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Garmin Vector arriving in March

Written by: Dan Empfield
Date: Thu Aug 18 2011

Garmin announced today the fruition of a project ardently anticipated by Slowtwitchers. The culmination of Garmin's acquisition, a year ago, of MetriGear has born fruit in the form of a pedal-based power meter called Garmin Vector.

The Vector was MetriGear's product prior to its sale to Garmin. Clark Foy, MetiGear's CEO, stayed with the project and has been its husbander since his company's acquisition by Garmin. (Pics and videos of the Vector are available on the Garmin blog.)

The Vector is a pedal-based power measuring system, similar in concept to the Keo Power Pedal joint project between Look Cycle and Polar Electro.
There are sensors inside the Garmin Vector pedal that measure power transferred to the pedal axle. The left pedal sends a signal to the right, which transmits all data to the head unit. Any Ant+ head unit, including Garmin's Edge 500 and 800, will pick up the signal and display power.

The system will sell for $1500, on par with Quarq's power measuring system. The Quarq company, and its crank-based power measuring system, was acquired by SRAM in May, 2011.

The Garmin Vector announcement—timed to coincide with the upcoming trade shows in Europe and Las Vegas—does not mean the product is ready to ship. Garmin's target date for in-store availability is March, 2012.
This creates a sprint to market for both Garmin and Polar. Each has a pedal-based power measuring system, both have been announced, but neither has shipped.

While Garmin has been stellar in its brand performance, the Vector is afield of its traditional niche. The Vector is less GPS, less microelectronic, and more bike component, than anything Garmin has yet made (though there certainly are electronics in the pedal).

Further, while you get an actual Look Keo pedal with Polar's system, you get a Keo-compatible pedal with the Vector. Garmin chose Exustar as its pedal vendor for this project and, while the Taiwanese cycling shoe and pedal maker has no marks against it, 68 percent of Slowtwitchers prefer either a Look or a Speedplay pedal on their bikes. Another 22 percent choose Shimano. Time Iclic rates 5 percent and all the others—Exustar included—total 6 percent.

Accordingly, Garmin has two sales to make: that of its power meter, and of its carbon fiber, Keo-compatible, Exustar-made pedal.
We have yet more questions. Does the term "factory calibrated" mean that no other calibration is necessary or available? And, what about the placement of one or two 1mm spacers to achieve a wider Q (for those who desire it)? Will this impact the accuracy of the unit? (Our technical gurus say no, that the strain elements—piezo devices—are calibrated against the deflection of the pedal spindle from the spindle flange out.)

For all that, a power meter system that is easily moved from bike to bike is of great interest to triathletes. Further, and speaking of polls, Garmin is by an obscene margin the leading GPS brand among Slowtwitchers, who not only overwhelmingly have a GPS on their bike, 7 out of 10 are sufficiently GPS-enamored to wear a GPS during their runs as well.

  

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Comments

Power to the people 4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by: Peter, Sep 27 2011 7:16PM

I currently use or have used both a powertap (wheel based) and SRM v7 crank based. I have bikes which will not fit the V7 SRM. Powertap restricts you to the wheel you are using for power and as a cyclist i have a number of wheels which would become VERY expensive if each was to have a SL+ hub in them. A disc, 90 mm, 66 mm and light hill wheels would all soon mount up. With the SRM crank based power I can use all my wheels, swap between my Madone and speed concept and still have power, whether training or racing. I can swap a crankset out in a couple of minutes. I have 1 PT training wheel which I leave on my training bike. I cant wait for the first pedal based system to come out, I have used the same type of pedals for 20 years! Power to the people I say! $1500 is way cheap I say, I speant that much on a SL+ hb build into a reynolds 66 mm rim.

Brin Bros cleat based system still the best design 2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by: JOS, Sep 12 2011 9:27AM

The Brim Bros guys are developing a cleat based system. Their first line will be a speedplay cleat. According to their blog they are in filed test and hope to get to market in 2012. I love the concept. Simply fit speedplay to your various bikes and , wham, once you step into the pedal, power is being measured. No switching of bits from one bike to the next.

Vector 3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by: p, Sep 1 2011 6:33AM

Nice intro from garmin (and polar), getting rid of the cadence sensor is a god send. However, I don't see enough specifics to be 100% convinced. More data about precision and reliability are a must, too much money and (although I am a Keo user) the compatible pedal is of uncertain quality/weight, AND there is no compatibility planned for the 705 which means dishing out another 600 bucks for the 800 to get the proper power and cadence data out. Not that the polar system is going to be that much better. I think I may hold out for ver. 2.0

Garmin Vector $1500? Complete Fail 1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by: John Ceko, Aug 19 2011 1:04PM

I wish I could find the quote from Garmin that said they wanted to make power measurement in cycling as ubiquitous as GPS is to running. What a farce. The expectation was a sub $1000 unit and they failed miserably. With PowerTap offering wireless units at $799, who would look at this?

Keo compatible and $1500 - no way 1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by: Mark, Aug 19 2011 6:21AM

I really was hoping for Speedplay and sub $1000. For $1500 I could get a good enough Powertap wheelset. Forget it. Disappointed in Garmin.

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