You bought a power meter, now what?
- By Kate Hector
- May 20, 2022
HOW TO SETUP AND USE YOUR STAGES POWER METER
A power meter opens up a world of insight into your riding and training. Knowledge is certainly power and our aim with this post is to help you monitor the metrics that can be most useful in your daily training sessions.
In developing the Stages Power Meter we set out to build the easiest power meter to ride and live with, from installation to daily use. Despite the engineered simplicity of the Stages Power Meter, it is one of the most advanced data collection devices on the market today. To get the most out of your power meter, there are some key habits that should be formed when installing the meter and living with it. As part of this maintenance of your meter, we strongly recommend downloading our Stages Cycling App and using it to keep your Stages Power Meter in top working condition.
The next step in using your power meter is pairing it to a head unit. You have lots of choices when it comes to head units, we prefer the Stages Dash (obviously) but your power meter will connect to any ANT+ or Bluetooth enabled head unit.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Stages Power Meter Setup and User Guide
Pairing the Power Meter
Stages Dash Setup
Stages Dash Customization
Updating your Stages Power Meter firmware
Testing your FTP
Pairing Stages Power Meter with Garmin Head Units
Pairing Stages Power Meter with Wahoo Head Units
Pairing Stages Power Meter with Other Popular Head Units
STAGES POWER METER SETUP AND USER GUIDE
To get started with your power meter, follow the setup instructions in the user manual. Follow the steps for battery installation and crank arm installation. It is important to follow these steps carefully and in the correct order to ensure power meter compatibility with the frame and components. Do not install the pedals until compatibility of the power meter has been confirmed.
PAIRING THE POWER METER
You have lots of choices when it comes to head units, we prefer the Stages Dash M50 or Stages Dash L50 but your power meter will connect to any ANT+ or Bluetooth enabled head unit. We’ll go over using your Stages Power Meter with a Stages Dash in-depth, more info about pairing to other head units can be found at the bottom of this article. For any head unit, be sure to follow manufacturer's instructions.
STAGES DASH SETUP
Initial setup on the Stages Dash is quick and easy.
Included in your Stages Dash box is your new GPS cycling computer, an out front mount, a USB cord for charging and transferring files, and a tether. Before you get started, download the Stages Cycling App on your smart phone.
Power on the Dash, select a language, and scroll through the on screen instruction. Then open your Stages Cycling App, go to Device Manager and press the plus sign in the upper right hand corner, then select Dash computer and “Use QR Code to pair your M50 or L50”. Point your phone’s camera at the QR code on the Dash screen to pair. Once the device is paired, you can use the Stages Cycling App to change settings, get notifications and sync workouts and courses.
Continue through Dash setup on the head unit by entering user data such as gender, age and weight.
The Dash will ask if you have a power meter, select yes or no. Then enter FTP or Functional Threshold Power. Don’t worry if you don’t know your FTP, Dash can estimate it for you, and once you start riding with Dash you can also enable adaptive zones that will update your FTP automatically. Learn more about adaptive zones below.
Next, Dash will ask if you have a heart rate monitor, or if you ride structured workouts. All this info will help Dash configure custom screens.
Now that you’ve gone through the initial unboxing and setup, it is time to pair your power meter and other sensors. Scroll down to select Add Sensors, make sure your power meter is nearby and awake by spinning your crank a couple times. Search via ANT+ or bluetooth, select your power meter and press “Add to all profiles”. Add any other sensors you’ll be using, and now you are ready to ride!
Stages Dash does what no other GPS cycling computer can, it automatically configures screens and data fields based on your paired sensors before every ride. When your smart trainer is nearby and activated Dash will add a trainer control page. When you’re outside and GPS is connected Dash will add a map. If you select a workout and add it to your ride Dash will add a workout graph page. If those aren’t applicable for the next ride, Dash automatically removes those pages.
You just ride, Dash will show you everything you’re looking for and nothing you don’t need. No customization is required.
STAGES DASH CUSTOMIZATION
Dash is still the most customizable cycling computer available, allowing you to make changes through the Stages Cycling App or on the head unit mid-ride. However, Smart Profiles allow users to power on the Dash and start riding right away.
To customize pages or adjust fields, go to the Stages Cycling App, select the Dash under device manager, then select profile and page settings.
