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The Stage SC 1, 2 & 3 were introduced to us around five years ago, with the SC 3 sporting power and bluetooth connectivity courtesy of their world famous Stages power strain gauge, which measures the strain placed on the pedal crank arm, equating this to power applied through the pedal. The SC 1 & 2 will make an appearance on our other bike reviews but, for the subject in hand today, we concentrate on the top-of-the-range SC 3. On first appearance, it looks like it means business. With its race bike drop handlebars and aggressive stance, you would be correct in thinking this bike was developed with performance in mind. Stages is of course synonymous with its strain gauge power meters that can be found on numerous professional cyclists bikes, and it is the same strain gauge that Powers the SC 3. In a world where pedigree is everything, stages certainly has the upper hand.
Equipped with the ecoSCRN console, which displays all of the necessary data and averages, it also allows you to select the stage button to calculate performance in individual stages of a ride, making intervals now more challenging.
As you work out on your bike, the power you generate keeps the console display running. The flywheel hub is the host of the generator and the wired connections have been neatly tucked in the handlebar stem. The stage sprint-shift resistance system allows instant macro-level resistance changes, which means you don’t have to keep turning the dial. There is also a three-stage lever, complete with custom workload settings, that gives riders autonomous and instant control.
Riders who are into interval-based workouts and HIIT can increase or reduce resistance without having to sacrifice the custom micro-adjustments.
The adjustment of the bike incorporates the fit loc lever system on both seat and handlebars, making them fully customisable to meet your daily requirements.
I must say that technology lives in Stages SC3 - the reason being that you don’t need external energy to power up the bike’s console.
The stages strain gauge is really the star of the show, though with its Bluetooth and ANT+ compatibility, all of its data can be transmitted to numerous world-leading training platforms and its legendary calibration gives very exact data.
As with most top-of-the-range bikes, there are very few negatives to the SC 3, however one or two do spring to mind. Firstly is price. With a list price of $2,600 it isn't cheap and you do have the choice of the SC1 and SC2, which are cheaper but just not quite as good.
The riding position on the stages bike is also a more-advanced riding position and, for some less-confident riders, this could prove to be an issue.
Finally, the stages bike’s drivetrain is made up of a toothed carbon blue belt drive, which does make some noise and vibration through the pedals and seat when you ride. To some this is not an issue, but others may find this makes their ride a little less comfortable.
If you have the money to buy the stages SC 3, you will have bought one of the world's best indoor bikes, designed to do exactly what an indoor cycle training bike should do in the modern era.
If you are a cyclist or would-be Weekend Warrior, then this bike is a great alternative to your turbo trainer and road bike combination.
However, if your thing is all about the rhythm, the beat and the peloton style dance moves, then the extra expense you may find has gone to waste.