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Garmin Announces Vector Power Meter Release Date & Availability Info, also Garmin Edge 200 release

Note: Please see in depth post on Vector “Everything you ever wanted to know about the Garmin Vector pedal based power meter” posted here (it’s a whole lot more detailed and in depth, and includes comprehensive Q&A with the Garmin Vector team). – Sept 16, 2011

Today Garmin announced that their Vector Power Meter will be available in March 2012 for a price of about $1,500 (actually, $1,499 – but don’t go spending that extra dollar all in one place).  Aside from answering the biggest questions around price and availability, they also unveiled the pedal type – which will be LOOK Keo compatible.

VectorOnCrank

The Vector power meter is competing with Polar to be the first one on the market with their respective power meters.  Polar had an initial availability date of Spring 2011, however that date has since slid to an unknown timeframe.  Both Polar and Garmin will be using the same LOOK Keo compatible pedal types – and in Polar’s case, their power meter is a joint venture between themselves and LOOK.

For Vector, the journey has been a long one as well.  Initially it started out as a project being worked on by Clark Foy’s team at Metrigear, then last summer Garmin prior to Interbike acquired Metrigear and rebranded their efforts as Garmin Vector.  At the time they hadn’t specified a date for release of Vector, instead deferring that for later announcement.  However, by October 2010 they started releasing information in analyst calls that it would be available in “H2 2011” – or the second half of 2011.  This new time table does put it a bit outside of that range, in Spring of 2012.

From a pricing standpoint, the $1,499 represents one that’s effectively competitive with the likes of Quarq and their Cinqo crank based system, while undercutting SRM’s power meters.  But it’s nearly double that of CycleOps and their hub based systems – especially with the latest round of price cuts ahead of their upcoming product refreshes.  And finally, when comparing it to Polar’s pedal based offering, it’s about $500-$700 less than they’ve previously noted – which was $2,000-$2,200. All except Polar are ANT+ based and compatible with any ANT+ head unit..

VectorCloseUp

Vector will deliver both combined (standard) power wattage numbers to any ANT+ power meter, for example a non Garmin unit, or older Garmin units that support power – like the FR310XT.  However, for the Garmin Edge lineup they’ll also deliver Left/Right power.  In fact, the Garmin Edge 800 will also be getting an update to bring it other power meter data fields it previously didn’t have.  The Edge 800 will be receiving a firmware update that enables a new interval mode, which allows you to track power across a series of intervals.

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Additionally, both the Edge 500 and Edge 800 will be getting Normalized Power (NP), Intensity Factor (IF) and Training Stress Score (TSS) data metrics/fields added.  For folks that train by power meters, these highly requested fields will be more than welcomed.

As I previously noted a few weeks ago, Garmin decided against having Team Garmin-Cervelo use Vector at the Tour de France this year, citing concerns around development secrecy.  Polar meanwhile did have a few riders at the Tour using their system and collecting data.  Going forward, it’ll be interesting to see when we start seeing riders from professional teams start using either system more visibly.  Garmin has confirmed that Team Garmin-Cervelo will not be using it during next week’s Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado.

[8/19/2011, Friday - Update on the firmware questions:

1) Yes, the FR310XT will get left/right power for Vector. The Edge 705 will not. But the Edge (like all ANT+ power meter compatible units) will still get total power from Vector. Note that other vendors can add L/R power, as it's part of the ANT+ spec, there's no Garmin Special Sauce there.

2) The Edge 705 will not get TSS/IF/NF fields, though the FR310XT may - they're getting some clarification there for me, hope to have that shortly.

3) The Edge 800 will get the new power fields in a firmware update by end of summer, and the Edge 500 shortly after that.

4) The TSS/IF/NP fields will work for any ANT+ power meter that's paired, and are not limited to just Vector.

5) During past conversations with Garmin regarding Vector, both pedals were required to work, as one is ultimately considered the Primary and one the Secondary, so splitting would not be functional.]