To get the most accurate data from your power meter, you should perform a zero reset regularly. You can do this in the Stages Power app and directly from the Stages Dash. To zero reset using your Dash, navigate to Main Menu > Manage Sensors then select the power meter you would like to reset, and select the “zero reset” option. This doesn’t need to be done before every ride, but once a month or whenever there are significant changes in temperature is a good idea. We also recommend you zero reset before an FTP test to make sure your test results are as accurate as possible.
The Stages Power Meter calibration value is the point in which your power meter interprets the crank to have zero weight on it. When you calibrate the power meter, it is important that the crankset is positioned vertically. The expected range of values is within +/- 50 from 890, so expect to see numbers in the high 800s or low 900s when calibrating properly.
PAIRING STAGES POWER METER WITH WAHOO HEAD UNITS
The Wahoo Elemnt and Elemnt Bolt can be paired on the unit or within the Elemnt app.
Pairing Elemnt/Elemnt Bolt on unit
Press power to access the menu > Sensors: Add Sensor > Hold next to sensor > Save. If multiple power sensors are displayed, confirm ANT+ ID matches the ID printed on the power meter sticker. To calibrate/zero reset, select the sensor and use the left most button Calib.
Pairing via Elemnt App
Go to Settings > Set Up Sensors > Select sensor from list and toggle on to save sensor. If multiple power sensors are displayed, confirm ANT+ ID matches the ID printed on the power meter sticker.
UPDATING STAGES POWER METER FIRMWARE
The Stages Power Meter houses some heavy-duty technology on its PC board. Much of this technology comes from the rapidly evolving mobile phone industry, and as we gather more R&D data and further exploit the capabilities of the components of the Stages Power Meter we find incremental ways to make it better. Some are simple bug fixes, and others add additional features and functionality.
The long and the short: it is absolutely worth taking the time to check and update the firmware of your Stages Power Meter once per month. If there is an upgrade, it’s like getting our latest and greatest product for free!
HOW TO UPDATE YOUR STAGES POWER METER FIRMWARE
Download the Stages Power mobile App > Make sure you have a WiFi connection or good 5G service > Turn on your phone or tablet’s Bluetooth radio > Open the Stages Power App > Rotate the Stages Power meter one full revolution to wake the meter > Connect to the Stages Power Meter with the App > At this point, the App will notify you if there is a new firmware package for you to download and install > Install new firmware > Close App and cycle Bluetooth radio > Open App and reconnect to your meter > Check out your new features!
TESTING YOUR FTP
Now that you have a power meter, you’ve zero reset it, you’ve checked your firmware and now you can use it to your advantage in training! To do that you need an idea of what your FTP is.
Test Your FTP
Dash comes pre-loaded with FTP tests to help you determine what your Functional Threshold Power is, which will then determine what your training zones are in your power wheel. To find the FTP test on your Dash go to Main Menu > Select a workout > Preset then select the FTP Test and add it to your ride. You can read more about FTP testing from Stages Power Education Specialist Benjamin Sharp
Not interested in crushing yourself in an FTP test right now? No worries! You can find out your FTP and get a ton of benefit out of your power meter even if you don’t want to do an FTP test by using a tool on Dash called Adaptive Zones or Automatic Zones. If you set up Adaptive Zones, you just ride and Dash will automatically calculate your FTP based on your performance in each ride. To enable Adaptive Zone go to Dash settings > User Settings > Power Zones > Method > Automatic. The Dash will evolve as you get stronger and tailor your workouts and zones appropriately. It’s the only computer out there that lets you just ride, don’t worry about knowing your zones or becoming your own coach. Dash will do that for you.
PAIRING STAGES POWER METER WITH GARMIN HEAD UNITS
Whether you're pairing your Stages Power Meter for the first time or switching head units, here is a quick start guide to getting your power meter set up with some of the most common cycling computers that are compatible with your Stages Power Meter. Find recommended settings and more information can be found here.
Device specific recommendations for Garmin can be found here:
Garmin Edge 500 and Forerunner 910XT
Garmin Edge 510, Edge 810, and Edge 800
PAIRING WITH OTHER POPULAR HEAD UNITS
Cateye Strada Smart (Bluetooth)
Powertap Joule GPS / Joule GPS+