Power2Max Upgrades - Pedal Smoothness or L/R Balance?

Hey everyone,

I have a Power2Max NG Eco power meter and was interesting in purchasing one of the upgrades to the firmware to give me some added metrics.

Here are the options:

  1. Pedal Smoothness
  2. Left Right Balance

Power2Max Upgrades Page

To outline my experience, I have been a road cyclist for 3.5 years and racing for 3 so still pretty new. Cat 4 training 10-16 hours a week now. What would be the best upgrade for me?

Edit: My interest is this is for fit, gauging previous injury impact and general efficiency.

Thank you!

Unless you know exactly what you want to use the metric for, I’d save your money. AFAIK neither of those metrics have any common real-world use cases other than curiosity.


I have the same PM on one of my bikes. I got the L/R balance upgrade because I was going through a bike fitting process and wanted to see what my balance was because of some physical asymmetries we had noticed. I looked at the L/R balance data for a couple of weeks in Sept/Oct '19 and haven’t looked at it since. Once I saw the balance was in the ‘normal’ range there wasn’t much more reason to look at the data.

I personally see little value in pedal smoothness. The studies I’ve seen on pedal dynamics in high-level cyclists is that they push down much harder and un-weigh on the upstroke a little more than the average cyclist.


The NG Eco is fantastic piece of kit as it is, given its cost. I got mine since march 2019, never once thought about upgrading. Like @jwellford said, save your money, you will not really use either of these metrics :slight_smile: Buy a decent road suit / skin suit for example instead.

Good point, I was actually doing it to gauge my fit and previous injury impact too. My concern with the upgrade was exactly what you said. You look at it for a few weeks, then that’s about it.

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My interest was more related to fit, impact of previous injuries and my efficiency rather than purely focusing on speed or power increase. Nevertheless I do see you point.

Got a skinsuit already!


I think the L/R balance would be the only one that would possibly have a use, and by that I mean provide data that can provide actionable data.
Even then it is of limited value. Some cases where it could be useful are:

  • You have some reason to think you have a significant L/R balance issue. That said, I don’t know what ‘significant’ is, and from what I have heard this isn’t something that is useful to try to ‘fix’, other than in some specific cases usually related to a single leg injury.
  • You have left only power meters that you want to be able to compare data with. Even a totally normal L/R balance in the range of 52/48% can significantly skew a L only power meter - this will give you 4% error just due to the L/R balance, in addition to whatever fundamental error the PM adds.
  • If you have two power meters (ie pedals, or 2 independent crank arms) L/R balance is useful as it provides some level of consistency checking. If your L/R balance is 70/30, you likely have an issue with one of the meters. Likewise if you L/R balance is 50/50, and your trainer is off by 10%, this is good evidence that your PMs are correct, and your trainer is wrong.

I don’t think this is a feature worth paying money for, especially as you don’t get the 3rd benefit from a spider based PM.


Might be worth getting the L/R balance then or borrow a smart trainer that can do the same. I did not have access to a device that would make that kind of measurement aside from my NGeco.

During my fittings we noticed I have different leg extension on each side and wanted to see if there was a significant power imbalance and see if additional changes might be desirable. I thought I might be 55/45 L/R but ended up being 49/51 or 48/52 on most rides. For me it was worth the $50 to see the data for a couple of weeks and see that power delivery was close enough to 50/50 to not worry about additional fit changes. With Garmin Connect I was able to look at my power balance over an entire ride and also scroll through and spot check the power balance at various times in the ride to see if it changed depending on power output.

In my case, no injury, but I have a side-to-side pelvic tilt / asymmetry and leg length differences.

I have the NGEco on two bikes and I think they are excellent meters but remember that L/R balance on these spider based meters is not true L/R balance as it would be on dual pedal meters, it’s estimated from how the torque is applied through the circle. So maybe not as much use as you would hope.

Also note that the Power2Max power meters do not give “real” L/R balance readings. Here’s an excerpt from DC Rainmaker’s review of the NG Eco:

"So why don’t I care about left/right power balance (which the ECO lacks)? Well because in the case of how the Power2Max measures it, it’s not real. It’s actually not left/right balance, but rather whether you’re pulling up or not. You can easily trick this by simply single-leg pedaling, and you’ll note the unit totally misses that. Compare this to true left/right balance capable units like the Verve Infocrank, ROTOR 2INPower, PowerTap P1, Garmin Vector, Favero Assioma/Bepro, and so on – which actually measure the left and right sides.

As such, since it’s giving you useless power balance data – then it honestly doesn’t matter. Plus, I virtually never look at power balance data when doing ride analysis. The only place I think that’s valuable today is injury recovery, and in that case you really want to have legit left/right numbers."



I’ve got left and right power (Stages gen3), and look at it from time to time to see if pedal stroke is improving. But largely ignore it. It is nice to have L+R power when doing TR workouts with single leg drills.

Great Question!

I own the Power2Max NG Full Version

  1. Never use it
  2. Absolutely use it!

Knowing that one of my legs was working harder, I managed to correct this using TrainerRoad!

Sustained Intervals!

Corrected my imbalance and now my Power is Smooth… Pedal Smoothness?

Think its largely debunked at this point!

So that’s my answer and how I used it as that was the only Version available at the time!

Hope that helps!

I would put the money towards a decent bike fit instead.

I have the same PM and purchased the L/R balance because I thought I was going to work really hard to get that perfect 50/50 balance. After looking at the data for the first week, can’t say I’ve ever looked at it again FWIW.