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Garmin Vector 2 power based pedals – Review

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Recommended product
Garmin Vector 2 pedals Summary
To sum up the Garmin Vector 2's they are a decent and now affordable way to get power data on both legs. The installation is alot easier ont he version 2's and very easy to swop between bikes and this is something you cant do with a crank or hub power meter. The data you get can be imported into Garmin connect or other Analysis software. If you are looking for a cheaper entry then you can opt for the right only Garmin Vector 2's which only measures the left side but you can upgrade at a later date.
Pro's
Lots of data
Easy to install
Long battery life
Con's
Expensive
Pods can break

The Garmin Vector version 1 was the world’s first power meter pedal but it wasn’t perfect. For the revised version Garmin has added lots more analysis and changed the pods, which proved very robust.

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Garmin Vector 2 specification

  • Name: Vector 2
  • Built by: Garmin
  • Price: £849.99 via Wiggle
  • SetUp: Pedals
  • Weight: 363g
  • Left/Right Measurement: Yes
  • DIY Battery Swap: Yes
  • Battery: CR2032
  • Battery Life: claimed 175hrs

Garmin Vector 2 Unboxing

The Garmin Vector 2 come in a very nice black box that give first impressions you have just purchased a quality product and this is something I have come to expect from Garmin. Once you open the box you are presented with both the left and right pedal’s (the pedal bodies are made by Exustar) along with the 2 required pedal pod’s.

Garmin vector 2 power meter pedals box
Garmin vector 2 box in black

Garmin vector powermeter with pedals and pods in the box
Garmin vector powermeter with pedals and pods in the box

Once you open up the flap at the centre of the box you find the parts to fit the pedals to the bike along with some instructions and the Look cleats. Garmin have partnered with Park and you also get a 15mm claw foot torque wrench adapter. In addition to this you also get a ANT+ usb adapter that is used to update the firmware.

Garmin vector powermeter with pedals including all box contents with look cleats
Garmin vector 2 powermeter pedals full box set

Installing the Garmin vector 2 pedals

Installing the Vector 2’s is fairly simple and I didn’t use a torque wrench, lots of references on the internet to having to torque them to 40Nm but I didn’t and the readings seem to be accurate, the instructions that came with the Garmin vector’s didn’t make any reference to this either. The entire installation took about 15 minutes which involves fitting the pedals to the cranks then attaching the pedal pods and tightening the screw, this installation can be completed by most people but if you are unsure then visit your LBS. Once you have the pedals and pods connected its time to pair the Vector 2’s to a compatable cycling computer and in my case I used a Garmin Edge 1000. To pair you just follow the normal pairing process on the Garmin device as you would with any ANT device. Also note that you may need to upgrade the firmware and this can be done with a PC or Mac using the ANT+ USB adapter.

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Once you have the Vector 2 and the Garmin paired you will to complete an ‘installation ride’ to teach the pods the precise angle they are set to in relation to the crank. You do this by pedaling on the bike and getting to a cadence between 80-90 RPM this only takes about 30 seconds, then your computer asks you to confirm crank length and do a manual zero offset calibration.

The Vector 2 is also available in a single-sided Vector 2S as a more affordable entry point that can then be upgraded to a dual-sided system. You can also upgrade your original Vector pods to V2.

Garmin vector 2 powermeter pedals attached to a ultagra crank with Pod
Garmin vector 2 powermeter pedals attached to a ultagra crank with Pod

Using the Garmin Vector 2’s

Using the vectors is simple, its as simple as getting on the bike and then pedaling. You don’t need to turn anything or press any switches other than your cycling computer. Once you set off The Cycling Dynamics features are interesting. Using a Garmin Edge 1000 you can see live displays of your left/right power, stroke efficiency (Power Phase) and seated/standing splits.  The Power Phase feature is useful, especially if you’re a newer rider working to develop a smooth spin.

Cycling dynamics being shown on a Garmin Screen
Garmin Edge with the Cycling dynamic Screen

The easiest place to view all the power data is in Garmin’s Connect portal, which is probably what you’d default to uploading to if you were using an Edge computer. It gives you a bunch of graphs of the various metrics that you can analyse and zoom into at your leisure. Here’s some of my data from a 62 mile ride in September from the Garmin connect portal.

Garmin vector date in the Garmin connect portal
Garmin connect portal showing the cycling dynamics data

You can look into this data and investigate certain elements. The good thing is the ability to look at how much power is being provided by each leg along with the cleat angle and position to see if they are fitted right. Once thing I did find was when I was putting lots of power in I was consistently offset on the pedal on my left leg. The other thing you can get from the data is the time out of the saddle and power data, how useful this actually is debatable.

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If you’re predominantly a Strava user you can’t access the more granular data, but you can get your power readings, which map Connect accurately enough. The pedals also supply cadence information. If you use something like Trainingpeaks or Golden Cheatah then you will benefit from being able to look at the data in depth.

Accuracy

I simply can’t tell you whether figures from the Vector system are more accurate than those from a PowerTap, or any other system, and it doesn’t always matter that much. Of course, you’d ideally want figures that are correct and the numbers are are repeatable: I did find my power data was inline with other ways I had tested my power readings.

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Conclusion

To sum up the Garmin Vector 2’s they are a decent and now affordable way to get power data on both legs. The installation is alot easier ont he version 2’s and very easy to swop between bikes and this is something you cant do with a crank or hub power meter. The data you get can be imported into Garmin connect or other Analysis software. If you are looking for a cheaper entry then you can opt for the right only Garmin Vector 2’s which only measures the left side but you can upgrade at a later date.

Garmin vector 2 powermeter pedals out on a test one attached to a ultagra crank
Garmin vector 2 powermeter pedals out on a test one

I’ve enjoyed using the pedals and they’ve given me some insights into how I ride my bike, as well as giving me a bunch of data that I can analyse for trends. I’ve found them useful both for general riding and also for indoor training, where the repeatability of the numbers means interval training can be more structured. It’s not cheap but it is a very smart system that has a lot to recommend it.
Buy from Wiggle

 

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    Jon Ratcliffe
    I am Jon R and the editor of Active JR that covers wearables, fitness tech and smart home. I have a huge passion for technology having worked in the sector for over 18 years and I like combining this with fitness. My reviews will talk about how the product works in reality and not just what the marketing departments want you to think.You can contact Jon on Twitter @ActiveJR1

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