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Finally, Garmin also announced news of their new Garmin Edge 200 cycling computer, which aims to bring GPS to a lower budget market.  This new unit will remind many of the Edge 500 – but it’s designed to have a lower price point at $150, and doesn’t enable one to connect to any ANT+ sensors such as Heart Rate, Cadence or Power Meters. 

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You can now read that In Depth Review here.

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54 Comments

  1. Looks cool, but was hoping they’d be more in line with PowerTap in terms of pricing. $1,500 is a bit much :(

    Reply
  2. The FIT file format will need to change too v1.2 does not appear to support L/R data.

    Of course, ANT+ has supported L/R for a long time.

    Reply
  3. tms

    Yeah, disappointed with the price as well. It certainly looks competitive at that point, but with their initial sub-$1K estimate I was looking forward to seeing some downward pressure on the market as a whole. I guess we’ll just have to wait for the other entrants and hope they start dragging prices down.

    Reply
  4. Way too expensive! And really the wrong pedal. Hoped for speedplay, och SPD-SL.

    Shame! Now I definitely will not the Garmin Vector. Will likely go for a PowerTap och the Quarg.

    Reply
  5. david

    Curious if there is any reason to go with the Look Keo pedals only …

    Any ideas what are the chances that speedplay (or any others) will be catered for.

    Reply
  6. Man, I was really hoping for a 2011 release. $1,500 is a bit much. But I like the transferability aspect of a pedal, and the left/right power aspect.

    That said, I am going to go powertap. Its available now, and its cheaper.

    Side question – wonder how this might work with spin bikes at the gym (assuming they let me bring an allen wrench with me)

    Reply
  7. bummer on the pedal choice.

    Reply
  8. Ya, I’m not thrilled with that price either. Can pretty much buy 2 powertap hubs for that amount.

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    I agree, $1500 is way too high given PowerTap’s price point. For $1500 I could get a good enough wheelset with a PT hub and a head unit. Any why only Look pedals? I am certainly not going to abandon my Speedplay pedals on all my bikes. Forget it.

    Reply
  10. Price too high and pedal choice too restrictive. And I guess the thing hanging off the pedal is the transmitter? Looks goofy. I’ll stay with my PowerTap.

    Reply
  11. I’m excited about these. The pedal choice is great and the price is reasonable, especially for a power meter that’s not tied to a training wheel, can be moved between bikes, and gives L/R data. Was really hoping to train with them this winter though.

    Reply
  12. James

    Disappointed in the price. Like others it will just be cheaper to go PowerTap, though I find that to be a bit much also. Pedals are fine and I suspect they will add more options later. I am sure they will sell and put a dent in the market just won’t be what I think many were hoping for.

    Reply
  13. Sean

    Really appreciate the update!

    I’m really looking forward to the Garmin 800 firmware update for power training. I hope they learn about averaging/smoothing power data when doing intervals to make the interval mode useable.

    Concerned about dropping $1500 into a pedal I haven’t used before and might not like, and delay negates use during fall/winter training.

    Ability to easily move from bike-to-bike (like powertap) and use in training, races, and on trainer (like Quark/SRM) is really nice.

    For now I’ll keep using my one Powertap wheel and see what happens in the spring.

    Reply
  14. Fuji_Racer

    Hmmm…..I don’t really need (or want to shell out for) a Garmin 800 or 500 …… I have a Garmin 310 XT. Any chance they will get the “extra” data fields into this unit (i.e.- right / left power, etc…)?

    Reply
  15. Why the limited pedal choice

    Cheaper would have been nicer but that’s pretty much always the case and I can live with the suggested price.

    Like the L/R aspects.

    Not sure about the robustess of the transmitter thing hanging off the side but I guess they’ve tested this and it’ll do (or they’ll have to deal with lots of warranty work!).

    BUT, and it’s a really big BUT, what’s with the seriously limited pedal compatability?

    There are quite a few pedal systems out there and to pick just one seems crazy – at least pick a couple so those that don’t like the Look’s have something else they can go for (speedplay!).

