The Bike List

Long term test: Power2max Rotor 3D Plus Power Meter €770

Tested by Nik Cook, tester for The Bike List

A few months ago I got my mitts on a Power2Max power meter and first impressions were extremely good. Fitting was extremely easy and early training sessions with power were a revelation.

With a hard summer of training and racing though, how has it fared and am I now a complete power convert?

The main reason I'd previously had for not using a power meter had been transferability from bike to bike. I'm not particularly mechanically gifted, a bit of a gorilla with an Allen key and swapping cranks back seemed to me like a recipe for disaster. However with the power meter installed on a Rotor 3D+ crankset, swapping it between my Boardman AiR Elite 9.8 road bike and my Condor Ultima TT bike was a breeze. Requiring just an 8 mm Allen key and a cassette lockring tool I got it down to about 2 minutes.

Its performance over 4 months of testing has been flawless, delivering rock solid consistent readings, synching instantly with both my Garmin 800 and 310XT and never once dropping signal. The accelerometer powered cadence sensor has also proved itself to be extremely reliable and consistently agreed with my Garmin sensor. I'm yet to run a battery down but before my main race of the year I put a new one in just in case and that was a simple and pain-free process.

Using a power meter has definitely taken my cycling to a new level and, once you've invested some time learning how to get the most out of it, it's probably one of the most significant training/equipment upgrades you could make. For pacing long rides it's brilliant and, on a trip to the French Alps, it was invaluable for climbing multiple HC and Cat 1 cols. The difference I felt in perceived effort at the bottom of a long climb between a sustainable sub-threshold pace and pushing into the red was barely noticeable but, with the hard numbers in front of me, I knew to back it off and climbed overall stronger and more consistently. If you're one of those riders who always tends to overcook it early on long rides and fade at the end of big climbs, a power meter will certainly do you more good than a set of fancy new wheels. For triathletes, especially long course, pacing on the bike is even more important. My main goal was defending my age-group title at the World Long Course Duathlon Championships at Powerman Zofingen in September and, with a 30 km hilly run following the 150 km bike, accurate pacing of bike to run workouts and on race day was essential. The power meter allowed me to do this wonderfully well and, in training and at Powerman UK, delivered me to the start of the run with legs in a far better state than when I'd previously paced with heart rate and feel. Data such as TSS (Training Stress Score) was a godsend for monitoring progess and preventing overtraining and, as I was trying to drop a couple of kg's, knowing 100% accurate energy expenditure was brilliant. Unfortunately at Zofingen, it didn't quite go to plan. I was having a great race, at 120 km into the bike was well up on last year's splits, feeling strong and then a cat ran out in front of me and I ended the day in hospital. Not wanting to waste my fitness though and with road rash mostly healed I tackled a local Peak District sportive and, again pacing the whole ride with the power meter, set the fastest finishing time.

So, why buy this power meter and not one of the others? Simply because it works and is significantly cheaper than similar systems on the market. The price for a sensor only is €740 plus P&P, with whole cranksets ranging from €890-€1390. This represents a significant saving compared to the crank based sensor competition SRM, Quarq and Rotor.

The elephant in the room is the Garmin Vector pedal system that, in the time since I first got the Power2Max and now, has finally come to market. In all honesty, the bike to bike versatility of a pedal based system is still tempting and would give me power measurement on my track bike but, reading a few reviews, swapping the pedals isn't quite as simple as it should be. Cost is an issue with the Vectors retailing at £1200+ and, although I am a Garmin fan, past experience of their first generation products has taught me it's always worth waiting for them to find and iron out niggles that inevitably arise. Finally, my crash in Zofingen trashed my left hand pedal and there's no denying it's a very vulnerable place on a bike for a very pricey and sensitive piece of kit.

With autumn here, I'm now using the power meter primarily to accurately inflict pain on myself on my turbo. I've been so impressed with the Power2Max unit that I've actually parted with my own cash and bought it, always the best recommendation. If you're serious about improving your cycling for 2014, I'd strongly recommend getting a power meter and I'd say a Power2Max one should be at the top of your shopping list.

