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Power Meter Pedal Shootout: Vector 3 vs PowerTap P1 vs Assioma

PowerTapP1-GarminVector3-FaveroAssioma

Over the course of the summer we’ve seen both Garmin and Favero roll out new pedal power meters.  In Garmin’s case they’ve got their third generation Vector 3 pedals, while in Favero’s case they have their Assioma units, which are effectively 2nd generation BePro pedals.

Meanwhile, PowerTap has had their P1 pedals in the market for over two years now – effectively raking in the cash over their competitors.  All for a single reason: Simple install requiring no complex tools.

And that’s really the reason for this post.  We’re at a point now where Vector no longer requires funky tools, and Favero no longer requires an even funkier installation process.  Vector also ditched the pods too.  All three units can be installed in under 60 seconds, faster if you’re motivated.

But there still are many nuances to each of the pedal platforms, and many of you have asked for a more detailed look into those nuances.  So with that, let’s dive down the rabbit hole!

Sizing:

PowerMeterWeigh-In

First up we’ve got the weights.  There’s no real reason to belabor this point, here’s the weights of each pedal, and then the total set of pedals.

PowerTap-P1-Weight-Single PowerTap-P1-Weight-Dual

Garmin-Vector-3-Weight-Single Garmin-Vector-3-Weight-Dual

Favero-Assioma-Weight-Single Favero-Assioma-Weight-Dual

For each one I excluded spacers, since not all cranks/pedals require that.  For fun, here’s the weights of the spacers.  I just weighed one spacer from each, but obviously you need either one or two per pedal, again, depending on your cranks.

DSC_1831

Next, here’s how they look side by side.  First, front on:

PowerTap-Vector-Assioma-Front-Size

Next, spindle-side:

PowerTap-Vector-Assimoma-Spindle

Then the other side:

PowerTap-Vector-Assioma-Other-Side

And finally, the rear:

PowerTap-Vector-Assioma-Back

To state the obvious, the Vector 3 is the slimmest of the bunch from a sizing standpoint, and the P1 the chunkiest.  The photos otherwise kinda speak for themselves.

Installation:

Pedal-Installation-Tools

The biggest drawing factor for all three of these units is the installation.  All can be installed in under 60 seconds, or removed in under 60 seconds.  And all can be done with small tools that can be easily travelled with.

When it comes to the type of installation, there’s basically two camps here.  For the PowerTap P1 and Favero Assioma pedals, you’ll use an 8mm Allen key (hex wrench).  This is found the world around.  Here’s two examples, one in a small form factor, one in a larger form factor:

Assioma-P1-Install

I’ve used the smaller one above countless times to install the PowerTap P1 on bikes in hotel rooms on almost every continent on this planet.  Removal-wise, certainly a larger tool is better, but you can make do with the smaller one.

HexWrenchInstalled

For the Garmin Vector 3, you’ll need a standard pedal wrench (15mm) to install.  Note, not a torque wrench.  Just a standard pedal wrench like many other pedals need.  Here’s a big and small version of that:

Garmin-Vector3-Installed

What’s notable here is that small pedal wrench I found on Amazon (below).  I’m really excited about that one since it allows me to travel with everything in a small Ziploc bag.  Whereas a big pedal wrench might not be allowed in carry-on luggage (I like to travel light).

Garmin-Vector3-Mini-Pedal-Wrench Garmin-Vector3-Mini-Wrench-On

No matter which one though – all of these are silly easy to install, as seen above.

Now, a quick note on calibration.  All three units support basic zero offset calibrations, however, they provide slightly different results, which can be interpreted different ways:

Garmin Vector 3: When doing a zero offset, you’ll get a torque value, allowing you to place weights on the pedals if you’d like to manually verify the torque value.

PowerTap P1: When doing a zero offset it’ll show you a current status value that floats based primarily on temperature, within an acceptable range.  This is valuable to determine if something is going askew.

Favero Assioma: When doing a zero offset it’ll show you simply a success or failure message.  You cannot see any shifts within a successful unit.  So it’s kinda all or nothing here.

Finally, what about settling. In my testing, all three power meters can be installed on a bike and used immediately without multiple rides for settling (as has been the case in some previous power meters).  Still, I recommend doing 2-3 quick sprints of 4-8 seconds to ensure everything is tight.  Then do a zero offset.  Doing so, in my experience with all three units, will give you perfect results.  Note, I’m only referring to the first time you install the units on a given bike.  This entire settling process can be completed in under 30 seconds.

Factors and Stacks:

Vector-PowerTapP1-Assioma-Measured

In the IT industry one says ‘rack and stack’, but that didn’t really make sense for the title here, because there are no racks.  Just Q-Factors, Stack Heights, and other measurement focused things.  I think this category – more than any other – is full of specs that people think they care about, but don’t actually care about in the real world.  We’ll start with the prime example of that, Q-Factor.

Q-Factor:

Q-Factor refers to the distance between the centerline of the pedal and the end of the threaded portion.  Below, is an example of the q-Factor from Favero, and for a single side.  Often times this is also represented on a bike as the distance between the threads on the crank arms (both sides).

Q-Factor

A lot of people get really bent out of shape about q-factor, but then forget that the different bikes they have in their garage for different aspects of cycling all likely have different q-factors.  For example, a road bike has a q-factor generally of ~150mm, while a mountain bike has a q-factor of 170mm.  Jump on that WattBike?  It’s got a q-factor of 173 but the Atom is 160.  But wait, your gym spin bike has a different q-factor, and that’ll vary by brands and models too.  Schwinn’s AC Performance is 170mm, while Keiser’s M3 is 197mm.

Not to mention that the handful of studies that have looked at q-factor basically all said that there’s a slight short term impact to switching distance of q-factor, but then like anything else your body adapts.  That’s no different than any other bike component.

Q-Factors

Still, there may be specific medical reasons why you want to keep things similar.  Thus, here’s where you stand on q-factor:

Garmin Vector 3: 53mm (55mm with spacer)
PowerTap P1: 54mm
Favero Assioma: 55mm

And for photos, if you look at them from the side atop a standard Look Keo pedal:

Garmin-Vector-Q-Factor PowerTap-P1-Q-Factor DSC_1853

One caveat to this, is that the q-factor will change by up to 1-2mm depending on whether or not you use spacers, which in turn depends on your specific crank arms.  For example, Vector doesn’t need spacers unless the pedals push through too close to the chain.  The PowerTap P1 doesn’t need them on aluminum cranks, but does on carbon.  And Assioma needs them if your crank arms have a slight indent in them where the pedal attaches.

Cornering:

Next, we’ve got the impact of stack height on cornering.  This gets to whether or not your crank arm would hit the ground while making a tight corner, likely in a race.  Specifically, this is if you pedaled through the corner, and/or had stupidly placed your crank arm down on the side closest to the corner.  The concern grows greater with longer crank arms, and is less of a problem with shorter crank arms.

This was a fun one to measure.  In my case, I’m running 175mm crank arms, which is slightly longer than the ‘average’ of 172.5mm crank arms.

In order to measure this, I placed the arm straight down, and then measured the angle in which the bike would have to go in order to hit the ground.  I used an iPhone with a level app that I validated first on a level surface.  Then I trapped it in between the water bottle holder and validated it showed level as well.  Next I tilted the bike until the centerline of the pedal touched the ground.

Because I only had two hands (one to hold the bike, one to hold the camera), I couldn’t get the photo of it touching the centerline (I measured before I took the photo).  Also, I tethered the bike to a table via cable so I could lower it down slowly.

DSC_1944 DSC_1946 DSC_1947

In any event, here’s all three:

DSC_1949 DSC_1950 DSC_1951

I was somewhat surprised to see Vector 3 slightly bigger (29° vs 27°), so I did it twice more.  But it shows you the impact of the spacers/washers.  For both the PowerTap P1 and Assioma, I needed spacers.  But with the slightly different design of the Vector 3, I didn’t need spacers, thus, it was ‘closer in’ to the bike and had more angular potential.

