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I reviewed Garmin’s Vector 2 pedals on road.cc back 2015, plus they did perfectly indeed indeed. I am running those Vector 2 pedals for the year or two since that review. I’ve swapped the initial Garmin bodies out for Shimano Ultegra kinds (there is a kit for that), and I’ve swapped them between bikes a variety of times – that’s among the key benefits associated with pedal-based power measurement. Get Best black Friday Deals and sales for your convenience.
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Parting with the pod
The Vector 2 system’s weak spot was the transmitter pod, which connected to the pedal and handled transmitting the data. It had been an extra thing to eliminate and swap, and the bond was a lttle bit fiddly, but almost all of all these were a little susceptible to failure: I’ve had to get at least two new ones, at £60 a pop.
So the primary little bit of very good news is that the Vector 3 can be an totally new design, and it can away with the pod completely. All of the electronics are contained within the brand new pedal body. Everything has been redesigned: the electronics are new, of course, but so may be the pedal body, and the axle, and the bearings. There’s really nothing left of the Vector 2.
The new body is a lot smoother compared to the rather angular Exustar body from the Vector 2, and I’d say these Vectors look the possib normal pedals of any power pedals. Really the only giveaway may be the end of the spindle: a black cover hides the LED status light that used to be on the pod. It blinks, as before, to inform you what’s happening with the machine. Putting the LED there means no fitting the Vector 3s with an Allen key, it’s a typical 15mm pedal spanner job like before. You do not desire a torque wrench, it’s simply a case to do them up nice and tight just like a normal pedal.
The brand new pedal body is again designed around a Look Kéo cleat and Garmin has upgraded the inner bearings to needle rollers from bronze bushings. They do feel very nicely come up with and the improvement in construction means the rider weight limit rises to 105kg, despite the fact that they’re a bit lighter overall.
The prior Vectors ran from a 2032 coin cell battery in the pod and that gave them a claimed run-time of 150 hours. If, like me, you get your button cells eight for a quid in Ikea you then won’t have troubled that sort of service interval, however the batteries were easy enough to improve and readily available. There is no room in the sleek new pedal for a battery that big so instead they use tiny LR44 button cells, two in each side. They don’t really give quite as much run-time, a claimed 120 hours, but they’re simple to swap, residing behind a finish cap that one could undo with a 4mm Allen key. LR44 batteries are easy enough to obtain on the cheap aswell.
Changing the batteries is a slightly fraught operation: there’s a delicate silicone O-ring you have to be somewhat careful of, and the thread is okay so you have to be sure to don’t cross it if you are screwing back in. With that said, I’ve successfully changed the batteries from the street, and there’s several spare O-rings in the box in the event that you do have the ability to destroy one.
Dual band distinction
These pedals transmit on ANT+, so you can pair them up together with your Garmin/Wahoo/[insert your GPS manufacturer here] head unit and get your entire data. The pedals offer you a power and cadence reading, of course, but there’s far more than that available. They’ll also offer you a left-right balance, they’ll let you know whereabouts on the pedal you’re standing, they’ll demonstrate where you’re putting power down in the pedal stroke, and they’re going to tell you just how much time you spent seated and standing. All that details is on Garmin’s Connect web portal, though not absolutely all of it creates it to third-party platforms such as for example Strava.
New for the Vector 3 is Bluetooth Smart connectivity. You do not get all of the metrics that you will get with ANT+, as the Bluetooth protocols don’t support a few of it. But it’s simple to get power and cadence on Bluetooth devices, and that might be really useful in a few scenarios.
If you are using your phone to log your rides then you can certainly accumulate power data too, and if you are training indoors it might make your setup a whole lot simpler. If you are using Zwift or Trainerroad on an iPad, for instance, this means you can feed the energy straight into the app. Bluetooth connectivity does mean you can update the firmware on the pedals through your smartphone, instead of needing to use Garmin’s dreadful desktop software and an ANT+ USB stick. So that’s good.
