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Garmin opens up Cycling Dynamics to other companies

CyclingDynamics

Sitting on the list of things I’ve been meaning to write about for about a month, is a nifty and little known tidbit: At the ANT+ Symposium this year, Garmin announced that 3rd parties could start to leverage Garmin’s previously proprietary Cycling Dynamics metrics within their own products.  Be it power meters or head units (or watches), all of which no longer requiring Garmin Vector to get cycling dynamics.

So, since my sushi for lunch is taking about 45 minutes longer than it should to be delivered, I’m just going to see if I can knock out this quick post and then get back to finishing up that Apple Watch review.

A tiny bit of background:

For those unfamiliar with Cycling Dynamics, the short version is that it provides/provided additional power meter metrics beyond just left/right power.  So it includes things like seated/standing time, as well as platform center offset, and phased power.  Until this point, the only way to get those advanced metrics was to both have a Garmin Vector power meter (version 1, 2, or 3), and to also have a Garmin head unit or wearable.  On the head unit, those metrics looked like this:

DSC_4385

While online, they looked like this:

image

(For those that want a deeper look, here’s my ride from yesterday with Vector 3 and Cycling Dynamics, just scroll down a ways and notice the tab, as well as the additional data plots.)

Now, longtime readers know that I’m hardly a huge proponent of Cycling Dynamics, mostly, because I think there’s not a ton of actionable information from it.  Which isn’t saying that there might not be down the road, but rather that I simply haven’t seen much in the way of coaching/training/racing guidance that leverages it.

Hopefully though, with more power meters and head units supporting the metric, we might get more software platforms to support it as well.  Today, that’s mostly limited to WKO4 and I believe SportTracks as well.

What’s changing:

image

Now, things get a bit tricky in understanding how Garmin opens this up.  My title of this post attempts to distill the concept into the simplest form possible.  However, if I were to re-title this post to the most accurate description possible it would be:

“Garmin releases Cycling Dynamics to ANT+ Power Meter Technical Working Group, up to that group to debate, ratify, and then ultimately implement it in their products.”

Which is a round-about way of saying that while Garmin has let the reins (or locks, as it may be) go on this, it’s really up to everyone else to actually do something with it.  It’s also a round-about way of telling you that the rest of this post might get a bit geeky.

See, at the ANT+ Symposium this year, Garmin walked into the Power Meter Technical Working Group (TWG), and said:

“Hi all, here’s our spec for Cycling Dynamics. It’s our gift to you, do as you wish. Love, Garmin Vector Team.”

Which doesn’t, unfortunately, mean that tomorrow you can use the PowerTap P1 pedals and get Cycling Dynamics information on your Wahoo BOLT.  That requires a few more things to happen.

First, the TWG has to accept (as a group) Garmin’s specs.  By that, I mean that the purpose of the working group is to discuss specifications and agree upon standards.  It’s what makes the power meter industry go round.  So who is this working group?  It’s a collection of any interested parties that are full ANT+ members.  In the case of the power meter working group it’s reps from companies like Quarq, Wahoo, Pioneer, PowerTap, and so on.  Even companies like TrainerRoad are there. Said differently: Everybody.

In the case of the meeting up in Banff, not every company was there.  For example Garmin, Quarq, Wahoo, and TrainerRoad were all in the room.  But I don’t believe PowerTap/CycleOps folks were there, nor Pioneer or Favero.  They could have potentially been on a conference call, and certainly would have received the information later (since then).

The point is that all these folks from around the world have to get the information and then decide if they want to amend it.

Why tweak it?

Well, while Garmin has a great base for what they do specifically with Vector, it may not match precisely what Pioneer or PowerTap wants to do.  Or what Stages, ROTOR, Verve, or Shimano might want to do.  We know both Pioneer and PowerTap, for example, have their own advanced metrics, and they may have things that Garmin’s baseline doesn’t.  The goal then coming out of the TWG is to find the middle ground for everyone.  The challenge? That can take a long time.  Years sometimes.