    There’s no way I’m going to Keo’s just so I can get power through these.

    So, much as the L/R and ease of bike to bike transfers appeal it’s back to looking at powertap and quarq.

    Reply
  16. KB

    Lots of questions…
    - Really, no update for 310xt?
    - Weight?
    - Why LOOK Keo?
    - Transmitter in both sides of pedals?
    - Can you share/sell one of the pedals with a friends bike? ;)
    - Will Brimbrothers.com power meter be released at Interbike with a better price?

    Reply
  17. James

    That is a good question. Can the pedals be split up if you don’t have a need/want for L/R readings? $750 is a bit easier to swallow.

    Reply
  18. TheDonQuix

    Super disappointed with both the price and pedal type. I’m really surprised this seemed like it could have been an easy home run.

    Garmin sure seems determined to shoot themselves in the foot lately.

    Reply
  19. Lucas

    Seriously no ANT+ for the Edge 200?? Very disappointing, I was hopeful that this would be a budget friendly alternative to the 500.

    Reply
  20. Anonymous

    What about Garmin 705? Can you see L/R data with that device?

    Reply
  21. Tom

    I just hope Cycleops doesn’t back off their planned price drops with the Garmin price announcement.

    Reply
  22. Eli

    For the Edge 800 firmware, do you know if they wil add back functionality the 705 had the 800 doesn’t? Namely being able to send cources wirelessly to another unit. So useful on group rides when one person has the route and I want to get a copy. Seems like all the hardware to do that is already there (data chanel over ANT)

    For those who want ANT in the 200, cutting out the hardware seems like a big way they made it cheaper. What else would they take out?

    Reply
  23. On price: remember original price projections were Metrigear, not Garmin. Different people making the decisions, and just a guess that development costs were more than originally forecast. On the pedal choice I share the disappointment, but Speedplay is notoriously protective of their design to the point of intimidating small-scale after-market spindle and bow-tie makers. So I suspect Richard Bryne has more to say about pedal choice here than anyone else. For the Garmin-Powertap comparison: the big deal here is L/R power. If that’s worthless to you, I agree the Powertap is the better deal right now (assuming you trust them: my PT hub did poorly when I did a static torque test which on someone else’s hub yielded essentially ideal results, even after sending it back to Saris). If everyone was happy with their price, maybe from a business perspective that price would have been too low, especially in early days when production would be unable to meet huge demand.

    Reply
  24. The Big Question: is it going to be accurate and reliable?

    Reply
  25. Tom

    What a disappointment. They told you H2 2011 a couple of weeks ago, isn’t it. And 1500 €/$ is way more than I expected…

    Bummer, probably I go for the Quark-cranks….

    Reply
  26. I do pricing professionally and I can say two things:

    #1 this is the intro price as othes have said – it will come down and then you’ll think it’s a steal, right? (I’m not sure that’s going to work here)
    #2 I think that KB and James are on to something. If you can split the pair, and there’s nothing here that looks like you can’t, then the real price for a single stream would be half, as has been noted.

    For example, with my Timex Global Trainer I can’t use L/R power anyway. So that feature is of no benefit to me…(as far as I understand)

    Much more likely that the folks from Garmin found this out during research and balked at their earlier plans to come out cheaper.

    A really strange move from the pricing side – suggests that they don’t think they could meet demand at a lower level perhaps. Just read these comments and you see the pent up demand for such a product at a more reasonable price…with more pedal options of course.

    Reply
  27. I’m disappointed in the price as much as everyone else here, but let’s do a reality check first: there are only about 30 comments on this article. How much “pent up demand” for power meters is really out there? A lot of people already have them. Will they dump their PowerTap or other setup just to switch to this? Let’s be honest, it’s a niche market. Garmin had a chance to grow it with a low price, but there’s a lot of risk in cutting the margins razor thin with no guarantee on numbers.

