This product has been discontinued by the manufacturer. It's been replaced by the Garmin Rally Series, you may want to check out that review instead.
- Three Brief Post-Installation Notables
- What Vector shows
- Riding with it
- Accuracy Testing
- Calibration Details and Options
- Breakage and Replacements/Repairs
- Switching between bikes
- Firmware Updating
- The Future of Vector
- Power Meter Market Comparison
- Found This Post Useful?
- Discussion (919)
Garmin Vector In-Depth Review
I suspect in the sports technology world there was no product quite as long awaited as Vector. It’s taken years of attempted delivery dates to get to this past August, when they started shipping production units. Since being equipped with a set a little over a month ago, I’ve been riding all over the world putting a pounding on the set. At this juncture I finally feel like I have enough data and time with them to publish a full review.
Because I want to be transparent about my reviews – Garmin provided a production edition Garmin Vector set, with final production firmware. As always, in the new few weeks I’ll be sending them back to Garmin and then going out and getting my own (to be able to support y’all in the comments section down the road). Simple as that. Sorta like hiking in wilderness trails – leave only footprints. If you find my review useful, you can use any of the Amazon or Clever Training links from this page to help support future reviews.
Lastly, at the end of the day keep in mind I’m just like any other regular athlete out there. I write these reviews because I’m inherently a curious person with a technology background, and thus I try and be as complete as I can. But, if I’ve missed something or if you spot something that doesn’t quite jive – just let me know and I’ll be happy to get it all sorted out. Also, because the technology world constantly changes, I try and go back and update these reviews as new features and functionality are added – or if bugs are fixed.
So – with that intro, let’s get into things.
Now that you managed to actually get hold of a pair of Vector pedals, it’s time to crack open the box.
Inside you’ll find the set of pedals and pedal pods looking up at you. Additionally, there’s a pocket of goods in between them covered by a Thank You message. I suppose given how long everyone has waited for Vector, the Thank You note is a nice touch. Though, I would have just been happy with a snack size bag of gummy bears instead.
As I mentioned in between the pedals there’s a small pocket of goods. That pocket contains everything you see below on the top row. The pedals and pedal pods are sitting below them.
I’ll go ahead and quickly run through all the components. Obviously, starting with the least exciting. Thus, we’ll begin at the washers. These will go in between the pedal pods and your crank arms:
Then we’ve got the cleats. If you have your own cleats, that’s fine too.
Next is the mounting hardware for the cleats to attach to your shoes:
Then we’ve got the owners manual. Surprisingly useful actually.
Next we have the ANT+ USB stick. This is used for updating the Vector’s firmware (when new releases come out), as well as doing some configuration if you have an older head unit.
Now we’ve got the real meat of things – the pedals and pedal pods.
The pedal pods (the two little silver things) are the communications piece. They also contain the batteries (one CR2032 per pod). All communication runs between the pods and ultimately to your bike computer head unit, via ANT+. Note that the pods themselves aren’t left/right specific. They’re designed to be relatively easily replaceable as well.
You can see above the battery cover, as well as the little connector piece that snaps into the back of the pedal spindle.
Speaking of the pedal spindles, here’s the pedals:
The pedal body is a Look Keo compatible unit designed by Garmin. However, the pedal body and pedal cartridge are manufactured by Exustar, whereas all remaining components are made in-house by Garmin (or a component supplier).
Below you can see the end of the pedal spindle, which is really where the action happens. Within the pedal spindle is where the strain gauges are that measures your effort.
Which, brings me to another notable. The pedals themselves are paired to each other in the factory. This can’t be changed (in other words, you can’t mix half a pedal with a friend, or split pedals with a friend). The right pedal acts as the master (primary), and the left pedal acts as the secondary. Data is communicated from the left pedal to the right pedal via a private ANT channel, then broadcast via ANT+ by the right pedal to your head unit (using standard ANT+ power messages).
Every Vector set is individually dynamically calibrated (meaning with rotating weights by a computer) before shipment. In fact, everything is tested as a single system upon assembly in Taiwan.
The calibration values are recorded into the device at time of manufacture. Additionally, a multi-point temperature calibration is done at the factory as well prior to shipment. Since silicon strain gauges are known to have repeatable temperature drift properties, by doing a multi-point temperature calibration they can ensure temperature shifts don’t impact accuracy (the pedals have temperature gauges in them).
The pedal type is perhaps the single most controversial aspect of Vector. Initially in the Metrigear days pre-Garmin it started off life as a Speedplay pedal, but post-acquisition it changed to being a Look Keo compatible pedal. The reason for this is primarily business focused. They discussed the need to be able to effectively ‘own’ the process end to end from design to support – with them saying that “we wanted to own the spindle, and own the supply to the spindle.”
Which isn’t to say that other pedals aren’t being considered. Garmin Vector lead Clark Foy noted in a discussion that “Nothing technical prevents us from doing that [other pedal types], it’s a pure business decision.”
In fact, they commented that every pedal vendor has contacted them about offering a Vector-compatible unit. And no doubt in time they’ll be offering more pedal types. They believe that the next market for them will be mountain bike pedals, and then they’ve also expressed an interest in looking at spin bikes as well.
Finally, the official weights of the pedals are as follows (per pedal):
Pedal (including cartridge/spindle): 152g
Pedal Pod: 23g
Total per pedal: 175g
Total per set: 350g
I went ahead and tested that myself and found it pretty darn close (351g):
With that, let’s go ahead and get everything all installed.
Update April 15th, 2014: New wider Vector Pods announced
Today, Garmin announced new Vector pedal pods that now fit larger crank arms. The new pods fit crank arms up to 15-18mm thick, and up to 44mm in height. This is a change from previous, where the pods only fit crank arms up to 15mm thick and 38mm height. As a result, this extra length allotment will allow it to fit cranks previously not supported – like some of the S-Works, FSA, and ROTOR Flow arms that were previously not compatible.
Note that the crank length remains is unaffected, which previously supported 110mm-236.5mm. Additionally, the chain clearance remains unaffected, which is listed as 5mm, though, I’ve found you can get away with about 3.5-4mm in most situations.
Finally, there’s no other changes to the pods technically, and no reason for previous Vector units to upgrade. It’s just a form factor thing for wider crank arms. Availability is set as this spring. For folks who already own Vector and want to buy the new pods for bikes they already own, the set of the larger pods can be bought for $99.
Before we dive into installation, we need to have a brief chat about tools. Don’t worry, it won’t take long. In order to get the unit properly on to your bike you need a pedal wrench. That probably doesn’t come as a surprise. However, the trend I’m seeing with Vector installs is that people aren’t installing them tightly enough – and thus aren’t getting accurate results. As you’ll see here, I’m able to get really darn accurate results when properly tightened.
So, how do you know what “proper” is? Well, it’s 25 foot-pounds of torque. You can measure that with a torque wrench (Tool #1 of 2 you’ll need). There’s a few to choose from, but likely your local hardware store will have them (for those of you in the US, Sears is actually your best bet here).
Note, when looking at torque wrenches you need to ensure you’ve got one that’s applicable. I’ve got three, and while the ones on the left and center both work – the one at the right doesn’t go high enough.
Next, we’ll need what’s called a crowfoot adapter. It’s a tiny little thing that you attach to your torque wrench and turn the pedal:
The trick to this part though is that it needs to be skinny. I bought a small gaggle of these on Amazon to try them out, and only one (the one the Vector engineering team recommends) actually is slim enough to fit (the left one):
That one is the Blackhawk By Proto BCF-15M 15mm Drive Crowfoot Wrench, 3/8-Inch. The portion that touches the pedal must be thin enough to fit on the wrench flat of the pedal spindle, which is 1/4” or less (6.35mm).
Update: Here are other sources for this internationally that readers have found and posted via the comments:
Australia: 15mm from Autoparts Warehouse (not a perfect fit, but does the trick)
Australia/Canada/UK: 15mm from Snap-on Tools (perfect fit)
UK: 15mm Crow Foot Wrench – M386515- from Teng Tools (perfect fit)
Worldwide: Blackhawk by Proto BCF-15MM at Radford Brothers Industrial Supply (exact model recommended)
Ideally, Garmin would include the cheap crowfoot adapter. A torque wrench is a reasonable request – as every other power meter on the market except the PowerTap requires you to have one to install properly. It’s the adapter piece that’s a bit complex to find in some parts of the world (I couldn’t find a compatible one here in France for example in local hardware stores).
Ok, with those two parts purchased, let’s get on to installation. I personally prefer to install stuff on my bike while it’s on a trainer. It just holds it nice and secure, and makes life a lot easier. I’ve also divided up the parts based on which side they’re going.
Assuming you’ve already removed your old pedals, the first thing you’ll need to do is add washers. The washers are added to the outside of your crank arm to help ensure there’s no movement. In general you’ll need 1-2 washers.
It’s really important to note that the goal is NOT to have a perfectly flush installation. In fact, you want to have a bit of a gap between things. The Vector team has been really clear that a gap is far better than being flush. Flush is actually bad in this case.
Next, you’re going to grab your pedal, pedal pod, and that washer. Likely the washer wasn’t going to stay in place all magical-like just hanging there. So instead make a mini kabob out of the three, like below:
Then, go ahead and just screw in the pedal using your fingers till it’s up against the pod. Don’t worry yet about the pod, just let it flop around.
Now it’s time to position the pedal pod. The end-state goal is that the pedal pod will point straight-down when the crank-arm is horizontal. However, because you’ll be tightening it and thus pulling it back towards the rear of the bike, you’ll actually want to position it slightly forward, like thus:
Now, go ahead and tighten the pedal pod until it reaches 25 ft-lbs. Again, you’ll see me re-iterate this 2,348 times in this review – this is the single most important factor in getting accurate data.
With that done, go ahead and repeat the process for the other side of the bike:
Next, we’ll need to pop in the little plugs for the pedal pods. This takes approximately 1.8 seconds:
Now, you’re ready to get on your bike and get things configured. At this juncture you’ve got two choices. Technically you could go ahead and run through the setup and calibration pieces first. But the thing is that you really want to do a couple of quick 10 or so seconds hard sprints to ‘settle’ things before calibration. So I’d actually recommend you do that first. Just go and do about 3-4 hard efforts for just a few seconds to ensure everything gets tightened up. The reason I do that first is that if you calibrate then you’ll need to re-do all these steps after you do that to get the most accurate data.
So, go ride for 2 minutes and come back.
Next, we turn on our Garmin Edge. I’ll run through this with the Edge 810, but then at the end I’ll talk about how other head units work.
Within you’re bike computer, you’ll need to go into the bike settings and configure the crank length option. You can configure this separately for each bike you have in a different bike profile. This option is important because Vector uses that length to determine power. In my case, I have 175’s (though 172.5’s are most common). Note: If you don’t have a newer Garmin Edge unit, I’ll talk about how you set this at the end.
Next you’ll need to go into the bike settings and search for a power meter. Once that’s done, it’ll pop-up that the power sensor is found:
Immediately following that it’ll give you a notification that Vector needs to set the installation angles. This is basically your initial setup step:
After this it’ll have you briefly spin at between 80 and 90 RPM:
It only takes about 5-10 seconds to complete:
Next you’ll need to do a manual calibration.
To do this unclip from the pedals and put the crank arms horizontal (even with the ground). Then press the calibrate button:
About 8-10 seconds later it’ll come back that things are calculated. The number might initially show a torque value higher or lower than zero, but it should settle out to zero after a few seconds.
Next, we’ve got one final step – Dynamic Calibration. This step is designed to increase the accuracy from +/-2% to more accurate than that. The step is really focusing on the interconnect between your pedal and the cleat, and residual pressure there. Just sit on the bike and pedal for a few seconds, then go ahead and backwards pedal eight full rotations (Note: In a subsequent software update, backwards pedaling is now no longer required).
Upon doing that you’ll receive a little pop-up notification:
With that, you’re done. Go forth and ride!
Items of note for head unit compatibility:
Out of the box the Vector will transmit total power to any ANT+ compatible power meter that supports it. This means if you have an older Garmin Edge 705, it’ll display total power just fine.
What it won’t display is left/right power, or power balance. That requires a newer head unit. The following units support left/right balance:
Garmin Edge 500/510/800/810
Garmin Forerunner 910XT
CycleOps Joule GPS
In addition to displaying/recording left/right balance, there are other installation related fields that Garmin has added to a bunch of units. The goal of most of these updates is to ‘streamline’ the Vector experience a bit. Here’s the skinny on what’s been added over the past month:
Pedal Smoothness and Torque Effectiveness data fields: This adds these two data fields to the units being updated. These can be added to your data screens. Note that at present Vector does not transmit this information (yet). It’s planned, but a specific date hasn’t been identified. Only the Rotor power meter transmits this information today. [Update: As of March 2014, Garmin has added this functionality via a firmware update.]
Initial Installation, Wizard for setting Vector Installation Angles: This is the mini-wizard which tells you to spin-up to 80-90RPM and then validates completion. For non-updated units, this will all happen behind the scenes without the confirmation (see calibration section).
Dynamic Calibration Notification: This notification will occur upon backpedaling 8 times, resulting in the display rendering a confirmation message.
Power Meter connection calibration reminder: This is probably the best update of them all, and impacts any power meter. With this update, when the unit powers on and you’ve got a power meter paired, it’ll remind you to do a calibration at that point. Hopefully this will dramatically increase the accuracy of power meter data for the general population that doesn’t do this today.
Here’s the units getting firmware updates, and the schedule for doing so:
Garmin Edge 500: Now available
Garmin Edge 510: Now available
Garmin Edge 800: Now available
Garmin Edge 810: Now available
Garmin Forerunner 910XT: Latest is this should drop “in the next few days”.
Here’s the Vector-related updates with each firmware update:
Pedal Smoothness and Torque Effectiveness data fields: Edge 510/810
Initial Installation, Wizard for setting Vector Installation Angles: Edge 510/810
Dynamic Calibration Notification: Edge 500/510/800/810, Forerunner 910XT
Power Meter connection calibration reminder: For the Edge 500 and 910XT, a ‘shortcut’ option to access the power meter calibration is being added (the other units already have it).
Note that some of the updates are also seeing other features/bugs added or addressed. For example, the 810 update saw a number of non-Vector fixes added.
Now one important setting that you’ve got to have is the ability to set the crank length. The challenge is many other non-Garmin (or older Garmin units), don’t have this.
In the event you don’t have a head unit that can configure the crank length, you can instead use the ANT+ USB stick and your computer to set it up. You’ll follow the instructions in the software (I’ve outlined the first few steps, which are identical, later in this post in the firmware updating section). Ultimately, that’ll take you here though – which allows you to specify the crank length:
As noted in the box above, you don’t need to do this if your bike computer already has crank length as an option (such as the Edge 810). And in fact, if you do it here correctly, but then it’s set incorrectly there – then the bike computer will always override the Vector settings.
Three Brief Post-Installation Notables:
While the previous section took care of installation, I wanted to call out three specific things:
Quick Checklist: With your installation largely complete, here’s a quick checklist I’ve put together for ensuring you’ve taken care of everything (and the Vector team has validated this checklist):
1) Washer in place if need be, more is better than flush/less.
2) Pedals tightened to 25 foot-pounds (ft-lb). Too little or too much can result in inaccurate power. If you firmly tighten with a wrench, you will be fine. Just don’t under tighten (e.g. finger tighten) or put your full force into tightening the pedals.
3) Pedal connectors plugged into pedals.
4) Pair pedals within the bike profiles. Ensure that your crank length is correct (i.e. 172.5mm, 175mm, etc..). If on older Garmin, use computer instead to do this.
5) Turning on Garmin unit, if on 510/810, run through Installation Guide, requires cadence at 80-90RPM (in other words, must be on bike). If on other units, go for short few second ride.
6) Post-installation guide, go into calibration menu. With pedals at 3/9 position (horizontal) and with you UNCLIPPED do a manual calibration (just press the calibrate button).
7) Finally, once riding, within the first minute or so of your ride, pedal backwards a full 8 times. A confirmation message will display on your Garmin. (Updated note: In a subsequent software update, backwards pedaling is now no longer required)
Note that steps 6 & 7 should be done every ride. This last component (step 6 specifically) is no different than any other power meter on the market today. The only exception I can think of is the Stages, which recommends every few weeks.
Vector crank arm compatibility notes: Here’s the limitations which Vector is bound to from a crank arm perspective:
Crank limitations (width): 15mm in width and 38mm in height. Certain models of S-Works, FSA, and ROTOR Flow units appear not compatible. Note: New April 2014 model allows up to 18mm and 44mm in height.
Crank limitations (length): 110mm-236.5mm
Minimum Chain Clearance (width): 5mm
Minimum chain clearance is an interesting one. This is tested when you’re in your smallest gear in the back and biggest gear in the front, and is the distance is measured from your crank arm to the chain. Specification lists 5mm, but I think you could probably get away with 3.5-4mm. However, 2mm simply won’t be enough. In measuring it (it’s actually really tough to measure, but a trusty Ikea paper tape measure sorta works), the pod connector sticks out about 1.8-1.9mm. Thus with 2mm you’d have .1mm of space, which excludes even the slightest of movement in the chain and/or crank arms. Here you can see what I’m referring to (“1” below equals 1cm, or 10mm):
The impact of not properly torqueing down the pedals: You’ll see me stress over and over again to properly install the Vector system you really need a torque wrench. Then, you need to use said torque wrench to a specific value (25 ft-lbs). To illustrate the importance of this I put together this fun little chart. What I did below was using multiple power meters to show the impact of different torque levels on Garmin Vector. I did this by running repetitive tests on a trainer with a set wattage. I removed all the ‘junk data’ in between each test run to make it cleaner to understand.
It’s important to note that we’re primarily looking at the groupings (how far apart the dots are at each test point), not so much the fact that the dots shift up or down, as that’s really a function of how perfectly I held a given wattage and cadence (even when it’s set).
Even though each time I adjusted the torque I pulled out the battery caps and completely re-did all calibration steps for Vector (full checklist above), you can see the impact on accuracy quite clearly. Especially if you don’t get within the region of proper torque. What’s interesting is that it’s not entirely black and white. You see that one of the tests at 15ft-lbs actually came pretty close. However, it’s important to remember that every single issue I’ve seen around accuracy with other folks has appeared to stem from non-proper torque.
