With worldwide availability of the Garmin Vector 3 pedals coming in the next month or so, Franco's co-founder Julian Franco was able to get his hands on a few pairs of the redesigned Garmin Vector. Here's his thoughts on why he was first in line to acquire them and why they are the ideal powermeter.
With the new Vector 3 pedals, Garmin has added a bunch of features and non-technology aspects that, I believe, people have been waiting on for a long time from a pedal based powermeter. Personally, and quite frankly, these are the powermeters I have been waiting for my entire life. That might sound like a bold statement, but it's completely true.
To start, the main reason I've been excited about these is because I have a few bikes and I've always wanted to have the same consistent power measurement device on all of them. Given the historical price of powermeters, and the additional challenge of being able to have the same one on bikes with differing groupsets, that has always been a problem.
Which brings me to one of the first major improvements in these pedals worth mentioning: they no longer require the use of a torque wrench for installation. That might sound trivial, but it's not. These pedals can now be moved from bike to bike with a simple pedal wrench and you can use your always handy "torque elbow" to set the appropriate tightness on the pedals. No need to measure with torque. That means they can be switched to different bikes without using specialized tools.
From a physical standpoint, Garmin has also finally removed the unsightly external pods from the side of the pedal that were exposed either above or below the crank; everything is now inside of the pedal. Garmin have also gone away from a 3rd party manufactured pedal. The result, in my opinion, is the best looking pedal based powermeter on the market. This shouldn't be understated because these are now the lowest profile power pedal on the market. Compare these to other power based pedals and you can see how much slimmer they are. Imagine pedaling through a corner with both of the pedals. With which pedal are you willing to pedal harder and faster with?
From a technology standpoint, they increased accuracy claims to +/- 1% while adding in Bluetooth Smart transmission, and the ability to configure settings from your phone. With the aforementioned benefit of being able to swap these pedals from bike to bike, if you ever ride indoors, you can easily transfer these to an indoor bike and use these to transmit power to whatever device you're using–thereby using the same power measurement device inside that you use outside. That means your power readings inside will be the same as those outside. Great stuff, and not easy to do with a crank based powermeter!
Also worth noting is that these pedals work with a traditional Keo cleat that can be bought almost anywhere for very little. While other power based pedals use a cleat that is similar in shape to a Keo cleat, they are not the same and, in fact, require the use of a proprietary cleat. A Keo cleat will sometimes work when new for a very short time, but once it is just a little bit worn, it will slip. That could be dangerous under heavy pedaling load either in or out of the saddle.
I'd love to write more, but I haven't had a chance to spend too much time on them! I'll circle back in a few months with a deeper long term dive if I can. In the meantime, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text (805)498-3700 and get in touch, because we only have a few of these in stock for a few lucky people.