Related Reviews:

First impressions: Garmin Vector Power Meter Pedals

First impressions: Power2max Rotor 3D Plus Power Meter

Summary: Rotor Power (including 3D+ crankset) power meter

Garmin Edge 810 GPS Cycle Computer - Performance Bundle

At a glance

Verdict Affordable, effective and reliable crank based power meter.

power2max says:


Start pedaling, and it works. This is how simple and realiable power measurement should be. We have done everything to make it that way:

  • Auto Zero: Every time you stop pedaling for 3 seconds or more your power2max "rezeros", making sure you always get precise data. No need to rezero manually
  • No cadence magnet needed: you don't need to install a cadence magnet on your bike. Your power2max calculates precisely using cadence using an accelerometer
  • Freedom to change chain rings: You can change chain rings at any time without having to worry about calibration. Whichever rings you use - your power2max will be accurate and precise
  • Battery change: when the time comes to change your power2max after 300 to 400 hours of use (6,000 to 12,000km) you can do it yourself in the comfort of your home. No need to send in the crank, no lost training time, and you save money, too.

Your new powermeter

Six man-years of development, 167 structural elements, ten of which are specific components, and more than 50 process steps... In principle, the performance measurement between the crank and the chainrings is nothing new. The use of strain gages is also state of the art. power2max applies this principle but additionally defines major characteristics on a complete new level.


Besides the opportunity of selecting between different crank makes, power2max offers a unique design with a high recognition value. Furthermore, you can choose among five different application colours to create your individual power2max.


power2max power meters deliver precise and reliable data under all conditions: whether it's hot or cold, wet or dry, you can rely on your power2max. Our power meters are waterproof, resisting even the strongest rain. The in-built temperature compensation mechanism ensures that your power2max stays accurate in changing weather.

Easy battery change

power2max uses a Swiss-made commercially available battery type: CR2450 by Renata. At the end of its service life after approximately 300 to 400 hours (6,000 to 12,000 km), you can easily change it. No dismantling, no dispatch, no downtime and favourable follow-up costs speak for power2max.


power2max power meters use the ANT+ standard to transmit data wirelessly to your bike computer. The ANT+ standard guarantees reliable transmission and offers a large number of bike computers to choose from.

Designed, engineered, and made in Germany

We manufacture our power meters in Germany. The advantage for you? Consistently high quality and a product that is reliable.

±2% Precision

Power2max power meters deliver state of the art data: our power meters achieve accuracy of ±2% or better including all environmental influences. We achieve this accuracy through our refined design and high quality manufacturing process.

Left-right balance

Your power2max power meter estimates the contribution of your left and right leg as your ride. This offers useful additional information for your training.

Note: Power right = downward pressure on the right plus upward pull on the left. Power left = downward pressure on the left and upward pull on the right

Starting at a price of €740

Some versions of power2max cost €740 (incl. 19% V.A.T, plus shipping expenses). If you already have specific compatible cranks and a bike computer, you will experience performance measurement by power2max at this price.

One name, plenty of variations

Square taper bottom brackets, Italian and BSA, BB30, BB86, PF30, BB90, Hollowtech II, MegaExo, GXP, external bearing shells, PressFit, pitch circles 110 and 130 mm, crank length 165 or 180 mm - power2max has a solution for many specific conditions. Even solutions for MTB triple and double are available.


This development of the Spanish manufacturer ROTOR is the result of increasing demands for BB30-compatible crank set and follows in your design to the highly successful 3D ROTOR. It is made from high-quality aluminium, CNC-milled only and has elaborate laser applications.

High stiffness combined with less weight (it is the lightest version in the ROTOR Family) is the outcome of the unique "Trinity Drilling System".

The ROTOR 3D Plus is compatible with BB30 bottom brackets (original BB30 or external bearing shells).

The ROTOR 3D Plus comes with a special tool for assembling of power2max.