Stages Left Sided Power Meter - Your Experience?

Trash. My experience with numerous failed stages units is that they’re trash. In data, durability, they simply are terrible. Warranty replacement after warranty replacement. Spend a bit more money on a product that 1) isn’t a random number generator and 2) will last beyond the first rain storm you get caught riding in.

Can you expand a bit on this data issue… this is the first I’ve heard of “random number generator” levels of data reliability and I know probably a dozen riders running Stages units. I’ve put a handful of hours on one and it measured within a couple percent of my other units but, more importantly, was consistent in relation to its own measurements. Did you have issues with a single unit and give up on them or what’s the backstory here; that’s a pretty boldly negative assertion to make with no supporting info.

6 different stages units— gen 1 and gen 2 —across 4 different bikes in 2 years. DA9000, 9200, Cannondale Si crank arms. Wildly inconsistent data, and I mean wild. 50-100w off above and below. Inability to handle temperature, moisture, humidity shifts, even w obsessive zero-off-sets (head unit calibration). Weak Ant+ signal leading to consistent drop outs in data, and easily disrupted by external environment wireless interference both indoors and outside. Consistent water intrusion problems even on the allegedly revised battery doors. And then just flat-out die.

After those 2 years of headaches, I invested in a spider-based unit w a different co (won’t even include the brand here), and have ridden it over 4,000hrs & 80,000+ miles on it with none of those issues. Ever. At the time, I was 4-5x’s more expensive than Stages. And yet? It’s been worth it’s weight in gold. Zero headache, zero flukes, always rock solid durability, consistency, and dependability (ya know, the things that actually contribute to amateur bike racing and riding enthusiasts getting faster…. Riding lots, with minimal distraction and interruption, with equipment that always works and is trustworthy.)

Yeah, my stance on stages is harsh, but my experience with their products was awful, whereas on another product for the last 4 years+, I’ve never had to deal with any problem whatsoever.

You know that thread “what’s a cycling product you’d NEVER buy again? Stages. what’s a cycling product you’d buy again in a heartbeat? My PM.”

Hope that meets your standard of supporting info :unamused:

I’ve owned a 1st and 2nd gen Stages PM.

The 1st gen one bricked itself quickly. Stages replaced it at no cost with a 2nd gen one.

I’ve used the 2nd gen. meter for about 6 years now, doing lots of km in all weather conditions. It has been flawless:
Reliability: It’s just worked. Yes it gets momentary drop-outs, as will any device relying on wireless comms.
Accuracy: It seems to read close to my Quarq Riken (spider PM). I’ve been training and racing consistently for 8 years and I know my numbers. No PM is 100% accurate but the numbers are pretty consistent with my Quarq.

Key tips for making your Stages work properly:

  1. Luck. Obviously some will come from the factory with defects. I’m lucky I guess.
  2. Be careful to ensure the battery o-ring is in place. It is fiddly and I suspect a lot of water ingress failures are due to carelessness in locating the O-ring. It is a poor design but works if you’re careful.
  3. Maybe don’t take it out regularly in the pouring rain, or ride through flooded sections of road. Common sense.
  4. Ensure when you locate the battery - the side of the battery abuts the terminal tab. It’s easy to squash the tab down with the +ve end of the battery - effectively shorting it out. This is also a poor design feature, but again - with care, you can avoid it.

If everyone followed those points, I’m certain there would be far less Stages warranty claims/complaints than there are. It is a cheaper PM though, so you get what you pay for.

I know probably a dozen riders running Stages units

Any PM can come out of the factory with defects and provide screwy numbers. People have a right to be frustrated when they strike out with a bad item, but the truth is it can happen with any brand of PM. We don’t have reliable figures to assess which brands are better or worse.

Yup… any product can have an occasional bad unit, but that wasn’t the claim.

Warranty replacement after warranty replacement. Spend a bit more money on a product that 1) isn’t a random number generator and 2) will last beyond the first rain storm you get caught riding in.

Is a far cry from a bad unit from the factory. I’m not at all a fan of stages and wouldn’t buy one personally but that was a pretty bold and extreme claim. Backing it up claiming they’ve already ridden a 9200 unit that came out two months ago despite swearing off stages 4+ years ago and putting thousands of hours and tens of thousands of miles on another unit did well to tell me that was a BS post though so not worth thinking much about.

Yes, I know heaps of people running around on Stages and I haven’t heard those complaints. They seem to be generally OK.

The 1st gen ones were junk though, as we all know. That’s what happens too - the word gets out. If the same thing happened to 2nd, 3rd gen. models we’d have heard about it by now.

  1. Fixed. It was a 9100. If you want my Strava, pics, chest x-ray, and vax status, lemme know.

It’s not BS. My experience w Stages was that it was trash.

On my SpeedConcept, Speedvagen, my Madone RSL, my Emonda SLR, and my SuperSix Evo Black Inc. So. Wow, another error on my part. It was actually a crappy stages experience across different units on 5 bikes, not just 4.

My spider-based PM has been on my Emonda SLR, Second Madone, Venge and SL7…. Moved from bike to bike over the last 4 years since January 2018.

Avg 1000 hours of riding, training, and racing per year for the last 4 years.

Wanna verify I’ve had those bikes— here’s my IG: @k_id

Wanna verify my hours & even the shit data behind those Stages years: here’s my Strava: “Kellen Hassell.”

