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Garmin Vector review

Garmin Vector power meter pedals review
7 May 2015

The first generation power meter pedals set the bar high for what Garmin could achieve.

Cyclist Rating: 

Measuring power as close as possible to its source makes sense, and by measuring at the pedal, Garmin has negated any system losses due to mechanical inefficiency in the drivetrain (although these are likely to be around a fairly negligible 3% in a high-end road bike). 

The Vectors sport a bulbous ANT+ transmitter that sits alongside the crank, but that’s not where power is measured; that happens in the pedal spindle itself. Strain gauges in the axle detect deflection and thus the force being applied through the pedal stroke. Your power in watts is derived from that using basic maths (power equals force multiplied by velocity). There are two versions, either the one we tested here which measures power from both pedals individually (allowing you to see if your right and left leg are working equally) or the Vector S, which works out power from only one pedal, offering less data but at a significant reduction in cost.

Set-up is fairly easy: install the pedals with the pods in place using a 15mm pedal spanner (the electrical contacts in the spindle mean there’s no allen key option). Search for the device on a Garmin head unit and when it shows up, place one pedal at the bottom of the stroke and hit ‘Calibrate’ (which actually means zero on a Garmin – the power meter equivalent of taring a scale). You have to manually tell the Garmin how long your cranks are too before your first ride. From there, go for a quick spin, accelerating to 70-90rpm so that the device can work out where the pods are positioned, and that should be that.

On the road, data from the Vectors doesn’t seem quite so noisy as from some of the other devices here. The ability to see power balance from each pedal on-screen is interesting and with the Cycling Dynamics upgrade (free for Edge 1000 users), you can see exactly where in the pedal stroke you’re putting the power down. That kind of information has the potential to be really useful, but it’s costly, requiring the top end GPS unit, making for a total price nudging £1,700.

We were impressed with the Vectors. The Look Kéo-compatible pedals work well in their own right, and the data produced is consistent and useful. The ability to swap them between bikes relatively easily is the icing on the cake.



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