EB14: Garmin Vector Power Meter Pedals Go Single Sided, Not Quite Half the Cost

Garmin Vector S single sided pedal based bicycle power meter

With disruptors like Stages and upstarts like Watteam bringing power meter prices to more attainable levels, the bigger companies are reacting. Quarq dropped the chainrings to bring their crankset units in a little cheaper, and now Garmin’s simply cut the number of sensors in half.

The Vector S, which presumably stands for “single-sided”, drops the drive side power meter sensor and transmitter, leaving the left hand pedal to do all the work. The firmware is tweaked so the single pedal doubles the power output reading, then sends that number to your ANT+ compatible cycling computer. You lose the distinct left/right leg power measurements, but you save about $600.

It’s sold as a set, including the drive side pedal, Available for pre-order now for $899. That’s compared to the $1,499 for the dual sided system. An upgrade option will let you add the right hand power meter pedal in the future, too. Another pic and more details below…

Garmin Vector S single sided pedal based bicycle power meter

The pedal can be ordered with standard or thick pedal pods depending on which cranks you’re putting it on. The standard pedal pods fit crank arms 12–15mm thick and 44mm wide. The large pedal pods fit crank arms 15-18mm thick and 44mm wide. You’ll also get the cleats and an ANT+ USB stick in the box.

Full tech details on the Garmin Vector are here.



Rico - 08/30/14 - 7:03pm

Pretty cool to see this and stages changing the power meter game. Hopefully they get rid of that big silver knob down the line. I’m shocked how many good racers I know don’t have power, and I know they could really make gains with it. It just pushes you to improve so much harder when you can see the watts output for each interval, break away, segment, etc.

SamSkjord - 08/30/14 - 7:11pm

This is pretty awesome for people who are just starting wanting to train with power, can get started for Stages money then upgrade to L/R in future without having to sell your current meter.
There will be a change in power reading of about ±2% for most folk but that’s not exactly deal breaking, there would have been changing to another power meter anyway.

SamSkjord - 08/30/14 - 7:13pm

Although it is a little odd they went for the left pedal, given how crucial accurate torquing is for setup and the fact the most torque wrenches won’t click for the left pedal.

Adam - 08/30/14 - 7:18pm

Any standard torque wrench will click when you are doing righty-tighty to the allen key on the end of the pedal spindle, back side of the crank arm.

Psi Squared - 08/30/14 - 7:35pm

This seems a tough sell given the price of the entry level Stages unit and the lowest priced Power2Max unit, which gives you two-sided power measurement for $749.

Darwin - 08/30/14 - 10:32pm

Too bad they don’t make a a Speedplay version but given all the issues I’ve had with Garmin’s poor quality software and hardware they aren’t on the top of my list anyway.

Velociraptor - 08/30/14 - 10:55pm

Powertap G3’s have been on sale for under $500.

Rico - 08/31/14 - 12:50am

It’s a good point about the importance of a good/familiar pedal. Wild how much cheaper those power2max are. I bet their sales went way up.

Eric E. Strava - 08/31/14 - 1:26am

My mountain bike generates one burrito of power every four hours or so, give or take.

Aaron - 08/31/14 - 10:10am

Awesome… a $900 pedal.

SamSkjord - 08/31/14 - 12:00pm

@Adam Vectors don’t have an allen key fitting on the back of the spindle, that’s where the pods plug in http://www.dcrainmaker.com/images/2013/09/IMG_0457_thumb.jpg

alvis - 08/31/14 - 12:18pm

Garmin (and Rotor?) getting worried by not competing with the top entry level power estimators on price and the top serious pro training devices on performance? Could this be the first giant killing of the power meter wars?

SketchyD - 08/31/14 - 4:53pm

@Eric – You’re efficient! I generate at the rate of 1 burrito/2 beers every 3.5 hours!

B - 08/31/14 - 5:25pm

My Vector powermeter has been working excellent all season with no hiccups to speak of. I have a few friends with Stages and they’ve all had issues ranging from ‘hiccups’ to being returned multiple times.

I’d say it’s definitely a better move to go with a Vector S than a Stages based on my experience. My L/R power difference is as much as 54/46% either way [left or right heavy], but it’s most often 52/48% or less. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the fluctuation. It might bug me to wonder if I had a “light left” day were I using a Vector S or Stages, but for all practical training and racing purposes the single-sided systems are just fine.

Durianrider - 08/31/14 - 5:36pm

Stages – Good enough for Froome, good enough for me.

This looks like a good set up if you run campy and have a wheelset you don’t want to change though.

Choco - 08/31/14 - 6:00pm

Will the Pods still crack and crumble like biscuits when torquing them up, or have they changed the material/construction?

greg - 08/31/14 - 6:17pm

the only one i cracked during installation was when i let the pod spin into the crankarm and then torqued the spindle further. if you gently hold the pod from spinning, it will not break.

Kyle - 09/01/14 - 12:24am

If you’re breaking the pods during install you’re doing it wrong. They can withstand lots of swaps. During the winter I take them on and off of various bikes several times per week without issue.

It’s hard to beat this if you have multiple bikes (Stages’ flaw) and/or multiple wheelsets (PowerTap’s flaw). Yes you need a torque wrench but I’d rather spend the $50 on a Craftsman instead of several times that on a second/third/fourth/etc power meter.

alvis - 09/01/14 - 8:47am

@Durianrider you think Froome chose that on technical merit or the team took the free kit and the money and told him what he was getting?

Star - 09/01/14 - 10:57am

I see pictures of team sky bikes rocking SRM. Tell me more about power2max.

Choco - 09/01/14 - 6:32pm

Bought a digital torque wrench, didn’t even get to half the required torque before it snapped… and that was the 3rd f-ing pod broken! I’m done. Yes it had the required spacers. Don’t tell me i’m doing it wrong, I’ll tell you it’s a very poor & finicky product.

Psi Squared - 09/01/14 - 8:06pm

The pod material has changed from cast aluminum to forged aluminum. That should address Choco’s concerns.

Kyle - 09/01/14 - 9:21pm

You’re most likely doing something wrong. A vast majority of users haven’t had that problem sooooo…

B - 09/01/14 - 11:25pm

Choco – Use one hand to keep the pod from rotating while conducting the final torquing of the pedal. That’s it.

If the pod rotates into the crank arm, the beveled edge of the pod causes it to get pried outward from the arm, which will cause it to break. As you have experienced. Repeatedly. Upgrading the pods to forged aluminum is great, but you can’t fix stupid, and abusing a $1,500 piece of gear because you can’t be bothered to learn how to install it correctly? That’s the kind of person who will find a way to break anything.

Chipomarc - 11/18/14 - 3:54pm

What kind of goofball can damage three pods during install? This is why comment sections on the web are so full of crap.

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