    I think they’ll really benefit from a strong marketing push and an off-season price drop after an initial test of the market. But I don’t see them selling tons of units out of the gate, even with the L/R power. I think the company that stands to gain the most is CycleOps with their PowerTap. A lot of folks were on the sidelines waiting for the Vector (and I mean “a lot” in relative terms) and now many, if not most, will turn to the PowerTap as a lower-cost option.

    Reply
  28. Hi all – thanks for dropping by!

    Just to clarify a couple of questions here:

    1) Yes, the FR310XT will get left/right power for Vector. The Edge 705 will not. But the Edge (like all ANT+ power meter compatible units) will still get total power from Vector. Note that other vendors can add L/R power, as it’s part of the ANT+ spec, there’s no Garmin Special Sauce there.

    2) The Edge 705 will not get TSS/IF/NF fields, though the FR310XT may – they’re getting some clarification there, hope to have that shortly.

    3) The Edge 800 will get the new power fields in a firmware update by end of summer, and the Edge 500 shortly after that.

    4) The TSS/IF/NP fields will work for any ANT+ power meter that’s paired, and are not limited to just Vector.

    5) During past conversations with Garmin regarding Vector, both pedals were required to work, as one is ultimately considered the Primary and one the Secondary, so splitting would not be functional.

    Thanks for reading!

    Reply
  29. Anonymous

    Hey DC, Look and Polar are out there already selling “pre-release” keo power kits – search for ebay item 120759374382 (looks like the real deal to me)

    Reply
  30. Will the 705 calculate power as the sum of the two pedal measurements, or will it only read the primary pedal and double that? Also, any word out there on what will be required when the pedal body wears out?

    It’d be interesting to know how the spindle shapes and bearing locations on the spindles vary between Keos and the Exustars. If they’re the same, then switching to Keo bodies shouldn’t cause any big change in reading accuracy. Sure the amount of energy absorbed between the two different pedal bodies won’t be identical, but I would’t think the difference is very large at all.

    Reply
  31. Is the Edge 200 the anticipated new/refresh device anticipated for the fall or is there still hope that the 310XT will get a refresh/update?

    Reply
  32. Tony

    We’ll finally get on the 800 and 310XT the fields AVG 3″,30″ POWER ZONE? any compatibility with link to tacxbushido.com ?

    Reply
  33. Hi Anon-
    RE: Polar on eBay

    I’m reasonably certain that’s not an authorized sale (and the auction has ended anyway).

    Hi Forrest-
    RE: Edge 705

    Based on past conversations it’s the sum, and the two units talk to each other. But I’ll double-check on it.

    Hi Mark-
    RE: Edge 200

    It’s the new cycling devices, but a new Forerunner is still planned per my conversation a few weeks ago, see here:
    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Hi Tony-
    RE: 3s and 30′ Avg Power fields on FR310XT and 800

    Those fields are already there. The FR310XT got it a few months ago, and the Edge 800 since the begining.

    If you’re asking for Power Zone versions of those, then they haven’t announced anything there. Sorry!

    Thanks all!

    Reply
  34. According to an article on VeloNews, it’s not really a Look Keo pedal, but a Keo compatible pedal made by ExuStar.

    Reply
  35. Tony

    Yes, there’s a POWER ZONE but what would be useful is AVG 3″ and 30″ Power ZONE, looking fwd for a fw update at least for the 800

    Reply
  36. Thanks very much for the preview Ryan! That’s a long waited device: the most compact and portable power meter. Too bad it won’t be out until next year. It would have fit perfectly under a Christmas three :)

    Reply
  37. Thanks for the latest information and investigating. In the body of your report, you said the Polar/Keo system operates on ANT+, but that is contrary to what I’ve read – is this new infromation?

    I will likely run it along side my Cinqos (3 of them) for 2012-2013, and if comparable, change over to the Vector.

    How would you suggest collecting concurrent data from both units?

    -Steve Palladino

    Reply
  38. Hi Steve, above it’s “All except Polar are ANT+ based and compatible with any ANT+ head unit”

    As you noted, Polar uses their own proprietary system (W.I.N.D.) for their pedal based power meter. At some point in the future they’ve talked about BTLE, but not for the first generation.