Meanwhile, on the head unit side, companies like Wahoo and Hammerhead (who were both in the meeting) certainly are likely eager to adopt it, as it’ll make them more competitive to Garmin for Vector users (in the short term), and all power meters in the longer term.

Going forward:

Pedal-Installation-Tools_thumb

The trick here to getting what you all want (cycling dynamics-like metrics supported across the board) is essentially telling these companies that you want this information.  If you want PowerTap and Favero to implement it in their products, then you should reach out and tell them that (or at the very least, drop a note in the comments below).  Else, they probably won’t.

Once they decide to, then there’s still a time period for them to figure out how to implement it.  Some things might be technically easy to do, while others may take more research and development time.  Just depends on the metrics.

One point I made in my ANT+ Symposium Keynote, was that at this point it’s really in the hands of these companies to implement.  Garmin has handed over the keys, so in essence, we can’t really blame Garmin anymore (which I was able to do for the past 3+ years).  If I fast forward to next spring and nothing has happened, the only companies I can blame now are the PowerTaps, Pioneers, and Wahoos of the world.

Which gets to the last dirty little secret of the ANT+ TWG: Garmin is effectively forced to implement standards that are ratified within the TWG process, no matter the profile.  Be it cycling power meter additions or running power meter support, if a formal ANT+ working group is established and then a standard comes out of it, in almost every scenario that’s sport-specific: Garmin will implement it.  They may not implement it on every device of course, nor older devices.  But for the most part, it gets implemented.

Thus, if companies want to force Garmin’s hands to implement their technologies, the fastest way to do it is to go create/join a TWG and then get a profile ratified.  All of which gets that technology into consumers hands quicker, which is a good thing for everyone.

With that – thanks for reading!

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57 Comments

  1. Ian

    HOORAY! That took long enough. Let’s hope the TWG works things through quickly and implements all the metrics members are looking at!

  2. Jason

    Hope you are enjoying your sushi!!!

  3. Paul

    Ray, what would be the incentive for Garmin to implement standards ratified by TWG? Does it make future development easier/less costly? Is it about broadening the comparability of their head units/wearables?

    Also, how broad is the standard? Will TWG standards require competitors to make a decision on how they develop their products? Will conforming to the standard mean innovating will push their product out of the ecosystem?

    For example, let’s say TWG standard existed prior to the development of Pioneer’s PM. Would Pioneer still produce a hi-fi PM? (Obviously, not a perfect example as Pioneer had the resources to develop their own head unit to support features outside the ecosystem.) I guess I’m asking whether there will be a disincentive for companies to develop features not supported by the standard.

    Agree that getting products quicker is better. But wondering what downstream impacts could be.

    • Paul

      Just re-read my post. I think I just implied that your post wasn’t geeky enough! ; )

    • Sushi had arrived, so I quickly wrapped up my geekery and went onto eating.

      “Ray, what would be the incentive for Garmin to implement standards ratified by TWG? Does it make future development easier/less costly? Is it about broadening the comparability of their head units/wearables?”

      In a nutshell, because they own Dynastream (and thus by extension ANT+), their incentive is that if member companies see Garmin stop adopting it, they’ll quickly shift focus elsewhere. In many ways, Garmin acts as a bit of a glue here.

      At the same time, yes, Garmin knows that a significant chunk of why people purchase their products is the compatibility with all these other sensors. Things like action cams, bike radar, bike lights, and so on. Not everybody of course, but certainly some. Garmin’s probably betting that their marketing engine could also surpass others, meaning that they can say they support it ‘best’ on both head unit and power meter. And as such, they could say ‘Hey, buy our power meter, and get cycling dynamics on anything’. Or inversely ‘Hey, just buy our head unit, and get cycling dynamics from anything’.

      Or maybe they just want to be good corparate citizens and want me to stop whacking them upside the head for it.

      “Also, how broad is the standard? Will TWG standards require competitors to make a decision on how they develop their products? Will conforming to the standard mean innovating will push their product out of the ecosystem?”

