The making of Stages
Each power meter starts off as a standard crank or crank arm. Once in the building, crank arms work their way through a multi-step process as they circle the facility.
Floor-to-ceiling shelves hold stock crank arms from Shimano, Campagnolo, Cannondale, FSA and others. Stages Logo Decals are applied carefully and precisely.
We design our own custom fixtures that can be adapted for different crank arm lengths as they go through the etching process
A laser etcher prepares aluminum crank arms by removing the paint or anodized coating off the crank arm, as it can interfere with the application and function of the strain gauge.
Carbon arms are delivered with the clear coat removed from the area where strain gauges will be applied.
Strain gauges are carefully glued and clamped onto each crank arm. Different types of strain gauges are applied for different cranks, and the bonding process is high precision, using highly sensitive adhesives and an app that monitors how much time passes between adhesive application and gauge placement.
Once attached and clamped, cranks with strain gauges are placed into an oven to cure.
Wires from the strain gauge are carefully soldered to the Gen 3 Stages circuit board. If the strain gauge is the heart of a power meter, this is the brain, which translates minute amounts of flex into a torque calculation and combines this with cadence info from the built-on accelerometer. Active Temperature Compensation calibrates the data to changing temperatures and ensures accuracy as conditions change even mid-ride. Data is then converted to usable numbers and transmitted via new high strength antennae via ANT+ or Bluetooth.
A custom adhesives machine is used to attach the rest of the meter to the crank arm using substances similar to what’s used in bulletproof glass which provides protection to the unit as well as sealing it from water.
Every Stages power meter is individually calibrated. Units are first tested with a Bluetooth app with no weight applied and then again with a 90kg weight. A static test for accuracy is also performed. Data is recorded for each unit produced, allowing Stages engineers to track units back to production and compare values if a unit malfunctions in the field.
Research and Development
In addition to power meter assembly, the Stages Cycling Boulder facility also houses a full R&D lab, machine shop and long-term testing equipment.
Here the Stages Teams’ works on new ideas for products on their indoor bikes and outdoor meters.
The last link in the chain is Customer Service. Stages Cycling employs a large staff of customer service representatives in Boulder Colorado, Portland, Oregon and at Stages distributors all over the world to assist riders with setup, operation and any warranty issues to ensure every Stages customer has a good experience with the product.