In one case (at ‘snug’, or about 5 ft-lbs), I was off by almost 20-30w. Later, once calibrated I was within 4-5w (at 210w), or basically 2%.
What Vector shows (left/right data and related):
Perhaps the non-hardware feature that most people are interested in is the left/right power functionality. I’ll talk first to the technical side, and then I’ll discuss the usability of it.
From a technical perspective each pedal is effectively its own power meter – hence one reason the price is what it is. Each pedal is independently calibrated at the factory and then individually assigned as being either left or right. You can’t give half your Vector set to a friend, it must contain both pedals at all times. The pedal pods however (the things that hang down)– those aren’t actually assigned left/right and can be swapped around.
Within the ANT+ there are a number of metrics that apply to left/right power, but the core of them is something called “Power Balance”, which is a fancy way of saying “Left/Right Power”.
Power Balance is expressed as a data field on your unit using the following format: ##% – ##% (i.e. 48% – 52%). The first number is the “left” balance, while the second is the “right” balance. Thus in this case I’d be slightly right leg heavy at 52%.
Here’s how that looks on a Garmin head unit. You can see I have the total power up top (336w), and then my balance on the second line (48%-52%). Down below that I have cadence displayed, and below that I have the ride balance and 30-second balance.
As you’re riding, you’ll see this metric displayed. On Garmin devices you can set the metric to be instantaneous pedal balance, or a smoothed balance – such as over 3s or 30s. I prefer smoothed (it doesn’t affect the underlying data recorded at 1-second intervals). To get a feel for things, I put together this quick video. This shows the pedal balance, but then shows me switching to single-leg pedaling, where the pedal balance then switches to 0/100%.
Looking at what that looks like afterwards, here’s a graph of a recent trainer ride where I was switching from left-only leg to right-only leg drills. You see the dots representing my pedal balance. Initially these are roughly around the 50% mark. But then as I start the drills they go up to 100% on one leg or the other (I’ve highlighted them at the top).
You’ll notice a few random dots in the middle – that’s simply me having both legs on the pedals for a brief second to switch legs to the next leg.
Now comes the question of what to do with this data. See, it’s not quite as straightforward as you’d think. Garmin themselves doesn’t recommend you try and focus on maintaining “perfect balance”, and many other leading sport scientists in the field agree. The reality is that collectively the industry doesn’t yet know what to do with the data, nor how to train or race with it. The singular reason that left/right power can be useful for however is injury recovery. For example in a leg injury, being able to see and plot progress back to a pre-injury state (or just something slightly more normal).
In the month or so that I’ve been using the unit I’ve started to identify lots of little nuanced things that are probably close to being personal trends. Trends that really only apply to me. For example, I find that as I fatigue I become more right-leg heavy. I find that different cadence and wattage ranges changes that. Interestingly, when I’m in a “normal” wattage range (say 180w to 300w), I’m reasonably balanced. However, at the upper and lower ends (soft pedaling or sprints), my balance changes.
But, I don’t think I have quite enough data yet to make any scientific statements about myself – let alone everyone else. Ultimately I think Garmin is in a unique position with Garmin Connect to start gathering information on trending. Given how much data they’re collecting in Garmin Connect there could be some fascinating analysis pulled from that in an opt-in situation. For example I’d love to see a random prompt some day that allows me to opt-in to a program to give my power data (without location data) to researchers trying to establish trends.
Until then, it’s merely a curiosity that I find interesting to track – but it’s not something I’m specifically focusing on from a training or racing standpoint.
Before we move on, I should note there are a few metrics that Vector doesn’t yet support. They are Pedal Smoothness and Torque Efficiency. Both of these metrics look at how smooth your stroke is and how efficient your stroke is.
In talking with the Garmin Vector team, they’ve made it clear these are coming to the pedals via a future firmware update – but haven’t defined a timeframe for that yet. The good news though is that all of the current generation Garmin units (i.e. Edge 510/810) have already been updated to support these metrics – so it’s just a matter of the firmware in the pedals being updated (more on how that happens towards the end).
Riding with it:
Once you’ve completed calibration, riding with the Vector pedals is pretty easy and straight forward. Simply put, you just start riding.
There is no on/off switch, instead the units are automatically triggered on whenever the accelerometer in the pedals detects movement. The same sensor then shuts off the pedals after a period of inactivity. In total the batteries will get about 175 hours of battery life before you pay a couple dollars to pickup new CR2032 batteries. Newer Edge units will display the battery status of each – always reporting the lowest of the two battery values.
On the same screens, you’ll also get any error information from the pedals, as well as your serial number information.
As you start to ride you’ll see your power output displayed on your head unit. Depending on your head unit, you can configure other power meter metrics as well. For example below I’ve configured a bit of a Noah’s Ark of power meter metrics:
Cadence data for Vector is displayed as well, as you can see below – 93RPM. Vector supports 20RPM to 150RPM for all crank lengths, but can go beyond that for certain crank lengths.
Note that at this time Vector is not supporting non-round chainrings correctly. Garmin is looking into what is required to do this, but has not yet committed a timeframe nor potential resolution for non-round rings.
The most important thing about riding with Vector is always remembering to follow two simple steps:
1) Manual calibration unclipped prior to starting
2) Backpedaling 8 times a few seconds into your ride
With those two quick steps you’ll get consistently accurate data. Without them, your data is no better than any other un-calibrated power meter on the market today.
On the Trainer:
While this is probably somewhat obvious, I’ll nonetheless mention it. Vector works just fine indoors on a trainer. There’s no tie-in to rear wheel speed or anything else. The full system is self contained to your pedals, so it doesn’t have any awareness that you’re inside or outside.
I’ve done a number of rides on the trainer without any issues. Vector will transmit your cadence and power metrics just like outdoors. Note that Vector doesn’t of course transmit any speed metrics.
In the Rain:
I’ve been “lucky” enough to get plenty of rain time with the Vector system. Numerous rides in fact, all of which included a fair bit of climbing too.
The best part was that these rainy rides happened on the first day and first week of riding, so since then it’s been a little over a month. This is good in that if anything were to have happened, it would have manifested itself since then.
I saw no issues during the ride with rain, nor have any issues popped up since then.
Cobbles and Rough Roads:
Living in Europe has given me the unique opportunity to ride plenty of roads with cobbles. No matter where I go on a long ride it’s going to include a section with cobbles in it. But why ride cobbles? Well, one area where power meters can get tripped up is rough roads. This can throw a loop in those units that may use accelerometers to measure cadence. And when you ‘break’ cadence, you typically break power – since cadence is used to derive many power calculations.
For me, cobbles are the easiest way to surface these sorts of issues. It’s nonstop vibrations and bumps that you generally won’t find on the road elsewhere. Near me there are a few good long stretches of cobblestones that I can run tests on without having to analyze an entire ride.
So while I’ve ridden this section over a dozen times during other rides recently, I went out and did some runs of it just by itself, simply to make it easy to view the data. Each section is about 600m or so long. The below data has a 5-second smoothing on it to make it easier to understand. Any massive spikes would still stick-out however.
As you can see, there aren’t any concerning spikes – that is, random one-off power spikes or drops that can often occur in these situations. A spike might be a random 5,000w point. In this case, none surfaced. And in fact, I’ve seen none in any of my riding.
Next, looking at cadence, I don’t see any issues there either. You see typical lag for the first few seconds between units as I ramp up, but that’s completely normal and just a case of how different units work. The below data is not-smoothed, just straight-up as-is.
As you can see they track quite well, all within a RPM or two of each other. Simply put I’m just not seeing any issues with rough roads anywhere and Vector.
I’ve long said that there’s few things I like less than doing power meter accuracy testing. And while that still holds true, it’s probably one of the more involved, interesting and downright bizarre things I do on the blog. The only way to get it right is to test for some period of time with a significant number of power meters to be able to guesstimate at who’s telling the truth and who’s having issues.
So while it’s easy to go out and ride with a single power meter – or perhaps even two, it’s an entirely different thing to do so in a manner that provides quality data across 3-5 power meters concurrently ride after ride. And it’s the ‘ride after ride’ part that becomes most tricky.
A bit of background and pontification:
There’s an importance in ensuring that a power meter is not only precise, but also accurate. Can you not only get repeatable results day after day, but are those results accurate to another standard? That’s the general rule applied to any scientific measuring device. The goal with power meters being that you could go and install a different device, put out the same exact power and get the exact same result.
But here’s the harsh reality: That won’t happen every day.
It might happen 5 out of 6 days, or perhaps more. It might happen 18 out of 20. Or, perhaps 1 out of 4. The point being that I promise you if you put 4-5 power meters on a bike and ride for a month – despite incredible attention to detail that almost no riders will do – you’re going to see differences. One day one may be a few watts higher than the other, the other day a few watts lower, and so on.
Thus while it’s fun for folks to talk about ensuring that their future power meter will measure the same effort every single day within 5w of their current power meter, I’m just not seeing the state of technology there yet within the power meter industry. Until someone can go out and ride 4-5 power meters every day for a month and present evidence otherwise – I remain unconvinced. And since nobody to my knowledge has done that (aside from me) – I feel fairly confident in this statement.
Now, that lead-in isn’t actually to say that anything is wrong with Vector (in fact, it’s shown pretty astounding accuracy). Rather, it’s my casual way of doing some myth busting (on both sides of the aisle).
How I test:
I collect data using two methods. First is with simply a crapton of Garmin devices. This serves both as my immediate display while riding to see if things are looking good, as well as my backup for data sourcing. Typically I don’t use this data from what you see in the following sections.
Instead, for that I use a unit called the WASP, from North Pole Engineering. This little unit about the size of a small pack of cards collects every bit of nearby ANT+ data from any device and then streams it via WiFi to my phone, which records the data. This device collects significantly more data than a typical Garmin head unit. But more importantly, it makes it a heck of a lot easier for me to analyze since the data is all collected together into a single file (CSV).
I make all my testing files available for others to analyze. This time I’ve made my entire Vector test library available. I literally just zipped up every single day’s worth of testing and folks can go ahead and come to their own conclusions. My only ask is that you read the ride notes within each ride to explain any potential oddities (for example, interference issues or some other impacting item). It’s not always black or white. You can download the full set here.
Finally, we’ll look at how I test units. I firmly believe that the best way to get relevant test data is to simply train as I normally do. Thus, my test data is from normal indoor and outdoor training rides. I often will add-in some other test at the beginning or ending of one of those rides. But in general I try and just use normal training data. There are certainly edge-case scenarios (such as the cobbles), where I’ll go out and collect specific data, but I try and minimize that.
From a test process standpoint every single unit is manually calibrated prior to the start of every single ride. Second, every single unit gets a second manual (set zero) calibration usually about 10-15 minutes into the ride. Beyond that, it’s up to the units’ internal auto zero (if applicable) technologies to compensate for any environmental changes.
I use the manufacturer’s recommended calibration methodologies, which I’ve confirmed the steps in writing with each and every company that I have power meters for. It’s as by the book and as data-anal as you can possibly get.
Following the ride the data files are all saved off and organized by ride date, with information about the head units and devices being used.
Finally, I then dive into the data files using Excel. Additionally others that are far more scientifically minded (as is the case here), have dug into the numbers as well, looking at the data in more non-traditional ways. In this post, Dan (DJ) Connelly helped out tremendously with diving into a handful of the files. But he also did a number of posts prior to this review using my data over the past month. I encourage you to check those out as well.
We’ll start by heading outside, after all, it’s the most demanding environment there is. And no better way to start than with a demanding ride. This ride was a 2hr long ride climbing up the mountainous Skyline Drive route on the Appalachian mountains going from hot weather into a flat-out downpour thousands of feet later in elevation gain and changing temperatures. Elevation gain is great because it triggers temperature changes. And temperature changes are great because it’s the area most power meters struggle with.
First up is the easy litmus test – how well they track with each other. This is interesting to look at, and helps to quickly illuminate obvious errors, but at the same time, it’s kinda easy to fool. Nonetheless, if you look at the vast majority of the graph things are almost right on top of each other.
We see one point around 600s & 1700s that there’s some oddities – though it appears to be a transmission issue between the Quarq and Vector and the WASP (stuck values while descending briefly), and not something I’m seeing on other files (one of the reasons I use multiple recording devices). The areas where you see some separation is when I’m descending a bit and mostly soft-pedaling. This is typically really hard to align because it’s random/sporadic and very brief. Thus if I pedal for 5 seconds quickly on a straightaway, you’ll see the different power meters respond to that slightly differently. You see that around the 5200s markers.
Overall though, things look quite good above.
Next we look at the differences between the units. In this case I simply try and understand how much each unit is different from the other units. The goal of this graph is stability – not so much the exact difference here. Though, outside of random soft pedaling and the stuck moments, things look about as good as you’ll ever see them – especially in the steady-state climbs. We’re talking differences between the Quarq and the Vector of mere single-digit watts…at most. Astounding tracking between two units really.
So what does this look like in real-life from a totals standpoint? Well, check out the below. It kinda tells the story if the above graphs don’t. First off, check out the fact that the Vector and Elsa were only 3w off on Average Power (1.5%), and the peak power was also only 1.5% different. It’s hard to express how rare it is to see all units within that small a range at peak power. I’ve never seen that in any of my previous power meter testing on a ride this demanding.
Now, I asked DJ to look at the file as well, and he spit out some more graphs on this one. Here’s what he had to say:
“I attached a histogram with 5-second smoothing where I only used points where all power meters were reporting at least 150 points. Vector and PowerTap tracked better than Quarq and PowerTap, with Stages a clear 3rd. Then I extracted peak power during peaks in the latter portion of the ride. I used 7-second smoothing because 5-second was still a bit noisy. I only retained 300+ watt peaks. On one sprint only the Vector was just barely higher than the 300W cutoff for the plot (hence the lone green dot), thus Vector has one extra peak, which doesn’t mean much. Vector, Quarq, and PowerTap are all very similar in what they report for peaks and when they report them. Stages is a notable outlier, due to L-R balance varying one sprint to the next.”
Lastly, here’s the maximal power curve for the ride. This is useful because it represents in an easier to understand method the efforts as they increase in intensity, and how they track. It also focuses on measuring power of maximal efforts, which is an accuracy priority for many users.
The Garmin Vector, Quarq Elsa, and PowerTap track nicely in that order. The Stages is an outlier, showing the variability of L-R balance during short intervals (with higher wattage), whereas once I get below about 350w things become quite close between them. 350w is above my FTP, which likely sits around 315w right now.
Next let’s look at another ride outdoors. This one I did up in Newfoundland on a hilly course. The specific pieces of the workout were actually a build of about 30 minutes, and then 2x20m hard efforts. Because of the terrain being up and down, it’s not as perfectly flat as you’d see on an indoor ride.
Starting with the simple 30s smoothed graph of the four power meters, you’ll see that they all tracked quite closely. The big drop towards the bottom is coasting down a hill into a stop-light, which happened to end up just perfectly with the end of that interval.
The challenge with the above is that it becomes hard to see where the difference are. So instead I plotted three variations below, comparing the difference (in watts) between each power meter. The goal of the below is to see as flat a line as possible. It doesn’t as much matter whether or not that line is +10w or 0w, what matters is that it’s consistent.
What you see below is that the Quarq vs Vector (blue) stay relatively stable, fluctuating at about 10w (on roughly 300-330w) – or basically around 3%. Meanwhile, Vector vs PowerTap is a bit higher (sorta logical with drivetrain loss).
Now don’t overthink all those big spikes/drops too much. That’s actually quite normal when I have a big power sprint or stop, simply due to the way units transmit. What is probably most interesting is that it appeared things ‘righted’ themselves after coasting a bit going into the 2nd 20m set, as the second set is very close between the Quarq and the Vector units.
So what does that mean when it comes to final numbers?
The Quarq and Vector tracked the most closely, which again, is logical given where they measure. The PowerTap being slightly lower is also completely normal, and the Stages a bit lower makes sense too since I’ve found I tend to become more right-leg heavy when I fatigue and at higher wattages.
The difference between the Quarq and the Elsa for average power is 1.8% – well within specs of both of those units.
Concluding the outdoor portion (also remember the cobbles piece above), I’m seeing really solid comparative data between the PowerTap, Elsa and Vector. Obviously I’ve only included a small snippet of the data with deeper analysis. However looking at the data day in and day out from a head unit perspective, I see astounding similarities between those three.
Next, DJ looked at some of my trainer data. This included a slew of different rides, so he focused on the areas that have the most potential for error: Single leg pedaling and Sprints. These are easiest handled indoors because we can control some of the variables by having constant power applied. – DCR
First, I plotted the power during the one-legged section. All power meters handled it well except Stages (no surprise). One-legged peddlers in the crowd will need to look elsewhere.
Then I did a histogram comparing power meters to PowerTap. This worked better than CompuTrainer, which was a bit of an outlier. I omitted Stages, since that is affected by the one-legged sections. In this analysis I started at 1200 seconds, since the sprints are dominated by time synchronization. I did 5-second smoothing to reduce the “noise”. The histograms for Vector and Quarq relative to PowerTap line up in order of power transmission. The Vector above Quarq is somewhat curious. But the difference is well within specified accuracy: in fact I’d expect a larger difference versus PowerTap from drivetrain losses. But drivetrain losses are on order of the accuracy.
Then I was curious about the “sprints”. I smoothed the data 5 seconds then used parabolic interpolation to pick out the peaks. The ordering of powers is generally the same as in the histogram. Noteworthy is that Stages is something of an outlier here. It doesn’t track like the others. This isn’t surprising, since L-R balance may vary on short sprints. Note the dashed lines connecting the sprints aren’t interpolated power. They’re just there to group the points. Points are plotted where the peak in power was interpolated. They show good registration between the data sets.
Here’s the total bucketing of the ride, showing how closely the units compare. Notably the CompuTrainer appears to be skewed off from the rest, which is a pattern I saw in a few recent CompuTrainer rides.
I’m quite impressed: all seem to be working quite well on the trainer.
DCR: When I look at comparisons between the units on the indoor trainer over numerous rides I find that the Vector, PowerTap and Quarq Elsa all tend to be within 4-8w on virtually every ride. That’s at about 200-300w depending on the portion of the trainer ride. I see more variation with the Stages of course due to being measured differently, but the core three of Vector/Quarq/PowerTap are all within range of each other – and within range of the combined stated accuracy of those units.