      The way ANT+ standards work in 98.5% of the time is that they don’t break past products. So a power meter that gets a firmware update to support cycling dynamics, doesn’t break a 5 year old head unit that doesn’t know it exists. It’s a bit of a tenant of ANT+ and their thinking. At the Symposium they talked a bit about how they do think at some point in the near future they may need to make some tough backwards compatibility decisions to keep innovating fast enough (not nessessarily power related, but in general).

      For the most part though, many different device profile standards have had new metrics added over time, and it’s just blocks that basically bolt on. That said, when it comes to certification, a company would have to at least not barf when handed the data. They don’t have to display it nessessarily, but they shouldn’t crash either.

      “For example, let’s say TWG standard existed prior to the development of Pioneer’s PM. Would Pioneer still produce a hi-fi PM? (Obviously, not a perfect example as Pioneer had the resources to develop their own head unit to support features outside the ecosystem.) I guess I’m asking whether there will be a disincentive for companies to develop features not supported by the standard.”

      It doesn’t keep companies from doing their own thing. Pioneer is a great example here in fact. That’s because they can continue sending their own proprietary stuff alongside the standard stuff if they wanted to. They can also decide not to send any new standard stuff either. That’s fine too.

      That said, having actually talked to Pioneer specifically about this, they seem eager to jump on this. For them, they’d much rather have their power meter fully compatible with boatloads of Garmin head units, than have that data only available to a tiny handful of people with the Pioneer head units. They know their pricing is very competitive on their own head unit, but the lack of ability to get their advanced metrics to where the bulk of users is, is holding back their power meter business. I’d actually say out of almost all vendors out there, this benefits Pioneer the most.

    • If pioneer wanted their power meter to have all the advanced metrics with garmin head units they could already make a custom data field. Though I guess they really would need more then one which is a limitation in connectiq, both in number of data fields but also in that only one can have a custom ant channel to the power meter at a time.

    • Gryphon

      I’m a little confused about this. Pioneer would be able to transmit to all the Garmin head units, but would this development allow them to also transmit to Wahoo head units for example? Who would need to do something to make that happen, Wahoo? Pioneer? Both?

    • In theory, everyone can transmit anything and everything to everyone. Pioneer to Garmin, Garmin to Pioneer, PowerTap to Pioneer or Wahoo, and so on.

      But…and this is the big but…

      It requires these companies to:

      A) Agree/ratify the standard
      B) Implement it in their respective products

      In the case of Pioneer specifically, it’s likely a relatively minor lift to get their metrics ported into the Cycling Dynamics ones, since they’re already doing things in that realm. Whereas for someone like Favero, it’s probably a bigger lift because they aren’t doing any of that today.

      But the real trick is item A above, getting that ratified. As much as one wants to blame ANT+ for how longs things take (which they can), much of this at this point comes down to the member companies pushing it along.

    • Gryphon

      Thank you for the clarification Ray. One quick follow-up if I may. Have you specifically talked to the Pioneer people about this subject? I think you have alluded to this somewhere else, but given how much data a Pioneer PM already transmits, combined with the general sense that their head units are less than desirable, it seems as if they would be jumping to make this happen.

      Personally, I’m leaning towards taking a leap of faith as a Wahoo Bolt user and am going to order a Pioneer retrofit on my current crank. Hopefully I’ll be able to take advantage of their advanced metrics in the near future.

    • I talked to Pioneer about it at Interbike, but not the specifics yet, because it hadn’t been announced yet (I knew about it then). So it was more general ‘if this happens’ type stuff. Still, it’s on my list to circle back to them and see what they’re saying (along wither others).

  4. simon

    Do we think quarq can implement any of these metrics ?

    Or to put it another way, do quarq else/dzero owners have anything to gain from this, even it the data itself is of limited use ? What metrics could they support and are they likely to ?

    Is is really more aimed at pedal based solutions ?

    more data is good ? . . . right ?

    • It’s mostly aimed at either pedal solutions, or solutions that have dual sided elements (i.e. ROTOR, Verve, 4iiii Dual, etc…).

