Power at Your Pedals: Garmin’s Pedal-Based Vector Power Meter Finally Here!

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After a few false starts, Garmin’s pedal based Vector power meter appears to finally be ready for prime time. We’re told that as of this release, the Vector system is immediately available from local dealers and will be on display at Eurobike and Interbike. If you’re not familiar with Vector, the system uses spindle mounted sensors to detect any deflection in the pedal spindle and comparing this against a known force.

Learn more about Vector along with the retail pricing after the break!

From Garmin:

Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation, today announced the availability of its highly anticipated Vector – a high-precision pedal-based power meter – designed for cyclists, by cyclists. Vector is a lightweight direct measurement power meter, designed for quick installation, portability, and ease-of-use. Taking only minutes to install, Vector provides accurate and reliable power data and uniquely measures and presents right and left leg power balance to ANT+™ compatible head units. Vector is available immediately and will be prominently displayed at Eurobike, Interbike and the Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI.

“We are grateful for the understanding of cyclists who have followed Vector’s progress and allowed us to ensure that Vector exceeds industry standards,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. “We are thrilled to share Vector with the world and allow cyclists to see first hand the richness in data and capabilities that come from the combination of our location of measurement – the pedals – and Vector’s sensor design. From picking it up at your local bike shop and installing at home in minutes, to giving you accurate and reliable total and independent leg power measurements, Vector becomes one of the most desirable solutions in the cycling market.” Bartel continued.

Quick and easy: 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 initial set-up is made easy with an Edge® head unit. 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 composite pedals are LOOK Keo compatible, have a stainless steel wearplate, and its ANT+ wireless pedal pod transmitters fit most major cranksets. Vector has also been designed to be easy to update as software enhancements are made, thanks to its ANT+ wireless technology and the Vector Updater application. To see Vector in action, go to www.garmin.com/Vector.

Wizardry behind the watts: Vector delivers an objective, repeatable value for training and assessing performance – watts, the rate of energy produced by the cyclist. It is an invaluable tool in helping racers and enthusiasts understand strengths and weaknesses in order to train more effectively and get stronger and faster on the bike. Due to these benefits, professional cyclists were early adopters of power meters, and today nearly the entire pro peloton trains or races with power meters. Vector works by measuring the normal deflection in the pedal spindle as you pedal, throughout your entire pedal stroke. By comparing the measured deflection to a factory-calibrated deflection caused by a known load, Vector can determine how much force you’re applying to the pedal. With force measurements, the cadence measurements from Vector’s integrated accelerometers, and time, Vector accurately calculates watts. The force sensors are permanently and securely sealed within the pedal spindle, one of the most robust components on the bike.

Get an ‘Edge’ on the competition: For users already using a Garmin Edge 810/800, Edge 510/500 cycling computer or a Forerunner® 910XT, adding a Vector power meter will take their training to the next level. Not only will the Edge display total power, left and right leg power, and cadence, it will also display in real-time the widely adopted power metrics from TrainingPeaks™: Normalized Power (NP ™), Intensity Factor (IF ™) and Training Stress Score (TSS ™).

“Team Garmin-Sharp is excited about the availability of Vector and the potential it gives us to measure our training and performance,” said Robby Ketchell, Director of Sport Science, Garmin-Sharp Professional Cycling Team. “The data Vector supplies will give us more opportunities to analyze information and provide guidance to our riders.”

Complete the suite: For post-ride analysis, mapping, course and workout creating and detailed power metrics, Garmin Connect™ is a tool for every level of cyclist. With over 3 billion miles logged, users will never be stuck without a new route to explore. At Garmin Connect, cyclists can explore other users’ workouts and send them directly to compatible Garmin fitness products to follow. Having all of their cycling electronics and analysis from one brand means they can trust the equipment, the user experience and the support.

Vector is available immediately from independent bike dealers and will have a suggested retail price of $1,699.99. Vector is the latest solution from Garmin’s expanding fitness segment, which focuses on developing technologies and innovations to enhance users’ lives and promotes healthy and active lifestyles. Whether it’s running, cycling, or other athletic pursuits, Garmin fitness devices are becoming essential tools for athletes both amateur and elite. For more about features, pricing and availability, as well as information about Garmin’s other fitness products and services, go to www.garmin.com/intosports, www.garmin.blogs.com and http://twitter.com/garmin.

Comments

Hannes - 08/07/13 - 7:36am

Smart idea. Let’s wait a few years until it’s proven it’s mettle and maybe dropped the price a bit and I’m on. Definite improvement in simplicity over the old crank-based systems.

Psi Squared - 08/07/13 - 7:51am

The most important question is when will we see reviews and quantitative comparisons with other power meters? Also, are there any other power meter manufacturers using piezoelectric strain sensors?

Matt - 08/07/13 - 8:01am

These were a great idea back when the company producing them was Metrigear and they were promised to market at $1000 or LESS. I would have thought selling out to Garmin would have sped up the time to market and allowed them to hit the price point. Instead they have failed on both. Oh well, at least this Unicorn has finally revealed itself.