Now, keep in mind, these are really steep angles:

DSC_1952

I showed this same thing in the PowerTap P1 review, and to date I’ve seen only one person state they’ve hit their pedal on the ground while cornering (to which someone else immediately pointed out they’d probably have hit that pedal anyway, regardless of the slight increase in stack height).

Now you may be asking – what’s a normal pedal?  Well in measuring the same Look Keo pedal you saw up above, I managed to get it to 35° before it touches, so an addition 6° beyond anyone else. Why?  Because the side of the Keo pedal spindle tapers inwards, as opposed to all of the other pedals have basically flat-sides of the spindle.

DSC_1962

Thus how they get more breathing room while cornering.  On the other power meter pedals, these spaces are packed with electronics.

Stack Height:

Speaking of stack height, this is the measurement of the center of the spindle to the bottom of the shoe.  This is actually a really tough one to measure myself, due to the slight ups and downs of the pedal.  So instead I reached out to all the companies to get the official stack height numbers.  They are as follows:

Garmin Vector 3: 12.5mm
PowerTap P1: 14mm
Favero Assioma: 10.5mm

Cleats:

So I’ll tell you a funny story.  When the PowerTap P1 pedals came out, it was noted by myself and others that the P1 pedals required slightly different cleats (made by Xpedo, included in the box) in order to get a perfect clip-in.  For some people, regular Look Keo cleats worked just fine.  And even for me, if I had new Look Keo cleats, all was well.  But if I had older/more worn Look Keo cleats, then I’d have pop-out issues.  A bunch of folks got really caught up on this.

Then, fast forward to the Favero BePro pedals.  They too also used the exact same Xpedo cleats.  Same with the new Assioma pedals.  I noted the cleats, but didn’t talk about it as much (for no particular reason).  Nobody talked about it.  Seriously, nobody cared.  I don’t know why – but I found the contrast interesting.

In any case, both the PowerTap P1 and Favero Assioma pedals use the same Xpedo cleats, both of which are included in the box.  And in both cases, if you’ve got relatively new Look Keo cleats they’ll probably work just fine.  With Garmin Vector 3, they use Look Keo cleats as-is, with no additional requirements.  They also include a pair in the box too.

PowerMeterCleats

Note that Vector 3 does not support the Shimano swappage kit that Vector 1/2 did.  Maybe down the road, but nothing in the cards today.

Float:

Just a quick note that float is actually determined by the cleats you use, and not the pedals themselves.  In the case of all three companies, you’ll get red cleats that have 6-degrees of float in them.  You can also buy grey cleats that have zero float in them.

Max Rider Weight:

Lastly, some pedals are limited in terms of how heavy the rider can be.  Of course, there’s not truly a rider weight limit, but rather an output wattage limit.  Except making that clear to consumers would be a nightmare.  So instead they do math backwards a bit since in general heavier people can output more power than lighter people with the same amount of effort.

Now there’s really two aspects at play here.  First is the safety-focused aspect of the pedals breaking.  But that’s not really of concern here, these pedals are pretty much fine for anybody in the ballpark of these weights.  For these companies the real issue is breakage of the sensors within the pedal above a given threshold.  Here’s the stated max rider weights:

Garmin Vector 3: 105 kg (231 lbs)
PowerTap P1: No practical limit according to PowerTap
Favero Assioma: 120 kg (265 lbs)

With that, let’s talk tech.

Tech Specs:

Next we’ve got various tech specs that didn’t fit anywhere else, mostly on the electronic/transmission side.  First up is how the darn things are powered.

Battery:

Each of the three pedals uses different battery options, along with different power outputs.  To simplify this, here are the three models:

Garmin Vector 3: 4xLR44 (two per side) coin cell batteries
PowerTap P1: 2xAAA (Lithium, one per side) batteries
Favero Assioma: Rechargeable battery, encased, not swappable

And for those loving pictures, I got pics of all that goodness too:

PowerMeterBattery

As for battery life, you’re going to have to go with claims here as the standard.  I can say that I believe the Favero batteries are in the ballpark of the claims, as are PowerTaps.  I haven’t put in 125hrs yet on a single set of Vector 3’s to know for certain.

Garmin Vector 3: 120 hours (dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart), 150 hours (just ANT+)
PowerTap P1: 60 hours
Favero Assioma: 50-65 hours

Now, when it comes to rechargeable batteries, some have concerns.  I’m going to quickly copy/paste what I wrote in the Assioma review below. But ultimately it’s just a personal preferences thing.  The connector on the Favero Assioma is a million times better than the non-awesome micro-USB connector on the Favero BePro units.

From the Favero Assioma In-Depth Review: I’ve seen some concern about what happens when the batteries ‘die’, apparently in reference to how you might swap them out.  Some of this is due to misunderstandings about how rechargeable batteries die.  First off is that batteries are generally rated to a certain number of recharge cycles, in the case of the Assioma battery, that’s estimated to be about 500 cycles (per an e-mail from Assioma).  Once it reaches that number, they don’t stop working.  Instead they might slowly degrade, perhaps to 80% of battery capacity.  With a battery life of 50 hours, and the 500 recharge cycles, that puts you at 25,000 hours of battery life before it starts to degrade.  That’s 24 years of riding 20 hours per week.  Or almost 50 years if you rode 10 hours per week.  Seriously, you’ll have long moved onto something else by then.  Battery cycle time is not your concern here.

Status LED’s:

image

All three units contain status LED’s that allow you to validate basic operation.  These lights are also used for things like firmware updates and such to let you know what’s going on.  On the Vector 3 you can see it at the end of the spindle (green light), on the PowerTap P1 the green light is to the left on the pedal body, and on the Assioma it’s around the pod.

Basis ANT+/Bluetooth Smart Connectivity:

Next is how and what each unit transmits, starting with the most basic things in this mini-section, and then moving to the more complex stuff in the next mini-section.  Simply put, all three units broadcast all the same core fundamentals. They all broadcast the following data via the ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart standards:

ANT+ Total Power
ANT+ Power Balance (Left/Right)
ANT+ Cadence (RPM)
ANT+ Torque Effectiveness
ANT+ Pedal Smoothness
Bluetooth Smart Total Power
Bluetooth Smart Power Balance (Left/Right)
Bluetooth Smart Cadence

There are no official standards for Bluetooth Smart Torque Effectiveness or Pedal Smoothness at this time.

When it comes to head units, within the core settings above, all reputable head units support all these different items.  One caveat though is Bluetooth Smart-only head units can be a bit more tricky, as often times they’ll only pair to a single side of a dual sided power meter.  For example, Suunto Spartan series units can only connect to either the left or right side, not both.  As such, you’ll get one side doubled (in which case you might as well just save a boatload of money and buy a single sided power meter).

As a general rule of thumb, most in the power meter industry would recommend using ANT+ over Bluetooth Smart when connecting to your head unit, despite the unit broadcasting both.  The exception to that being if you experience drop-outs from your power meter to head unit (none of the units here though are prone to that), in which case you could try to see if Bluetooth Smart will resolve the drop-outs.

Of note is that metrics like TSS (Training Stress Score), NP (Normalized Power), and many others are not at all power meter model dependent.  Rather, they are dependent on the specific head unit and/or training platform you use.

(Note: Minor technicality is that Vector 3 won’t quite yet broadcast on Bluetooth Smart, that’s slated for no later than mid-October.  But Garmin states that’s a hard-stop date, as they want to be there for the indoor trainer season and broadcasting to tablet/phone based trainer apps.)

Advanced Pedaling Metrics:

Now in addition to core power metrics seen above, two of the models have different advanced metrics that can be shown.  These include Garmin’s Cycling Dynamics platform, as well as PowerTap’s advanced pedaling metrics. I’ll briefly run through both (Favero does not have any such platform/app/etc. at the moment).