Cadence Maximum and Minimums:
Garmin officially lists the Vector capable of measuring from 30RPM to 150RPM. However, that 150RPM is a bit of a soft-limit and really driven by your crank arms. Here’s their official wording:
“The value of 150 rpm is a conservative limit based on possible road noise and a crank length setting of 200mm. If a cyclist is on shorter cranks (e.g., 172.5mm), the limit goes up beyond 160 rpm. On track conditions or smooth road surfaces, the limit goes beyond 190 rpm.”
To test this on a trainer, I started off sub-20RPM until the unit finally picked up my cadence. This happened at 18RPM. Then I slowly built up to as fast as I could pedal on this day – 184RPM. It followed/tracked without any problems with my 175mm crank arms.
It should be noted that maximum is simply the max my legs were able to go that day I quickly tested it (just jumped on the bike and gave it a go). Typically I can get a bit higher into the mid-190’s with proper warm-up. I’ll update this section if/when I give it another whirl after being properly warmed up.
Fun with Left/Right power balance:
Perhaps one of the more interesting non-Vector specific items is actually comparing estimated left/right power balance (such as that found on the Quarq Elsa and Power2Max units), with Garmin Vector’s measured left/right power balance. Below I did a quick video showing both Vector and Quarq Elsa on a simple one-legged test. In this case I went ahead and pedaled normally with both legs, and then switched to single-leg pedaling:
As you can see from the video above, the key difference is that when I go one-legged the Quarq still assumes some portion of the non-pedaling leg is actually pedaling, when in reality it isn’t (it’s sitting on the trainer stand).
I’ll be diving into more of the Elsa estimated left/right pieces in the upcoming Quarq Elsa review.
Calibration Details and Options:
Like every other power meter on the market today, Vector requires some level of calibration. Some steps are initial setup only, while others are ongoing steps that you should do prior to and at the beginning of each ride. Let’s just recap and run through them.
Initial Installation – Setting Vector’s Installation Angles:
You must set Vector’s installation angles anytime you remove the battery cover from the Vector pods, or, anytime you move it between bikes. The purpose of this step is to tell Vector how the force sensors are aligned in relationship to the cranks, which is required in order to calculate power. This step accounts for how tight you’ve cranked in the pedal, and how the pedals ended up on your particular crank when tightened down.
There are two ways this calibration method occurs, depending on which head unit you’re using. For the Edge 510 and Edge 810 you’ll get a prompted installation, which I’ll describe first.
From here you’ll need to get on your bike and pedal the bike (you don’t need to be clipped in, you can do this in street shoes). This can be done on a trainer or just on the road. You need to bring the RPM’s up to between 80 and 90RPM.
The process lasts about 5-7 seconds and then will give you a completion message. Once you’re done with the initial calibration, you’ll then move onto manual calibration (below, next section).
For those without the Edge 510/810, you’ll simply need to complete the same procedure, but without any additional confirmation from the head unit. In other words, just go ride 15-30 seconds (to be sure), and you’ll be good to proceed to the next step. The unit will internally perform this calibration, but since older head units aren’t updated to display the information, you won’t receive a confirmation. Note however that it won’t actually give any wattage until this is done, so you know that if you get wattage, then you’ve completed this.
Static Calibration (aka Manual Calibration):
Next is static calibration. This should be done prior to starting every ride, and is fundamentally the basic same process you would be doing on any other power meter on the market. In manual calibration you’ll go ahead and turn the head unit on and navigate into the power meter settings.
Once there, while standing over your bike (or next to it), but NOT clipped in, arrange the pedals in the 3PM/9PM position (horizontal). Technically any position is fine, but the Vector team recommends this position for the highest accuracy.
Next, go ahead and press the calibrate button. It’ll now measure torque on the unit. It’ll come back about 5-10 seconds later and display 0.00, though you may see that value fluctuate slightly as the torque value being displayed is actually in real-time.
With that, your unit is correctly calibrated and ready to get on and ride. Note again that this should be done before every ride. Also note that this is compatible with pretty much any power meter head unit on the market (except the Timex units, which don’t support calibration functions).
This next calibration type is called ‘dynamic calibration’, because it’s done while the unit is dynamically moving. The goal of this is to remove any ‘clip-out residual strain’ that occurs within the pedal body. This is considered the method to get the absolute highest level of accuracy within the unit. If you don’t do this, you’ll still be within +/-2%, but this gets it a bit closer. And given how silly easy to perform, you might as well.
While on your bike within the first minute of your ride, go ahead and simply pedal backwards. Eight full times. Once done, you’ll receive the message shown above. (Updated note: In a subsequent software update, backwards pedaling is now no longer required)
Yup, that’s it. As easy as that. You do not need to do this each time you clip out, as they didn’t see any benefit there. Nor at any other point during the ride. Rather, just at the start of the ride. Not that it hurts either.
The Dynamic Calibration prompt message will be seen on the Edge 500/510/800/810 and FR910XT. Other units will not receive a prompt, but the Vector calibration is still done by the pedals. Should other head unit companies wish to, they could add this functionality in, as the confirmation is broadcast in standard ANT+ messages to the head unit.
Static Torque Test (Hanging Weights – for extremely advanced users only):
Finally, we’ve got the most advanced calibration method out there. This isn’t really so much a case of calibration, as it is validation. Within a Static Torque test you hang a weight of a known value (i.e. 25 pounds) on the cranks. In turn, you’re able to get the torque value read back to you, allowing you to validate if the unit is performing within specification. Garmin will be providing instructions and a formula to determine if the unit is within specification. The formula is: Mass (kg) x gravity (m/s2) x crank length (m) = Expected torque value in Nm
To do this, you’ll simply go into the calibration menu, which puts it into a torque display mode:
Then, you’ll go forth and hang the weights on the unit. Again, this should be scientific grade weights – not just something random you picked up at Sports Authority sporting goods store. The minimum weight that the Vector team recommends is 25 pounds. You’ll then take the torque value displayed, along with the weights used and compare it against values provided by the Vector team. They’ll be publishing a data sheet “within the coming days” o the Vector Owners site with the full table of correct torque values for each combination.
Breakage and Replacements/Repairs:
The Vector system has a 2-year warranty, which covers manufacture defects per their standard policy and process. The factory calibration is warranted for 1 year, and Garmin will offer a service to the end user if they are not able to calibrate the Vector themselves (i.e. torque validation).
In the event of an issue with your Vector system (either self-inflicted such a a crash, or unexpected support issue), you’ll start with a call to Garmin support for your local region/country. If they’ve completed troubleshooting and determine there is an issue with the system (for example, the left pedal not responding), then the entire pedal set would be returned to the local country/region support center and swapped out. This process works the same as any other Garmin product.
Now, in the event of the ugly self-inflicted issue, such as breaking a pedal pod on a curb, you can purchase two out of three of the core Vector components.
Parts available as accessories:
1) Pedal Body & Pedal Cartridge Set: $199US = Includes the pedal body, cartridge, as a pair, not including spindle.
2) Pedal Pods: $69US for a single pod (corrected)
The part that is not available as an accessory is the pedal spindle. The spindle is where the magic happens, and where the actual strain gauges are. Basically, that’s the bulk of the cost of a Vector system. Though, it’d be incredibly difficult to damage the spindle even in the most painful of crashes. The spindle is protected first by the pedal body (which Garmin has beefed up over the baseline models). Then you’ve got the pedal cartridge inside that. And finally, the spindle inside the cartridge. Having spent some time toying with the different parts, I’m honestly not sure what type of crash would impact the spindle – short of getting run over by a train. Though, in time, I’m sure someone will find a way.
The two above components will be standard SKU’s that any Garmin distributor/retailer can stock within inventory.
They noted that the part they consider ‘consumable’ is the pedal pods. This is for two reasons. One is that we could see physical changes to the pods, or additional versions of the pods offered. For example, a pod able to accommodate crank arms that are slightly wider than current allowances (they said they’d gauge consumer demand here, but it sounded fairly trivial to offer). They also saw opportunity to bridge into other wireless protocols. Remember this is the communications portion of the device, and today that’s ANT+. But they noted that down the road they could offer a Bluetooth Smart variant, or Bluetooth/ANT+ combo variant. No specific plans or dates are on the table today. But, that would ultimately be a pretty cheap ‘upgrade’ for owners at basically just $70 to get Bluetooth Smart.
Many folks have expressed concern about the pedal pods hitting the ground. That’s actually a bit of an optical illusion, it’s actually virtually impossible to hit the pedal pod without hitting your shoe first. They note that in thousands of hours of testing they’ve never had a single pedal pod break-off by hitting the ground. In my riding over the last month, I never had that issue either.
To demonstrate the impossibility of the pod hitting the ground first, I give you the following photo I took:
Here’s a bit more of a zoomed in look at the same photo. Note that in this case, the crank-arm is pointed directly down (the photo angle makes it appear otherwise). You can see that it’s technically impossible to hit the pedal pod at that angle.
Now, curbs are potentially another scenario entirely, as seen below:
Though, I still didn’t have any issues during my time thus far with them, including routinely stopping up against curbs while riding through and out of the city.
Finally, it’s probably worthwhile to see the pedal pod positions all the way around the crank. To do that I created a little animated GIF of the whole situation. However, because the GIF is a bit large to enumerate on this page, you’ll need to click the below image to start it in a new window. But it helps you understand where the pod is, and some of the optical illusions associated with it.
Finally, with the pod facing downwards towards the top of the stroke, it ensures that your shoe won’t clip it if you try and clip in and out:
With that, let’s talk about bike portability.
Switching between bikes:
Given much of the appeal of Vector comes from the ability to switch between bikes, I thought I’d briefly talk to that and include a short video of swapping it between two of my bikes (recorded in real-time as a single shot).
While I agree with the theory of being able to easily move Vector between bikes, I’d argue it’s not quite as simple as moving standard bike pedals. There are some things that complicate it. First are the pedal pods and ensuring the correct alignment before really tightening down. Then there’s the tightening component – which clearly requires a torque wrench to get accurate. So if you’re travelling, you’re going to need a torque wrench as well as you can’t just use a hex wrench stuffed into the back of the pedal (since the pods block that).
So how long does it take? Well, I’ve taken them on and off a bunch, so while I’m certainly no pro bike mechanic at removing them, I’m probably about average after you’ve done it a couple of times. My goal isn’t to slap them on as fast as humanly possible. My goal is to install them as fast as accurately possible. Thus, here’s what that looks like:
As you can see, about 6 minutes and 30 seconds end to end. About 90 seconds of that was removal, and 5 minutes installation. Oh, and note that I had never installed them on that second bike before – so that was a first attempt, and only did one video recording shot (like live TV!). I figure that makes it a bit more realistic.
I’ll be doing the same with a Quarq Elsa in the coming weeks (just need to get a different bottom bracket for my other bike). Having swapped the Quarq’s before, you’ll find you can definitely do it faster than Vector on a pure time basis. Of course, with the Quarq, you’re having to deal with chain rings and a large object that’s not quite as easy nor as compatible to travel with.
The Vector pedals support updating of the firmware by you, the end user. The reasoning for this is to resolve bugs or add new features (discussed more below in next section). To do so, you’ll download the free little tool from the Vector owners site, which then takes advantage of the ANT+ USB stick that came with your pedals.
Next, you’re going to want to get your laptop and your pedals in the same general zip code of each other. Once that’s done, go ahead and launch the application:
After clicking next twice, it’ll have you remove the pedal pod connectors and reconnecting them. By doing so you put the pedals into a ‘pairing mode’, which allows your computer to go off and find them.
I just pop them out carefully with a flat blade screwdriver.
Then wait 20 seconds and plop them back in. Then click next twice. Which should bring you here. You’ll notice it has found the pedals and is ready to go, you’ll click next again.
At the top of this screen you’ll see the option to update software. In my case, from the initial release version of 2.00 to 2.10. Additionally, you’ll need to check the box to agree.
Note that the crank length remains at 175mm (the length of my cranks, yours will likely differ). After you’re done confirming everything, click Next.
First, it’ll send the update to the left pedal:
Then it’ll do the same thing for the right pedal:
Then, it’ll briefly confirm everything for about 2 seconds before giving you the “Mission Accomplished” banner (of sorts):
The whole process takes about 3-5 minutes for the upload, verification and updating.
Now, the next time you turn on your bike computer you will need to run through the three basic calibration steps again:
1) Setting installation angles (pedaling at ~80RPM)
2) Manual calibration (unclipped from pedals)
3) Dynamic calibration (backwards pedaling eight times) – (Updated Note: In a subsequent software update, backwards pedaling is now no longer required)
With that, you’re good to go!
While I’ve yet to have any true issues with Vector, I’d give two pieces of advice to any future folks that purchase the unit and have issues. The below guidance is based on fielding a lot of questions over the past month from current owners.
Random issues: When in doubt, if something isn’t working, the best and easiest course of action is to pop out the pedal pod battery covers, put them back in, and see if it starts working. I’ve only had this happen once (during my initial test ride), but if you run into a snag, this seems to resolve it 99% of the time.
Power measuring low: Without question, the single biggest issue I hear from folks is that it measures low. Every.single.time (every time) I’ve responded back the person hasn’t used a torque wrench to properly tighten the units. I can’t emphasis this enough. It’s as simple as this: Vector is sensitive to being properly torqued down. You may think you’ve got it all fine, but unless you’ve measured it – I’m going to guess you don’t.
The Future of Vector:
Going forward the Vector team has outlined a few areas that are on the radar. Garmin sees two tracks when it comes to Vector development, the software track (i.e. firmware), and the hardware track (i.e. pedals). In their minds, the software track will be universal across all pedals, while the hardware track will spit out new pedal types in the future. They noted that they don’t at all expect to see any near term form of a v2 version of the current Look Keo pedal with additional features over the current one. Instead they’ll be focused on new pedal types.
Pedal Types: Garmin made it fairly clear that the next pedal type would be a mountain bike pedal. It doesn’t have a timeframe for that, but that’s where the direction is. This will require re-thinking a bit of the pedal pod layout (as it could catch on rocks/logs/etc… Additionally, they have confirmed to me that any future pedal type change won’t be compatible with the same spindle. Meaning you can’t just by the $200 pedal body parts and move your spindles between them. Beyond mountain biking, they’re looking at spin bikes as another area with a lot of interest.
Additional Pedal Pod Connector Widths: Garmin has stated that if they see demand, they’ll look to offer additional pedal pods that have a larger connector and can accommodate some of the wider crank arms out there. They haven’t specified a timeframe for this.
Bluetooth Smart: Given Garmin owns ANT+, it’s unlikely that a Bluetooth Smart variant is on the immediate horizon. However the Vector team did specifically note that down the line should they add Bluetooth Smart support it’d simply come in the form of a new pedal pod that’s compatible with previous Vector units. The pod houses all communications, so it’s just a case of buying new pods (about the same price as a footpod).
Pedal Smoothness and Torque Efficiency: Finally, we’ve got additional metrics that are supported by ANT+ that Vector plans to implement. These two were specifically included as coming down the line, though no specific timeline was given. Seeing that the competitive Rotor Power Meter has these, I suspect it won’t be terribly long until we see this added.
Power Meter Market Comparison:
Two weeks ago I walked through the entire power meter market as it will stand for some time in the future, as there are no other power meters outside that post on the horizon until at least next spring (at the absolute earliest). So I really encourage you to read that post, as I outlined a lot of different scenarios and recommendations – as well as answered a slew of questions in the comments.
With that said, here’s a dynamic comparison chart of the major power meters on the market today that I’ve reviewed. My rule is that if I haven’t reviewed it, it doesn’t go in the chart. Hence why SRM isn’t in there. Because there’s so many units, only a small number fit here. Instead, you can mix and match and create your own comparison chart here.
|Function/Feature||Garmin Vector||PowerTap G3 Hub||Quarq Elsa R/RS||Power2Max (Oct 12+)||Stages Power Meter|
|Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated May 14th, 2021 @ 3:10 pm New Window|
|Price||$1499||$599 (no wheel)||$1299 (R with cranks, no chainrings)/$1399 (RS)||$729 (no cranks)/$749 (cranks)||$529 (left crank arm only)|
|Measurement Type||Direct Force||Direct Force||Direct Force||Direct Force||Direct Force|
|Attachment area||Pedals||Rear Wheel Hub||Crank Spider||Crank Spider||Left Crank|
|Attachment limitations||Look Keo Compatible pedals only||N/A||Specific supported cranks||Specific supported cranks||Specific supported cranks|
|Weight (additional/net)||175g per pedal (inclusive)||315g/325g (full hub)||Elsa R: 576g/Elsa RS: 616g (including cranks)||From 189g + crank||20g|
|Wireless Connectivity Type||ANT+||ANT+/Bluetooth Smart (depends on cap)||ANT+||ANT+||ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart|
|Unit auto-turns on when on bike||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Battery||Garmin Vector||PowerTap G3 Hub||Quarq Elsa R/RS||Power2Max (Oct 12+)||Stages Power Meter|
|Battery Life||175 hours||300 hours||300 hours||300-400 hours||200 hours|
|User or Factory battery replacement||User||User||User||User||User|
|Low Battery Warning||Yes, 20 hours||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Features||Garmin Vector||PowerTap G3 Hub||Quarq Elsa R/RS||Power2Max (Oct 12+)||Stages Power Meter|
|Measures/Transmits Cadence||Yes||Yes (Estimated)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Ability to update firmware||Yes||Yes||Qalvin App & USB ANT+ Stick||Factory Only||Yes|
|Transmits Left/Right Power Balance (Estimated)||N/A||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Transmits Left/Right Power Balance (Measured)||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Transmits Pedal Smoothness||Planned||No||No||No||No||Accuracy||Garmin Vector||PowerTap G3 Hub||Quarq Elsa R/RS||Power2Max (Oct 12+)||Stages Power Meter|
|Measures all power output||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Claimed Accuracy Level||+/- 1.5%||+/- 1.5%||+/- 1.5%||+/- 2%||+/- 2% (of left leg)|
|Includes temperature compensation||Yes||Yes||Done at factory||Yes||Yes|
|Supports auto-zero function||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Supports manual calibration||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Supports hanging weights (static test)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Software||Garmin Vector||PowerTap G3 Hub||Quarq Elsa R/RS||Power2Max (Oct 12+)||Stages Power Meter|
|Phone App to Configure/Test||Desktop App (PC/Mac)||No||Yes||No||Yes||Purchase||Garmin Vector||PowerTap G3 Hub||Quarq Elsa R/RS||Power2Max (Oct 12+)||Stages Power Meter|
|Chain Reaction Cycles||Link||Link||Link||Link||Link|
|Wiggle||Link||Link||Link||Link||Link||DCRainmaker||Garmin Vector||PowerTap G3 Hub||Quarq Elsa R/RS||Power2Max (Oct 12+)||Stages Power Meter|
The benefit of the above chart is that over time as firmware updates add features to other units you can automagically see the comparisons here.
