Garmin Vector S and Cycling Dynamics – First Look

Vector S

Almost any time a conversation about Garmin Vector comes up at the AG office someone makes a comment we have heard time and time again – “If they just sold a single pedal they could cut the price in half”. As luck would have it, Garmin appears to have come to the same conclusion. The new Garmin Vector S is a single-sensing pedal-based power meter that measures force via the left pedal.

Vector S.2

Vector S calculates power at various time intervals, measures cadence with its built-in accelerometer, and sends the data to other ANT+ enabled devices. Like the standard Vector system, Vector S measures the deflection in the pedal spindle. It then compares the measured deflection to a known state and determines the amount of force being applied.

Compared with the standard Vector system, the Vector S offers athletes a more cost-effective solution with its single-pedal system, although it does not allow for left\right measurement. The good news; however, is that Vector S users can choose to upgrade to the full Vector system later (adding the right pedal), which would then allow for left\right measurement.

Vector S.3

Vector S will be available in Q4 in Standard (cranks 12-15 mm thick, up to 44 mm wide) and Large (cranks 15-18 mm thick, up to 44 mm wide) for a suggested retail price of $899.99. The optional right-side upgrade pedal is available for $699.99.

Cycling Dynamics

For those who select the full Vector system, Garmin is introducing a new set of metrics specific to the left\right sensing Vector system. These new metrics include seated/standing position, Power Phase, and Platform Center Offset for a comprehensive picture of how a cyclist rides their bike.

 

Seated

Seated

By detecting the amount of force applied to pedals, Vector can determine whether a rider is seated or standing. This can translate to a real-time display of how long a rider is in each position and the difference in power outputs. Power Phase helps show a rider where they are producing power throughout their pedal stroke and where the greatest concentration of positive torque is located. The Platform Center Offset shows how force is distributed across the pedal platform, which can then be used to alter and enhance a rider’s fit.

Standing

Standing

Cycling Dynamics will be available in late 2014 as a software update for dual-sensing Vectors. Display compatibility has not yet determined.

First Thoughts

Cycling Dynamics provides some extremely interesting and useful statistics any rider should be able to take advantage of. We can see athletes, coaches, and fitters using these new tools for the single purpose of getting the most out of every watt. Vector S is a more interesting proposition since the $899 price point it is a bit higher than Stages, but still significantly lower that Rotor LT. We feel that it’s going to be easier for athletes to swap Vector S between bikes than some of the other power meters on the market, which may justify the price increase. And most importantly, Vector S also offers the upgrade possibility, which is something we suspect many riders keep in mind for the future. For those unsure of their power meter needs the Vector S may be exactly what they have been looking for. And the addition of Cycling Dynamics for the full Vector system certainly provides plenty of reasons to budget for an upgrade in the future.

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