Collaborations usually mean great things when a couple of the industry's top component manufacturers get involved, and the new PowerTap G3/HED Belgium Plus Rear Wheel is definitely no exception. The joining of forces between HED and CycleOps was designed to develop the most advanced power training rear wheel package available, and the result is, well, just about as good as it gets. Even better, we're personally hand-building each of these wheels here in Utah.
Beginning with the rim, HED chose to use its proven Belgium Plus model. This aluminum rim was built with a 25mm-wide profile, which perfectly mates with the wider-than-standard tires used in the Spring Classics races. Not only does this wide rim bed accommodate a large range of clincher tire sizes — making it exceptionally versatile — but it also provides a comfortable overall ride due to its ability to absorb more road surface irregularities than standard-width rims. This version of the Belgium rim relies on 32 spokes that have been arranged in a three-cross lacing pattern. This adds to the wheel's compliant ride, as well as increasing its durability. The spokes chosen for the build are DT Swiss' proven Competition double-butted Silver model, which were finished off with alloy nipples.
Moving to the hub, CycleOps' latest G3 Wireless Hub was employed for the build. Where the earlier generation of PowerTap hubs stood out with their larger-than-normal diameter, this one has a powermeter disguised inside a traditional-looking 57mm flange diameter and subtle Matte Black finish. It's also significantly lighter. In other words, it looks and feels like a regular hub. For reference, Chris King hubs have a flange diameter of 53mm, so the G3 is just a bit larger. And for even further reference, hubs of Shimano Ultegra quality are around 350g, so the 325g G3 Hub is lighter than all but the most ultralight rear hubs on the market.
Knowing the value in weight reduction and stealth measuring, CycleOps looked at how to improve its powermeter without any compromise in quality. The G3 design still has a "torque tube" with eight strain gauges, yielding measurements accurate within +/- 1.5%, but CycleOps didn't stop there. Rather than keep the electronics permanently affixed to the hub shell, CycleOps decided to build the electronics into the end cap. This is a big change, and a welcome one. By having a removable electronic element, it means that if there's a wheel-based problem with power readings, you're able to get a spare cap and install it. So, you're able to keep on training, rather than sending your wheel back to CycleOps. Another improvement that comes with this change is that a single CR2032 watch battery powers the transmitter. These batteries are easier to source and to replace then the two 357 batteries that were found in the older hubs. Additionally, the 2032 batteries should last for approximately 300 hours of riding.
The G3 is equipped with an ANT+ transmitter. This means that the hub sends out a signal that's understood and translated into power, speed, torque, and virtual cadence numbers by any computer head unit that reads ANT+ signals.
The CycleOps PowerTap G3/DT Swiss RR440 Rear Wheel is available in the color Black and with either a Shimano/SRAM 10/11- or Campagnolo 11-speed freehub body.