For those looking for information on the ROTOR power system, they’re aiming to get me a unit in late September 2013, and thus I’d likely have a review closer to November sometime (dates obviously could shift). My thoughts regarding ROTOR however are included in the power meter market post as well above.
It’s been a long wait for Vector. When I met with the Garmin team back in April there was a clear and concise expectation amongst the team that the unit had to be spot-on accurate. It just had to, no ifs, ands or buts about it. If it wasn’t accurate but was perfect in every other way, it’d be a failure. Simple as that.
Thus, when it came time for me to do a review the cornerstone of that would be repetitive data capture and comparisons. How did it perform in all sorts of rough conditions from mountain climbs and temperature swings with driving rain, to hot summer days? Based on what I’ve seen over the last 5 weeks the answer is simple: It performs quite well when properly installed. I’m not seeing any of my own data, nor anyone else’s data that contradicts that. Nor has anyone that’s analyzed the loads of raw data I’ve published thus far contradicted that.
With accuracy out of the way from my perspective we look at other components. For example – installation. Installation is technically straight forward, though, it does have the drawback of requiring it be done properly with attention to detail. I can’t emphasis this enough. If you’re lazy during the install (or your bike shop is), you’ll have inaccurate power. I’d encourage potential Vector owners to learn how to install it themselves properly – after all, part of the reason you’re buying this unit is for portability.
I do believe however that Garmin should provide a crowfoot adapter with the Vector set (especially in places that are difficult to find such a tool…like Europe). In talking with them last night, they understand that line of thinking and are monitoring feedback from retailers.
Finally, when it comes to durability – that’s a more difficult question to answer. From a replacement plan perspective the way the unit is built makes it relatively cheap and easy to swap out the spindle into another pedal should you somehow break the pedal body. Same goes for the pedal pods, which are also reasonably cheap. Obviously I didn’t break mine, but I also was more lax with how I treated them. For example, during my repeated soft-shell bike bag trips and international flights over the past month I didn’t bother to remove the pedals during travel. Nope, I stuck a sock over them and called it done and hoped for the best. Came out just fine.
At this juncture I’d have no problems recommending Vector as a power meter to any torque wrench & crowfoot adapter owner. It produces accurate power that long-term as a software platform has the potential to be really interesting. How and where Garmin takes that directionally remains to be seen.
Thanks for reading, and as always, feel free to drop questions below and I’ll try and get the answers.
Found This Post Useful? Support The Site!
Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.
If you're shopping for the Garmin Vector or any other accessory items, please consider using the affiliate links below! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. Even more, if you use Backcountry.com or Competitive Cyclist with coupon code DCRAINMAKER, first time users save 15% on applicable products!Since the Garmin Vector is no longer sold, I recommend looking at Garmin Rally Series:
Here's a few other variants or sibling products that are worth considering:
And of course – you can always sign-up to be a DCR Supporter! That gets you an ad-free DCR, access to the DCR Quarantine Corner video series packed with behind the scenes tidbits...and it also makes you awesome. And being awesome is what it’s all about!
Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible. And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below. Thanks!
Found This Post Useful? Support The Site!
Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.
If you're shopping for the Garmin Vector or any other accessory items, please consider using the affiliate links below! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. Even more, if you use Backcountry.com or Competitive Cyclist with coupon code DCRAINMAKER, first time users save 15% on applicable products!Since the Garmin Vector is no longer sold, I recommend looking at Garmin Rally Series:
Here's a few other variants or sibling products that are worth considering:
And of course – you can always sign-up to be a DCR Supporter! That gets you an ad-free DCR, access to the DCR Quarantine Corner video series packed with behind the scenes tidbits...and it also makes you awesome. And being awesome is what it’s all about!
Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible. And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below. Thanks!
I looked on the garmin forums for an answer to this but, obviously, the search terms are a little misleading:
I do the 3-9 manual recalibration and then dynamic calibration before every ride. I even do it mid-ride if I have to unclip. Takes all of a few seconds so it’s not a big deal. What I’m wondering, though, is that with race season coming up, how does leaving your shoes pre-clipped affect the calibration process? Or is it something that just can’t be done?
Pre-clipped during calibration would definitely hose things up, due to it adding load.
It’s best to simply do calibration ahead of the race (while in transition area), without clipped in – just standing to sie. And then at some point in the first mile do the backwards pedal for a few seconds.
Hi, My name’s Fábio and i’m from Brazil, i have a doubt about my Garmin Vector and I hope you can help me.
I’m distrust about the power values of my vector, i suspect that they are lesser than the others power values of the other cyclists of my team. I was riding side by side with other four cyclists and the power values of their pedals were about 30% higher than mine. I already calibrate and update my Vector, but nothing else happened. What can i do to adjust my pedals?
Honestly, without seeing data from everyone, and seeing how they calibrated – nobody could realistically tell you.
However, remember that if you (or you + bike) weight less than them, then that’s a key reason why their wattage will be far less. I was riding with a friend yesterday and he weighs about 30lbs more than me. Thus, while I was explaining wattage to him I showed how he was a fair bit higher than me. That gets into the whole watts/kilogram thing.
Thanks for the answer, but it’s not the reason, my weight is the biggest. How can i reset my vector? I’ve already change the batteries.
Follow the steps in the calibration section – including ensuring you’ve properly torqued the pedals onto the crank (using an actual torque wrench). Has you (or your bike shop) used a torque wrench with the unit?
take off the plastic caps on each side and wait 20 seconds. that effectively ‘reboots’ the pedals. also if you draft that will lower your power quite a lot. as dc says the heaviest person will prob have the higher power at a given speed.. your aeroness will also affect the power compared to the others. even having rubbish tyres might make a marginal difference.
I have Edge 500 (software version 3.3) and Vector (software version 2.4, HW version 3.4). After first calibration, namely static calibration, the screen displays “Calibration Successful” and the display changes only if I press the “back” button (starting riding the bike also doesn’t change the display). Then the display of the Edge turns directly to the ride screen and no dynamic calibration is performed (or if it is performed the edge 500 doesn’t give any indication of it).
Did rhe Garmin developers intentionally omit dynamic calibration in Edge-500 or I cannot perform dynamic calibration due to other factor? If the first alternative is right then what is the error estimation of the power data?
Hi, Yariv – your confusion is due to the fact that no prompt is given on the 500 head unit asking for you to dynamically calibrate. Just static calibrate, hit the Back button to get back to the ride data display, clip in, and pedal until the bike can be coasted for 10 seconds or so, then spun backwards 8 times. The 500 unit will beep and display the message, “power meter calibrated.”
Yariv – The dynamic calibration is performed by getting on the bike and pedaling backwards 8 times. I have an edge 500 and this works for me.
Jeff, thanks for your answer. I did it after static calibration ended (i.e. getting on the bike and pedaling backwards 8 times) and a new row was added on the edge 500 screen: torque 0. Is it the same with your bike?
Hi, thank you for an excellent review. Regarding the crow foot – the 15mm Crow Foot Wrench – M386515- from Teng Tools is not a perfect fit. It is actually almost 8 mm high and needs to be planed by 3-4 mm.
Weird, at least half a dozen other folks have gotten the exact same one and it fit perfectly. :-/
seriously. I just used my normal spanner and did it ‘pretty’ tight. it’s fine.
Du you have any knowledge about the Garmin Vector 2.0 predictions for 2015, or new pedalarm for speedplay etc, MTB pedals…?
Garmin just added last week new torque effectiveness (TE) and pedal smoothness (PS) functionality to Vector, among a lot of other smaller fixes and interesting messages that it can produce to detect install errors.
link to www8.garmin.com
just updated the pedals. TE and PS don’t work on the 910. I guess those will be on the 920 (or whatever it will be called). Don’t suppose you know Ray? ty in advance
As of today, it’s just on the Edge 510/810. I haven’t tried the Fenix2 yet to see if it has them.
Is that a hardware restriction or a business decision?
I hope that business decision will be to fix the transmission problem with the 910/Vector when on wrist, since with Power2max doesn’t happen and may add avg 3,10,30″power zone
It’s not really a Vector thing. More of a 910XT hardware thing with reception (also impacts a few other units like Stages & Quarq from what I’ve seen/heard).
how far is your wrist from the pedals? put your hands on the handlebar not on your head. 910/vector works fine for me with 910 on the wrist.
I just heard of a similar pedal-based power meter, the Xpedo Thrust E. Have you heard of it?
Yup, it was on display at a bike show this past week, and has been ‘seen’ in a few places. I have yet to see anyone actually use it though.
Hi, fantastic review. This is probably a question more about Look Keo pedals. I use Shimano SPD pedals currently. Just wondering if these Garmin pedals are significantly narrower, and if so, whether this would take some getting used to after using Shimano?
I went from years on Shimano SPD’s to the Look Keo pedals. Took about 5 minutes for me. But then again, perhaps I’m just oblivious. 🙂
i found the look keo could be set a bit further towards the heel which suited me. maybe a bit less float as well. DC is better than me. It took me 6 minutes to get used to
Has anyone had problems with the pedals coming undone. I’ve done as described. Light grease on pedal pod and thread. I’ve used a torque wrench. On 3 occasions the pedals have been loose by the end of the ride, so much so that they aren’t even finger tight. The cranks are ultegra 6800.
I don’t really see how they can come undone. when you are pedalling the forces you apply will cause it to tighten if anything. could it be vibration in transport or the grease (I didn’t use any)
Lately it took me as 20 minutes until I succeeded calibrating vector in edge-500.
If calibaration fails and I start riding will it 1) Use last successful calibration parameters values, or 2) Use default values ? What can be the error compared to riding after successful calibration?
I don’t know what it uses but from my experience it makes virtually no difference whatsoever. ( I ‘verify’ against a 3rd party display which is not calibrated)
I downloaded the latest firmware update for the Vectors but not getting the TE and PS readings on Garmin Connect, it is just showing the same outputs as earlier version, any ideas? Do you need a later Garmin head unit got an 800 (my 800 has the latest firmware as well though)? Thanks
Avg Power: 176 W
Max Power: 620 W
Max Avg Power (20 min): 168 W
Left/Right Balance: 50/50 %
Normalized Power (NP): 210 W
Intensity Factor (IF): 0.794
Training Stress Score (TSS): 36.1
Work: 368 kJ
No, those metrics don’t show up yet. I asked a week or two ago, apparently they are on the radar for addition.
The metrics ARE there. They do exist on the display unit but not on garmin connect. You can use Sporttracks + LiveRecording to see the data. I did that today myself so I am 100% sure 🙂
The data will be on garmin connect just that the display of that data is not yet ready (I imagine)..ie you can’t see it but it’s there
Torque effectiveness and pedal smoothness are now displaying on Garmin Connect (at least for activities from Mar 25, 2014 onward; perhaps earlier).
thanks mark, where exactly can it be seen? I can’t see it on some of my historical sessions where it shoud eb showing.
TE and PS are under the “Power” category on GC (listed right under “Left/Right Balance:”). I saw TE and PS on an activity as of Mar 25, 2013. As far as I can tell, prior activities are not updated with the addition of these two metrics. My previous activities, Mar 22 and earlier, do not show TE and PS.
how exciting…I’m onto GC right now 🙂 thanks Mark
Having used a Tacx trainer for the last 3yrs I’ve been saving cash to eventually get a power meter that I can use out on the road.
Due to stock issues the choice was eventually limited to the Vectors.
Having got them home I’ve done some additional reading up and while the general feedback is that the vectors work, there appears to be too many people having issues when you search all the forums which lead me to a simple but sad conclusion.
1. Broken pods as a result of fatigue in repeated swapping between bikes isn’t good and for me means they loose one if the selling points.
2. Concerns of bearing wear and the fact that its non-replaceable. Not what you expect at this price point!
3. Two batteries required with a short lifespan again increases cost.
4. L/R balance not really of great use albeit it’s being developed.
5. Figment requires the soucing & purchase of additional tools
6. The units are clearly being developed to capture and report additional data which subsequently cant be used unless you’re prepared to purchase a new head unit every couple of years.
7. And lastly I wasn’t able to even register the things as the serial number had fallen off the box in shipping and I was required to provide a raft of info and spend nearly and hour on the phone to demonstrate that I had bought them legitimately.
Having taken all this into consideration I decided to leave the investment in the box and will be returning it to exchange for a quarq when they’re in stock. Yes I’ll still need additional bits ie dongle to update firmware but other than that it will be a straight swap and hopefully will let me concentrate on the job in hand rather than worrying about it, also as I’m not worried about L/R balance I can get the lower spec item and save myself a bit more cash which can be put to much better use.
I know I could save even more by going the stages route but I don’t fancy the idea of fitting an alloy arm to a carbon crank. At least I’ll now have a spare carbon crank as a backup, or I can sell it on to further offset the investment cost.
Having saved for sometime and watched the development and release of the vectors I’m a bit disappointed that I now need to wait a little longer but at least I’m now more confident in the choice I’ve made.
Sorry Garmin for me it was a good try but you’ve fallen a little short to get my cash.
So Lee; you were aware of all those negative things – which you believe to be true. Yet you still bought them. And then, without using them, you are returning them? Can’t figure that one out myself.
That’s too bad for you Lee, as you’re missing out on a great product – I’m a very happy Vector user. To take just one of your objections, the one about the cost of batteries: The expected duration of the batteries used by Vector is 175 hours. You can buy CR2032 batteries on Amazon for $2.95 for a pack of five. With using two batteries in the Vector pedals (one battery in each Vector pod), that works out to less than one cent per hour of use ($.007/hr, to be more precise). Doesn’t seem like a very compelling reason to avoid Vector.
I think others have largely covered your other concerns, but as far as concerns about wear goes of the spindle – I’m just not seeing that be a concern that has any data at this point behind it. Way back earlier in development they had discussed a 5-year target, but that was assuming someone was cycling hours each day….every day. Most, don’t do that.
Nonetheless, all units have wear concerns. For example, the PowerTap has ball bearings that need to be replaced (and they specify how often as well).
When it comes to newer metrics requiring newer head units, the Edge 510 and 810 have been been updated for the just released metrics. And non-Garmin units like the O-Synce has supported it long before Garmin.
Don’t get me wrong, the Quarq unit is very solid (and one I own), but given the prices these days, it’s really hard for me to recommend the Quarq over other options – purely on price vs functionality.
No I actually wasn’t aware of any issues when I went into store with an amount of cash to spend and I looked to the dealer to give me the advice to make a decision.
I was initially advised they had several types in stock and they would run through each including benefits and disadvantages etc.
I had read up on some basic info in relation to each (Garmin / Quarq / Stages) and got to a point where all 3 seemed to fit what I needed in general.
Stages was ruled out due to two reasons. Existing crank is SRAM force and as mentioned above I didn’t fancy a non-matching crank and due to the over/under accuracy of measuring just from left.
That left me with the Garmin and Quarq.
They didn’t have the Quarq Riken in stock so that fell off the list at the time leaving Elsa & Garrmin. Both seemed to tick the boxes and were the same price
On the basis that the Garmin offered the ability to switch between cranks/keep existing crank, and offered true in dependant L/R it made it a no brainer so I walked out with the Garmin and the instruction to google fitting.
I was happy until I got back and followed the instructions which is when the issues above started to be identified.
I’m not too fussed about the battery issue but it does increase the full life cost but its minimal and I could live with it. I can even live with the hassle that will need to be gone through to register.
What I’m more annoyed about, and I don’t necessarily blame Garmin for this, is the fact I will need to locate and purchase additional tools to fit the units to get accurate readings.
I then read info which implies (I have no first hand experience) that the bearings wear and can’t be replaced other than by replacing the whole pedal, and that there have been some pod breakages as a result of swapping them.
This is worrying and are basic issues which shouldn’t exist and are enough to make me question the design and support.
I accept the other items I’ve mentioned are minor but they do influence my thinking.
So should I go with something I am already sceptical about having done more reading or just go for a tried/tested item which appears to have less issues and would also cost me less.
If I was sure the issue of bearings and swappability had been sorted then I would actually stick with the Garmin as I’ve had no issues with other products from them and I genuinely think they are an exciting product with a lot to offer and the future benefits will be good.
I may have missed updates/responses to these two issues and if I have then its not too late for me to reconsider if someone can point me in the right direction.
I’m genuinely interested in users views and open to feedback to help me decide and clearly once they are fitted I can’t go back so its an expensive step.
you’ve taken a lot of time to write your views, so I am sure everyone appreciates that.
1. additional tools?: I used a regular spanner and did them up ‘quite tight’ AND I use oval front rings…the readings come out just fine ‘despite’ those two factors! (for me)
2. breaking while changing pedals: really? I’m DIY-phobic but I can use a spanner quite competently.
3. you read “someone’s” bearings wore out, but yours haven’t.
5k Iyou may be right and I may just be over worrying about something based on others experience rather than finding out for myself. You may be able to persuade me to change my mind so have dropped you a message on FB.
Quick update. Thanks to those who have provided additional info and first hand experience and feedback.
Taking everything into consideration I have now decided to keep the vectors.
Apologies for the length of the previous posts and thanks for those with first hand experience for putting me straight and allaying my concerns.
Here’s hoping for a great relationship……
Has anyone cracked their pod in half during installation? I had my right-side pod installed with two washers (i.e. there was space between the pod and the crank as required) and when I got to 20 lb-ft of torque the pod cracked clear across. I emailed Garmin support, but wanted to see if anyone else experienced this.