PowerTap P1 Metrics: In the case of PowerTap you can leverage the PowerTap Mobile App to get additional metrics that are not available on a normal head unit.  These metrics specifically include the Force Vector, which shows the angle and amplitude of the force – in newton’s and placement on the pedal stroke.  In addition, you’ll get a plot within the app of where your pedal stroke is heat-map style.  The only challenge with these metrics is you have to have the app running to see them, and there isn’t any method to export/save the data.  Full details in this post from them.

Note that PowerTap has been working with some bike fit companies though to incorporate metrics in their products, though that won’t really help you as an end consumer.

PowertapP1

Garmin Cycling Dynamics: Of course, the behemoth in advanced power meter pedal metrics is Cycling Dynamics.  Unlike PowerTap, these metrics are displayable on a head unit (albeit at present, only Garmin’s) as well as later on in Garmin Connect.  Further, 3rd parties can also display the data too (WKO4 does today).  These metrics span a wide number of areas from platform center offset to seated/standing time.  Some of these metrics can be used in bike fit, while others are clearly more geek-oriented.

imageimage

For example, I can tell you my max and average power for both while I’m seated versus standing.  There’s likely something to be learned from that, but mostly it’s just a fun geek stat.  Whereas aspects like PCO (Platform Center Offset), could be useful for looking at whether or not your bike fit is proper.

In total there’s a massive list of Garmin Cycling Dynamics metrics that you can add/record.  They are:

PCO, PCO – Avg, PCO – Lap, Power Phase – L, Power Phase – L. Avg, Power Phase – L. Lap, Power Phase – L. Peak, Phase – L. Peak Avg, Phase – L. Peak Lap, Power Phase – R., Power Phase – R. Avg, Power Phase – R. Lap, Power Phase – R. Peak, Phase – R. Peak Avg, Phase – R. Peak Lap, Time Seated, Time Seated Lap, Time Standing, Time Standing Lap, Average Power Standing, Max Power Standing, Average Power Sitting, Max Power Sitting, Average Cadence Standing, Max Cadence Standing, Average Cadence Seated, Max Cadence Seated.

Phew. Again – at present these are only available on Garmin head units, so if you’ve got something like the Wahoo BOLT, you’re outta luck here for recording the advanced data.

Power Accuracy:

I added this as a specific section since I’m sure many will ask about it.  At this point, when it comes to accuracy, all three units deliver where it counts.  You can see this within my PowerTap P1 in-depth review, as well as my Favero Assioma in-depth review.  Given the Garmin Vector 3 pedals are in the final stages of firmware, they are still finalizing things.  But accuracy of the power numbers isn’t something I’m having any issues with.  So all look good there.

Note that officially each company makes slightly different accuracy claims:

Garmin Vector 3: +/- 1.0%
PowerTap P1: +/- 1.5%
Favero Assioma: +/- 2.0%

image

Note that I’ve seen some older posts/pieces/videos referencing PowerTap P1 accuracy issues, specifically on climbs.  This was solved almost two years ago in a firmware update.  Similarly, I’ve also seen some tests people did with Q-Rings on the PowerTap P1 in the first few months.  Ironically, these tests I’ve seen were done compared to other power meters that didn’t support them.  There are certainly quirks of the P1’s that people have complained about over the years, but accuracy simply isn’t one of them these days (nor has it been for a long time).

As for q-ring/non-round rings/oval rings at large, the only pedals that officially support them is the PowerTap P1 (they didn’t upon launch however).  Neither the Favero Assioma or Garmin Vector pedals will give correct/accurate power numbers.  They won’t be horribly far off (2-4% in most cases), but they won’t be accurate either.  Again, at that point, you might as well buy many cheaper solutions (even single sided) and save the money.

Price, Single Sided Variants:

When it comes to price, you’ve got a bit of a range:

Favero Assioma: $799
PowerTap P1: $999
Garmin Vector 3: $999

Note that the PowerTap P1 pedals were dropped in price from $1,199 later the same day after Garmin announced their Vector 3 pedals at $999.

Obviously, I think the Assioma price is superb.  It’s a very good deal, no questions about that.  And I think the Garmin Vector price is fair, given the reduced size and lack of pods compared to the other two.  Not to mention the far more detailed analytic metrics of Cycling Dynamics.

It’s the PowerTap P1 price that I’m not sold on.  While they obviously have inventory in the market (whereas Garmin will probably be supply constrained for at least a few weeks, maybe a month), the P1 is simply a less desirable product now compared to Vector 3.  Whether it be size or weight, or the metrics it transmitted.  I would have thought $899 would have represented a fair price for the P1 at this point.  It’s ‘more’ than Assioma from a functionality standpoint, yet less than Vector 3.  Like the whole bears and porridge thing.

Note, for lack of anywhere else to put it, all three companies have single-sided variants (PowerTap P1S, Garmin Vector 3S, Favero Assioma Uno).  This simply means they give you a power sensing left pedal, and then an empty right pedal.  The left pedal’s power is just doubled.  No magic here at all.  It’s essentially the same scenario Stages pioneered years ago with crank arms.

My guidance would be that if you feel like you’re going to upgrade to the dual solution down the road (all companies enable that), then go forth.  However, if that’s not the case, and you’re not buying for portability/transfer reasons, then I’d probably save the cash and just go with a single-sided crank arm solution (I.e. Stages, 4iiii Precision, etc.…).  Alternatively, I’d look at doing proper total power instead of a left-only solution via something like the Power2Max NG ECO, Quarq DZero lineup, FSA PowerBox, PowerTap C1, or similar.  Proper total captured power (but not dual left/right split) is ALWAYS better than just left-side only doubled.  Always, always, always.  Anybody who tells you otherwise should be kicked in the balls*.

(*Don’t even get me started on the whole Froome argument, he hasn’t used a left-only unit in three years.  He’s been riding Stages LR dual-sided for a long time.)

Comparison Tables:

I’m not entirely sure at this point why I’m even including the comparison tables, other than for your graphical consideration since my power meter database doesn’t even come close to having all the random specs seen here.  The above post details more data points than the comparison tables do, but perhaps this will make it a bit clearer in case you got lost in my fog of text and photos.

Function/FeatureFavero Assioma PedalsGarmin Vector 3PowerTap P1 Pedals
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated September 14th, 2017 @ 5:57 pmNew Window
Price$519/$799 (single/dual)$999$999
Available todayYesShipping Late SeptemberGlobal
Measurement TypeDirect ForceDirect ForceDirect Force
Attachment areaPedalPedalsPedals
Attachment limitationsLOOK KEO COMPATIBLE PEDALS ONLYLOOK KEO COMPATIBLE PEDALS ONLYLook Keo variant cleats only
Weight (additional/net)150g per pedal (inclusive of pods)161g per pedal216g per pedal
Wireless Connectivity TypeANT+/BLUETOOTH SMART (DUAL)ANT+/BLUETOOTH SMART (DUAL)ANT+/Bluetooth Smart (Dual)
Unit auto-turns on when on bikeYesYesYes
BatteryFavero Assioma PedalsGarmin Vector 3PowerTap P1 Pedals
Battery Life50 Hours120-150 hours60hrs+
User or Factory battery replacementN/AUserUser
Battery typeUSB RechargeableLR44AAA
Low Battery WarningYesYesYes
FeaturesFavero Assioma PedalsGarmin Vector 3PowerTap P1 Pedals
Measures/Transmits CadenceYesYesYEs
Ability to update firmwareYesYesYes
Transmits Left/Right Power Balance (Measured)YesYesYes
Transmits Pedal SmoothnessYesYesYes
AccuracyFavero Assioma PedalsGarmin Vector 3PowerTap P1 Pedals
Measures all power outputYesYesYes
Claimed Accuracy Level+/- 2%+/- 1%+/- 1.5%
Includes temperature compensationYesYesYes
Supports auto-zero functionYesYesYEs
Supports manual calibrationYesYesYes
Supports hanging weights (static test)-YesNo
SoftwareFavero Assioma PedalsGarmin Vector 3PowerTap P1 Pedals
Phone App to Configure/TestYesYesYes
PurchaseFavero Assioma PedalsGarmin Vector 3PowerTap P1 Pedals
Amazon LinkN/AN/ALink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programLinkN/ALink
DCRainmakerFavero Assioma PedalsGarmin Vector 3PowerTap P1 Pedals
Review LinkLinkLinkLink

Phew!  Note that you can compare any other power meter you’d like within the product comparison tool here.