Bill P - 08/07/13 - 8:02am

This looks like a good, flexible option for integrating power to a bike. I have one concern though. Since pedals tend to get impacted in crashes, particularly ones involving slides, could the power functionality become damaged beyond being able to be recalibrated?

I recognize that in an exceptionally catastrophic crash, at some point the answer to this is yes. I’m more concerned with typical mishaps cyclists experience in racing, or training where, following a crash, you normally are able to brush yourself off, get back on your bike and finish the ride.

Ck - 08/07/13 - 8:30am

I was always hopeful this product would eventually hit market, because competition in the PM world is good for us. Unfortunately, I don’t feel it’s very price competitive. It’s a pretty narrow range of cases where another style of PM isn’t a better option when you consider the price difference.

Collin - 08/07/13 - 9:03am

I’m waiting for DCRainman to run a total of 4 powermeters on his bike. The big thing is, its pricing itself at the high side of the market, when the ordinal concept came out (pre garmin acquiring) a couple years ago, they were quoting significantly under a grand. Its going to be pretty hard to drag people away from a proven quarq or SRM which are in that ball park. With powertap dropping their prices significantly and budget systems like the Stages out there, they are going to find it difficult to find adapters.

Chris - 08/07/13 - 9:21am

@Collin. Ask and you shall receive dcrainmaker has four on one of the shots in his initial impressions review of the vector

MulletRacer - 08/07/13 - 9:52am

These are gonna get destroyed in wrecks. At least a hub or crank unit is somewhat protected.

Greg - 08/07/13 - 9:55am

Prelim review comparing accuracy across 4 devices.

http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2013/08/hands-on-garmin-vector.html

Bill P - 08/07/13 - 10:14am

Regarding damage due to crashing, there is some information commenting on this, along with parts and respective replacement costs here:

http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2013/08/hands-on-garmin-vector.html

Quickie - 08/07/13 - 11:03am

@MulletRacer – there are no wrecks in the parking lot pose off, and no other power meter can compete in that category.

Yoshi - 08/07/13 - 11:09am

It’s too bad you cannot select your pedal, most people who are into measureing watts have prefered pedals also. Better yet, if you could choose your pedal you could take this to the dirt.

Robo - 08/07/13 - 11:30am

It’s as protected as anything else in a crash. Racing is risky, deal with it. Garmin has said they aimed for a lower price point but they just weren’t able to do it. Sure it’s in the same ballpark as other meters but it’s also way easier to install and move to different bikes if you’d like. I think the ‘intimidation factor’ for the mass market drops way down when it’s just a simple pedal install.

Basically, I want some!

Timo Bok - 08/07/13 - 11:45am

Is that a huge increase in qfactor or am I just seeing things?

Dan - 08/07/13 - 11:52am

Version 2.0 and a $1400 price range and I am in.

Matthew - 08/07/13 - 11:54am

Remember back in 2009ish when Vector announced that they’d have power measuring spindles that’d work with many pedals (road and off-road) and the pricing would be disruptive to the crank-based and hub-based power measurement systems?

Those were the good old days!

Phill - 08/07/13 - 12:02pm

I picked up my Powertap mounted in a Zipp 404 for $999, easily moved from bike to bike. I can remember following this early on when they said they were shooting for a sub $1000 price point and that they would be based on Speedplay pedals initially. They missed the mark on two fronts for me. As with all technology I’m sure it will get cheaper but at that price I’ll stick with my 404. Oh, and tell me that this little “pod” isn’t super fragile. http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/photos/garmin-vector-power-meter-pedals-available-now/275662 You could snap that off hoping up on a curb, you’re not going to snap a Powertap or SRM hoping a curb.

Smelly Cat - 08/07/13 - 12:16pm

Garmin has terrible cust service for any of their products….why would I buy anything from them if a comparable alternative is available elsewhere? It’s too bad they have a monopoly on the GPS ANT+ head unit category….

Rob - 08/07/13 - 12:27pm

I still think this is going to have a lot of appeal to people who want to have a dedicated set of racing and training wheels, and don’t want to mess with swapping cranksets between bikes. Although, I was hoping they would through in a head unit at that price. For those of you interested, DCRainmaker has some initial impressions and data info here:

http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2013/08/hands-on-garmin-vector.html

Ed - 08/07/13 - 12:31pm

I was excited to see these… not excited about the price. Lets see V2.0 with a price under $1K. Even then it’s still too much for me but glad to see it coming to the market.

Kingsprinter - 08/07/13 - 1:15pm

No thanks. I’ll stick to my Rotor Power meter. This will take just as long to switch between by bikes anyway.

FourthAndVine - 08/07/13 - 1:33pm

It’s great this finally is seeing the light of day – I’d sort of relegated this to vapourware status. With regards to pricing, while I’d admit I’d love it if it were cheaper, compared to other meters that do L/R power I think (and correct me if I’m wrong) this is in the ballpark if not competitive even.