I cracked one pod when I screwed the vector-pedal with one washer into a crank that its screwing-edge was flat. the handle of the pod was broken to two halves. If I wouldn’t put the washer would the pod not get broken.
washer(s) between crank and pod right? If you didn’t do that, then, well……there’s your problem. Do you mean a ‘spacer’ (washer) between pod and crank or a ‘space’ between pod and crank. I can’t see how the physics involved will cause the unit to fail at the correct torque IF the instructions are followed regarding the spacer/washer.
As I said, I used two washers so there was proper space between the pod and the crank. I have installed them (per the written instructions) several times swapping between my bikes and never had this issue.
After riding the Vector a number of times on my TACX, I noticed that the Vector measures my power app. 7-10% higher for the first 10 minutes, fading towards similar readouts, and after another app 5 minutes the Vector power read outs drop below TACX by 10%. My perception tells me that the power read outs from TACX are more correct, and as this seems to happen each time I thought of sharing this information.
The readouts are all done while full brakes are on the TACX, doing a one hour climb. The room temperature is generally around 18 deg. celcius. Could perhaps rise a degree or so during the hour.
If anyone has similar experiences, i.e. that the Vector seems to drop in readouts after a few minutes I would like to hear.
Should be said that all rides were started with a calibration of pedals
I would agree that I wouldn’t depend on the TACX unit accuracy. Just so many variables there, and it’s hard to get those variables to line up.
As for Vector dropouts, is this just indoors? It is likely interference, usually caused by WiFi (for example, a closely placed iPad near your handlebars streaming video). I occasionally see it myself. It’s usually easy for me to spot though because I’ll have 3-4 power meters + HR/cadence sensors running and you’ll start seeing them all drop out. Usually not at the exact same time because signal strength differs and comes from different directions, but in different spots.
I have an explanation for the Tacx power reading as I have experienced exactly the same situation (I won’t call it an issue, as I don’t think it is one if you understand how the Tacx works):
In order to get a correct power readout on a Tacx i-Genius, you have to warm up for at least 10 minutes, with a power level at the end similar to what you will be doing in your workout. When you finish the warmup immediately perform a Tacx brake calibration. Then the power will track the Vector nicely.
If you do the Tacx calibration cold, the power on the Tacx will climb over the first 10 minutes as the unit warms up. This can be seen as the Tacx calibration figure gets lower depending on how warmed up the unit is, depending on when you calibrate.
As long as you do both static and dynamic calibration (Dynamic is a must – I read 20W low if I don’t do it) the Vector should be the more accurate power meter if there is a discrepancy. Vector is +-2% and Tacx +-5% accurate in my experience.
i have a tacx. some tacx devices are widely reported to be inaccurate. with mine the different ‘brake’ levels showed quite a variation to the vector by differing amounts on differing brake settings. at lower power levels the variation between the tacx and vector was different to at higher and medium power levels…I think the issue is the tacx. my vector showed no drops in power as you describe
Has Garmin provided updated information about additional POD models? I have a DA9000 crankset on a PF30 frame and the clearance is razor thin with the pod attached. I think it was around 4mm of clearance before the pod was installed. Does the Look power pedals have the same clearance issues? I realize they don’t support ANT+ or Bluetooth v4.0 (SMART) yet.
Not quite yet. Yeah, 4mm would have been close, but functional. The Look has similiar issues, since it’s more or less the same kind of design. However, I know they were re-working some of that for their next version pods for this summer.
Anyone have the crankarm width for the DA9000?
Just as a heads up for subscribers, today Garmin announced larger Vector pods. These new pods fit crank arms up to 18mm thick (wide) and 44mm deep (height). I put a tiny bit more detail here: link to dcrainmaker.com
The pods with will be available shortly, and can be bought both as just a pod-set, as well as with with the full Garmin Vector get-up. Clever Training should have the listings all completed by roughly lunch Florida time. Usual DCR goodness applies to Vector like any other product. Enjoy!
Hi Ray, this new pod have a better antenna in order to avoid random signal lost with the FR 910XT when on wrist?
Not based on my understanding.
Honestly though, it’s actually not really a pod problem, it’s more of a 910XT problem. Garmin has said for a number of months now they’re looking into it (since it affects other PM’s as well), but they haven’t provided any solution.
If you remember next time you talk to them 😉 would be a nice feedback
My power seems to a lot higher outside than on kk turbo could I being something wrong
When fitting them to outside road bike, do the peddle pods need to go directly straight down or does it matter if they are a little bit of angle when cranks are at 3 and 9
It doesn’t matter where the pods point. Having them point down at 3 and 9 was just to keep them out of the way.
Great review. It has helped me make up my mind to purchase.
Few questions. I use Shimano yellow (floating) cleats on all my shoes and have standardised on SPD-SL pedals for all my bikes. Never used the Look cleats (not to say that they are inferior).
What is the stack-up height difference between the two?
Would you recommend that I have to change bike settings (seat height, etc.)?
Will the look cleats fit on Shimano shoes that currently have the yellow cleats above?
Also, are the Look cleats included in the Vector box?
Thanks in advance.
I moved from Shimano yellow to the Vector cleats and noticed no real difference either in float (although there is a little) or stack (I don’t think there is a difference). Doubt you will need to change anything.
The Shimano and Look cleats use the same standard three-bolt pattern. Same shoes will work.
The Vector kit includes cleats. The cleats are Look Keo compatible, but are not Look brand. I bought another set of standard pedals for my other bike and they came with Look cleats. Completely interchangeable with the Vector cleats.
Hope that helps.
I read (somewhere in this post I think) that the Vector cleats had to be shifted almost past the limits toward the heel of the shoe (I think the individual was even looking at opening the slots) before tightening the bolts when replacing with Shimano.
Has this been your experience when you changed over from Shimano?
I go through a lot of pedals in a year as I average around 800 to 1000km a week.
Have tried replacing metal inserts on Ultegra pedals but find that the rear plastic spring loaded pedal assembly plastic portion which clicks into the rear of the cleat (toward the shoe heel) eventually wears out and causes a lot of float and unexpected click out of the shoe. So I end up chucking them out and replacing with new ones.
I am aware from this post that with Vector you can purchase the pedal assembly and just transfer the spindle, but I am just interested in finding out what sort of durability to expect.
How have you found the wear on the pedal surfaces?
I have had my Vector for two weeks. I have had 2 pods split after the bearing face between spindle and crank has broken away. Appears that when you are required to use the supplied spacer/washers, the internal diameter of the spacer/washer is too large and part of the pod face is left unsupported when tightened up to required torque and subsequently part of the pod shears off each time it is shifted between bikes.
I just sheared off a pod while installing them as well. What did you do to rectify the situation? Did you call Garmin and were they receptive to helping fix/send another one for a lower cost or am I now on the hook for a new pod?
Garmin replaced mine for free. Just go through the website for a warranty repair. You’ll have to send them the broken one back and they’ll send you a replacement.
Yup, I’d agree with Matt. Contact support and they’ve been pretty good with Vector owners.
Has anyone noticed a 5.5 to 6.1 sec lag / delay for the cadence and power readings from the Vectors?
Has anyone figured out if it is possible to do a torque validation using the Edge 800? I can see torque on the calibration screen but the value is not updated when hanging weights on the pedals.
I am thinking about purchasing the Vector Power Meter Pedals and currently have Look pedals with an extra 3mm washer – essentially increasing the Q Factor by 3mm. Do you know if the Garmin pedals will allow for this? p.s. I have called Garmin but they did not sound confident, although they said it would work – of course…!!
The pedal pod effectively increases the Q factor over standard pedals by about 1.6mm to start with; then you can (or in many cases, you have to) add one of the 1.2mm thick washers between the pedal pod and the crank arm in order to get pod clearance to the side of the crank. That brings you up to 2.8mm. If you really need to, you could stack a second washer inside the first to get you to 4.0mm. If you do that, make sure that the washers are as concentric as possible with each other and with the pedal pod.
Hi. Just wanted to bring this to everybody’s attention. There seem to be quite a few Vector owners that have issue with excessive play in the spindle bearing after a short time. Myself being one of them. My pedals are only about 2-3 month old and not ridden that much.
The thread on the forum is long, but several guys have gone through both 2 and 3 sets on pedals. And a few “lucky” ones have gotten their money back.
link to forums.garmin.com
What about the “install left pedal first” Instructions coming with the vectord says left first, how come?
It’s not terribly important, but just basically streamlines a bit. The reason is that the right pedal is the master, and the one that communicates to the head unit. So by putting the left unit on first the head unit won’t see anything. Thus, when you install the right unit it’ll go talk to the left unit and then talk to the head unit.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter a ton.
As a track rider can the vectors be used on indoor tracks
Works for me! Used Vectors on the track through the winter logged 1500 km, no problems at all
I have a race coming up and suddenly my power data isn’t showing up on the watch. It says calibrated successfully at zero but the power data is not coming through on my 910 watch. Power data stays at 0 on the watch and Ive tried resetting my watch and updating the software for the pedals. Any suggestions?! This is extremely frustrating as I am not very tech davy.
I would try and pull the batteries out of the Vector for a few minutes and then re-pair it to the watch and re-do calibration.
Failing that, the Garmin Vector forums (forums.garmin.com) have active Vector support folks that do often post on weekends (Garmin telephone support is closed on weekends).
I have two bikes and i have one pair of Vector pedals. Can i use one pedal on each bike. The only problem is about the balance or there are more?
No, the system as implemented today requires both pedals since only the right pedal transmits to the head unit.
Ok Thanks for the answer
In the situation of a tri where you mentioned that calibration would be easy with the 8 backstrokes, does that mean you would not be getting data till that is done?
The 910 allows you to track your entire race in detail. Wasn’t sure how that would be impacted if you get on the bike and need to calibrate the pedals before use. Or would it just record power data both pre and post calibration?
Thanks for your help!
It’ll still transmits power just fine prior to do the backstrokes, and that power will be within a few percent. The backstrokes increase the accuracy further. That’s all.
As always, Your review is the best available on the net. Congratulations for gathering all these information and get so far in the details ! (Details make all the difference)
This appears to be the go to website for those interested in the vector pedals and was a deciding factor for me, so two things- everybody should know by now that the pedal pods are delicate and need to be handled with extreme care, I did a lot of bike to bike transfers, had all of the normal issues, last saturday both of my pods failed… that is, they broke. one cracked and the other interface just disintegrated. pods are on back order across Canada… hmmm, i wonder why that would be? I know have three sets on order, the good chap at Garmin mentioned something about a re-design to make them more… robust. Was he just talking about the new larger size, or is there something else in the works
The reason they’re likely backordered is actually pretty simple. Garmin announced a new slightly larger pod size (well, the pod is the same but the connector piece accommodates larger crank arms). In doing so they’re effectively phasing out the older SKU, but the new SKU isn’t quite here yet (a few weeks away). Most retailers though are trying to get rid of the older inventory though so they’re likely going thin on inventory until the newer SKU is out.
That said, I think depending on how many ‘a lot of bike to bike transfers’ you’re talking, that’s probably the core driving point to failure.
Great website! I have something like “45/55” in balance L/R. What to do about it, should I just don´t care or should I try to end up more like “50/50”? Could the difference come from uneven tightened pedals, or doesnt that make any difference?
Second one: I use a samsung galaxy 3 and a 510 and does not succed in connecting and download wireless, any tips and tricks? Doing it by the book, at least I think so.
For balance, definitely go with “don’t care” and don’t try and fix it – for that piece virtually every well informed coach/specialist in the industry is in agreement there. The question is more ‘what’ to do with the data, which people are still trying to figure out. I think it’ll be a few years until studies sort that piece out (now that they have a viable means of capturing the data).
For the S3, that’s probably more in the realm of troubleshooting. You may want to hit up the Garmin Forums there, as I know the Garmin Connect Mobile team does actually follow and respond to requests in their sub-forum.
I ask you an information after several months of Vectors use..
do you check the torque of pedals regularly? Sometimes I’ve experiences a low reading (10/15%) issue…
Do you uninstall and reinstall them sometimes to check if everything is ok?
I do a calibration before every ride (as you should), as well as usually about 10-15 minutes into it (Garmin says it’s unnecessary, but I just like doing it).
If don’t un-install/re-install unless I have to move bikes. For the most part I kinda leave well enough alone once I have it all properly torqued.
I’ve got an injury on my left foot (shin splints), however, I’m able to cycle. Because clicking-out of the left pedal hurt when twisting my heel outward, I loosened the locking mechanism on my left pedal. Now, I noticed that the Power Balance has changed. Prior to my injury and loosening of the pedal pedal the balance was always in the 50-50% range. Now it’s somewhere at 45-55%.
My question is: Is this shift in my power balance due to the injured leg, or can it be due to different tensions of the locking mechanism of left and right vector pedal?
Has the tension of clipless pedals something to do with the measured power?
I’d be wagering it has to do with the injury. Assuming you’ve backwards pedaled until the calibration message appears, that’d clear up any tension issues.
Hi Ray, do you know if Garmin are planning to develop a Bluetooth pod?
There’s no current plans, however they’ve long-said that if the market dictates that the system was designed to simply swap out the pod piece.
I have had problems doing a static calibration on my Vectors with Edge 500 for the past few weeks. My Vectors just simply won’t static calibrate. I have changed the batteries, re-set the installation angles and updated the Firmware, and done everything I “should be” doing.
But no luck with getting my Vectors to properly static calibrate.
I can get power readings and dynamic calibrate, but I’m not able to static calibrate.
Any thoughts or help for me? What should I do and who should I contact?
You’re best bet is calling Garmin support, or also posting to the Garmin Vector forums (forums.garmin.com). In this case you’re lucky in that the Vector team responds on the forums pretty quickly – often even on weekends (most other Garmin teams don’t respond at all on the forums).
Definitely trying not to offend anyone, and I may take some flak with this comment, but here goes anyway: I really enjoy reading the comments on the DCR blog, but I would prefer not to see the comments section turned into a venue for troubleshooting individual issues with devices. As Ray points out above, those issues are usually much better handled in the device makers’ own forums. Almost all of the devices covered here have manufacturer forums; and in the case of Garmin devices, all of them are covered in the Garmin forums. Also as pointed out by Ray, some of the Garmin forums (Vector being a good example) have good participation by Garmin reps. Other Garmin forums remain user-to-user, but you can still usually get good info there from some knowledgeable individuals. My own personal view is that it would be better if the DCR comments section remained devoted to more general discussion of the subjects in Ray’s posts.
My LBS installed my Vector pedals initially but did not give me the spare washers. Do you know where I can get these washers? Are they something I can buy at a local hardware store?
Eek, I wouldn’t risk it with local hardware store ones to be honest. That said, if you call up Garmin Support, I’m willing to bet they’d send you some for free (at least, the US folks likely would).
Has anyone noticed the 6.1 sec lag reporting of cadence and power information? The dedicated garmin speed/cadence sensor and quarq on my second bike has about a 3 sec reporting delay. I do have an older head unit (Edge 500 with the newest software release).
The Vectors have the v2.4 software update installed.
I posted comments on this site at March 14, 2014 at 6:54 am under Chris.
Based on this forum, I purchased the pedals. After the purchase, my new coach tried to dissuade me, based on the fact that apparently the pedals do badly in wet conditions. DC Rainmaker had tested in the rain, so I felt somewhat assured that there was a contrary opinion. My coach tried to steer me towards Quarqs and Stages (cheaper option). I still felt that based on DC’s review, that if the vectors delivered, I would have a power option that I could transfer from bike to bike (ie my training and racing bikes). Also, I picked up the pedals at a great price = AUD $1,299.
Installing the pedals was easy (I also bought a torque wrench). The reason I am posting here however, was that getting my older Garmin Edge 500 to work with the pedals was a bit harder. DC’s review really only covers the Garmin 810 (I think). I thought I would share my experience here since I had to piece this together from many forums.
In essence, what I had to do was:
1. Install Garmin Web Updater software which could see my Garmin 500 and properly upgrade the firmware to version 3.30 (since I bought the head unit second hand, I don’t have any ANT+ unit to go with it). I had no luck using Garmin Express to update the firmware, it couldn’t see the head unit when it was connected by USB.
2. Install Garmin Vector Updater app which along with the ANT + USB dongle (which came with the pedals) uploaded latest firmware to the pedals, upgrading them from 2.10 to 2.40 version.
Then it was a matter of finding the power meter on the Garmin 500 when you were pedalling, then calibrating, as well as setting your crank length. If you get to this stage and are struggling, I suggest you call the USA Garmin support centre, they talked me through this final part after I had updated the firmware on both units.
It is understandable that the older Garmin 500 needed a firmware update, but new pedals as well? Guess I wouldn’t make a good software engineer.
Anyway, I just posted this to hopefully help anyone running into this problem.
Thanks DC, I’ll let you know how these go in the rain, as well as generally. I’m hopeful they’re going to do the job.
Has there been any talk about garmin releasing the vector on another pedal platform? I ride speedplays and would really like to use the vector without switching my pedals.
Lots of talk, but nothing to date.
Hi I’ve just bought the Fenix 2 to use with my Vector Pedals. I can see Pedal Smoothness and Torque efficiency data live on the watch, but it isn’t showing in Garmin Connect- has anybody got any ideas for what to do? Both have the latest firmware installed.
Garmin hasn’t added charts for those yet actually (to Garmin Connect).
Thank you for the rapid response- is there any way of viewing this data post ride? I already had a 910xt and edge 800, I got the Fenix2 for this feature to try to train myself to be more efficient- or is it just available during the ride?
I think that Sport Tracks may have added it, but I’m not 100% certain. On GC it will show a summary on the left side, but that’s it.
Ray — what do you make of the reports that the Garmin pro team is not actually using Vectors (link to forum.slowtwitch.com)? I just picked up a pair (20% off sale at Performance Bike plus the $200 rebate seemed pretty appealing) but haven’t put them on my bike yet and am wondering how big a red flag this is.
Yeah, I saw it yesterday as well (in person actually). I’m going to try and get an official answer as to why they aren’t being used.
That said, aside from the one retailer on the thread who appears very set on Stages, I actually don’t hear of many people with accuracy issues with Vector. And I have a hard time believing that some of the worlds top bike mechanics can’t figure out how to keep it function. Especially since I’m one of the world’s least capable bike mechanics and I can do it just fine. As long as one remembers the simple and singular rule of Vector (Torque properly), they’re sorta hard to screw up.