      I don’t know off-hand what specific elements a non-dual solution can take advantage of. Maybe one of the Quarq folks will chime in…

    • Adam

      I’m interested in this as a DZero user.

      I believe I’m correct in saying that the basic cycling dynamics metrics (namely “Pedal Smoothness” and “Torque Effectiveness”) have been part of the ANT+ Bike Power Profile for many years now and neither of these have been implemented by Quarq as far as I’m aware; certainly not on the DZero generation anyway.

      I don’t know if that’s a technical limitation of the spider-based measurement, or a lack of interest from Quarq in developing these features, but either way, it perhaps doesn’t bode well for even more advanced metrics.

      I’m not too fussed because IMO, it’s a very minor, peripheral concern compared to the core function of a power meter, which the Quarq DZero performs extremely well.

  5. Adam

    Interesting, so what would be Garmin’s motivation to do such a thing?

    To get Cycling Dynamics Support into applications like TR and Zwift in order to drive vector sales? But they’ve already done that privately with TR at least, right?

    • Bill

      (Note: I’ve worked with many Standards organizations, but not ANT+)

      Depending on the Intellectual Property policies of the ANT+ symposium, the motivation for Garmin may be to have others adopt the cycling metrics, so they can force them to license patents that cover Garmin’s innovations in the area. In cellular standards, that is typically a driving force for companies to innovate and to be involved in the standards development process.
      Thus, Garmin has the latest tech in their own devices, driving sales, and the licensing revenue from patent licenses allows them to profit from the sales of others.

    • In a nutshell, yes.

      What you saw with TrainerRoad* was basically Garmin greasing those skids ahead of the ANT+ announcement. And we saw significant feedback from users in that for not just Garmin Vector support, but people turning around and asking for all the other companies to add support as well.

      Garmin knows that it’ll be reasonably easy for apps and head units to add support for Cycling Dynamics, but likely slightly more work for power meter companies. So if a bunch of apps/head units add support for Cycling Dynamics sooner rather than later, then Garmin basically can say: “If you want Cycling Dynamics in X, Y, and Z apps, check out Vector 3 today…or wait 6-9 months for someone else to add it.”

      The other motivations I just hit ‘post’ on, with the gigantic grey comment box above. ;)

      *https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2017/09/trainerroad-adds-garmin-cycling-dynamics-support-plus-upload-to-garmin-connect.html

    • Interesting point on patents. Garmin does have a patent for power phase display here: link to google.com

      Though, interestingly, I think they’d lose that court battle based on at least filing dates. The patent was filed May 2015, with a priority date of Aug 2014. However, Pioneer showed off effectively the same thing in their head units years prior (here’s my post from August 2012: link to dcrainmaker.com)

      Of course, the devil’s in the details there on wording and the precise metrics displayed. To date, I haven’t heard anyone mention patents or licensing fees in any of the discussions I’ve seen/heard from any party.

    • Seems like power is the main reason Ant is still better then BLE so Garmin giving Ant new metrics, some of which are already in BLE helps keep Ant competitive. (BLE can already transmit vectors on force direction during a pedal stroke)

      One standard makes it easier for Garmin to have their head units support it then lots of “standards”

      Garmin might also be in the position that they don’t feel like cycling dynamics helps them sell more Vector units by having a monopoly on the data.

      If patents were a problem with pioneer wouldn’t there already be a patent issue?

  6. Marc Simkin

    Ray, that is great to hear!

    Wahoo team, I would love to buy the element or bolt, but I use Vectors. If you add support for cycling dynamics and pushing to garmin connect I would consider switching from the Edge to a Element/Bolt.

    -marc

  7. vicent Perez Chapi

    I’m a happy element bolt and p1 user, would love to have cycling dynamics!

  8. Guillermo

    Thanks for the details once again Ray.

    Do you know if the Bluetooth guys have in sight to adopt cycling/running dynamics as well?
    By now, we just have power, cadence, and balance, which is very limited for the consumers and developers.

