On Monday, Fox’s new Step-Cast AX Adventure Cross fork and the Easton EA70 AX tubeless gravel wheels weren’t the only two brand-new components we had an opportunity to test. Hidden inside the bottom bracket shell of the Niner RLT bottom bracket, attached to the lightweight Easton carbon EC90SL crankset (reviewed last season here) was the new Easton CINCH Power Meter.
It didn’t make its presence known. Only discerning eyes would notice the different cap on the non-drive side crank. Underneath the cap sits a micro-USB charging port. ANT+ or Bluetooth scanners might detect its presence, but otherwise, it tags along for your ride unnoticed.
Spindle-based Power Meter Keeps Your Options Open
Easton Cycling just launched a brand new spindle-based power meter that resides inside your bike’s bottom bracket. The CINCH Power Meter is compatible with Easton road/cyclocross and gravel cranks in a 129mm width or with sister company Race Face’s mountain bike cranks (in 134mm width) that use the CINCH interface. The power meter is even swappable between CINCH equipped bikes.
Flexibility is the name of the game as this system allows for quick crank removal for switching direct mount spiders or chainrings. The internal location means the power meter is protected and gives both left and right readings. Easton promotes the CINCH Power Meter as “simple, light and reliable” and the system certain seems to fit the bill.
The CINCH Power Meter without cranks has an MSRP of $599.99. Paired with Easton’s EC90 SL cranks, the system will retail for $949.99.
CINCH Power Meter Features:
• Power Accuracy +/- 2%
• Cadence & pedal efficiency data
• Dual BLE / ANT+ radio for head unit compatibility
• Battery life over 400h & USB rechargeable
• Utilizing EC90 SL CINCH for 1x or 2x configurations
• CINCH Power Meter App for iPhone or Android
• Just 65g more than standard 129mm road spindle
• Easton & Race Face CINCH crank system compatible
• 134mm mountain spindle available
• Factory installed & calibrated
The CINCH Power Meter also gives you the flexibility to run different drivetrains. Whether you are racing or riding a 1x or 2x setup for road or cyclocross, the system will work. If you change from 170mm crank arms to 172.5, the system will work. Of course, if you are using a mountain bike bottom bracket, you will have to use the 134mm MTB spindle.
With easy access to the charging port (just remove the end cap), keeping your system ready is a breeze. The battery will hold 400+ hours of charge according to Easton and weight in at 65 grams more than the standard EC90 SL crankset. The CINCH Power Meter gives cadence readings and calculated pedal efficiency as well as left and right estimations, but the readings come from just the left arm. The system is clean, simple and efficient. There is also a CINCH app for your smart phone that provides battery level, installs firmware updates and calibrates your power meter on the fly.
CINCH Power Meter with Easton EC90 SL Cranks shown with the end caps on.
Shifting Rings – 2x Performance
Besides the all new CINCH Power Meter, Easton has announced the availability of its long-awaited 2x Shift Ring option for the EA90 SL crankset. Easton describes it as being, “refined with the help of rigorous lab and race testing with Silber Pro Cycling and combined with our industry leading EA90 SL cranks, we expand your ring options to cover TT, Road and Gravel.”
The company claims the rings offer the same stiffness or better as Shimano’s Dura-Ace rings, and even the four-arm 110mm BCD is compatible.
The CINCH shifting rings are designed to make changing between different gear configurations quick and easy, even when swapping between 2x and 1x configurations.
Easton explains that the Shifting Rings are “heavily machined for weight savings and stiffness, the Easton shift rings have excellent shifting performance thanks to extensive optimized shift ramps and pins.” The company offers spiders with a traditional 43.5mm chainline for road hub spacing, and a 47mm chainline optimized for 135/142 disc hub spacing.
CINCH Shifting Rings Features:
Finish: Matte black ano
Configurations: 53/39, 52/36, 50/34 removable spider
Weight: 590g 172.5mm 52/36 w/o BB
Chainline: 2x 43.5mm / 1x 47mm
Material: EA90 Aluminum
First Ride Impressions
We explored the mountains of Santa Cruz county on a mostly dirt, four-hour-long ride, with about three hours of moving time. Connected to a Lezyne head unit, the Easton Power meter kept recording, despite numerous stops for food, regrouping or photoshoots.
At the end of the ride, although our head unit was low on power, the CINCH Power Meter was just getting warmed up—battery level was fine—and our tester’s legs certainly didn’t strain the gauge much.
We can’t comment on accuracy—as we didn’t have another meter running to compare to—but we can say having cadence data is a bonus.
The fact that the entire unit is hidden in the bottom bracket shell, and that there’s no button cell battery to constantly change, seems great for cyclocrossers. More of the essentials are shielded from the elements which hopefully means your investment is protected.
We can also provide some reasons to consider a power meter in general, and this one in particular. Compared to heart-rate based calorie-burn estimations for the ride, the power meter estimated approximately 650 more calories burned than heart-rate data algorithms alone. Refueling properly is essential to proper recovery, and if you’re a data nerd, or trying to monitor calories burned (for weight loss or gain), that might be reason alone to dive into training with power.
The Cinch system also makes is easy to swap between bikes or season and still keep your power meter. Racing a hilly gravel race or road race and need a double chainring set? The swap is a cinch, pun intended. Pop off your single chainring you use for cyclocross, throw on the Shifting Rings spider with rings, and you’re out the door.
Have two bikes with the Easton EC90 SL crankset? Swapping the spindle between the bikes is relatively simple, and Easton includes the necessary tools. Own the crankset and want to upgrade? You can buy the spindle with power meter separately.
Easton certainly has put its attention towards the little details, including a two-meter long charging cable that won’t you rearranging your house just to charge your meter every 400 hours or so. It’s also worth noting there’s a flight mode for the unit that shuts off all broadcasting, saving battery and avoiding any flight hassles.
The downside? Easton’s power meter will not provide an ability to accurately measure the power output of each leg—it’s left-leg measurement only. For most of us, that’s a small compromise.
As for the shifting rings, two rides have left us impressed. Shifting performance is snappy and predictable, even under moderate load. We haven’t dropped a chain under normal riding, and certainly haven’t jammed one despite some very sloppy riding conditions. Time will tell as to their durability—stay tuned.
More Info on the CINCH Power Meter: www.eastoncycling.com
More Info on the CINCH Shifting Rings: www.eastoncycling.com
See our ever-growing stream of new cyclocross and gravel-oriented bikes, wheels, tires, components and cycling gear from 2017 Sea Otter here.