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Garmin announced Tuesday the release of a single-sided power meter, the Vector S, which measures power generated by the left leg to estimate total power, similar to the Stages Power meter.
The Vector S uses the same technology as the full-suite Vector setup, but removes the measurement and transmission hardware from the right pedal. Price drops by almost half, relative to the Vector, down to $900. The Vector S can be easily upgraded to measure both left and right power simply by purchasing a new right pedal, available for $700.
The Vector system, first launched in 2013, has a retail cost of $1,600 — the combined price of the new Vector S left-side pedal and optional right-side pedal.
The Vector works by measuring deflection in the pedal spindle and combining that data with information from its built-in accelerometer to calculate power output. The system had some early teething troubles — setup requires a torque wrench, and improper setup leads to incorrect power readings — but has proven to be reliable in VeloNews testing over the past year. The Vector S cuts costs by cutting hardware, calculating power from the left leg just as the regular Vector does, then simply doubling that figure to provide total power. Stages utilizes a similar concept, measuring power via flex in the left crank arm and doubling that figure to provide total power.
The Stages Power meter is still a bit cheaper, with a retail price of $700 when mounted to a SRAM Rival or Shimano 105 crank arm, but that price goes up when it is paired with more expensive cranksets. The Vector S will work on any crank that is 12-18mm thick and less than 44mm wide — that includes the vast majority of cranksets currently on the market.
The Vector S will be available this fall.
Garmin introduces Cycling Dynamics
The Vector already provides users with accurate left/right power balance, thanks to its measurement points in the left and right pedals. Soon, the meter will provide a number of new metrics related to the pedal stroke, data made possible by the constant calculation of force vectors which the Vector (get the name, now?) uses to calculate power.
Garmin is calling the new suite of metrics Cycling Dynamics. It will include data on seated and standing positions, where power is produced around the pedal stroke, and where power is produced on the pedals themselves.
The seated/standing data will indicate how much time a rider spends seated or standing, how much power is produced in each position, and more. That data can be uploaded to Garmin Connect and geeked over for eternity.
Power Phase is similar to CompuTrainer’s SpinScan, and shows precisely where in the pedal stroke power is being produced. It allows riders to evaluate positive torque (that’s pedaling that pushes you forward) and negative torque (forces that are simply working against your other leg).
The Platform Center Offset metric allows riders to evaluate precisely where force is being applied on the pedal body itself. Garmin says analysis of this data could be helpful during bike fits and during injury rehabilitation.
These new metrics will be worked into Garmin’s popular GPS-enabled Edge cycling computers, though a timeline for their introduction was not provided.