    Thanks

    • I’m not aware of anything there. At present most companies doing stuff in this realm on Bluetooth Smart (Polar and ROTOR for example), are doing it company to company as far as I understand it.

  9. gingerneil

    While we’re here talking TWGs… any news on the one setup for running power ? Any word on if they’ve even met yet ?!

  10. Milt MacFarlane

    Hey Ray how does that transgress to the likes of TrainingPeaks ect? Hope the Sushi was sensational and worth the weight waiter wait?

  11. Patrick Myers

    The more data that my PowerTap P1s and Garmin Edge 520 give me, the better.

  12. I take issue with:
    the fastest way to do it is to go create/join a TWG and then get a profile ratified.

    How many garmins support: (not using a custom connectiq app) Geocache, muscle oxygen, blood pressure, racquet, weight scale, suspension, dropper seatpost

    • True, Garmin won’t adopt all of them. But had companies like Stages or Pioneer asked for high speed data in the power meter profile, Garmin likely would have implemented it.

      For other profiles, it’d depend a little bit on someone bringing it to market that Garmin thought was worthwhile – or that they’re seeing adoption for. We saw Garmin do ANT+ weight scale forever, but then basically nobody was buying them (instead going with WiFi scales), and Garmin has slowly removed that from products going forward (of course, one could also point out Garmin released their own scale around then too).

    • Ant+ power profile does support 8Hz transmission but Garmin head units only update at 1Hz so….

      When has someone else brought a profile to market that Garmin decided was worth building into their hardware? Muscle oxygen is the only thing I can think of and that is only on the 735/935/fenix5. Sure some older units don’t have the hardware or storage space for the extra data but Edge 520/820/1030? Yes there are connectIQ data fields from moxy but we all know thats not as useful

    • Gear Shifting. The official ANT+ Gear Shifting profile was brought by SRAM….for eTAP.

    • Keith Wakeham

      EPS had this before SRAM released eTAP though. So there are two (3 potentially if/when FSA comes out) that use the Gear Shift profile.

      However, the DI2 private ANT (not ANT+ profile) integrates both the shift profile and a reversed version of the remote control profile which means that Wahoo, for instance, supports DI2 remote but not actual remote profile.

      The 8hz thing was mainly a math thing that could happen so Garmin exploited it for their cycling dynamics.

      Most PM’s are event or time driven, and event is a full rotation, so at 90rpm 8hz is 1 new data page and 5 redundant ones. They just shoved in new data pages (TE/PS or Garmin cycling dynamics).

      Garmin wants at least 3 companies, I believe, to make a TWG. The ConnectIQ is to help alleviate fear of not being first but a method of proving a concept to form a TWG.

  13. Karim

    I for one would LOVE to see PowerTap at the table and leverage Garmin’s proprietary Cycling Dynamics metrics within the P1 pedals!!

  14. Dave

    It would be great if Pioneer could implement this via a firmware update. I already own the Pioneer power meter, but their headunit just isn’t great. It would be nice to see Pioneers power dynamics information on my Garmin headunit.

  15. Nicholas Forsyth

    For the last 2 weeks I have been holding out for the Garmin Vector 3s for two reasons, first is both they and the Faveros are not currently available (meaning I didn’t have to put cash down) and second was that the Faveros don’t have all the metrics that Garmin do.

    Having said that, I put an order through for the Faveros yesterday as I couldn’t warrant paying £130 more for what is effectively the same thing (dual power pedal) and delivery was for end of October.

    If Favero make the move to support the cycling dynamics, would just mean that I have backed the right horse which is always nice! Again it is bitter sweet as Clever Training (Thanks Ray for the discount!) sent me an email this morning saying that manufacturers have delayed delivery until early November. Sigh!

    • Luko

      Nicholas, the single sided Vector3s does not support Cycling Dynamics (as the V2s or V1s neither), only the dual sided Vectors, as i know…

    • Nicholas

      Hahaha the “s” in “Garmin Vector 3s” was intended as plural, I now see the confusion.

