Garmin Vector Pedal Power Meter Moves from Vaporware to Hardware
Garmin’s purchase of Metrigear is finally bearing fruit and bringing something to market. Thanks to tipster Uri, we spotted some pretty official looking pics, info and video on Garmin’s blog showing the new Vector pedal-based power measurement system.
The Garmin Vector measures deflection at the pedal’s spindle to determine a rider’s power. The benefits of such as system are light weight (Garmin says it’s the lightest direct-measurement power meter system for cycling on the market) and easy portability from one bike to another. The other benefit for the hardcore among us is that it presents left and right leg power measurements separately to a compatible ANT+ computer, letting you see imbalances in real time.
UPDATED: more info about rider weights, pedal options, etc. added below.
Pictures, more info and additional videos after the break…
From Garmin’s blog:
For many cycling enthusiasts, purchasing a power meter is an intimidating and potentially complicated process, often involving mechanical tradeoffs for their bikes. Vector simplifies the decisions and the process. Cyclists can now walk into their local bike shop, walk out with a Vector power meter in hand, and install it themselves in minutes. There’s no need for a custom order process, no need for a mechanic, and no downtime while their bike is in the shop. With integrated cadence measurement, there are no external sensors to install, and all calibration is performed before the Vector power meter hits the store shelves. Vector’s easy-to-install design makes it easy to swap between bikes, and easy to take to out-of-town events when renting or borrowing a bike. Vector’s light weight and durable injected carbon fiber pedals are LOOK Keo compatible, and its ANT+ wireless pedal pod transmitters fit most majorcranksets. Vector has also been designed to be easy to update as software enhancements are made, thanks to its ANT+ wireless technology.
That last part about software updates and ANT+ means that updating the unit can be done wirelessly. Sweet.
From an aesthetic point of view, not only is the Vector probably the cleanest, most discreet direct power measurement device we’ve seen make it to market, but the integrated cadence sensor means one less antennae thing stuck to your bike. Picky riders can also keep their component and wheel selection quite personal.
As long as you like Look’s KEO pedals, there’s not much not to like. Just make sure you keep your inside pedal above the equator during a turn.
UPDATE #1: To clarify, these are Look-compatible pedals, not Looks. If you own KEO pedals, your cleats will work with these. The set will come with both the pedal and cleats from Garmin.
Another, perhaps unintended, benefit is that you can easily swap between riders to have you own fun little contests (
we’re checking to see if rider weight factors into the measurement – normally, you do set your body weight on the bike computer)
UPDATE #2: Garmin says rider weight won’t affect power measurement when pedaling, particularly when seated. If two riders of different weight were to stand on the pedals while stationary, it would register different measurements, but when seated and pedaling, it shouldn’t affect accuracy. When standing and mashing the pedals, well, Garmin says that’s one area where the data isn’t 100% clear. They admit that they’ll be collecting tons of data over the coming months and years and refining the algorithms, and that likely there are uses for the data that probably haven’t been discovered yet. Another factor is temperature, which can affect the spindle’s malleability and therefore movement. Garmin says there’s a button to calibrate the system and reset it based on current atmosphere, etc., that keeps it reading correctly.
Here are the other videos to round out the story:
Thought we’d leave you hangin’? Price is $1,499 for the pedals and transmitter and it’ll be available March 2012. Start saving.
UPDATE #3: Garmin says they constantly listen to customer feedback. If there’s demand for other pedal systems, they could develop them. Personally, we like idea mentioned in the comments here about simply offering compatible spindle options for popular pedals. And yes, Speedplay would be nice…