    I’m actually talking to some folks on dual data collection as I have a few different reasons to do that. Most likely I’ll be using the Wahoo Adapter with a custom app written for it.

    Reply
  39. My bad – misread.

    A custom app? Nice. I have the Wahoo iPhone dongle….Please let us know how the app works for you when you start using it.
    -Steve Palladino

    Reply
  40. Rainmaker,
    Your update indicates that the firmware will be updated “by the end of the summer.” Does that mean summer 2011, or does that mean summer 2012? Seems like you mean summer 2012, a few months after the Vector is released, but we can hope.

    Reply
  41. Nope, this summer – 2011.

    Reply
  42. Anonymous

    it would be great if Garmin could also ensure that the Garmin Vector is fully compatible with its 705 unit. It would be disappointing if a firmware update does not address this key deficiency.

    Damo

    Reply
  43. Hi Damo-

    I did above in the notes section. Vector will work with the Edge 705 used combined power, but will not be updated for Left/Right power.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  44. Anonymous

    I have a Powertap, but it’s on an older Bianchi so the wheel can’t be transferred to any other bike. I have another road bike and a tri bike (with a variety of wheels), so having a pedal option (and avoid having multiple wheelsets built) is very tempting. I also do a fair amount of offroad riding, and would have liked an option that I could port between multiple bikes, including my mtn bike. Wonder if such a universal pedal option will ever be considered.

    Reply
  45. Bjørn

    Why is not possible update the Edge 705 to read left/right and to display TSS, NP and IF?
    Is it a technical problem or do the guys at Garmin just want to get us to buy a new Edge?

    Reply
  46. Anonymous

    Hi DC, another example of Keo Power kits finding their way out into bike dealers in Italy ( link to nuke.cicliorlandi.it ). Looks like retail packaging to me… Surely official release is not far off and these distributors have got their hands on some of the first production items. Might pay to start talking to Look USA and trying to get your hands on one to test..

    Reply
  47. If there’s a hardware reason that the 705 can’t handle left/right power data, not much can be done. However, if it’s a lack of willingness to update the firmware, it’s just a slap in the face to those of us who were willing to be early adopters and who bought the 705.

    Even more so with TSS and similar items – it can’t be a hardware limit and to refuse to provide a firmware update would just be wrong.

    I’m currently using a PowerTap hub and Garmin 705, but transferring between bikes would be cool. Even better, two pairs should work on a tandem. Crank or hub-based solutions can’t separate the power from the two riders.

    Reply
  48. Bjørn

    Yeah. I’m so disappointed about this. When I bought the 705, it was supposed to be a better product then the 500. Think I will buy the new Powertap PRO from Cycleops (800$).

    Reply
  49. Why no L/R fields for the edge705???

    Reply
  50. Hi Ray, Some people on my team are saying the $1500 price point INCLUDES the Edge 800… I have not found that written anywhere on the web or on Garmin’s site. Do you know anything about this?

    If true, this would (still) be a sweet deal…

    Reply
  51. Hi Bilal-

    No, that’s unfortunately not correct, that does not include the Edge 800.

    Reply
  52. Anonymous

    Hi DC, Why wait till next march for vector? Keo power started shipping to customers from end of August (if you were in the know). You can see some nice pics here: link to flickr.com

    Reply
  53. Indeed, there’s a Keo package coming to be shortly to review, probably will arrive this week.

    As for why waiting until Vector – it depends on what you want out of a power meter. Keo may indeed be great, but for some it’s out of their price range. Also, the lack of ANT+ compatability is a major stumbling block for many, especially those that want to do longer events beyond what Polar’s current lineup can support at 1s recording.

    To each their own.

    Reply
  54. Brilliant. Very impressed with Garmin’s customer service with my 310XT. Transferable between bikes etc, and i’ve just moved back from speedplays to look – speedplays really were rubbish after using them for 5 years. I was hoping to use them in Kona in October so disappointed with release date.

    Reply

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