Not sure if it’s optional to ride Vectors, but at least some of the Garmin riders rode them today on the cobbles. Check out the bikes in this pic (link to velonews.competitor.com). One of the ones against the team bus even has pods installed. They appear to be using SRMs also so maybe they’re doing additional Vector field testing for Garmin’s R&D team?
Some portion of the team is using Vector, some portion isn’t (but is faking it by just having the pedals without the pods). You can see this in my TdF post from earlier today.
In the gallery you linked to Photo #4 actually shows one that is faking it. They have Vector pedals on the foreground bike but no pods, whereas the background bike has pods and pedals (thus real).
I’ve sent over a note asking for clarification.
Oops! Link was only to the gallery. Check out bike #92 leaning against the bus on image 4 of 25.
If they wanted to fake it, then I wonder why they dont install the pods as well, just without the batteries.
Ray I’m having a problem with my Vector and cannot seem to resolve it by doing the old battery removal and replacement trick.
I run a Garmin Edge 500, and the other day I had a warning that my power meter battery was running low. So last night I replaced the old batteries with new ones, and tried to re-pair with my Garmin. No luck. I then tried updating the Vector pedals with Garmin Vector Updater. No luck – the software couldn’t find the pedals (after literally 2 hours of troubleshooting and many battery replacements).
Then I tried using Garmin Express to update the software, or at least to check that the batteries I installed weren’t defective. Garmin Express seemed to find the Vector, but it came up with an error: “Vector, Serial Number: The specified Unit ID is invalid.”
So I’m baffled. The vector won’t pair with my Garmin, and won’t work.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Hmm, that’s odd. I’d ring up Garmin Vector support – or, post to the Garmin Vector forums on the Garmin Forums (forums.garmin.com). That team responds incredibly quick to either channel (about the only team that does so in such a manner).
Do you know of any supplies that will ship the Blackhawk crowfoot wrench to an APO/ FPO address? Your review was super helpful and I am now trying to purchase a torque wrench and crowfoot, but the amazon suppliers won’t ship to APO/FPO.
Maybe interesting to some that the pedal wrench piece of my Topeak Alien multitool is small enough to fit the Vectors.
Very interesting. Is that the Alien 2 (this one: link to amazon.com) – or a different one?
Yes, that’s the one. I have an older version, but the pedal wrench piece of this new one looks very similar, and certainly not thicker/wider.
Awesome – will order one up, love that, especially when I’m travelling and finding a Torque wrench that will go through carry-on luggage is tough (has to be under 8″ in length). While it’s not perfect, over time I’ve done enough installs/de-installs of Vector that I’m reasonably confident I know the ‘feeling’ of the proper torque – so could probably practice replicating it with that.
Yours is the only article that delves deep into the compatibility which is really great! Very in-depth!
Ive been toiling whether I should buy the vector since (1) the clearance appears to be 3mm-3.2mm at best (2) the crank I have which is FC-9000- has a width of 14mm and height of 40. If I get the 44mm im afraid the clearance will be more narrow. For people who might be interested I have a domane 6.9, 172.5 crank length. Ive never seen a case like mine.
Man, this is amazing! What a review!
I believe that this was the most useful, detailed and complete review I have ever read!
I was doing some research to buy my first powermeter and I was choosing between the Vector, the Power2max and Rotorpower, but after this review, I have a winner! And it´s the Vector!
Thank you very much
Please read this, before you spend you money. Coming form one that is not so happy with his vector anymore….
I’m not clear exactly what he/she is supposed to be noting since that thread seems to wander a bit. That said, there have actually been a number of small changes to Vector from a hardware standpoint over the last year – for example going from cast aluminum to forged on the pedal pods, adding an o-ring, and of course other software changes.
What is the “this” that you are recommending be read?
I put a link to the Garmin forum in the “website” box, but I see now, that this becomes a link from my name. Sorry.
See here: link to forums.garmin.com
It’s a monster thread. But to sum it up, it’s a whole bunch of folks that have been complaining about play in the body. Mainly the right on. Many have had them replaced 2 or 3 times and several has gotten their money back.
I have had mine replaced one and the 2nd pair has play also, but it does not seem to get quite as bad on this pair. But this set has not been ridden in bad/winter weather yet.
I was Reading some questions here and I found one where you said that the Garmin Vector doesn´t Works properly with Rotor Q-rings. Why is that? The power is measured at the pedal hub so the size or the form of the rings shouldn´t matter?
I´m I right?
Power is force * distance (motion) and since vector measures force and assumes constant motion on a full revolution, based on cadence, then the math will be wrong with the Q-rings.
Correct. It’s wrong on the vast majority of power meters that are crank-area based (including SRM).
Sorry, who is correct? Me or Jesper Nygaard?
Talking to some friends that use the Vector with and without Q-rings they didn´t say anything about wrong measures…
Jesper is correct. More details here: link to bikeblather.blogspot.nl
Garmin also very clearly states this too: link to forums.garmin.com
“Vector assumes constant angular velocity within a single crank revolution. For most riding conditions and bike set-ups, this assumption allows Vector to report power within its stated accuracy.
Garmin has not determined how variable the angular velocity is using elliptical rings in real riding conditions to be able state what the impact would be on power values. This is likely a function of how elliptical the rings are and the type of pedaling style of the particular rider.
Vector is taking multiple samples per crank revolution and has the ability to determine a micro-cadence. This is a potential enhancement for a future software release.”
Jesper is mostly correct. But as an engineer, I must make one nit-pick.
force * distance is actually work.
force * distance / time is power.
But in this context it doesn’t change the conclusion.
thanks for fantastic reviews DC.
I installed these a week ago and since then have done 1 race and couple of training rides. After the race I thought, wow these readings seem pretty close to what I’ve got on my bkool trainer, maybe a bit on the low side. Then switched pedals to my roadbike and did couple of rides. Readings were still low compared to how I “felt”.
Today I did a ride inside with Bkool and Vectors. Tightened them before the ride. It was a steady recovery ride without any really hard spikes or climbs so I thought Bkool would be a nice comparator. Readings were off average 40 watts, normalized 40 watts, peak 100 watts! Vector lower. This was exactly how I felt when I looked at my 510 edge unit during the ride that these readings can’t be accurate! I’m not saying Bkool is the best benchmark but after many rides and tests I’d say it’s not possible to ride steady uphill 30kph and having a wattage reading of 140 watts or so. Power figure seemed very close to each other but vector was systematically lower.
Going to take the pedals off tomorrow and re-attach, re-calibrate.
Not to mention I have clearance issues with cannondale SISL cranks but not with FSAs on my tri-bike.
First feeling of this product: I have to sell these 🙂
This morning I installed the pedals carefully again to the correct torque with a long pedal key and luggage scale, installed firmware to the pedals and recalibrated every step. After this readings were almost identical to BKool’s in the range of 150-300w in a quick test before going out to ride!
Something apparently went wrong with installation when I changed to the road bike. These things are fragile!
Looking forward to riding more with these if they keep on showing realistic digits.
Good to hear. What’s the luggage scale for though?
Sounds like it’s a makeshift torque wrench. Still wrestling in my head whether the flex of the key can be accounted for in the readings from the scale. Also, is the scale true force units? You’d probably have to make sure to keep the direction of force orthogonal to the key.
Yes, I’m trying to get the torque set with the luggage scale.
I installed Rotor 3D 53/39 crankset and a new BB because of the clearance issues I had on my Cannondale supersix evo. Ofc had to reinstall Vectors too. They are incredibly hard to install right. Today I did a trainer session again and Vectors showing similar figure to Bkool’s, except it’s systematically lower.
For example one random 20min part of the session I had Bkool showing 210 avg power, 222 np, 415 max. Vector 182/195/265. Don’t know which one to believe. I even tightened Vectors again after session, calibrated and did some cooldown while observing of the values. Vector shows considerably lower.
Any ideas what to do except buy the crows foot adapter and tool online which I’m going to do right now?
I think ultimately the crow-foot and torque wrench will solve you’re problems. It’ll allow you to get it tight and validated, and then do the calibration (don’t forget to do a few quick sprints somewhere along the way per the above instructions).
I’m having issues with the Vectors stop working correctly mid ride, such as stop reading entirely or very low power readings. Have you came across this and if so any ideas to correct this.
Generally only if a pod connector is slightly loose, or if the battery cap is loose, or if the battery is simply about to die.
My Venge’s crank (original) thickness is bigger than Vector could be installed. Is there another way to install the pedals
Do you know if it occurred with anyone
Did you purchase the regular Vector size, or the large-pod size?
I bought the regular Vector size. Where can i buy the large one?
You can buy it from any Garmin retailer, and you can request (separately) the large pod size.
So, would you recommend this as an entry-level pedal? If not, what would you recommend? And, what cleats would you suggest a newbie go for?
Great review as always, thanks!
Recently bought the vector and about to install. Of particular interest for me was the left/right measurement as I had an accident years ago which has left me with an imbalance and I’m doing exercises to try and strengthen my weaker right leg. I’ve now realised that the Vector doesn’t support asymmetric cranks – I have a 170 right and 175 left crank, along with a 15mm shim on my right cleat. All this is to account for the 2.5cm leg length difference I have (partially naturally, mainly to do with the accident).
So my questions are how to get the info I seek out of the setup:-
1. Assume if I set cranks to the average of 172.5 then I will get the correct average power, but this will give me a power reading that is greater than true for the right and lower for the left? Any idea how significant this difference will be?
2. If I wanted to get a baseline for each leg, with the plan to check it later – say in a couple months, would it make sense to set the crank length to 170mm for a week of riding and then alternate to 175mm and record those values?
3. Any other suggestions on how best to setup in my case?
many thanks Ray!
With the latest firmware upgrades for the Edge 1000, 810, and 510 you will be able to individually change scale factors for left and right sides. This is intended for long-term maintenance of a Vector system, but it also allows you to use one crank length (say 175) and then tweak the scale factor on the short side to 170/175 (about 0.9714)
link to tech note
Great advice, thanks Theo! A unit more current than my 800 just arrived on my shopping list.
So I’ve bought the 810 now, and am on the latest firmware updates for the unit and pedals – but I cannot see where to adjust the scale factor. Per the tech note, those options don’t appear for the 810. Can you assist please? Hopefully this is not only available on the 1000! Many thanks
The scale factor hasn’t quite been released yet for the Edge 510/810 – a few weeks away.
I had my Vectors for less than a month, and switch them back and forth between my TT bike and my road bike. I am very careful to always use a torque wrench (the big daddy digital one from Sears). Both pods have already broken from tightening them (to 27 ft-lbs). This is a serious design flaw that they would use such a flimsy piece of metal. I have returned them to my LBS.
Is be curious if your Vector set had a rubber o ring or not on them.
Ray, where would the o ring have been?
Attached to the pedal spindle. I need to get a photo of it.
The reason why I asked is that if you have an o-ring it indicates you have a unit that was made more recently. Which in turn guarantees you have the newer pods, made differently (forged aluminum versus cast). You can also tell by looking at the pods. The older pods have a flush edge, whereas the newer pods have a bit of a molding around them on the thin part that connects up against the crank arm. I’ve gotta get some pics at Eurobike tomorrow of the new pods to help make it more clear. It’s a minor change, but helps with breakage considerably.
The challenge is that it really depends on when your LBS got them. Often times they may have ordered something 9 months ago and it has sat on a shelf. Or, they ordered it even just last week, but it sat on a shelf upstream at a distributor (since almost all local bike shops would use distributors for Garmin).
My LBS said they had them for awhile, which is why I got such a good deal on them…but I’m pretty sure that the hole in the middle of the pod where the pedal goes had an indentation.
Yeah, that sounds fishy. Fwiw, as of today, Vector is now $1,499US, and there’s still a $200 rebate down to $1,299US. On top of that, the DCR VIP discount applies for 10% off the $1,499. So with some magical maths, that puts it in the $1,149 range.
Hi, the pedals are awesome, been using them for last two months in winter weather and indoors on trainer. No problems.
Question: apparently the cleats that come with the pedals have 6 degrees of float, but I would say they have 0 degrees. Is it possible I got ones with 0 degrees? How can I tell?
Also: if anyone is using Training Peaks, can you view L/R balance in the software? I can see it on the Garmin 500 when I’m training.
Yes, Training Peaks does support Left/Right balance.
Cleat Float Guide
– Black 0°
– Red 6°
link to buy.garmin.com
Look Keo Cleats:
– Black 0°
– Gray 4.5°
– Red 9°
link to lookcycle.com
Been using the wahoo fitness app with the vectors and love it. Had no issues until today when I noticed that wahoo did an update on the 28th. Now I’m getting only a reading from the right pedal on the app so I see 100% right pedal and only half the power output. I know you use wahoo. Are you experiencing anything similar?
Hmm, I haven’t tried it in the last two days with the app, that sounds a bit odd. I’ll be able to try again sometime this week (travelling at the moment).
Hi, my Vector has finally arrived. It came with a special pedal wrench. So the only thing missing to install it properly is the torque wrench.
But, after Reading about some installation troubles due to torque, I´m a little worried abount the amount ogf torque… 34Nm is really a high value! For example, my P3 saddle torque is about 12Nm and I´ve found it very hard.
Is it really necessary to add 34Nm of torque?? Does the crank and pedal axle can handle this kin of power?
Yes, it’s really necessary. You don’t clamp down your saddle because in most cases it’ll crack the carbon. There’s no carbon to crack in the pedal attachment point. If you don’t torque it that high, than honestly, I would return the pedals, as they won’t be accurate. Enjoy the new training tool!
Tks! My torque wrench will arrive os wednesday. Than I´ll install it properly.
I ride a Felt B16. I have a stock crank, Gossamer FSA. Following garmin’s video to check if there is enough clearence for the pods and unfortunately it looks there isn’t. I can’t fit two penny’s between arm and chain. Guess i’m out of luck?! 🙁
get rid of the FSA crank and get an ultegra crankset in dark grey. looks much better on the B16 than the ugly FSA crank and more clearance thanks to shimanos more refined crank profile
I just broke my pod, while using the wrench in a stupid way. It is quite a clean cut.
Here’s an image: link to dl.dropboxusercontent.com
I ordered a new one, but in the meantime, ts there any way to tape/glue them back together? And will there be a loss in accuracy?
Thanks in advance,
I’m not aware of a way. Plus, at that break point there’s an incredible amount of centrifugal force there at 90+ times a minute…
Did you actually buy one versus contacting support? The Vector support group tends to be pretty forgiving…
Thanks Ray for the hint.
I contacted Garmin and they really replaced the broken pod with no problems.
Saved me some money.
Hi, I want to buy second half Garmin vector but the offer is only for the large version (xl).I have a crankset Shimano ultegra 10v 170mm. Anybody knows if the large version is compatible with my cranks? Thanks
Nobody….Just I have to decide buy or not, and this week the Spanish Garmin commercial are in a convention and I can’t contact with they. The second half are xl and nobody can tell me if the xl version is compatible with shimano ultegra.
Nobody from Garmin will tell you that, and the reason nobody here will tell you is because nobody knows offhand the actual width/height of your crank arm.
If you post the width/height (just measure it), then folks can help.
Sorry, but I thought the Ultegra cranks are well knowns. The measure is 13mm/34mm and know the perfect version for they is the standard (12-18mm /<38mm), but the second half Garmin Vector are XL, and in a future I want to buy other cranks with more width I think I will have to buy the pod larger version. (other 110€/$)
Thanks and sorry if you are offended, not was my intention.
No worries. The challenge with using the large pods on non large cranks is that it won’t set deep enough, which can case potential breakage issues. Down the road though if you get another larger crank set you only need to purchase just the pods.
Great review, I had the vectors for a few months but they have unfortunately just caused terminal damage to my carbon frame and I wondered if you had heard reports of other damage caused by the plug on the rear if the crank catching the chain during heavy load.
The situation was the chain had sufficient clearance when stationary on my Pinarello Dogma with Camp EPS cranks, however I was not even in the smallest cog while attacking, downhill, round a curve with bumpy road surface (yes, I’m that kind of rider :))
As a chain slackens under heavy load at the bottom of its travel and the angle of lean compounded by the surface of the road threw the bottom of the chain out of alignment, links of the chain were caught by the plastic plug on the pedal spindle trapping the chain between crank and chain stay destroying the chainstay.
Would be interested to hear if others have seen this and also to warn others of the possibility.
Hmm, I’ve never heard of anything like that. What’s your exact chain clearance in MM at a standstill?
If it is the 5mm and still it has that much slack I’d wonder if that’s appropriately sized.
Great review(s). Any news on Garmin providing the “adapter” for the torquemada wrench?
In my opinion crazy that they do not provide a small, relatively inexpensive tool that is really required for the produkt to work – especially as it is difficult to get in many markets/countries.
I for sure will not buy until either Garmin or the retailer provides the tool as part of the “package”
Actually, they just started shipping a crow foot adapter in all boxes. 🙂 It was actually made in conjunction with Park Tools, and can be bought from them as well directly.
I’ve got it as part of a post coming up shortly with a bunch of other Vector updates/tweaks/changes/etc… Note that the adapter does NOT come with Vector S though (single sided), just the dual system.
Thanks for update regarding crow foot adapter. However, very strange that they do not include with the S-model.
I realize that they want to keep costs down, but as it is required for the product ot work properly, it does not make any sense – all customers will have to buy this tool anyway?
PS! Any recommendations on wiedly available (incl. EU) torque wrenches that works well with Vector?
Yeah, I’m not quite sure why they don’t include it there.
You can the Park Tool adapter anywhere though through their global distributors. It’s part #TWB-15.
Just wanted to say a big thanks to Garmin for replacing my faulty vectors and seeing the new adapter in the box. Surprised to see this as haven’t been following this thread of late but a nice surprise nonetheless.
now bring on the new functionality (to the 510 please Garmin…)
Hey Ray… are Vector Static/Dynamic calibration device agnostic? I just got Vectors yesterday and configured them with my 910xt and Edge 800. Do I need to go through calibration with both devices when starting each ride? I ride with both as I use my 910xt as the “upload to Garmin Connect” device.