Wrap-Up:

PowerMeterPedalShootout

Phew.  Seriously, I didn’t expect this post to be this long.  Sorry, not sorry.  I started off with what was going to be an innocent little product comparison table post, and then it spiraled out of control.

Here’s the thing, nothing I say in this summary is going to cover what the previous 7 or so sections didn’t already cover.

But what I can tell you is that all three of these pedals are solid, and I’d be happy to use any of them.  Certainly, they each have their own minor pros and cons.  Be it price, size, transmission specs, or otherwise.  But at the end of the day, I can take any of these sets of pedals in a single plastic baggie with me while traveling, and easily attach them to any bike on this planet (or at least, any bike I’d want to ride).  And I can do so in under 60 seconds and be riding immediately and with power I’d trust.

And honestly, that’s what it’s about.  Find the pedal solution that works for you and your specifications, but all of these are good options.  To dig deeper into any of the three units, check out the full in-depth reviews or posts below (full review soon for Vector 3, once final firmware is achieved).

DSC_1955 DSC_1957 DSC_1960

With that – thanks for reading!

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149 Comments

  1. Bruno Champoux

    I’d rather not buy power meter pedals, as other triathletes in the transition zone can quickly steal them (yes this is a thing). It is a shame really, because pedals have the huge cost savings of covering all your bikes.

    • Tosin

      I feel like if you are using the Vector 3, the best bang for your buck is with a Garmin device. If you have a Bolt or another head unit, and don’t plan on getting a Garmin head unit, you can look around. Again, I’m poor, so waiting for the holidays to make this truly a win.

      Great comparo, Ray.

  2. Anders Mogensen

    Great overview, thanks.

    You still recommend Stages here if going single sided, but they performed not exactly that well in the PM science study:

    link to roadcyclinguk.com

    Any thoughts on that?

    • My point with that line is that if you’re going to do a left-only unit, then throw all caution to the wind. Spend less. The accuracy study shows what I see as well: Left/right balance matters. Since Stages just doubles left-only, it’ll give variable accuracy.

      Do note, while the rest of that study is well intentioned, there’s a lot of gaps there. In order to get units they kinda borrowed from random people. You’ll note model numbers are missing on many – so we don’t know the difference between a Quarq DZero (one year old), and a Quarq from 7 years ago. Same with Garmin. That’s a huge difference. Also, we don’t know the condition of those units (i.e. 7 year old versus now).

      I overall like their procedure actually, but the execution and tracking of the units used in my opinion leads to incorrect or at best misleading statements.

    • JayTee

      Just want to say that I almost feel sorry for all other cycling journalists who try theirs hands at tech reviews with you on the a scene Ray

      Almost.. ;)

  3. Andrew Crockett

    Do you know if favero are planning to bring out some ‘cycling dynamics’ functionality to match garmin/powertap?

    Not that it matters since I am just waiting for my assiomas.

  4. Richard Hadjian

    Ray,
    Great pedal review. Thanks. If you had only 1 choice for power, would you recommend a power meter system OR a smart trainer. I know this compares apples and oranges, where one is inside-only and the other is inside/outside. In my case, I’m 68y and don’t race. However I’m a serious rider who enjoys training inside (really, I do) during long, cold winters and especially like big mountain climbs in the summer. These products cost around $1,000 and are big investments, so I need to choose between them. What’s your advice.
    Thanks,
    Rich

    • Guy C

      Having faced the same dilemma myself I decided that the way forwards is unquestionably to buy a power meter first for the simple reason that you can use it indoors on a non-smart trainer for power based workouts (such as on Zwift) and outdoors as well where it will really help you to improve through pacing.

      Obviously you can’t use a smart trainer to measure power when you’re riding your bike up a mountain outside!

    • Yup, generally agree here.

    • David

      I’m not Ray (who has as far as I can tell about the most experience in all things bike of anybody), but my opinion would be to definitely get a smart trainer first. If you are riding indoors the payoff is huge (in my opinion) with ERG mode, Zwift compatibility and associated realism, etc. You won’t get the virtual world feedback with power pedals. Heck, by next year pedals will drop in price anyway!

    • David Chrisman

      Richard–you might be able to do both. Usually in November there’s a 20% off sale so if you went with Assioma pedals and a Wahoo Snap/Elite Direto/Tacx Flux you could be right in that range. Wahoo also sells refurbished Snap’s and Kickr’s on their website (not in stock all of the time–you have to check back regularly). I just got an original KICKR for 650 USD and I have to say riding Sufferfest on ERG mode is pretty spectacular compared to dumb trainer–I can’t wait to try Zwift once it gets colder.

    • Richard Hadjian

      Ray, you ‘generally’ agreed re if I had to choose between a power meter or a smart trainer you’d pick the power meter. But, for what type of rider would a smart trainer be better? I’m a ‘young’ 68y man, but I’m not competing with anyone outside. I’d just like to pick the better way (power meter or smart trainer) to improve my big mountain climbing endurance / power. Do you still pick the power meter first? Thanks, a confused consumer

    • I think you fall into that camp of maybe getting more benefit of a smart trainer. I’d look at it this way: If a trainer with apps motivates you more to train through the winter, then I’d probably hedge that way.

      Meaning that if that intersting/excitement is a better drive to staying on the bike and getting in super-high quality workouts, then it probably makes more sense. Though heck, with some of the power meter price drops this week, you can basically get both for the same cost now.

    • Richard Hadjian

      Hi Ray, it’s the 68y old confused consumer one last time. In my case, I’m already super motivated to ride in my Old Man (not DCR) Cave during the winter. If anything, I probably ride too much. At minimum every other day or even every day from Nov1 until May1. 6 months of 30, 60 or 120m rides; intervals, easy days, and longer intense rides at 95-100% HR to mimic longer, slower big mountain rides like La Marmotte or Mt Washington in NH. Sooooo, given this background would you still recommend the smart trainer, or would you lean back toward a regular power meter? Thx, and I promise, for the last time, your devoted reader Rich

    • Nick M

      If you get TrainerRoad and the Kurt Kinetic Roadmaster fluid trainer, TrainerRoad will estimate your power based on your speed and cadence, assuming you have a head unit that will send the information to TrainerRoad. Eliminates the need for a power meter indoors. I’d get the pedals over the smart trainer. You don’t need a smart trainer if you have a good fluid and the pedals.

    • Nick M

      Whoops. I just realized I gave you confusing advice. My point was that there’s more value in having the pedals for outdoor training. Using a fluid trainer, you can get the resistance you need and still use Zwift and TrainerRoad. You don’t need ERG mode with a good fluid trainer. It’s far less beneficial than having the pedals outdoors.

  5. polis

    Seams like Clever Training doesn’t give you discount for Vector 3 with DCR code :)

  6. Chris Koboldt

    Great post! Seems the comparison table still has $1,199 for the P1.

  7. Corresponsal

    Hi Ray, thanks for the comparison! Didn’t find anything on ovalized chainrings. Hope I didn’t miss it. Any Information on comparibility?