My understanding is that they’ve had prototypes for some time but have held off on releasing on account of concerns arising from durability, reliability, etc. so Garmin shares the concerns of other commenters here – they want a good product and have taken the time to get it right. I hope. I bought a Stages in February and after reading the initial reviews I knew I was in for a bumpy ride but Stages has as far as I’m concerned pulled through with firmware updates and yes, replacing the unit within 48hrs when the epoxy between the crank arm and plastic casing decided to let go.

How appropriate it is for companies to recruit early adopters as glorified beta testers aside is a larger conversation – I personally don’t mind too much so long as I know what I’m getting in to and the company stands behind their product, but I can understand how others may not be as amenable. Personally (again), I think I hold companies to different standards – Garmin has the resources (and now the time) to bring a bulletproof product to market in their first go so they damn well should, they have no excuse.

Jacob - 08/07/13 - 1:56pm

I will have to agree with other about the price point. Too expensive for something that is completely unproven and not enough benefits not to go with the competition. I like the thought of left and right measurements but not sure if that is enough for me to go out and buy this system. I also think that I will wait for v2 and a price reduction. For now, Stages power meter gets my cash as I am new to power meters and don’t want to spend a fortune yet.

John smith - 08/07/13 - 2:18pm

What on earth are they thinking ? Look at that thing, read the marketing arguments. This is ridiculous !

John - 08/07/13 - 2:26pm

Garmin does not have a good track record of customer service, reliability, or usability for their products–I mean, look at the Garmin 810 interface, it looks like Atari circa 1982. And did I mention that I’ve been through no less than 3 Garmin 700-800 series GPS units in the last 4 or 5 years? Not crash damaged–they just stopped working. I can’t think of any reason these pedals would be any better. Unlike the bike GPS market, where Garmin is just about the only choice, there are plenty of superior options to these pedals for tracking power.

rico - 08/07/13 - 4:12pm

I was waiting for these for a long while but I bought a red quarq instead. That was the longest and most annoying product tease ever.

rico - 08/07/13 - 4:13pm

Wizardry behind the Watts!

drider - 08/07/13 - 4:57pm

I bet all the haters have heavy investments in other powermeter solutions and are now all riled up about this. Main reason why I want this Vector is the sheer convenience of it. Installation takes a pedal wrench and a few minutes of time… same for switching to a different bike. What a pain in the ass the other power meters are in comparison. Now let’s hope this gradually starts killing off the other, long-in-the-tooth power meters and sets the tone for future competition.

protijy - 08/07/13 - 5:37pm

No CX or MTB options…. boooo!

rtcage - 08/07/13 - 6:00pm

Think everyone is wildly missing the point. Buying a set of pedals over building a wheel off a power hub or buying a $3,000 crankset is a no brainer for a lot of people. As with any power meter, accuracy and durability are critical so we’ll see how this stands the test of time.

Chris - 08/07/13 - 7:19pm

@rtcage

Exactly. I train on alu clinchers. Race on tubulars. On my road and track bike. Plus a disc wheel. That’s four power meter hubs and a wheel that I can’t put a power meter on. Or that’s two different crank based meters. Or a stages meter that doesn’t go on my Campy cranks.

On my cross bike I couldn’t give two flying F’s about power meters.

The Garmin is the cheapest and easiest in my situation. I’ve also only ever used look pedals in my whole racing career.

Ajax - 08/08/13 - 12:57am

BIG THUMBS DOWN TO GARMIN! Way to be greedy and overprice your overhyped product out there.

$1600?! One big hell no!

kg - 08/08/13 - 9:37am

I like the concept of pedal-based and the true independent leg readings. Heck, I don’t even mind the price. But what I worry about is the durability of the hardware hanging below the pedal. I’ve skipped Speedplay zeros twice while racing and I’ve got to think these will have far less clearance. I know not everyone races but having something hanging in such a vulnerable spot worries me.

gravity - 08/08/13 - 10:44am

We can disagree about whether or not it’s greedy for a company to charge a fair price for a first generation product, one that will need significant proceeds in order to recoup development expenses. I don’t happen to think it’s greedy.

What IS greedy though, is thinking that you deserve an expensive, complicated, advanced bicycle component, one unlike anything else on the market, for less money than it’s worth, for seemingly no reason at all.

Jacob - 08/08/13 - 12:04pm

Garmin originally talked about a sub $1000 price and its disappointing to see them miss that mark by more than 50%. It got peoples hopes up and they are rightly a bit disappointed. Add to that a design that is unproven and looks a bit delicate (only time will tell) and I really do think that Garmin has missed the mark.

MaLóL - 08/08/13 - 4:47pm

This is like a heart rate sensor in the 80′s, or a wireless ciclocomputer in the 70′s: it will be afordable just 20 years later.

I´m not in a hurry either…

Les Ryder - 08/12/13 - 9:48am

Too expensive period. $1000 would have been reasonable and worth considering. At $1600 not even worth thinking about.

AgRider - 08/12/13 - 2:16pm

Or you could just use the Powertap Powercal (http://www.powertap.com/collections/powercal/products/powercal); $99 for a decent, and easy to use tool…

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