Your experience and the riders you know have been fine w Stages? Great. I had a hell of time. You might not like my bold claims, but they are based on my actual experience — what this thread was asking for. For me? Stages was trash. The end.

I don’t know what gen I have, but it is the left side for a Sram Force 1x crank. I run it on a gravel bike and besides going through batteries like crazy it has worked fine. I have never compared it to my PM pedals, but numbers compared to my HR always look to be in the ball park, so never questioned it. I have had mine for about 3 years.

I bought a Stages Gen 3 left side crank arm for my Cannondale SuperSix last summer, U.K.

Initially great, got consistent power readings and accurate readings. Maybe three occasions over 2000 miles where power data dropped out for more than a few mins.

But then in December 2021, calibration/zero offset values deviated from the norm of 892-894 to about 940 and power numbers went way too high. Was a wet day but not especially so, I’m not a powerful or heavy rider, there was no water ingress that I could detect in the battery compartment, it just failed in terms of accuracy. These things are meant to be water resistant and I’d washed the bike plenty of times without any issue. Reset the power meter, power numbers went way too low and zero offset values had drifted too high. Noticed the temperature reading when calibrating was off and inconsistent from one minute to the next.

Got the unit exchanged under warranty and went for a ride last weekend. I’m not sure if I was given a refurbished one, but that failed on the first ride - calibration values were fine when starting off (888), then after I had a puncture and resumed, power data seemed too low, recalibrated mid ride and got a calibration value of 858. Checked again at the end of the ride - 815. Have since changed the battery, reset, calibration values still 815-820. Again noticed the temperature readings are off and change by a few degrees from one reading to the next.

So they’re good when they work but they clearly are not robust. Maybe it’s to do with the combination of crank arm type and the power meter unit but I expected way more.

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After starting this thread and placing an order, I ended up cancelling it and went with 4iiii. I would have stuck with Stages, but it was taking more than I would have liked for them to respond an email regarding sending in a crank for factory install and it was going to take at least two weeks for the actual install.

From what I’ve gleaned Stages and 4iiii are similar in performance insofar as left sided power meters go. A couple other factors came into play: (1) 4iiii offers a 3 year warranty versus 1 year with Stages, (2) I could get a new crank for close to the same price as a factory install from Stages and without waiting the two weeks.

The Stages factory install with the Winter Sale pricing came out to ~$228 before tax for R7000. A new 4iiii R7000 crank from Power Meter City is $299.99, but you can save 10% using a code from In The Know Cycling which is a great site in and of itself. (Electronics Archives - In The Know Cycling) 4iiii will buy your old R7000 crank for $30 so it ends up costing about $240. The value proposition will likely change as you move up from 105 to Ultegra and Dura Ace.

Thought I’d share this in the event anyone else is in the market.

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I have no experience with Stages specifically, but I’ll offer a general caution about left-only PMs.

If your left-only power meter works well and you’re using it on one bike, you are arguably fine. Most of us have some degree of asymmetry. Our power balance may vary depending on our power output, so that’s potentially an issue. But for use on one bike, again you’re probably fine.

Say you have a smart trainer (which measures total power), or you have a second bike with a dual-sided or total power meter. Then you potentially have a comparability issue for the reasons I outlined above. It may not be as simple as asking the Stages to report an offset, because again, our power balance may change with intensity.

Basically, I’d prefer dual sided if possible. There’s also the problems with drive-side Shimano cranks (at least on the 9100/8000/7000 generation, the prior generation may be OK per GPLama’s testing), that probably rules out the second 11s generation as a dual-sided PM platform entirely, and I would like to see the 12s generation tested in the lab first before I committed. I think the left side cranks were generally OK as PMs, so if you are committed to a left-only setup I think Shimano cranks are probably OK. Anyway, that’s my case to prefer dual sided or total power setups if possible.

I have those situations you speak of. Hasn’t been a problem. I run dual sided power meter pedals and used a smart trainer. Everything has been pretty close in RPE and HR. I also run typically 50/50 or around 48/52 split. Even if you take a 2% variation if I am at my FTP its only a few watts. Insert sad face.

Now I am currently having an issue with the Stages Bike and it is way off from my PM pedals, but that is a different story for a different time.

How far off from your kickr core? I’ve checked a stages against a kickr core and it was also stubstantially lower. Two Cores, a prior gen Kick, and a computrainer before that were all much closer together than the stages vs core.

I have had the same issue with stages (and also with eating batteries. The claimed 200 hours is an overstatement by 4x I’d guess.)

I forget which is which, but between a stages on my mtb and another on gravel, I’m on my 4th and 5th pm’s at this point. They are on my list of products I’d never buy again.

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If you want LH single side PM may I recommend Rotor? I have an inpower crank that is on only its second AA battery in over 3 years and it’s never skipped a beat despite being ignored and abused.
I may give it a new AA as a reward!

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Good question. I can’t remember exactly and can’t re-check at the moment for various reasons.

But it must have been more than 10 Watts, say between 10 and 20 for me to notice. Smaller differences I would have ignored.

Interesting thread as just researching PMs at the moment for my Gravel bike after understanding the need for PMs with training. Never really “trained” but after 3 months of my indoor trainer, now converted.

I was also looking at the Stages L, and 4ii products as a toe-dip into he market and both have options to upgrade to dual later if I want… both similarly priced as well.

Was looking at a used Stages L but think that would be too risky… based on the reviews as seems it does suffer from reliability issues (for those unlucky ones).