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L-R Power Balance

Old 12-20-20, 10:25 AM
  #1  
DaveLeeNC
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L-R Power Balance

I am not sure if I have a exercise physiology question or a power device calibration question - so I'll start here.

I have an old pair of Garmin Vector (version 1) pedals on a spinner bike that is my indoor bike. I also have one year old Garmin Vector pedals (version 3) pedals on my road bike. My knees are as old as I am (DOB 1949) which is unfortunate. My left knee x-rays like some kind of jumbled up mess of "how can you even walk" (per my orthopedic guy) but it is my relatively clean x-raying right knee that gives me the most problems (doctor could not even see a serious issue until we got to the MRI). I wear a big/expensive brace on my right knee and can mostly ride as I choose (some limits there).

My R-L pedal power balance on my road bike, as you might expect, favors my left knee where a balance of 46% right, 54% left would be typical. However on my spinner bike I pretty much never see that at all. 52% right and 48% left would be more typical. I have seen 50/50 but never anything favoring the left side.

The simplest explanation is that either the left or right pedal on the (older) spinner bike Vector pedals are out of calibration, meaning that the left is reading low or the right is reading high. There are certainly other combinations here, but that one seems the simplest and most 'natural'. The power profiles between indoor and outdoor riding for me are very different, but my sense is that my power is a bit higher indoors.

But I wonder. Would it be normal to favor one knee outdoors and the other indoors? Set up is similar but I cannot say the same. I almost never get out of the saddle on the spinner, but then I am not out of the saddle that much in our rolling terrain either (certainly some). I wondered if others had any experience here.

With some amount of work I could swap the pedals and do some experiments, but I thought that I would start with this question before I get out the pedal wrench.

And does anyone know if Garmin does calibration services. I think there is an outfit in the UK that does this, but not exactly practical from the US.

Thanks.

dave
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Old 12-21-20, 07:34 AM
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rubiksoval
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I think pedaling metrics are useless. I don't think knowing a percentage matters in the least, and I think worrying about it is a waste of time.

With all that said, I definitely think pedaling indoors and outdoors is just different enough for some people to be noticeable, and I've struggled to exactly qualify why. I almost always have left-knee and left ITBS tightness or "niggles" riding inside that I never have outside, even if it's just for 30-45 minutes. Could be shifting or not shifting weight, sitting further forward, or maybe even my trainer is just slightly off-level (I've even tried cardboard under a leg at times), but something is a bit off.
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Old 12-21-20, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
I think pedaling metrics are useless. I don't think knowing a percentage matters in the least, and I think worrying about it is a waste of time.

With all that said, I definitely think pedaling indoors and outdoors is just different enough for some people to be noticeable, and I've struggled to exactly qualify why. I almost always have left-knee and left ITBS tightness or "niggles" riding inside that I never have outside, even if it's just for 30-45 minutes. Could be shifting or not shifting weight, sitting further forward, or maybe even my trainer is just slightly off-level (I've even tried cardboard under a leg at times), but something is a bit off.
I agree. This is the first time that I have found them to be useful, but I don't think that diagnostics related to imbalanced osteoarthritis is what Garmin had in mind

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