A heartier version of Garmin’s Vector 3/3S that adds a Shimano road cleat option and the ability to swap out pedal bodies to accommodate Shimano SPD mountain setups
$1,100 (Road, double-sided), $650 (Road, single-sided), $200 (Road, conversion kit)
$1,200 (MTB, double-sided), $700 (MTB, single-sided), $250 (MTB, conversion kit)
More wear testing indicates increased internal reliability
Option to purchase Look road, SPD-R road, or SPD mountain is huge
Newly available modular pedal bodies can be used with old Vector 3/3S system
Road-to-mountain swapability opens doors for more power training
Still no rechargeable batteries
Conversion kits aren’t cheap (particularly for what you get)
Swap is straightforward but not idiot-proof
329g (measured) for RK200
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If you want to ride with power on your bike, you basically have a few options: a crank-based system (either in the rotor, the arm, or the BB), a wheel-based system (in the hub), a smart trainer, an external sensor (with varying degrees of accuracy), or a pedal-based setup. For many triathletes the pedal-based system makes the most sense because they’re easy to swap from bike to bike and they don’t require any complicated setup. The only downside in the pedal-based power world is a lack of choices. Italian-based Favero has been a favorite for a long time because of its accuracy, durability, and super-competitive pricing, but Garmin has been nipping at its heels with its Vector line. And while there’s whiffs in the breeze of a new pedal-based power meter from a major brand, Garmin’s new Rally series is finally opening a few doors to more riders with more options.
Garmin Rally RK200 Review: The Basics
We’ve reviewed both the Vector 3 (the dual-sided version) and 3S (the single-sided version) before, and very little has changed from a practical perspective: The RK200 (double-sided) and Rally RK100 (single-sided) are the Look-compatible road versions, the RS200 and RS100 are the Shimano road SPD-R versions, and the XC200 and XC100 are the mountain Shimano SPD versions. The stack heights for the road pedals are the same as the Vector 3/3S at 12.2mm (the XC is 13.5mm), and the Q-factor is 53mm—expandable to 55mm with the included spacer. The new line still has 120 hours of battery life, with a better “sleep” cycle to keep power longer in standby, but you’ll still need to replace two LR44 or SR44 batteries on each pedal with a power meter when they run out of juice. Data is still transmitted via ANT+ or Bluetooth, accuracy is still listed at +/-1%, and the dual version still does advanced pedaling dynamics like right/left power balance and much more. The big news here? You can swap the Look, SPD (mountain), and SPD-R (road) pedal bodies with the power-sensing spindle in about 10-20 minutes with a 4mm wrench, a Philips eyeglass screwdriver, and an 11mm socket wrench. Check out the 10-minute swap, sped up, below:
Garmin Rally RK200 Review: The Good
Aside from some battery issues in the early Vector line—which have seemingly been addressed—there’s not a huge change in the internals. Garmin says the Rally line has been wear tested more in more extreme conditions and that’s a good thing, because reliability was sometimes an issue with the old Vectors. Elsewhere the big boon on this setup is the flexibility of pedal systems and cleat types. Not only are the RS100/200 the first and only SPD-R-compatible pedal-based power meter, but the ability to go to a mountain system with the Shimano SPD pedal body swap is fantastic for athletes who like to go offroad—particularly now, given the popularity of gravel riding. I’ve said it before: Triathletes really only need a tri bike and a gravel bike that they can use as a road bike, and this pedal system introduces consistent power across both styles of riding. Obviously it almost goes without saying that a pedal-based power system—if you can afford it—is the most flexible system there is, and this setup doubles down on flexibility with a modular pedal body.
Garmin Rally RK200 Review: The Ok
Of course, this is a common complaint with many Garmin products, but here we see it again: a proportionally high price. Shimano SPD mountain pedals run anywhere between $80 for a basic set and $180 for the lightweight, high-end XTR with replaceable plates and parts. Of course the Garmin SPD pedal body has to be custom milled to accommodate the power-sensing spindle, but the body itself is also very, very bulky and has almost no replaceable parts like most mountain pedals that are notorious for taking lots of damage in use. This triple markup for a pedal body that’s technically inferior to most of Shimano’s line is a tough pill to swallow, but the reality is that there’s no way around it. You want power on your offroad ride and you already own a Vector 3/3S or Rally setup? Be sure to budget for the $250 conversion kit. And while Garmin does offer single-pedal replacements if you damage a body, as of this writing there are no replacement small parts for the SPD if you smash one on a rock or crash badly.
Also be forewarned that the pedal body swap is relatively straightforward, but it’s also not something you’re going to want to do every other day. Each time you take it apart, you not only risk the possibility of losing a small piece, but you risk not sealing it properly and causing potential internal issues in bad conditions. Just so you can see what you’ll be up against, we put together a video above with an experienced mechanic making the swap for the first time.
Garmin Rally RK200 Review: The Conclusions
Given that so many riders are heading offroad and that flexibility and choices seem to be the name of the game right now, the Rally series couldn’t have come at a better time. And while the price is still a fairly big hurdle to jump over, at least now you can be more confident in the Garmin’s power meter’s internals when spending that dough. There is probably a large subset of riders who pass up going offroad because it’s the equivalent of a data void with a lack of power, and if this pedal system allows more riders to ride better and more often, then hats off to Garmin, even if it is a little more pricey than we’d hope.