Garmin manufacturers the Garmin Vector 2 and the Vector 2S. The Garmin Vector 2 is a dual-sided power meter with power sensors in both pedals. This means power meter independently measures power from each leg, allowing it to measure total power as well left/right power balance. The Vector 2 also provides access to Garmin’s advanced cycling dynamics data. The Garmin Vector 2S is a single-sided version with a power sensor on the left leg only. The 2S doubles your left left power in order to approximate total power output.
What’s Different with the Vector 2
Garmin is currently on the second generation of the pedal. The only difference between the original Vector and the Vector 2 is in some changes that were made to the pedal pods – there were no changes to the pedals themselves. The pedal pods house the batteries as well as serve as the communications device. All data is transmitted between pedal pods and is ultimately sent to your bike computer or head unit using the ANT+ wireless protocol.
On the Vector 2, the pedal pods are now plastic (previously they were metal), they weigh a few grams more (we’re talking a minute difference) and they now attach using a small hex wrench which makes them easier to install and move between bikes. A small status light was also added to the top of the pods. The light blinks green indicating things like whether the unit is on, when installation angles have been set or when pairing was successful. Being able to visually communicate with the power meter is a welcome addition.
A big benefit to buying a pedal-based power meter is that they are easier to install and move between bikes than some other types of power meters. The Vector 2s install pretty much like a standard set of pedals, with a few exceptions. The pedals do not have an Allen head in the axle like a normal pedal would (because that’s where the connections are for the pedal pods), however to tighten, you just use the supplied crow foot adapter. Garmin didn’t use to supply this adapter but now they do which makes life a lot easier.
Once the pedal is on, you need to fit the pedal pod into place and connect the pod cap into the axle recess and you’re good to go. Note that in the previous generation of Vector pedals, a torque wrench was required for installation. However due to how the new pedal pods attach, the assistance of a torque wrench is no longer required.
The Vector 2s weigh in at 179 grams per pedal. To put this in perspective the PowerTap P1 pedals weigh in at 199 grams and the bePROs weigh in at 156 grams. So the Vector 2s are sit right in the middle in terms of weight.
Left/Right Power Measurement
Some crank-based power meters offer estimated left/right power measurement. With estimated left/right power, the power meter makes an approximation regarding how much of your power comes from your left vs. your right leg. It has to make an approximation because there is only one power meter (located on the crank). However, with the Garmin Vector 2 pedals, there is a separate power meter in both the left and right pedals. This means the Vectors can measure actual left/right power. This independent left/right data allows additional insights into your power profile. Note that because the Garmin Vector S (single sided power option) measures power on the left pedal only, it does not offer left/right power measurement – however you can upgrade to a dual-sided system at any time.
The Garmin Vector pedals use a user-replaceable 3-volt CR2032 battery – one battery in each pedal pod. CR2032 batteries are common among power meters which is a good thing as they are cheap and easy to find – just look in the electronics department of most stores, or where watch batteries are sold.
The Garmin Vector 2 runs for approximately 175 hours on a set of batteries. You can keep an eye on battery life from either the LED status indicator on the pedal pods or from a connected Garmin head unit.
Difficulty to Change
Changing batteries on the Garmin Vector 2 doesn’t get much easier. The batteries are located in the pedals pods making them easily accessible. Pop out the old battery, put in the new one and you’re back on the road.
The Garmin Vector transmits data via the ANT+ wireless protocol which means it will be compatible with any head unit that supports ANT+, which is the overwhelming majority of head units. Note that in order to get left/right data, you will need a head unit that supports this functionality.
The Garmin Vector pedals are accurate to within +/-2.0%. This is on par with the majority of power meters on the market.
The Garmin Vector 2 measures cadence by using an accelerometer. An accelerometer is basically a tiny electronic device that is housed inside the power meter that can detect the pedaling rate. Almost all power meters on the market today use this approach for cadence measurement.
The Vectors require you to calibrate the pedals once after you install them or move them from bike to bike (Garmin refers to this process as setting the Installation Angles), and again before every ride in order to ensure accurate power readings. Note that a pre-ride calibration procedure only takes a second and is common practice for almost all power meters.
The Garmin Vector 2 comes with a standard 2 year warranty.
The dual-sided Garmin Vector 2 provides access to Garmin’s suite of advanced cycling dynamics data. Included in this data are things like power phase, peak power phase, platform center offset, as well as automatic recording of whether you are seated or standing. The cycling dynamics metrics and visual displays based upon Vector force data, which are transmitted to compatible Garmin Fitness devices. Cycling dynamic data can also be analyzed in Garmin Connect.
Garmin has stated that for best accuracy, it is advised to use standard, circular rings when using Garmin Vector pedals.