    • It was at the end of the accuracy section. Maybe I’ll add a sub-title in there:

      “As for q-ring/non-round rings/oval rings at large, the only pedals that officially support them is the PowerTap P1 (they didn’t upon launch however). Neither the Favero Assioma or Garmin Vector pedals will give correct/accurate power numbers. They won’t be horribly far off (2-4% in most cases), but they won’t be accurate either. Again, at that point, you might as well buy many cheaper solutions (even single sided) and save the money.”

  8. mucher

    Just nitpicking, but in the weight section it would probably make sense to have these consistent (single pedal left, both pedals right) – the Vectors kind of ruin the feng shui there ;)

  9. Jeremy

    In your summary chart you have the weight of two P1’s but one of each of the others.

  10. pavel

    POWER ACCURACY: can not be plus/minus, +/- 1.0% = 2.0% deviation

  11. Chris Massa

    I’ve got the Assioma Duo and am attempting to use them only with IOS rather than a bike computer. The cyclemeter app actually supports connecting to both sides and lets you configure the power contribution percent from each side – pretty cool.

    However, i can’t find any way to do a zero-offset. It seems like something that could be included in the Assioma App, but it isn’t. Do you know of any way?

    • Give the Wahoo Fitness app a whirl (the free one). A quick test shows me being able to pair both sensors and illuminate the calibrate button, but my iPhone is all ticked off on the BT stack right now after an update last night and keeps dropping the connection – so I can’t say for certain what happens after that.

  12. Charles

    I noticed on the Garmin website, that the FR 910xt unit I have is not on their compatible list of head units for the Vector 3. Does this mean I won’t get the advanced cycling dynamics but just power and cadence? Or I can’t use the Vector 3 and 910xt at all?

  13. Joules Per II

    Hi Ray,

    Nice job as always. I think it is also important to compare the companies and their support. My P1 pedals are a couple years old and started dropping out on high power intervals. I dropped them off at Saris after IMWI on Monday and expect them in the mail today all fixed up free of charge. Saris can focus on power (though they have several other products now) Garmin has their hand in so many other honey pots that I would be shocked if I got the same service. Just something that we, the customer, need to consider.

    • Support is a really tough one to capture. I kinda look at things holistically across a lot of people.

      For example, I can counter your example with a handful of people in Europe that PowerTap has annoyingly told to send back their pedals to the retailer , who in turn send them back to Madison (USA). All of which takes 2-4 weeks…with no power.

      Inversely, I can counter your other example, Garmin, with them going out of the way on weekends at 2AM via forums to provide support for users the night before a race. Generally speaking people are very happy with Garmin Vector support specifically.

      On the Favero front, there’s less data points (and I think that’s a good thing), but it’s mostly positive, save for a few oddities here and there.

    • I have Stages and the P1 pedals.

      I had the 1st edition stages, and my arm had a cracking issue (not stages issue, really the arm manufacturer). Stages overnighted me a new arm both times with return label when this occurred.

      Saris support when my pedal broke required me to ship the pedals back at my expense and it took over two weeks before I got them back.

  14. Chris D.

    Any chance pigs will ever air-deliver a deal between Speedplay and one of these guys to come up with a Speedplay-compatible solution? I realize the development cost and market-size would probably make this totally uneconomic, but I sure would like it.

    • I haven’t heard of any movement by anyone on the Speedplay front. I think there’s a lot of factors at play there, one of which is licensing/etc agreements with Speedplay themselves.

  15. cycloscott

    A note about the “Advanced Metrics” with respect to PowerTap P1 pedals. Those metrics are ONLY available if you have an iPhone, since PowerTap refuses to create a comparable Android app. It’s been an issue for a long time, but they’ve nothing about it, other than the usual BS of “we’re working on it”.

    Their “solution” is for Android users to use the Rouvy app. Which requires a subscription.

    Bottom line… If you’re an Android user and expecting PowerTap to do anything other than develop for iOS; don’t believe a word they say. Support another company instead.

    • Does Rouvy though require a subscription for that piece? My understanding was certain sections are actually free related to these portions.

      (I don’t use Android as much)

    • Chris

      When I contacted them 3 months ago, they said it wasn’t even on the roadmap. They sent me down the route of some PC windows application.

      Sent the pedals back.

    • cycloscott

      @Ray Realtime analysis of pedal dynamics requires a premium subscription. And without a subscription, “freerides” in the Rouvy app are limited to 1 hour anyway.

      PowerTap has been dishonest about developing an Android app since the pedals were first released. If that matters to you, then best to avoid giving them your money.

    • Interesting. I’ll push back as to why.

      As for them deferring firmware/etc functions into the Virtual Training/Rouvy app – I’m in agreement with the theory there they have – no reason to re-invent the wheel. But agree that for things like pedal analysis there shouldn’t be an iOS/Android payment tier split.

  16. Jonas S.

    One correction: grey Look Keo Cleats have +/- 2.5° of float, the black ones have no float.

    • Hmm. In the case of Garmin, PowerTap, and Favero – all of their grey ones are 0-degree float. :-/

    • Jonas S.

      Hmm, I would consider the 0° ones from Garmin to be black with a bit of grey for the “grip” part. ;)

    • Adam

      So to clarify, you should be able to use any standard Look Keo cleats with the new Garmin Vector 3s, right?

      Wiggle have three different types listed:

      Red: 9 degree movement
      Grey: 4.5 degree movement
      Black: 0 degree movement

      I wonder how these compare to Shimano.

    • Anton Peterson

      Red shimano = 0 degrees
      Blue shimano = 2 degrees
      Yellow shimano = 6 degrees
      Lifeline shimano cleats = 4.5 degrees (which equates to 6 degrees according to them)

  17. Joey

    Be classy, no need to resort to foul language.
    Make believe your mother is reading.
    You otherwise have a world class site.

  18. Hal

    Great comparison, thank you!

    One more aspect: do you know of any differences in the pure mechanical quality (bearings, strength, play, accuracy, whatever) between the three pedals?
    What is the downside when I switch from e.g. Dura Ace pedals or top level Keo (if they exist?) to one of these pedals (other than more weight)?

    Kind regards
    Hal

    • Warren Preen

      This is a really important point to me too. Had two guys in my club have P1’s and both got refunds due to the bearings not being smooth/resilient enough

  19. BIll

    Looks like the DCR discount code doesn’t work on the Vector 3s making the Assioma pedals that much better of a deal.

  20. Andris

    Will there be powermeter pedal options for the cyclocross / mountain bike market any time soon? I wonder if the running shoe insole power meters could be adapted, but I’m sure accuracy would be terrible. I’d love to have a power meter that could be swapped across the mtn and cx bikes.

  21. Frank

    Can’t recommend the P1’s. Sent back 2 pairs within 2 years, without riding in harsh conditions. Besides, they really look ugly.

  22. Mark

    Quick note about the pedal clipping

    I’ve been riding/racing P1s for two seasons now and clip them all the time in crits and road races to the point where the end of the battery housing is worn low

    The difference between them and regular pedals is notable, particularly racing crits. If you race you will find yourself unable to pedal through corners that the rest of the group can pedal through.

    They work well for me otherwise and I’ve had great experiences with support the 2x I’ve had problems over ~18k miles I’ve put onto them thus far, but in my opinion pedal based power meters do not belong on a race bike (tt bikes aside) because of pedal strikes – the difference between 27 degrees and 30 or 32 is immediately noticeable

    • fisao

      I have to agree about the P1s clipping frequently on my race bike, I have them since they came out and I have the battery caps ground down to the point of being almost unable to screw them back in properly.

      Noticed that I was indeed unable to pedal through at some angles when others (immediately in front of me ) are still turning their pedals. (my cranklength is 172.5 btw).

      Otherwise really good at what they are supposed to do. Just wouldn’t buy them again seeing how the Vector 3 turned out, even if they were at an inferior price.

