Garmin International Inc, a unit of Garmin Ltd, has unveiled Vector – a high-precision pedal based power meter – ‘designed for cyclists, by cyclists’. Garmin claims that Vector is the lightest weight direct measurement power meter on the market – designed for quick installation, portability and ease-of-use.
Taking only minutes to install, Vector provides accurate and reliable power data, and measures and presents right and left leg power balance to ANT+ compatible head units.
Vector was announced in preparation for a world unveiling tour beginning at Australia’s Ausbike, then climbing to Germany’s Eurobike, and finally sprinting to Las Vegas’ Interbike where it will be prominently displayed at Garmin booths in each location.
“We are excited to get this innovative product into your hands – and under your feet,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s Vice President of Worldwide Sales. “From picking it up at your local bike shop and installing at home in minutes, to giving you accurate and reliable total and independent leg power measurements, Vector becomes one of the most desirable solutions in the cycling market.
“It’s similar to going from 2D to 3D,” Bartel continued. “There’s a richness in data and capabilities that come from the combination of our location of measurement – the pedals – and Vector’s sensor design.”
Quick and easy
For many cycling enthusiasts, purchasing a power meter is an intimidating and potentially complicated process, often involving mechanical trade-offs for their bikes. Vector simplifies the decisions and the process. Cyclists can now walk into their local bike shop, walk out with a Vector power meter in hand, and install it themselves in minutes. There’s no need for a custom order process, no need for a mechanic, and no downtime while their bike is in the shop.
With integrated cadence measurement, there are no external sensors to install, and all calibration is performed before the Vector power meter hits the store shelves. Vector’s easy-to-install design makes it easy to swap between bikes, and easy to take to out-of-town events when renting or borrowing a bike. Vector’s light weight and durable injected carbon fibre pedals are LOOK Keo compatible, and its ANT+ wireless pedal pod transmitters fit most major cranksets.
On the Look-out for power
The compatibility with Look Keo pedals recognises the importance of the Look brand across the cycling community. Although it may be seen as a provactive move, given the launch of Kéo Power pedals from Polar and LOOK at Interbike 2010.
Wizardry behind the watts
Garmin sent out a clear signal that pedal power was in its sights when it has acquired MetriGear Inc, the creator of an innovative pedal-based power solution for cycling, back in September 2010.
The new Garmin Vector system works by measuring the normal deflection in the pedal spindle as you pedal, throughout the entire pedal stroke. By comparing the measured deflection to a factory-calibrated deflection caused by a known load, Vector can determine how much force is being applied to the pedal.
With force measurements, the cadence measurements from Vector’s integrated accelerometers, and time, Vector accurately calculates watts. The force sensors are permanently and securely sealed within the pedal spindle, one of the most robust components on the bike.
An ‘Edge’ on the competition
For users already using a Garmin Edge 800 or Edge 500 cycling computer, the company notes that adding a Vector power meter will take their training to the next level. Not only will the Edge display total power, left and right leg power, and cadence, it will now also display in real-time the widely adopted power metrics from TrainingPeaks: Normalized Power (NP), Intensity Factor (IF) and Training Stress Score (TSS). The Edge 800 adds a new interval summary page to enhance the power-based training experience.
“Vector’s easy-to-own design has the potential to make power-based training more accessible and usable by a broader range of athletes,” said Hunter Allen, founder of Peaks Coaching Group and widely regarded as a leading expert in training with a power meter.
“In addition, by integrating the TrainingPeaks metrics of Normalized Power, Intensity Factor and Training Stress Score directly into the Edge head units for real-time display, Garmin continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to advancing power-based cycling tools.”
Complete the suite
For post-ride analysis, mapping, course and workout creating and detailed power metrics, Garmin Connect is a tool for every level of cyclist. With over 1 billion miles logged, users will never be stuck without a new route to explore. At Garmin Connect, cyclists can explore other user’s workouts and send them directly to compatible Garmin fitness products to follow.
Garmin (not surprisingly!) notes that having all cycling electronics and analysis from one brand means the rider can trust the equipment, the user experience and the support.
Vector has also been designed to be easy to update as software enhancements are made, thanks to its ANT+ wireless technology. To see Vector in action, go to www.garmin.com/Vector. Vector will be available in March 2012 and will have a suggested retail price of US$1,499.99.