Lastly, is there a need/benefit to dynamically calibrate multiple times through a ride? Does it help or hurt?
Nah, you’re good with just doing it on one unit. As for dynamic calibration, that’s going away in the next firmware update anyway, so don’t worry too much here shortly.
Thank you very much for your BRILLIANT REVIEW and technical write up. You are such a mensch!!!!
You mention that you have a post coming up as update on the vector. I am in the process of deciding which will be better for me: vector vs stages and possibly taking advantage of the rebate garmin has. Do you have an estimate when your post might be? Thanks for your in depth reviews.
Sorry! I was going to publish it last week in conjunction with something else, but then some dates shifted for the other thing. So I’m going to separate out the secondary thing and just publish the Vector-specific pieces.
In short, go forth and get it now. Basically I extrapolate on the hardware tweaks they made in the past year, another slight tweak coming up to improve reliability of the cartridge, as well as dive into some of the new metrics they added. There isn’t any reason to wait though, since even if you’re one of the rare folks that run into the cartridge issue, support will continue to take care of you without problem.
Thanks! Now to decide which one is for me!
the other thing could be 920xt?? 🙂
a side note I am on garmins webpage looking at compatible devices for the vector and it shows a 920xt. When you click on the device it says page can’t be found…interesting.
Have just purchased a look 695 light with the zed2 crank. I believe the crank width is 18 mm which means the vector pedals In the large size will work. Does anyone know whether I will have the required 5 mm clearance between the chain and the pod connection on this particular bike. I’ve yet to build it up! Any comments will be appreciated
I run the vectors on a look 695 – you do indeed need the larger pod size. They work really nicely on the 695.
could you please advise on what torque value you used to tighten the Vector on the Zed2 crank?
do u know if u still need to keep the garmin speed/cadence sensor installed on the bike along with a megnet on the spoke even with this vector installed???
I was wondering does anybody know if Vector’s would work if fitted to an exercise bike? I work away and was thinking of taking a set of Vectors with me to continue my power training. Also the cranks on the exercise bike have a width of 51mm but i would be able to machine them down to the required width.
Every time I look to the power balance on training peaks or garmin connect, it shows DIFFERENT POWER BALANCE VALUES, please take a look to this example:
Training peaks 45.1% 54.9% : link to tpks.ws
Garmin connect 52% 48% : link to connect.garmin.com
What’s your opinion?
Hmm, I’m not sure why. In looking at my most recent file, they seem to match (though, inverted). I’d contact Training Peaks, or, consider posting to the Vector forum on the Garmin Forums.
I’ve seen similar differences between trainingpeaks and garmin connect. I think it is connected to the balance being reported as 100% Left when coasting. Perhaps GC only calculates the balance based on non-zero balance data whilst TP averages over all the data? GC agrees with the summary on my edge 800.
Hi, does anybody know when will the cycling dinamycs update be avalaible? the one shown in the last eurobike that shows shoe preasure on the cleat
Per that post, it’s scheduled for Q4 2014, so anytime before Dec 31st.
thanks a lot
what do you think ?is this update focused to better positioning of the cleats or to achieve better performance on the bike?
Performance is debatable, but positioning related, yes. Details here: link to dcrainmaker.com
Is there still a $200 rebate from Garmin? If so how long does it last? Thanks for the help.
No, that expired at the end of September – though, the price was reduced in conjunction with that. However, you can still save 10% using Clever Training here using the DCR VIP program. Details here: link to dcrainmaker.com
(And it supports the site)
Already in my shopping cart! Either way I have to wait until next week. I just bought a new bike and my wife is still…upset with the cost. 😉
do you know if you still need to keep the garmin speed/cadence sensor installed on the bike along with a megnet on the spoke even with this vector installed???
Sure, no problems there.
Thanks for your answer.
However, I wanted to know if I can take the speed/cadence sensor off my bike and still get the speed/cadence data once I have the Vector pedal/power unit installed.
I would appreciate it if you could kindly amswer my question.
Yes, you can. You’ll get speed outside from GPS, though inside on a trainer speed would require a speed sensor. Cadence will come from Vector.
Thanks so much.
Ray, Great review & info. Looking to purchase vectors but have a few questions…..
1. Is the recommended torque 25lbs? I read on a comment further up that referred to 34lbs?
2. Are Garmin shipping the crows foot with all new Vectors?
3 Has the latest firmware been updated and is the dynamc calibration still need with an 800?
1) Yes, it’s actually 25-35 as a range.
2) Yes, they are now.
3) Not quite yet, it’s coming shortly.
Thanks a lot….I ordered a crows foot adaptor today!! Ooops,
Here’s a strange one for you…….I haven’t got my vectors yet but went out on a group ride, one of the guys had vectors and another had quark (I think). When I got back I downloaded my ride to garmin connect and it showed power! It showed the usual stats around HR, speed, elevation etc but also had the power figures and graphs also. I did not ride with a power meter. Has my garmin picked up someone else’s power meter? Is this common and if so how do you know it’s picking up yours and not someone else’s?
I also wasn’t riding that close to the same people all the ride so am surprised it’s picked up the info for the whole ride but it has.
Is this common and how can you stop this.
Yeah, it’s an Edge quirk I’ve heard from a few readers that have happened where it goes off and finds another unit when it can find it’s usual friend. Seems to be on older Edge units, but hard to say 100%.
Ok thanks, I use an Edge 800.
Any idea how to avoid this?
I assume if I did have a Power meter then it would have found mine and stuck with it? Is there a way to lock it in? Thanks
I suppose its a way to avoid buying your own Power meter 🙂
The easiest bet is to simply disable power meter in the settings for those rides.
Once I get my Vectors, in a group ride it should only record mine shouldn’t it?
Have you heard of any issues in group rides when the 800 picks up others ?
I’ve never heard of a case of that happening as long as it found its own unit. So you’d be good to go once you have them installed.
Thanks again Ray. Vectors turned up today. So far so good. I has problems completing the dynamic calibration, I didn’t get any confirmation messages after back pedalling. I then read on the Garmin forum that this is now not necessary in sw release 2.6. Is that correct? Are you aware is the dynamic calibration not needed now? I have an 800 head unit
Correct, with the recent 2.60 dynamic calibration is no longer needed (regardless of head unit). It’s on my list to update the steps above.
Did I get this correct: With an Edge 800 (for me it shows sw release 2.70) there is no need to perform the dynamic calibration (the backward pedaling)? The static calibration is enough?
If I do the dynamic calibration I get a confirmation message.
I don’t get a confirmation message & have read you don’t need to do it anymore with the latest release.
I can’t seem to find this information anywhere. Can anyone tell me what size Vector to buy? Shimano DA FC-9000, 130 BCD, 170mm arm length. I haven’t received the bike yet so I can’t pull out a ruler to measure. Thanks for the help.
Soooo…everything above is correct except the 130bcd. I learn something new every day, even when I’m trying not to. Same question. Which vector?
I tried a quick look to find the width/height of the FC-9000, but couldn’t easily. If you can find it, then it’s easy to determine which vector units.
I have been searching all over for this, but the search terms make it tough:
I usually keep my bikes inside, but this year I’m moving them to the garage (I blame the new baby for taking over the gym room). Will keeping the pedals on, in sub-freezing temps damage the gauges, or any other parts?
I think you should be fine, though, sometimes you can get cracking of o-rings at sub-freezing temps if they dry out.
The Vector S(ingle) uses only one power meter pedal for the measurement. So I’m asking me if it’s possible to go also only with a single Vector (dual) sensor on a ride. And therefore it would be possible to equip two bikes permanently with only one power pedal (e.q. my track bike with the left pedal and my street bike with the right one).
I’m not sure if this combination makes sense because the balance measurement of the two legs is missing and it is cheaper to buy a vector S and remount it easily between the bikes.
No, you can’t split up a regular Vector that way – it requires both pods.
Going to finally invest in Garmin Vector but I cannot seem to find out what size I need to buy.
I am currently using SRAM Red 2011 crankset. Measurements on the crank appear to be 14mm depth and 37mm width. Crank length in 172.5mm
Any advice on what on what sizing I need to go for? I believe I need 12-15mm/44mm
12-15mm should give me the depth I need but it feels like I need to go for 44mm in width as 1mm clearance on 38mm pod will not be enough
I am having problem in manual calibration vector on my edge 510.
After leaving the pedal horizontally without being clipped, and click “calibrate” according to the manual, the number should be set at “zero”.
However, in my case it never fixed the “zero”. On the contrary, is varying (0.03), then (0.00), then (-0.03) after (0.00), then (0.06), then (0,00) and so on.
How to solve the problem and make the number is set to “zero”?
Yup, that’s actually totally normal. No worries there. Enjoy!
does anyone know when the 2.0 may be released? what have been the events where garmin has released new products in the past? any likely dates? thanks
I wouldn’t expect a 2.0 per se. Garmin has been pretty clear that they expect to see software updates as the primary drive of updates. They recently announced that next set of software updates, due out here shortly (link to dcrainmaker.com). Further, they’ve rev’d the hardware a fair bit over the last year, making minor changes. Then, they announced new pod sizes followed by a single-leg version.
I’d expect that the next time we hear from them on the hardware front it would be a different pedal type, but I have no idea if that would be next spring, or two years from now.
Do you know of any way to identify which hardware rev. one have? I’m mainly interested in the spindle/seal leak, that results in play.
I had mine replaced once and it seems better now, but there still seems to be water/dirt ingress. The “grease” was like dark gray mud, when I took them apart to re-grease them last night. And they haven’t even been ridden in rain.
Do you know if is possible to use the Garmin Vector set in two different bikes? One friend is looking for a solution to cover his two bikes. The idea is to buy one set and use the left on one bike and the right in the other one.
And, when he wants, install both to get the information for each leg.
What do you think?
No, you cannot split them. Sorry!
what’s the weight of the cleat? thanks
I get 50g total (25g each) for the default cleats. That’s without the screws, which the little baggie adds another 26g (including the small bag itself), so 13g per side, probably 12g if you remove the plastic bag weight.
Of course, you can use whatever cleats you want.
I seem to remember seeing a max rider weight of 90kg quoted on their site at one point but can’t find it now. I’ve e-mailed them to see if there is a limit but not had a response, don’t suppose you know if 90kg is the limit do you?
Hmm, I can’t seem to find an answer in my past post/notes. That said, typically if you post to this forum (link to forums.garmin.com) they’ll answer pretty quick. The Vector team is increda-responsive in that area (often on weekends too).
Going through regular support might have have tossed you into a general queue somewhere. I wouldn’t think 90KG would be the limit, that sounds pretty low actually.
Got a response on the Garmin Facebook page and unfortunately it is 90kg unfortunately 🙁
Did they saw what would happen if you are over this limit?
I own two sets of vector and I weight nearly 100kg…but nothing wrong had happened…’til now…(scratching and crossing…)
Here is a link to the page
link to buy.garmin.com
The warning is in the bottom of the page
“WARNING: The maximum weight limit of the cyclist using the Vector 2 system is 200 lbs (90 kg). Cyclists over this weight limit risk personal injury and property damage.”
There is a lot of riders out there over 90kg !! why not make the pedals stand 150kg or more strange?
Is there a way to update the vectors without the ant+ usb drive? I do have an iphone with the wahoo iphone ant+ adapter? What do you got for me Ray?!
Unfortunately not, does indeed require the ANT+ USB stick and a computer.
Having noted your thoughts on the 920XT (now purchased – thank you!) and read your brilliantly comprehensive review of the Vector I was in the process of making a purchase when I spotted Lee’s question. I stumbled across another mention of the 90kg limit on Garmin US’s sales site which states that riders over that weight risk personal injury and property damage! At 125kg I’m particularly worried and will have to seek an answer direct from Garmin I think…
I’ve now had replies from Garmin both via Facebook and my e-mail and both confirm the 90kg limit. My guess is its the axle of the pedal.
I am having a hard time updating my vector pedals. I purchased them used and as far as I know they were never updated. Had for about 6 months now. They didn’t come with a usb ant+ stick. I borrowed one from a friend who uses one for his 300 garmin gps watch. I am using windows 8 and can install the vector updater program. However, after the first few steps of the update wizard (plug in usb, spin cranks etc. I get a message that the usb isn’t plugged in. However, I know it is working because on garmin express it will read the vectors but say they aren’t compatible with express. PLEASE HELP!
You would probably be better off posting a tech support question like this in the “Vector” forum on Garmin’s website. Not only are there lots of knowledgeable Vector users who hang out there regularly, it’s one of the few Garmin forums which is actively participated in by Garmin’s own tech support staff. Posting under the handle VECTOR-INFO, these guy(s) are invariably very helpful with tech support issues.
They are indeed awesome. Even better, VECTOR-INFO are the actual lead engineers. 😉
Now, that said, in this case, it sounds much more like a Windows/USB issue than anything else, so the Vector engineers might not be as solid there compared to regular Garmin support.
Did the update with a Mac and had no issues at all.
Anything new with the release date of the new firmware with the cycling dynamic stuff?
I haven’t heard anything new there as far as it sliding or anything. I’ll poke around.
Hey all. Just wanted to say that I’ve just bought a set of these from bike-discount.de and they came with the Park Tools crow foot adapter in the box.
I don’t know whether this is something new that Garmin are doing or whether it’s specific to this retailer but thought I would let you know.
For info (apologies if this contravenes any rules, I have no affiliation at all with this retailer) it was cheaper for me to buy these from Germany and have them shipped to the UK that it was to buy them in the UK. Cost me £969 inc shipping, and prior to purchasing I confirmed with Garmin that they were an official supplier and that the model was the latest version with the improved pedal pods.
Installed them yesterday and apart from my own cack handedness all looks good. I’ve updated them and had a brief test and they were to within 5w of the same reading as my KICKR, so I’m happy with that.
Is there an easy comparison of the functionality available with an Edge 800 vs Edge 810. I understand that some functions are not available with the 800.
Thanks for a great review.
Hi. I am about to order the crowfoot adapter from Amazon that you recommends. Do you know if this torque wrench, Park Tool tw-2 works together? It is easier to order both components from the same place. I am visual impaired and navigates the site with a screenreader and am not sure if this is the correct tool.
Yup, fully compatible. Enjoy!
Is there any software you could recommend for reading the left/right balance? I know the garmin 1000 does it, but I dotty have one
The Garmin Edge 500/510/800/810/1000 all show it, as does the FR910XT/FR920XT/Fenix2/Fenix2SE.
For online use, I know Training Peaks does (as does Garmin Connect of course), and I believe Sport Tracks does as well.
Thanks Ray – I just spoke with Trainerroad, who are looking at it.
Do you know if the oversize pedal pods ( for Specialized Carbon Cranks) would work on a Shimano Dura Ace 7800 crank (which only require standard size pods)?
I have two Specialized bikes for racing (Road and TT). Both with Specialized carbon cranks. For training I use a Specialized Tarmac with Dura Ace 7800 crank set. I would of course like to move the pedals between the bikes and was hoping that the bigger sized pods would work on all bikes. Or should I buy an extra set of pods directly?
The challenge with using oversize pods with a regular crank is that it could get caught more easily, potentially tearing it.
I’d potentially look at see how the fit is, and if it looks like there’s potential for tearing, I’d pickup another set of pods.
Hi! Tks for de review.
About the torque wrench, do you know if the TEKTON 24330 3/8-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench, 10-80 Feet Pound works?
No, it won’t likely fit the crowfoot adapter without bonking into the crankarm.
I am interested in buying the same as you used in the photo, crafstman 9-32999 3/8. I found on a website a product of the same brand, but with the number 9-44690, 3/8. Is there any difference or both work? Sorry about that, but I messed up one time in the torque wrench, and did not want to miss again. Thanks again.
It’s hard to go wrong with a simple beam-and-pointer type torque wrench. The only things you have to make sure of, is to pull such that the pointer doesn’t drag on the scales, and that the handle is not tilted all the way against the stops.
The click type torque wrenches are only good if the mechanism is really well built, AND if you take the time to use it carefully (i.e. back off the torque setting after EVERY use). It is interesting that you can buy the “tekton” brand click wrench for the same price as the Craftsman beam type… where do you think the quality is?
my garmin 920xt does par with my vector btu it does no show cadence balance. ..
on la pure power parameters
does anybody know how to fin this?
Have you added the power meter fields to a data page?
Yes I had the data on the fields but they appear empty. It shows all the power data but not cadence dence or advanced data as my edge 1000 does.
Hmm, not sure then. The good news is that the Garmin Vector folks respond pretty quickly on the Garmin Forums (within Vector sub-forum). Haven’t seen what you describing. Sorry!
Look like I Just fix it
I deleted the power connection and search for a New one. Now it is working fine with full data.
I just managed to snap a pedal pod going over a speed bump in a car park. Not really sure how that happened but I guess it is not something Garmin would consider under warranty?
Since the vectors were installed by my local shop I haven’t actually had the pedals/pods off the bike at all.
So to install a new pod will I still need the torque wrench and adapter you mention in the review?
I have purchased Vector S after reading this review. On the first ride everything seemed to be OK. But before next ride I tightened the pedals, because they were loose. And from that time my Timex Globe Trainer shows too high power – 400-500W on easy ride. I have repeated couple of times the calibration, I think in correct way.
watch – Timex Globe Trainer (in section BIKE SENSORS are options: SCAN, ON POWER METER, NO POWER METER (there aren’t option CALIBRATION)
firmware Vector S – 2.6
without torque wrench
I kindly ask for help, because I don’t what to do
Unfortunately, the Timex Global Trainer doesn’t have a calibration option (yes, it’s stupid, also noted in my TGT review).
That said, go ahead and pop the battery covers for a few seconds and then put it back inand that should re-initiate the calibration process.
I have done it – I’ve replaced the batteries. But I don’t exactly know the calibration proceadure for Timex (I schould turn PWR ON while riding or SCAN while standing in front of bike). What would You advise?
If I remember correctly, by default Vector will iterate through the different calibration procedures automatically if no head unit is attached – by just pedaling with it normally (a trainer is likely best). It should then start showing numbers.
That said, I can’t 100% guarantee that as I haven’t tried it with any devices that don’t understand calibration.
Thank You for this significant information. It seems that the TGT was the problem. I checked my Vector S with Garmin 910xt and the power is now realistic, without drops.