      Now what might the potential future P2s be like though?? let’s wait and see :)

    • Ben

      I have to agree. Anyone racing crits with sweeping corners flat out will notice the issues of grounding pedals. I’ve taken off a lot of material from my Garmin Vector 2 as you simply have to pedal through corners.
      It’s really useful to see the different lean angles in the article, but I find it odd to suggest it isn’t really an issue on power meter pedals designed for competitive cyclists! I’d been considering a second set of PM pedals but think I’ll have to avoid all of these for limited cornering given the battery housing/stack. I’ll be looking at chainring/spider PMs next.

  23. Chris

    Did Powertap make an android app yet?

    Last time I spoke to them they were iPhone only, missing 80% of the market. Massive oversight.

    Basically means you can’t upgrade the firmware or benefit from any of the advanced metrics.

  24. Pavel

    Ray, thanks for the review.
    Do you know if there exists something similar but with MTB pedals?

  25. Steven Knapp

    Not to nit-pick, but thought Garmin provided Exustar Arc R2 cleats with the Vectors? Not “OEM” Keo cleats?

    For me this is less about the cleats, it is more about being able to use one pair of shoes on my bike with power pedals and another without. So far my limited sharing of my Keo pedals and “My Girl’s” P1 pedals everything seems OK. When she got the P1s we did get a set of Xpedo Thrust pedals for her second bike just to ensure “perfect compatibility”.

    • Steven Knapp

      And the contrast between Favero and PowerTap I attribute to PowerTap saying “don’t use Look cleats” and Favero saying it’s OK.

      Are there any differences in their pedal bodies that create different behaviors, or if Favero is just being more casual about it?

  26. CM

    I have the P1 pedals and I’ve hit them when powering through a turn on the IM Santa Cruz route. I’ve ridden West Cliff Drive hundreds of times, and never hit a speedplay, but use the P1s one time and I hit them. Nearly caused a crashed.

  27. DaniloM

    I really would like to know why powermeter are so expensive.

    • Mostly because power meters are really hard to bring to market. It usually takes 2-4 years of R&D time, and the products and components during that time cost a lot. This is especially true in pedal based power meters. Whereas the component cost for something like a pod attached to a crank arm is in the tens of dollars.

      Also, the market will bear it.

    • Paja

      Watch this video and you will understand why…link to youtu.be It is not just the long R&D process, but also high precision engineering precess in power meter production.

  28. Adam

    You said: “Note that Vector 3 does not support the Shimano swappage kit that Vector 1/2 did. Maybe down the road, but nothing in the cards today.”

    Do you think this is a genuine possibility with the Vector 3s given that the batteries and electronics all need to be housed internally now as well? Are the batteries currently housed inside the spindle?

  29. Anton Peterson

    Is there an estimate of how long the pedal spindles will last before servicing them and how much of a pain would it be to get them serviced?
    (Question goes to all three pedals)

  30. Oleg Golovliov

    Few days ago I damaged one of the Vector 2 pod on rental bike. It would not happen with Vector 3.
    I wish Garmin have trade in program. Now I have to wait pedal pod to be delivered, and my staying at home short, just loosing time without PM.

  31. Eli

    The force vectors powertap has are part of the BLE spec:
    link to bluetooth.com

    Not sure anyone outside of Polar uses that data though. Would be nice if it got added to Ant+ and if pioneer supported it (the data the pioneer power meter sends is great but their head unit to save it is a pain)

  32. Jason

    Ray,
    You mention in your review that all three companies offer the ability to upgrade from their single sided versions to the dual sided. Is this true for the P1S? As far as I can tell Powertap doesn’t sell an upgrade kit.
    Thanks, Jason

    • That was the plan. Let me validate said plan is still the plan. I assumed it came out almost a year ago when they announced. odd.

    • David

      As of October 3, 2017 (2 or 2.5 years since introduced?) the official answer from PowerTap support today is “Our team is currently working on this update. No ETA has yet been announced.”

      To borrow your phrase from above, that’s a kick in the balls. I’m just stuck with a single-sided solution? How hard can it be to just take my single-sided unit back under warranty then send me a dual sided kit for the price difference?

  33. Ray, in the installation section it should be “make do” rather than “make due”.

  34. Jonathan Woo

    Dumb question. Do pedal-based powermeters take into account of the upward forces when you pull up on the pedals? Or do they only measure power on the downward portion of the pedaling motion?

  35. Matt

    The Assioma pedals look great value for money compared to the others but I am still reeling from the revelation early in the review that you manage to take a bike multitool in hand luggage on a plane! Do you never get challenged? I tried it once at Manchester, UK and lost one to the security team who conviscated it on the spot.

    • It’s always entertaining to me what security checkpoints will allow/disallow. For example, TSA allows tools up to 8″ long I believe, yet sometimes they’ll reject specific items below that length (that aren’t on the list). French airports (CDG) are sorta in the same camp.

      We had a small allen key removed once saying it was a threat, meanwhile they allowed an entire crankset…with chainrings on it…through. No kidding, I actually took a whole crankset in my carryon luggage*.

      (It wasn’t the plan, but there was bad train delays on the way to the airport and arrived well after luggage check-in on an international flight. So it was either hail-mary it, or leave the crankset behind or in a locker or something. Hail-mary worked!)

  36. Pablo Gonzalez

    I have the Vector 1S (yes… I have regrets…) So, I’m waiting that the upgrade kit would have a bigger discount (is still at $699 !!!). Do you think this will come any time soon?

    Thanks!

    • I’m not aware of anything planned there unfortunately.

    • Pabllo

      Thanks Ray!
      I asked a few bike stores and they also didn’t know about any future discounts. I don’t get it. I want the full dual power, but upgrade it with Garmin it will cost me $499, but if I get NG ECO is 499 euros, the Powerbeat for $399 or just for spite I could buy the Favero for $799.

    • Yeah, I think you’re ultimately looking at a case of Garmin believing they have a better (or perhaps more appealing) product and can charge more.

  37. Thomas

    Ray,

    great review as always and helpful since I’m already waiting for my Vector 3s. I do not have used a powermeter so far and still not 100% sure if I may should invest the money for the full Vector 3. Could you help with that decision since there are so many questions about the sense of the values and what you can get out if you only use the S version. I’m using Garmin head units…

    Thanks in advance

    • My philosophy on single sided pedals is simple: If you want to buy the left-only option now, and do indeed plan to upgrade down the road when budget allows, then go forth!

      However, if you only plan to buy the left only pedal, I’d recommend instead going with a full-power solution that’s on the crankset/spider, for roughly the same price or cheaper. These would include the Quarq DZero, Power2Max units, and PowerTap C1 (or G3 hub). All capture total left/right power, as opposed to just left leg doubled. Thus, they are inherently more accurate.

  38. Mario

    Does Assioma Favero Duo work properly with the Polar V800? Does the watch connect to both pedals?

  39. Andy

    Great technical review as ever.
    It would be nice to acknowledge issues that people have noted with the various pedals. I guess that is more applicable to P1s as they have been around for a while and built up a history but the general issues will apply from the older Vector2.and the current BePRo pedals.

    • Yeah, I tried to figure out where to fit some of that in, while also being accurate (same challenge with addressing support, some people have great experiances, others less so). And sometimes it’s a numbers game. Meaning PowerTap has sold boatloads of P1 units, so in some sense you’ll see more issues (3-5% of 20,000 units is more than 3-5% of 2,000 units kinda thing). It’s also tricky differentiating what may be pedals from 2 years ago (first-run type issues), compared to pedals being made now – since we know changes have been made since then.

