Review: Stages Shimano LR – a Power Meter that Measures on Both Sides

Patrick 17. January 2020

Some say, it is difficult to measure just one leg. Here my impressions of the double-sided Stages Shimano Ultegra LR power meter...

When it comes to the question of which power meter is best suited for one's own purposes, the one- or two-sided measurement of power values is an important aspect. After all, a double-sided power meter like the Stages Shimano Ultegra LR reveals imbalances in the pedal stroke of both legs mercilessly. Because I had only used the one-sided rotor InPower on my previous bike, the opportunity to test the Stage LR on my new BMC Road machine was a welcome opportunity for me: After all, I have been riding with power meters for over four years and appreciate the increased training efficiency. But I've never been concerned about the imbalance of my legs...

Powermeter both sides Stages Ultegra LR BMC Roadmachine

An unbalanced pedal stroke? Me?! Never...

Stages Ultegra LR Powermeter both sides measurement

With the Stages Ultegra LR I was able to check just that!

Easy to install

The change from the standard crank without a power meter to the Stages Ultegra LR power meter is super-simple and not at all complicated. Take off the crankarm on the non-drive side, pull out the crank with chainrings and axle on the drive side, push in the Stages/Shimano combination, bolt down the opposite crankarm, calibrate, done! Takes almost as long to do as it reads. Admittedly, I was quite happy about that because installing the Rotor InPower, like I had on my old bike, would have required me to change the bottom bracket. That's no big deal either, sure, but it's just easier this way.
The power meter is compatible with all 11-speed drivetrains by Shimano. Three crank lengths (170 mm, 172.5 mm and 175 mm) and three chainring combinations (34-50, 36-52 and 39-53) are available. The power supply of the measuring units is provided by standard button cells. Although they only last for around 100 hours, they can be replaced extremely quickly. And available almost everywhere on the road, for example at the petrol station or supermarket. 

Stages Ultegra LR Switch Battery Access

The power meter was easy to install and the battery is simple to get to.

Performance data - the road to success

As a head unit I first tested the Stages Dash, which is sold separately. I found it interesting that Stages has added free access to the cloud based coaching platform Stages Link, albeit limited to two months. However - and I have to attribute this to my personal preferences - I found the Dash to be okay, but I quickly switched back to my familiar Wahoo Bolt display. 
Independently of the display, I came to the conclusion very early on during the test phase that an imbalance in my pedal stroke does not seem to be an issue for me at the moment: In the power survey, a difference of a maximum of two percent between my two legs occurred. 51% left, 49% right. Speaking of numbers: At home on the Kickr Core - in the living room under laboratory conditions so to speak - I wanted to compare the absolute measured values... And while 200 watts were measured at the crank, the roller showed 198 watts. Congruence, almost. The manufacturer's specifications were definitely confirmed in terms of precision.

Wahoo Bolt Stages Dash

My favourite head unit: the Wahoo Bolt display.

My conclusion

After a test phase of more than two months with about 2000 km on asphalt and continued indoor use on the roll (on average three times a week; 60-90 minutes; of course on Zwift) I decided that I did not need the luxury of a double-sided power meter, given the even lateral distribution. But it is also clear: If the measurement result had been different, I would have done a lot to eliminate the unbalance. Why? I ride about 7000 km a year. This is not an exaggerated amount, but it is also not nothing. And every two years I take up a cycling challenge as a highlight in the form of a marathon. Therefore I appreciate the efficient training with a power meter very much. And to this efficiency I also count the targeted correction of an unbalanced pedal stroke. The Stages Shimano Ultegra LR allows you to adjust this very quickly - especially in view of the simple assembly. 

Stages Ultegra LR both sides Rotor InPower

New bike, new power(meter)