Stages battery covers are weak, can cause malfunction (UPDATED)
I’ve owned my Stages Cycling power meter for about 1.5 years now, and I absolutely love it! In my opinion, a power meter is the single best upgrade one can make if he or she wants to get faster on the bike (provided it’s utilized in training correctly, of course).
My Stages has performed flawlessly since the day I started using it. I simply swap out the battery every two months, and zero it out anytime I remove the cranks or before big/important rides.
There is one minor weakness in the Stages, however: it’s the plastic battery cover. There are three small plastic tabs, and they are pretty flimsy. If even one of those tabs breaks off, it can allow water and dirt to get in, and can also render the power meter inoperable (I believe this is because the battery is not making solid contact without all three tabs engaged).
Not long after bolting on my Stages, one of the tabs broke off. I contacted Stages, and they quickly sent me a couple more at no charge. Excellent customer service.
Yesterday I set off on my morning ride, with the plan to do some power-based interval training. Unfortunately I was not getting a reading from my power meter. I thought this was odd, as I’d zeroed the power meter the day before (after pulling the cranks), and had not touched it since.
I was in a rush to get my training done before a morning appointment, so didn’t have time to troubleshoot it. So I rode without power. I swear, I feel naked when I ride without power! It’s horrible. 😉
Anyway, last night I investigated and quickly saw the problem: one of the tabs had broken off the battery cover, and another one was about to break. I’m super careful when installing the battery cover, but I guess these little plastic tabs only have a limited lifespan no matter how careful you are. This cover lasted around 14 or 15 months. I’ll need to contact Stages and have them send me a couple more covers.
If you have a Stages and it stops working, this is one of the very first things you’ll want to check.
Speaking of batteries, I pick up 20 packs of Sony CR2032 batteries on Amazon for the super cheap price of around 8 bucks. The batteries are always fresh, and work great. I have lots of devices that use these batteries, so it’s nice to be able to purchase them so inexpensively.
UPDATE: Apparently Stages is using a new material for their battery cover now. I just heard back from them:
Thanks for reaching out to us and sorry to hear you have had an issue with your battery cover. I’ll go ahead and process an order to have a couple of replacement covers and O-rings out to you right away.
Toward the end of 2014 we updated the material that is used for the battery covers, which appears to have gotten rid of any issues with those small tabs breaking off. Since its inception we have had zero reports of damage in the field.”
That’s great news!