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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.