6 months of test riding
For 6 months now I have been using a pair of Pro Lite Bracciano A42 G3 Powertap wheels while training both during long endurance rides and hard sessions on the turbo with great effect. Measuring your power outputs and training to power zones is hard and does take some getting used to. Some people find training with power hard and stick with training by heart rate (HR), but if you persist and become accustomed to power, the benefits are far greater.
Training with power
I won’t go into too much detail as to why training by power is better than heart rate (HR) because you can write a book about it (many have), but training by Power has many advantages over HR. Temperature, fatigue, dehydration are a few examples of what can affect your HR when training. HR also takes about 90-120 seconds to fully respond to a given effort whereas Power is instant. Take this for example:
If you put out 200 watts for 20 minutes today and in three months’ time put out 220 watts for 20 minutes then you have improved (this is a good test you can do yourself if starting out training with Power). With HR though, as you become fatigued your HR continues to get higher throughout the workout – meaning holding 160bpm at the start of a workout may yield 200 watts whereas nearing the end of the workout the 160bpm may yield a lower amount – 190 watts.
There are many ways you can measure your power outputs and my chosen method is via the rear wheel hence the Pro Lite Bracciano A42 Powertap wheelset. For me one of the advantages is that I can easily use this wheel setup on different bikes I have i.e. race bike, training bike and turbo bike. The other systems require tools to transfer the power meter from one bike to another and the pedal system I can’t use because I use the Speedplay pedal system.
Pro Lite Bracciano wheels still going strong
After riding these Pro Lite Bracciano A42 Powertap wheels (with a rim depth of 42mm) during the training season, recording my power data via the PowerTap G3 Baknav and being totally pleased by their performance, I now find them a great asset to me whilst racing. Aero, quick, and light (not the lightest mind you), they perform extremely well withstanding the demands that racing brings.
Rolling effortlessly across the tarmac, they provide superb performance as in straight line speed, great handling; especially when cornering, and deal with strong crosswinds pretty well. When a tailwind they are very fast indeed. They also provide very quick acceleration and coupled with the PowerTap G3 Baknav records the power that you are putting out. Really great to compare hard training rides with actual race event. Yes these aren't carbon and not the lightest, but performance wise and looks, I cannot faultier them.
I have used these wheels in bright sunny conditions and during some terrible wet weather conditions (Tour de Yorkshire and Liege Bastogne Liege for example) yet every time they have provided my with great confidence and excellent performance throughout and most recently when racing around Goodwood Motor Circuit on a Tuesday evening with my fellow Team Wiggle riders Ben Simmons and Andy Shackel.
Wheels are a big investment to any serious cyclist, second to the frame/forks, and the easiest to move around between the various bikes you may have (turbo, training and race for me). Yes many power options are available to you, but thanks to the advancement of PowerTap hubs I think the Pro Lite Bracciano A42 G3 Powertap are the better option as you are getting a superb set of alloy clincher with a PowerTap hub so one investment and not possibly two large investments (e.g. wheels and another type of power recording device).
If serious about performance and measuring your power readings, then I would highly recommend these Pro Lite Bracciano A42 Powertap wheels. A hefty investment yes, but the quality of workmanship, the gains and performance they bring, I think is well worth it.