Ergomo so far
I got my fancy Ergomo powermeter 10 days ago. Yay! And it works great … now, but it wasn't easy getting to this.
The hardest part of installling the hardware was finding somewhere to buy the tools to remove my otherwise nice Ultegra crankset. The included instructions for the Ergomo installation are simple and straightforward, and the special tool for the bottom bracket is included, you just need a 32 mm wrench. I also had to get a new crankset, and the Ergomo carbon crankset is the natural choice (it looks suspiciously like a rebadged Stella Azzurra Rapido square taper crankset). I got the compact 175 mm version with 34–50T chainrings. The 34T is great for mountains, but around Copenhagen I don't need it, and I'm thinking of getting a set of 38–50T chainrings instead, it would suit me better with the 12–25T cassette I'm running. The 50×12T highest gear is fine up to and including 60 km/h for me, and I almost never ride faster than that anyway.
To run the software for the Ergomo I use an Apple PowerBook and Windows XP in a Virtual PC with the recommended Keyspan USA-19HS USB→Serial adapter, which should work according to the Ergomo FAQ. It didn't.
To use the included ErgoRacer software you must get the activation code from CyclingPeaks Software. When I tried I just got a message that I already had an evaluation license. I did have an evaluation license, but it expired months ago, and now I requested a real license… I didn't want to bother any more with that, as I wanted to use the much better WKO+ anyway, it's basically an improved version of ErgoRacer. Buying, downloading and activating WKO+ went well, but I couldn't get it to communicate with the Ergomo.
After using a couple of days messing around with my setup I asked for support, and after a few emails back and forth, a lot of Googling, experimentation and reboots, it worked. It turns out that Virtual PC 7.0.2 doesn't work and I had to downgrade to 7.0.1. I installed the Mac drivers for the Keyspan USB→Serial adapter and then configured Virtual PC to associate the virtual COM1 port with the “KeySerial1” device. Then it still didn't work. After some more frustrations and a hint from the support guy, it turned out that the trick was to go to the Windows XP Device Manager and disable the driver for the COM1 port and reboot Windows, and then it worked! Almost.
I could get to the Ergomo device and see the settings and so on, but I couldn't download from it, at various points it would just hang. I remembered reading about that problem before on the wattage mailing list (highly recommended) but couldn't remember the solution. Eventually I found out that some Ergomo units had defective data in memory from the factory. Clearing the device memory, including the two rides I'd done at that time, fixed it. Loosing those data was annoying, but it was the only way to make it work.
I've now done a few rides with the Ergomo, and I really like it, it just works, and the post mortem ride analysis capabilities of WKO+ is simply amazing. Over the next week I'll be doing a lot of testing and get a precise number for my FTP and a power profile and then take it from there.
A powermeter is a fantastic tool, and it just keeps getting better as you accumulate more and more data from training and racing.