      I’m super hesitant though to infer Vector 2 issues to Vector 3, because I actually don’t think we’ll see carry-over there of those specific issues. The pedals are really entirely different inside and out (with a heavy emphasis on the inside). We’ll probably find ‘new’ issues instead, but that’ll take time to figure out what those are. For the BePro pedals, I struggle to think of anything I’ve seen pattern-wise from people. I’ve really only seen a handful of issues from readers in the two years, and none seem related. They seem either manuf defect type issues, or issues driven by human problems. ;)

  40. Jespper N

    Hi Ray,
    Can you shed some light on, why the need for torque wrench has gone, for the V3? I mean, the pod went from being between the spindle and crank arm, to being around the spindle, between V1 and V2, so I could understand if the trq wrench was dropped there. But V2 and V3, seems to have the same spindle/crank arm interface, so why now?
    To me, it smells like Garmin is removing a “losing point” political, more than technical. And sacrificing maybe accuracy? I know your tests don’t indicate that, but I just don’t get what’s different from V2 to V3 in this regard. Have you tested V2 without trq’ing them?

    • No sacrificing in accuracy, you can see that in my preview post easily. I’m constantly removing and re-installing the V3 pedals for rides (every ride right now actually, on purpose). Never once with a torque wrench.

      And yup, I tested V2, and while it was better than V1 without torque, it still required really cranking down.

      I don’t know the exact technical details of why/how this was accomplished, but all three vendors got to this point now. I was able to show very easily on the BePro for example that not doing so (and even if you did) still took settling.

  41. Scott

    As usual, a super article. I am about to take delivery of a new bike with disc brakes. Currently I have been used a PT hub. Works great. Unfortunately I was told that can’t use these hubs with disc brakes which makes sense.

    Are you planning an update of this topic in the near future. I know you have done more reviews, I just read the latest post on pedal power meters, but assume that it doesn’t get incorporated in this consolidated post?

    Anyway, looking for a good option, low(er) cost since I just spent a chunk on the bike itself. Seems silly to get crank based, replacing brand new cranks? But maybe pedals? I loved that hub idea that has worked so well…

    Thanks.

    • At present I don’t have a wheel with disc brakes, so it’s not something I’ve dug into a lot. Given only the PT hub would be impacted by that, it’s harder to figure out a place to piece that.

      The good news is that with crank spider based, if you select carefully you don’t need new cranks.

    • If the crank is ultegra or duraace you can get a PM attached, thats what I did with a pioneer power meter. (Attached to existing ultegra cranks)

  42. Thomas

    Hi Ray,

    I think I got this part in your article. My question was more related to the difference between the S and the full Garmin version. And if I’m right are the upgrades in summary always more expensive than buying the full set up front (100+). I think I will wait for your full review of the Garmins to better understand the difference between both. A spider unit is not an option since all my 3 bikes have different cranks.

  43. brian

    When talking accuracy above, is it actually precision to which the numbers refer? If accuracy (proximity to “real” values) is the case, do you know how they are performing the tests to determine that? Precision is self-defined: how repeatable are the values.

    I’ve had the P1’s for some time now and have had to send them back twice before they provided a replacement pair: so dependability is a concern. I’ve also run them side by side with a DZero unit and the #’s produced were within +/- 2% of each other. This speaks to accuracy and precision both.

    And thank you for the comparison/review. Very helpful.

  44. Phil A

    I pedaled through a turn in a race the other day (which I normally do not do) and caught one of my P1 pedals. It sucked, came pretty close to wrecking. I call it my fault, because with how hard I hit it probably would have happened with other pedals.

    My question is did the Xpedo/P1 cleats work for you on the Vector 3?

    • Yes, Xpedo/P1 cleats did work for me within Vector 3. That’s actually what I rode this entire time until three days ago when my cleats got so bad I needed to replace them. So then I stuck on the Vector cleats. That of course worked flawlessly with Vector, but actually didn’t work well with the Favero unit.

  45. Do any of the pedals officially support their use when used with pedal spacers/extenders like the ones from Bike Fit? I use 20mm pedal extenders because that’s worked the best for me when I got my bike fit (it keeps my knees in the correct position). I know the older Garmin did not because of the pod, but it looks like the newest version would work with them.

  46. Oscar

    Hm…am I going to shoot myself in the foot if I purchase the P1s now, given that they’re the only one of the three that is 2+ years old? I like the idea of a pedal based system and they seem to be the ones for me, but I don’t want to buy it only to have something new come out in a month.

    • There’s nothing else on the horizon, you’re safe.

      You’ll see some minor power meter announcements this week at Interbike from other companies, mostly just the usual Interbike price shifts and secondary model type announcements and such. All announcements would be made by 9AM Pacific on Wednesday.

    • Oscar

      Sweet. Thanks. My first power meter! So excited.

  47. Jeffrey F.

    I scraped a Powertap P1 the first day I rode it, despite never having scraped a pedal in the two years prior that I’d used Shimano SPD-SL. As is my tendency, I was being aggressive in a descent, powering out of a corner. If you coast through corners in normal outside-pedal-down form, it’s of course not a problem.

    The very hard scrape and the accident it almost caused scared the crap out of me, so I stopped being aggressive that way. Nevertheless, I still managed to scrape the other side a few months later.

    I would not recommend Powertap P1 to aggressive descenders with 175mm cranks.

  48. Andrey

    Hi Ray,
    Thanks for great review!
    Re cornering: I had P1 for one month and on two or three first rides I hit ground twice by left pedal and once by ritgh pedal with my 175mm cranks. So both pedals had scratches from the ground. After that I change my habits during cornering and didn’t hit the grounf any more. But it’s not a rare thing for P1 I beleive.

    Now I’m waiting for V3 and hope it’s form factor will prevent any ground touching in the future.

    BTW, left pedal of my P1 became faulty after 1800 km and I returned it to the seller by warranty and just after that I knew about V3 and decided to switch from P1 to V3. For me P1 is a not relaible product. Sorry.

  49. grasscar

    Hi Ray. Thanks for the very timely post. I was just about to click “buy” on the powertap, but then I saw the comments about the lack of android support. Also the comparison of weights is a turn off.
    I’m looking at the best way to spend money, I mean meaningfully upgrade my CAAD12 ultegra, and since I already have good wheels on it, I figured the power meter would be the best way to get faster.
    I don’t like garmin because of their proprietary mindset (like you said, no garmin gps = no data for you!).
    I now don’t like powertap because no android.
    I really really like the spidering on the caad12 (so light and pretty) so I don’t want to replace it for a crank based power meter.
    And if I’m going to fork out a bunch for a power meter, I want to know what each leg is doing, how and where I’m applying power (and what I need to work on).
    Any advice? Getting a bit lost here.

    • Here’s the thing: All advanced pedaling metrics from all companies are proprietary at the moment. Nobody is sharing anything.

      PowerTap could certainly develop a Connect IQ app and the stats would show up on a Garmin.
      Pioneer could do the same, but they keep it in-house (not a pedal, but same concept).
      Same with Stages, or Verve, or anyone.

      And all of these companies (even including Garmin), could have proposed a standard update for the ANT+ power spec. Had any of them done it, Garmin likely would have had their hand forced to open up the standard. So in some ways, these companies are all a bit of the pot/kettle here.

      And if metrics are the thing – then Favero is lacking them entirely. Fwiw, 3rd party apps can at least access Garmin’s recorded metrics, even if they do require at present a Garmin head unit.

      Of course, the real reality is whether or not these advanced metrics mean anything. If not (and generally, I don’t think we have enough data to say they do), then any units will be solid. Even if on Android, PowerTap’s firmware updater works just fine there (via their partner app) – so that’s not a roadblock.

      I’d also caution that no research at this point has shown that you should try and change pedaling balance. Almost every bit of evidence I’ve seen show that attempting to do so reduces overall power output (aside from injury recovery).

  50. Tim Grose

    Re Q-factor – in the diagram for the Favero it says 54mm but the text below has 55mm. Bit of a pet topic for me as if the pedal to crank Q-Factor is too low I tend to bang my heels against the cranks. Science can be contradictory
    – the papers referenced in link to en.wikipedia.org suggests lower Q-factor is better which does not really help much in the desire to avoid the banging…

  51. Matt

    “A lot of people get really bent out of shape about q-factor”

    C’mon… this blog is all about people getting bent about shape about their twiddly little cyclo-toys. :)

  52. Josh

    Great review. Thoughts on Vector 3 vs Quarq Dzero. I can’t decide.