Capacity to the people
Power-wise, we’ve found the prior two versions of the Vector to be on the amount of money, and we weren’t expecting any surprises with the Vector 3s. Some tips about what we found…
Power test 1: PowerTap G3 hub:
Our trustworthy PowerTap G3 hub is a unit we use for a number of power meter comparisons. That is a 10-minute section from the center of a loop around Berkshire. You can view that apart from a number of anomalies the energy traces are incredibly close. Indeed, over the entire ride there is only a 2W difference between your two averages – 217W for the pedals and 215W for the hub – and you may expect the hub reading to be slightly lower because of losses in the transmission. The pickup of the pedals is apparently a lttle bit quicker overall too.
Power test 2: Kickr V2, smart mode:
Benchmarked against the Kickr V2, recently calibrated, the pedals provide a virtually identical output to the trainer. This graph is from an hour’s group ride on Zwift, with some sprints and a mini-race towards the end. The response is quite similar, with the pedals reading slightly lower (about 1%) compared to the Kickr overall. On sprint efforts up to at least one 1,000W there’s hardly any difference between your peak readings, and there’s hardly any discrepancy between your graph shapes through the entire ride.
Power test 3: Kickr V2, Erg mode:
This trace is from a road.cc group workout on Zwift, using the trainer in Erg mode (resistance adjusts to check out the intervals). It shows quite nicely that the energy response of the Kickr in Erg mode isn’t quite as stable as the line it creates might suggest, with the pedals showing the peaks that may occur as the energy ramps up, and the troughs as your time and effort decreases. Here the pedals measured constantly over by around 3.5%, and therefore you could possibly be working somewhat harder than you imagine on those indoor workouts…
Garmin Connect: plenty of data for the nerdy
If you want the entire gamut of pedal data then your spot to consider it is Garmin Connect, which does an excellent job of collating it. Here is a whole couple of data from a 105km Bath CC chaingang ride.
Power first: you can view that it is pretty choppy. That’s because that is a major group ride (sets of at least eight and sometimes more) so when you’re sitting in you can coast a lot. You can see the key climb in the centre where it’s more of a regular effort, and I’m needing to put out more frequent power nearer the finish because it’s just me and Charlie heading home together.
Connect enables you to dig deeper in to the power data too. Here you can view where I’m putting the energy down in the pedal stroke, where my feet are sitting on the pedals, what my left/right balance is, and just how much time I spend seated and standing. Garmin helpfully collates these details too:
So what may i study from this? My maximum 20-minute power was 275W and I could released 310W for 20 minutes if I’m really choosing it, so that it was a hard-but-not-too-hard sort of a day, which is how it felt. I slightly favoured my left leg (that i usually do), and my power phase was somewhat longer on the left side too. My feet are slightly to the exterior of the pedals – 2mm on the left and 3mm on the proper – but I’ve got big feet and that appears to be about right for me personally. It generally does not feel natural easily move the cleats to pay.
Anyway, there are many information. You can get into the individual graphs and appearance at what goes on to your form as your fatigue increases, and you could take the headline stats and focus on, say, focusing on your right leg (in my own case) to attempt to balance your pedal stroke more. If you are into crunching the numbers and making minor adjustments to attempt to maximise your performance, there’s plenty to utilize.
Worth the money?
The RRP of £849.99 continues to be big money for a set of pedals. It’s worth considering, though, how much the cost of power measurement has drop. The initial Vectors were £1,349 a pair, therefore the third iteration has dropped a complete £500 from the first retail price. It had a need to as well, for the reason that landscape has changed: Garmin does not have the destination to itself any more.
Powertap’s P1 pedals undercut the Vector 2s at £999, nevertheless they look somewhat overpriced now in comparison to these and the Favero Assiomas, which are simply £735 for double-sided pedal measurement.
So if you are after pedals that do power, the Garmins aren’t the least expensive, but they’re in the ball park. And of the three systems they’re the kinds that contain been going the longest, plus the kinds that produce the most data, with an extremely usable portal to mine it. And, for me, they’re the very best looking, for the reason that they just appear to be pedals.
The Vector has really come old with this redesign. It certainly is been a high-quality system with repeatable and accurate power measurement, but just about everything about the brand new pedals can be an improve