speed. A bike is propelled with the pedal strokes, so we can express the bike propulsive power as the nature of the pedal movement, such as;
“When the rider turn the pedal crank with greater force, and with greater speed, the greater the power gets”
Power and body weight – Watt per kilogram (W/kg)
When the bike course includes steep climbs, the riding resistance is greatly induced by the gravity. In this case the smaller the moving mass (of the bike and the rider), the greater the speed gets, with the same given power.
Therefore, in order to compare the performance from one rider to another, we’d take into account the weight. So, the number “watt per kilogram” (W/kg) is widely accepted as the performance index.
“W/kg = power of the rider / body weight of the rider”
Power and duration – Mean Maximal Power
We all know that we can generate greater power for just a few seconds, and we can sustain lesser power for much longer duration. Therefore when we assess the rider’s ability, we’d take into account the duration of the power.
“How many seconds can the rider sustain the target power?”
Some rider may be good at short burst of the greatest power (Rider B below), other may be good at sustaining moderate magnitude of power forever (Rider A below). Those are the types/difference of the riders and through this information we can analyze what training scheme or race discipline suits best to the rider. This information is usually expressed as a graph, named Mean Maximal Power Graph.
(Fig.1 MMP graph)
When we consider the W/kg described above, we use the 1-hour-sustainable-power number for the standard. This is called Functional Threshold Power (FTP).
Power is the outcome of effort and efficiency
How to achieve the higher power? We have two major ways to go.
- Increase the effort.
- Decrease the counter-productive effort and non-productive effort.
The second way is to pursue the “efficiency”. This is usually less painful than the other, and often with more room to improve. To help improve the efficiency, there are several types of pedaling analysis systems which consist of power meter sensors and software.
Torque analysis: The first dimension
The first and commonly-seen style of the pedaling analysis is the torque analysis.
(Fig.2 Torque graph. Red section shows the positive torque, while blue shows the negative)
Ordinary power meters in the market pick up the force applied on the rotational portion of the bike such as crankset, pedal or rear hub. But, those meters only handle a part of the force, the force component which applied to the tangential direction. The applied (tangential) force on the rotating part and the leverage length are altogether to be translated into the “torque” at the axis of the rotation (bottom bracket axis or rear hub).
Some of the power meters are “side-specific” (force sensor location is at the left/right side only, or bilateral) and those side-specific meters can catch the negative torque as well.
The positive torque propels the bike, and the negative torque cancels out the positive torque generated at the opposite side of the pedal/crank, because the pedals/cranks are connected from left to right directly.
Using these torque sensing systems, we can perform some sort of pedaling efficiency analysis generally called torque analysis. “Torque effectiveness” and “pedal smoothness” described in the following link are good examples.
I’d like to say here that these torque analysis schemes are “one dimension”, because circular movement is equivalent to the straight movement on the infinite track. Those systems only see/handle forces on this single path.
Overlooked/hidden force components
In reality, however, almost all the time the force applied to the pedal/crank is not purely in tangential direction, but in the compound of tangential and radial directions. At this case, “one dimension” analysis systems can’t see/handle the whole picture of applied/working real forces.
I’m happy to admit that “one dimension” is quite good enough to measure the propulsive power itself. But, when we’d use the pedaling analysis system in order to improve our riding efficiency, “one dimension” systems are desperately insufficient.
For example, imagine a “one dimension” system detects 100N of force (in tangential direction). In this case, the real force applied might be 100N in purely tangential direction, or maybe it is 115N with 30 degree out of tangential and another radial force component of 58N is overlooked/hidden. The “one dimension” systems cannot tell the difference between these two situations.
(Fig. 3 Tangential force numbers may be merely a projection of real forces in different magnitudes/directions)
Whole new dimension : Pedaling Force Vector Analysis by Pioneer P.M.S.
Pioneer P.M.S sensors are quite different from any other contenders. They have the extra allay of the force sensors inside and can catch the radial force component, adding to the standard tangential force component.
The radial and the tangential forces configure “two dimension” plane of the force directions altogether. Upon this plane, the force data is now seen in the form of Vector (a number with magnitude and direction), in “two dimension”.
This is a whole new dimension of the pedaling analysis.
(Fig. 4 Force Vector graph by Pioneer P.M.S)
(Fig.5 Comparison of Torque graph and Force Vector graph, which analyze the same ride log. Which do you tell more details/hints with?)
What we get with the Force Vector Analysis?
1) Improvements on the pedaling technique.
The Pioneer P.M.S. sees the whole force components upon the crank-rotating plane (in 2-D), we can check the non-productive/counter-productive force components through the Force Vector information.
In many cases those non-productive/counter-productive force components are the signs of wasted muscular effort and/or less optimized movement pattern, therefore we can improve our technique through try minimizing those force components.
However please take note that not all the non-productive force components are the enemy and should be wiped off. (Gravity induced force and Inertia induced force also play in the pedaling movement).
(Fig. 6 Data is taken upon 400W effort. From HIGH-TECH CYCLING second edition (p131) by E.R. Burke, PhD Human Kinetics, 2003)
2) Information for the assessment of left to right body movement balance.
As an experienced bike-fitter, I’d say few people are totally balanced from side to side in pedaling motion.
When you find some L/R imbalance on the Force Vector information, it is the reflection of your body movement imbalance. Also we may use the information for figuring out the measures.
Meanwhile, if you suffer from one-sided pain, weakness or instability, the Force Vector information might show some signs reflecting the disorders and maybe its cause as well. Chances are we can use the Force Vector information for the purpose of preventing and/or curing the pain/injury, and/or select and plan the supportive exercises.
Advice from the professionals
Pioneer P.M.S. is so information-rich, and the full potential value of the applied information isn’t yet to come. However here we have several critical advice from the professionals to get most of the system.
Pedaling Monitor System vs Specialist http://pioneer-cyclesports.com/us-en/contents/specialist/
(Contents of the link)
- Advice from Mr. Akira Asada. “From the coach’s perspective, how can pedaling monitoring system data be utilized? For hill climb, sprint/attack, group, rotation, and time trials, five scenarios will be introduced.”
- Advice from Dr. Katsuyuki Kakinoki. “Investigating new analysis methods and inspecting training methods”. “Establishing a Training Program Using Pedaling Monitoring System Features and Scientific Knowledge to Improve Athlete Development”
And there are more to come…
Here are some additional information about the value/merit of the Pioneer P.M.S.
1) “Training Assist”
This is a smartphone-based coaching assistance service and it’s FREE!
The value of the Pioneer P.M.S. stands on not only its hardware superiority, but also on its eco-system. You will upload your log-data to the cloud service “Cyclo-sphere” to analyze and you (and your coach) can read the data with any PCs or smartphones in anywhere.
“Training Assist” is one of the functionality of the “Cyclo-sphere” service for smartphones. “Training Assist” will give you tutorial and advice for the training, based on your log-data automatically. It’s more like a personal coaching service!
In addition, “Training Assist” doesn’t require the P.M.S. to start using. Even with a simple heart rate monitor and speedometer, you can start getting the advice.
So why don’t you create your free account on the “cyclo-sphere” service and start getting “Training Assist”?
Pioneer Cyclo-sphere service https://cyclo-sphere.com/index
2) Product site
Pioneer official product site has much more information about the P.M.S. and you will love it. http://pioneer-cyclesports.com/us-en/
I hope this reading will help you select right of your power meter / pedaling monitor system and get most out of it. Thanks for reading!
(2017/06/19 Japanese edition is now available)