  53. Frans

    I have P1’s now, second pair (first pair broke down and was replaced); I would settle now for Assioma’s. From a metrics view while cycling: I think the Assioma’s are just fine. You look mostly a general power output, perhaps some left/right balance and in most of the cases that is it. Perhaps indoor when trying to do specific training you can perhaps have some benefit from it or coming back from an injury. But otherwise I wouldn’t miss it.

    The Garmin Vector 3 look great and most will not even notice that you have power pedals. The choice for the type of battery however is in my opinion a minus. Some will find the Assioma’s rechargeable battery not so great, but think: no purchase of batteries, just recharge and presto (you won’t find the extra costs back in the energy bill). Ah, well: going to see how long my P1’s will last and by that time prices will have come down.

  54. Penrice Ian

    Hi Ray,
    I note your reservations with single sided power pedals, but the majority of my structured training is done indoors on a smart trainer, outdoor power for me is mainly used for pacing TTs etc. I would also like to move pedals across a few bikes and also some rentals when away, would this set of circumstances change your view on single sided, or do you still believe them too compromised?

    • I think the challenge is that single-sided power measurement is still quite variable, especially depending on your usage. Things like Best Bike Split really struggle, and that’s all about power pacing for a TT.

      At the same time, if you travel a bunch, and want at least some form of power on that rental bike to work with – it might be the balance one has to take.

    • Ian Penrice

      Thanks Ray

  55. Colin Caskie

    Great stuff, as always.

    One thing I can’t find, is whether it is possible to get the Garmin Cycling Dynamics metrics with the single sided Vector pedals? Clearly you won’t get the metrics that rely on left/right balance, but is it an all or nothing? Some of the power phase stuff is interesting and I can’t see any reason why some of it wouldn’t work on a single sided only solution.

    Is it possible or do Garmin just disable the who lot on the single sided variant?

  56. Steven Knapp

    Do any/all of the three report a useful battery status? Ideally in a percentage?

    I know ANT+ sensors typically report a low battery state. But I’ve not found this reliable in HR straps and the like.

    • I’m not aware of anything.

      The problem is that honestly the battery state is a complete swag. The challenge with coin cell batteries is that it takes a bit of time to stabilize, and so the low-battery state is more or less the most obvious point where the battery stability has deteriorated enough that it’s easy for them to pick it out.

  57. Dave

    I have a set of the PowerTap P1S pedals, which when I first purchased them had no upgrade option to buy the right hand pedal and have the two pedals measuring power. In the review above you state that all three companies allow single sided measurement to be upgraded to dual sided but when I check my preferred retailer’s websites as well as PowerTap’s website I see no mention of this upgrade option. Is this just being rolled out? Do you have to contact PT directly? Do you know what the cost is for the upgrade?

  58. Tom

    A question about the left-only variants (specifically the Garmin, but I guess for the others too) – do they allow you to input a known left-right imbalance, and then correct for this in the power value broadcast?

    I believe that the 4iiii Precision do this for their left only cranks (?), but given the likely-upgrade paths and crank/bottom bracket compatibility issues, a pedal-based option is much more appealing right now for someone on limited budget, but likely to upgrade in the future.

  59. Max Cave

    Hi Ray and other knowledgeable people,
    I was wondering how these power meters handle fixed gear bikes (force going in the other direction and all that)

    Thanks for the detailed summary

    PS: if you know of any other power meter system that would work on a fixed gear bike please do let me know!

  60. Fabian

    Hi Ray, great job…but i have 2 questions?

    do These pedal PMs work fine with eliptical chainrings like rotor q-rings ??

    If i train on a smart trainer like the direto (which i suppose uses its own embedded PM to be ‘smart’) how can i make the two power data ‘consistent’ ?
    if i train all winter time indoor with direto power data and then in spring i ride outside…the difference between elite and garmin PM could be significant??

    • Of the three, only the PowerTap P1 properly supports them (non-round rings).

      As for matching, I think you’ll find the Direto and P1 very similiar. But you can also use features like TrainerRoad’s PowerMatch to match the power levels based on a power meter.

    • Fabian

      Thx Ray , just a crosspost question.

      do u think that non-round rings can affect power data with trainers such as the direto?

    • No, non-round rings have no impact to trainer-produced data. The reason it impacts certain power meters is due to the way the speed is sampled on the rotation of the crank arm. That doesn’t apply to a trainer as it’s measured/calculated within the trainer, which isn’t impacted there.

  61. Andy

    I’m building a bike and have the option of a crank based power meter (dzero or P2M) or pedal based (Assioma or Vector 3), what would be your decision if you had the choice and price wasn’t an issue?

  62. Jerry Mags

    Ray- So just to be clear and sorry for the newbie question. I’m running a Garmin 820 with Assioma Duo’s. I’ve noticed that some of the cycling dynamics data does not show on the Garmin. Do you know what data (below) should be supported and viewable through the 820 with the Duo’s?

    PCO, PCO – Avg, PCO – Lap, Power Phase – L, Power Phase – L. Avg, Power Phase – L. Lap, Power Phase – L. Peak, Phase – L. Peak Avg, Phase – L. Peak Lap, Power Phase – R., Power Phase – R. Avg, Power Phase – R. Lap, Power Phase – R. Peak, Phase – R. Peak Avg, Phase – R. Peak Lap, Time Seated, Time Seated Lap, Time Standing, Time Standing Lap, Average Power Standing, Max Power Standing, Average Power Sitting, Max Power Sitting, Average Cadence Standing, Max Cadence Standing, Average Cadence Seated, Max Cadence Seated.

  63. batbj

    The Assioma seem to have some cycling dynamics after all: Torque Effectiveness (TE) and Pedal Smoothness (PS):

    link to cycling.favero.com

    • Jerry Mags

      Thanks.. Very helpful.

    • Technically speaking those are just normal ANT+ power metrics that have been around for years. No Cycling Dynamic metrics at this point.

    • Jerry Mags

      So the ability to have them transmit addition metrix such as standing and sitting times as well as offset (PCO) is essentially just a firmware update?

    • Technically yes, but it also requires a few other things:

      A) That various power meter companies accept into the ANT+ Power Meter TWG their adoption of the Cycling Dynamics spec that Garmin provided during the meetings two weeks ago.

      B) That companies then adopt that in their own products.

      C) That Favero spends whatever dev time is required to correctly implement that.

      I don’t foresee that being a very short term thing for Favero. I suspect it’ll be easier for the likes of PowerTap and Pioneer, who have been doing more in this particular area for longer.

  64. Marcis

    Ray, would appreciate your thoughts about the question asked by Andy. I have the similar one – what would be your decision if you had to make the choice between the quarq dzero/p2m NG Eco and Favero? I have no issue regarding pm transferring between the bikes but still find it’s hard to make a certain decision.

    • Jerry Mags

      Thanks again Ray. A much appreciated clarification.

    • All are solid power meters. I’d really just focus on what you want out of it. If you want aspects like true left/right balance, then pedals would be better over spider based (P2M/Dzero). Meanwhile, if you don’t care about that, and prefer some of the longer battery benefits, than usually the others are better there.

  65. Crowey

    Gidday, perhaps a stupid question, but why are they all using Look Keo? And how much stock do you put on the max weight? I’m a big bloke circa 115kgs, and sounds like I shouldn’t risk the Vector

    • A few reasons:

      A) It’s popular by itself
      B) Dealing with SpeedPlay as a brand, is generally miserable, for 3rd party companies.

    • Juan

      Hi Ray, do you know anything about the release date on the Vector 3? Sold my old bike, just got a new one, need a PM ASAP.

      I just called Garmin, they said retailers usually get the product first, so I should check with LBS first. Any clues will be greatly appreciated!

      Thank you!