Like Keo Power, Garmin Vector measures power independently in each leg and transmits it to the head unit with an external unit—the silver piece—that must be oriented perpendicular to the crank arm. Instead of fixing the pedal’s rotational position with a wrench, Garmin’s silver transmission unit has a flat surface that forces it into the correct orientation but also prevents Vector from mounting to a Specialized S-Works crank. Another point of differentiation between the two pedalsystems is cyclocomputer head unit compatibility. Vector uses ANT+ to transmit data, which is an open standard used by many computers including not only Garmin’s computers, but many of their competitors’ as well. This allows the rider to select their preferred computer instead of being restricted to those produced by the power meter maker. Garmin computers are, however, the only ones that can display the right/left power split between the rider’s legs.
Clark Foy originally developed the technology that became Vector for the start-up company Metrigear that he eventually sold to Garmin. Vector is able to measure the forces applied to the pedal, not just the torque applied to the drivetrain that actually moves the bike, which creates a massive swell of data in addition to the standard power data. Pedaling efficiency is one potential way to use this data and these functions that could potentially be added in the future will simply be software updates instead of forcing the rider to buy new hardware. Vector also uses a Look Keo cleat system, but has an off-brand pedal body rather than a true Look pedal. The pedal comes with cleats and standard Look cleats are also compatible. It will sell for $1,499 when it becomes available in March of 2012.
Written by Aaron Hersh. Follow him @triathletetech.
Photos by Nils Nilsen (@triathletephoto) and Aaron Hersh.