    • Luko

      Ah, okie, clear! :) The dual sided Assioma is a good choice, very accurate and easy to install (the original BePro is a nightmare, overmeasuring with 2-10% due to the poor static factory calibration and the installing procedure is hard and the pedals are always rotating a bit and the measuring wrong)

    • I’ve never heard anyone make that claim about the original BePro units.

    • Luko

      Because the people dont know that their unit is overmeasuring… I could test a few (3-4 pairs from different sources, and i have friend in DE who has similar experience with them) here in Hungary, ALL needed heavy recalibration with their own BePro software (there is a possibility to rescale them +-15%)

      Powermeters what the factories are sending You i bet they are rechecking them multiple times before ship out that avoid the negative reviews. This is the difference between You and the “normal” people. (Of course, there are brands who always make top quality, out of the box)

    • Again, I’ve never heard anyone post that before…so it’s just a bit of an odd claim because it’s the first time in two years and over 500 comments on that review…nobody’s had that issue.

      Also, I actually test power meters bought from retailers just as often as direct from companies. In fact, all of my testing fleet that I use for long term tests is simply from retailers. Even my Assioma’s for example, retail, not the company.

    • Luko

      Okie, its just our own experience.

      The new Assioma was perfect (as it should be) for us also, out-of-the-box, within 1-2watts comparing to Tacx Neo and Power2Max.

  16. Patrick

    Here’s one more vote for PowerTap P1 pedals supporting Cycling Dynamics!

    • leonn

      +1.

      I intend to buy Favero on next year and it will be really sweet if I have dynamic metrics (mostly standing pedaling time).

  17. Marko

    Would love to see this data from my Powertap P1s!

  18. Fonzo

    Another +1 for adding this to the P1 pedals – hope Powertap are reading!?!

  19. Karl Watanabe

    How did you get the Vector 3 to show up under the Edge 1030?

  20. I hope that this opening by garmin will also provide you with more information on how to use these metrics to improve your bike position and optimize your pedaling mode. About the garmin 1030 I would like, I really appreciated the introduction of the firstbeat dynamics that analyze the state of shape and recovery of the athlete, according to your opinion the introduction of these dynamics are worth buying the new edge 1030? Or are data that can be obtained offline with any analytics software … (golden cheetat, trainin peaks, etc …)

  21. GianKam

    Having your avatar in Zwift sit/stand based on the info coming from the pedals would be awesome. Another step in making Zwift more realistic and immersive.

  22. Paul

    I’m planning on upgrading my Bepro single side next year. was going to go with garmin for the dynamics stuff but may go with the new Favero dual sided system if this is implemented.

  23. Innes Worsman

    If Wahoo implement this on their head units then perfect, Garmin have sold another pair of V3 pedals.
    I have been looking for a power meter and the Vector 3’s have been appealing but I have been holding off as I am a Wahoo elemnt Bolt user.

  24. Stefan Bluemmers

    PowerTap please implement … and now magical it´s going to happen? :) I´ll take it!

  25. jmags20

    Thanks Ray.. Hopefully Favero implements soon for the Assioma’s

  26. Marc steingrand

    Hello ray thanks for the info

    I am a data geek which means I would leave to have my P1 paddles to send Cycling dynamics send to Garmin f5 and even see them later on my TrainingPeaks account

  27. Tom

    I have powertap P1’s and this would be awesome if Powertap implemented it.

  28. Tim Grose

    Didn’t you do a similar post a few months ago about Garmin opening up running dynamics as well and, unless I missed it, aren’t we still waiting for somebody else to actually implement something?

    Then there was that post where everybody that was already computing something similar came up with different numbers. I wonder if any more chance of “agreement” with this stuff. Then this stuff only seems applicable to pedal based systems unless you can work out metrics through a pedal when measured elsewhere?

  29. Randy M

    Would be great to see this on the PowerTap P1’s. I’ve had to barrow an iPhone in the past just to do firmware updates, so I’ve never gotten to use the advanced metrics. Getting those on my Garmin and in the FIT file natively would be great.