So now, working with 910xt, I have to only do a static calibration (off the bike, pedals in horizontal position and then I switch CALIBRATE)? The firmware 2.6 doesn’t need the dynamic calibration, I’m right?
What is the downside of being over the limit of 200 pounds for the pedals? I’m around 10 pounds heavier and I just order a set and didn’t see that limit till now.
Hi Ray. I don’t have a Garmin Edge – only a Fenix 2. Will I be able to configure the Vector?
Hi Ray! What does it mean the error “Left sensor errors 100 – 0” on Edge 1000? Both devices (edge 1000) and vector pedals are updated with the latest softwares/firmware. Thanks
So am I reading this correctly, EVERY day/time I ride my bike I have to mess with the edge unit and go fetch the calibration screen and run it ? This is not exactly a push of a button type deal 😉
Corret. As with most other pwr meters like SRM etc.
On the EDGE 1000, you just pull down the menu from the top of the screen and hit “Calibrate”. (And once more on the following screen)
Been a while since I used my Edge 800, but I don’t remember it being much more difficult there. Press Menu->setting and press the symbol for the power meter, if I remember correctly. Takes like 3 sec, once you are used to it. And then put your glasses and gloves on, while it’s doing the cal.
One trick though. Make sure you spin the pedals a turn or two, when you turn on your edge. This is needed to wake the vector and make them connect to the head unit.
Long time reader, first time commenter. 🙂
This may be a very silly question, but worth asking nevertheless.
Garmin sell replacement pods at around $100 or so and $200 for pedals (AUST$). Is there a reason why using ‘all-replacement’ pods and pedals together wouldn’t work?
I’m guessing that those prices are just for the resin case bit of the pedal, and won’t include the strain gauge part that runs through the middle of the pedal that actually makes it a power meter
Correct. You’d be missing the spindle (axle). That’s not a sparepart.
Can Vector S be used on MTB? Is anyone riding withe Vector on MTB?
My crank fits standard size of Vector, and by manuals it can be used up to -20 celcius degrees, so is there any other restriction to riding on MTB in winter?
I have used my on the MTB a few time, but it has to be track where you can stay clipped in pretty much the time. If you have to clip out and get your foot down from time to time, then you will hate them. Mud will get stuck on the cleat, so they can’t click in. Also, I find it hard to get clipped in, since you have to be one the correct side (obviously) unlike SPD and other MTB pedals. But this matters more than one would think.
So for semi/non-technical dry tracks, yes. Otherwise, I’d say no.
I have a general Garmin Vector question.
I recently installed a Vector S on my indoor spinner bike (long story regarding why I own such a thing – not relevant to my question). At the time of installation I did not own the proper crowfoot to allow me to use my 3/8″ torque wrench. I just did a best guess at torque and so be it. The crowfoot will arrive later today so I want to reinstall the pedals.
I have some questions about the readings that I getting but that is not (at this point) the purpose of this post. My question is ‘how do I be sure that when I reinstall the pedals that the ‘angles’ are properly reset. You get no confirmation from the Garmin 800 Edge (my device). Is this a continual process that the VectorS/Garmin 800 do? Do I need to re-pair the 800 with the pedals (and, if so, how do I unpair them). I cannot find a reference regarding how to initiate this process.
I am quite confused on this point – and thanks again for the valuable services provided here.
Found an answer to my own question. For the case of a Edge 800, you can force new angles to be set by removing the batteries and ‘Pod Plug’ for 10+ seconds and it is recommended that you do this when the Vector unit is ‘awake’.
I’m thinking about buying a Garmin Vector, but I’m worried that the clearance to the chain could be too small on my bike. Do you know if I can use only the left pedal (essentially a Vector S) in case the cable really doesn’t fit on the right pedal because of this clearance?
Waste of money I guess, but perhaps still better to risk it than to go for Vector S right from the beginning, an never giving this a chance. Next question would be if I could then sell the right pedal on eBay to someone who’d like to upgrade from Vector S to a full Vector.
BR, from what I have read elsewhere a set of ‘regular’ Vectors expects a pair of measuring devices and they ‘talk to each other’ and only one of them sends data. At best if you only used the ‘sender’ pedal, measurements would be roughly half of ‘correct’. At worst (and most likely) you would get an error indicator and no useful data.
I am guessing that if you randomly ‘added a non-sending pedal’ to a Vector S, that (without additional stuff happening) they would not work together (just guessing).
Looking to replace the cleats for the vector. I had to really drill/modify the look keo cleats to move them more under the ball of my foot as look style cleat doesn’t have a lot of fore/aft adjustability. Is there a different clear out there that will do his and work with vector?
I have just updated to 2.71 vector software , I am using an edge 1000 device
Cycling Dynamics is now avalaible
Could you please explain me the meaning of each parameter? I have not found any manual update at garmin website explaining these new features.
Thanks a lot
Ray covered the features here: link to dcrainmaker.com
hope this helps.
I’ve recently updated my Vector software and have the cycling dynamics that I am geeking out on big time.
However I have noticed that since updating the software, on each subsequent ride I have had an issue whereby the left sensor has stopped recording power output, and my power readings have been down and power balance 0 / 100. This seems to happen mid-ride, and each time it has happened I have popped the batteries out and re-calibrated and this has resolved the issue.
It is not a battery life issue – my 510 shows that both batteries are good.
Is this a known issue? Do you have any advice as to what I can do to resolve this issue so it does not recur?
No, it’s not normal. I’d reach out to Garmin support. The Vector support team is pretty awesome and easy to work with.
this year I wanna buy a powermeter for my mtb. I do have the garmin vector for my road bike. I would like to use a vector for my mtb too. Are there any updates if/when mountain bike compatible pedals are coming?
I have the Garmin Vector since March 2014 and also using the Edge 810.
Recently I updated the Vector to 2.71 software, since then the Edge can’t find the Vector sensors, when the sensor can be found there are some calibrations errors. I replaced the batteries 3 time, I checked that the pedals are installed OK and so on.
Do you know about problems in the 2,71 software? I really can’t think about other reason that the sensor is not working as it was before I updated the software.
Thanks for the review. I just replaced my batteries for the first time and keeping getting calibration error 1892. I have used the torque wrench correctly, tried three new batteries from different packs and cannot get this corrected. I used an Edge 800. Any suggestions?
I’d reach out to Garmin support. Their Vector team is usually quite quick to resolve and super easy to work with.
Great review. I have specialised FACT on one bike (need large version for thick cranks) and SRAM force on other bike (need standard version). I’d like to buy just one set and switch between bikes on occasion. Do you think it is possible to fit the large version onto both crank types?
The danger to buying the larger type for a small crank is that it might catch (the extra).
Right, so chain clearence on my thin crank bike would need to be larger by the extra amount. If it is, then it “should” be ok.
btw, I bought the vector-s thick version as I realised that the power meter is on the left pedal which is obviously opposite side to the chainset. This means that I have no clearence problems on the chainset side as there is no pod there to worry about, and thus I can use my my thick vectors on a standard crank. I’ve been testing against a Wattbike and results are good 1-2% variation only.
First of, thanks very much for that review. =)
I bought a pair of vector pedals, and followed your install guide very closely as well as the user manual in the box.
As I did not have a torque wrench yet, I fixed the pedals with a normal wrench at low force and took the pedals on a shirt ride.
As far as cadence goes, I was very pleased with the result, so I figured power readings should be quite accurate as well…
NOW TO MY PROBLEM:
I ordered the Park Tool torque wrench, since the new vectors come with the Park Tool Crowfoot in the box, and tightened the the pedals to the +/-35NM described by you and the user manual. After that I calibrated them again and went on yet another short ride.
Unfortunately, this is where my problems started :-/ at low to no power, the cadence (for example in descents) dropped to 0 at multiple times and for a number of seconds, even when I was pedalling at over 100 rpm. Only time I had the impression cadence was accurate was uphill, when I had loads of pressure on the pedals.
Almost the same goes for the Power Readings, when pedalling in descents, even though I had some force on the pedals, the readings showed 0 a lot.
Any ideas on what went wrong there? I’m using the Garmin Edge 1000 with the vectors, if that is any help…
Thank you for your help
I’ve had the Vector power meter since September 2014, bought at the same time as my Edge 1000. I don’t know why I didn’t think to check for a DC Rainmaker review of the Vectors until today, but, as always, I learned a good deal from reading it.
I’ve now updated my firmware to 2.71, and I’m looking at sources to order a torque wrench & crowsfoot. The pedals were installed by the LBS, so I don’t expect that I’ll see any problems with the installation when I have the tools to check it. (I’ve never even thought of changing the pedals to my other bike.)
I notice that most people who talk about or show their power have a heck of a lot more power than I usually produce. My normal seems to have started at around 100 watts, and more recently, I usually show around 120 on flatter rides, and 135 on climbing rides. I’m 71 years of age, I’m one of the slowest riders in my club, but I ride a lot – up to 24000 km (15000 mi) a year. My Edge 1000 has shown me a personal record of 165 watts for power (I think that’s for 20 minutes). Are numbers like these really, really low, or are there other “mere mortals” with similar power outputs?
Colin, first of all you are ahead of 99% of your 71 year old peers.
I am mostly a runner whose knees and ankles no longer tolerate such abuse. I was kind of a Cat II runner (2:40’ish marathon PR). I have a Garmin Vector S installed on my indoor trainer (actually a spinner bike). My best 20 min power output is 240W (age 65 – big difference between 65 and 71, BTW). And this was an effort 100% focused on achieving my best 20 minute power output. If I went ‘out to ride a bunch of times’ with a power meter (do not currently have one installed on my Bianchi), I would be surprised to see anything much above 200W over 20 minutes.
But I would do a sanity check on your results. Take a look at link to bikecalculator.com to see if your ride results roughly match those calculations.
Best I can offer. Personally, I am impressed with what you are doing and that has nothing to do with power measurements as I have never encountered a race where that was the point.
Hi DC, I´m using my vector now for about 6 months and I´m very happy with it. But today a friend of mine said that the pod´s must be posicioned in a 90º angle with the crank arm. Otherwise it can show problems in the measurement.
But when I installed the pods they were in a 90º angle, but when I apply the necessary torque they move forward.
Is this true? Do the pods must be in a 90º angle to show correct numbers?
No not true as far as I remember it – pretty sure they cover that in the official installation videos here: link to sites.garmin.com
I recently purchased the vector and did a few tests with both Elsa Quark and Vector on the same ride. In my case it seems Quark is consistently 15 watts higher than Vector, at least in the ranges of 160 – 250 Watts. I wonder if the temperature affects one more than the other? It was around 5C most of the rides.
Temperature can impact things, but I haven’t seen that the case on Vector, or on the latest generation Quarq’s.
15w it’s terrible at 250w, but would be less ideal at 160w. In general, I’d look to do a pre-calibration before each ride, and then try doing the same about 15min in (after things have settled). In this context, calibration = zero offset.
Your point about doing another calibration 15mins into the ride has uncovered the issue, thanks. It seems that the quarq is much more sensitive to temperature changes than the vector. When I re-calibrate both in the middle of the ride they both track very closely until the temperature starts to change. Then, if I re-calibrate only the quarq, they are tracking closely again. I’ve repeated this phenomenon on several rides now.
Good to hear, and yeah, something I’ve seen on certain generations of Quarq’s (primarily older).
Having issues with pairing the Garmin 920xt to the Vectors (note: I’m also installing and pairing the vectors for the first time). They seem to pair off the bike, but when I install them [Cannondale w/ Hollogram Si cranks] the 920 no longer recognizes the Vectors. I now think it’s that the cranks are too thick (though I had measured them, and ordered the regular pod version) – and as a result, pods plug in fine to the spindle, but perhaps they’re not making sufficient contact? Besides getting the large pods, my next step will be to change from 2 washers to 1 washer. Any issues with doing that? I’m hoping that’ll work. Thanks.
Hmm…odd. It does indeed sound like perhaps the pods aren’t big enough. Did you pedal at least a few times to wake them up (just do 10-15 seconds to be sure).
The back of the plugs should basically be close to flush against the back of the crankarm.
Absolutely. Pedalled to wake them up, but no dice. I was speaking with Garmin support on the phone when I was trying to pair the pedals with the 920…and it worked, but only when the pedals were off the bike. The plug looks flush when installed on the bike, however.
thanks for your reply, Ray.
Weird. I’d post to the Garmin Forums. The Vector team monitors that religiously (it’s impressive), and can probably nail out a solution for you pretty quickly.
I’ve paired my Vector-S with my 920XT no problem. Ok, one time it didn’t work as described in a similar way to coldcyclist and I think that was because I tightened them after the initial calibration. So I simply disconnected the pod, re-tightened (no torque wrench yet, still waiting for the damned crowfoot to come in the post), connected the pod then the next time the 920XT looked for the vectors it went through the initial setup again.
Ray, you often compliment the moderators of the Vector forum as being extremely responsive. I have to say, my experience has been very much the opposite. I have been experiencing wide variation in my Vector power readings. After posting the issue to the forum, the moderator asked for links to my data files, which I promptly provided. But since then I’ve gone weeks without a response, despite several follow-ups from my end. It’s been very disappointing and very inconsistent with your praise of them.
Maybe you can help me. I habe installed the Vector, but ut never asked for the initial setup (where you habe to go 80-90rpm), furthermore, normal (static) calibration worked just fine, but when in ride mode, I pedal backwards 8-10 times and nothing happens. How can I force this dynamic calibration?
Maybe you can help me. I habe installed the Vector, but ut never asked for the initial setup (where you habe to go 80-90rpm), furthermore, normal (static) calibration worked just fine, but when in ride mode, I pedal backwards 8-10 times and nothing happens.
Maybe you can help me. I have installed the Vector, but it never asked for the initial setup (where you habe to go 80-90rpm), furthermore, normal (static) calibration worked just fine, but when in ride mode, I pedal backwards 8-10 times and nothing happens.
maybe you can help me. I bought the Vector and installed it. The Vector never went to the initial setup (where you have to ride with 80-90 rpm). I then calibrated manually (static) with the crank arms without movement, which worked. However, when I start a ride and after a m,inute or so paddle backwards, nothing happens, i.e. no dynamic calibration. Anyway I can force this? Before installation I have updated to the latest firmware on both, the paddles as well as the Edge 810.
Thanks for your help.
sorry, for the triplet here… iPhone kept giving me an error when posting.
Awesome review! Sorry if this has already been asked in one of your seven hundred & something comments, but is the PM ok for daily use, like every ride? I heard that their life span doesn’t account for every day use, so will therefore crap out quickly… apparently.
I’ve not heard of any issues due to daily use, many cyclists use it daily.
Been using the Vectors since November and have had no real issues. I have swapped them between bikes a few times and it becomes easier and easier to do.
One question though, I recently raced a triathlon & turned on my garmin & calibrated in transition prior to the start. However my garmin kept saying it has found multiple power meters. It couldn’t calibrate or pair with mine. I use a Garmin 800. Is there a way around this? Obviously in a transition area of a triathlon I was surrounded by 100’s of other bikes/garmins and pm’s. It wasn’t until I got riding I had to turn it off & on briefly & it then paired and worked fine.
Weird. It should be paired as part of your bike profile – are you telling it to re-pair each time, or just re-calibrate?
Just recalibrate. I usually turn the Garmin 800 on, wait til it finds the PM & then I calibrate. However with all the other bikes in transition it came up with a message that it has found multiple power meters
I have heard from other athletes that Vector have a big failure. They tested Vector with other power meters and they noticed that Vector shows higher power (30-50W) values after re-calibration (re-insert batteries). So the ftp test should be done after each batteries reset.
Anyone noticed that? Is that really true?
Never heard that from anyone. What I do consistently see is people not reading the manual though, mainly on initial setup. In general, as long as you torque it and calibrate anytime you touch the batteries or pedals with something other than a cleat – you’re good to go. Very consistent there.
So I don’t have to calibrate before every ride? I im was under the impression I had to. Also I received a calibration error 2 when trying to calibrate. Does anyone know how to fix this?
Technically no. But above I was referring to the manual calibration piece where you have to do the two steps.
As for the error codes, there’s a Garmin forum that lists them all: link to forums.garmin.com
I calibrate before every ride. If I change the pedals to another bike I always take the batteries out to reset the pedals aswell. Seem to be pretty consistent to me.
Hi Ray. Just to make sure I a following the right steps. I calibrate before each ride which is quick and easy.
If I swap between bikes, then I reset by taking out the batteries, give them a quick spin & then recalibrate. Should I be doing any other steps?
Yup, correct. If you swap bikes my simple procedure is:
1) Torque properly
2) Do 2-4 short 20-30s bursts on a trainer
3) Pop battery caps
Since I often just use my trainer as a bike stand, it’s where I’d be swapping the pedals anyway, so it’s quick and easy.
Also, in the event you have different crank lengths – don’t forget to set/validate/etc them.
Great thanks for the confirmation, that’s pretty much what I have been doing. Although I find it hard to torque them while on the trainer as the rear wheel spins. Sounds silly I know but I take it off the trainer torque it properly. Do you find that or is it just me?
To solve that, just ensure the pedal is down at the lowest position, then as you torque, it won’t go anywhere. 😉
I haven’t noticed that myself. I have found them to be pretty consistent
It appears there is a shortage of the standard pedal pods. I have a warranty replacement pushed out to the middle of May. Anyone know of a US source for the pods?
Clever Training seems to have regular pod bundles in stock: link to clevertraining.com
Plus, you can save 10% with the VIP program and support the site at the same time. 😉
Is there any drawback on getting a vector xl pod instead of a standard pod? even if you don’t need it?
Yes. The cable/plug could catch the chain on the inside, if you don’t have the extra clearance for it. It won’t sit flush to the pedal arm.
And as a consequence, it could get semi-easily ripped out. Which would make for a sad panda.
If you have the clearance on the non-drive side, what is the consequences of one XL and one STD pod?
Hmm, I’m honestly not sure on that. I’d probably hit up the Garmin support folks, they’d know for certain.
thanks for the prompt reply and suggestion. For those following the thread, I posted the question on the Garmin Vector Forum and the response from Vector-Info was “No problem with doing that.”
Appreciate your time and efforts DC!
Thanks for the quick response! I