I don't care if the Vector pedals really make you quicker or not. I really enjoyed riding with power and effort over the last few years. I have hardly any complaints apart from the occasional times when power will randomly disappear.I have never been notified of low battery which is something that is apparently meant to happen but apart from that I really do feel I have benefited having power data. Power really does give you a consistent way of training and to monitor your progress. For example, if you're riding on the flat one day the wind may be behind you and another day that you may be riding into the wind; power will really let you know how hard you are actually working. Also, you can see how effective you are at holding maintaining your functional threshold power. After a good few days of rest if you go out for a quick time trial you will really notice how much more power you can exert. After a two hour ride you can see the power dropping off. It is also great if you are competing in competitions or triathlons. Especially with triathlons when you know you need to save energy for your run. If you know you can maintain 220 W for one hour but you see your power is creeping over there with the excitement of the race, it can be a great way of telling you to pull back and calm down. You can get more and more complicated mixing power data with your heart rate data but personally, power is enough for me.

When I purchased the Garmin Vector I I was under the impression that a future software update would allow you to monitor your full pedal stroke. This update never came, until I hear of the Vector II. The Vector I shows plenty of data and like most data files out there it really has no point unless you use that data. I find myself focusing on average three second power why riding. Live power is too up-and-down, for example if you're pulling out from the lights, overtaking another cyclist or you stop, but having a constant three second average on show, it that gives you enough time to flatten out your efforts.

When you cycle the same routes and the same hills you can really get to know what your max effort is and should how much more you have in the tank. Of course, your body will really tell you if you have anything left to put down, but sometimes it is nice to know for real; “you can do this”.

For the first year of riding with Vector I didn't even bother with heart rate data, but I was introduced to Strava fitness and freshness that relies on power and also heart rate data to show you how strong you really are. Now I'm not sure how accurate or reliable the data from Strava but it uses your power to produce fitness and freshness. According to my personal graphs my fitness is much better in the summer which does marry up with my bike riding and training.

Strava Fitness and Freshness

Strava Fitness and Freshness. You do require a premium account, power meters and heart rate data.

Best Efforts Power Curve Strava

Best Efforts Power Curve

Watts per kilo Strava

Watts per kilo

Another great thing that you can get from is Strava with your power data is your FTP and also your power to weight calculations. In theory, you don't need Strava for this data but having an app like Strava it pulls all the data out for you in a nice graft that you can really visualise and start to understand.

So the consideration to buy a power meter is certainly a big purchase and there are now more options on the market than ever before. Costing more than the average price of a road bike it was something I had to weigh up between either getting a new set of wheels, or an awesome power meter. My reading, research, tips and tricks from friends was get a power meter. They will make you a stronger rider where carbon wheels will just allow you a small benefits but not improve your ‘engine’. Power it is. Like most people into their techy toys I didn’t really need that much persuasion!

I have the Vector I. NOW I receive an email for the Garmin Vector II. So when I saw the email from Garmin Marketing the new Vector II I was not surprised but I was definitely a bit gutted. Most consumers now are used to buying products in the correct cycle of their lifetime. When you upgrade your phone you need to make sure they're not just about to release the next generation (unless you want a great deal). And being an early adopter of the Garmin Vector I was confident that they would not be replaced sometime in the near future. So I got a few years before receiving the email to say ‘sorry if you want the full data we promised you, you are going to need to buy a new set of pedals’. And yes they're still not cheap and will they do anymore for you except the full circle cycling’. So I'm not sure. I have the Garmin Vector I. Should I upgrade even though there is nothing actually wrong with my current power meters?. Will the IIs make me faster?

The Garmin I was left / right independent pedal power. This really gave them the edge over the competitors. You can display on your screen the balance of left / right pedal power. Now, from what I understand the Garmin Vector II gives you the option to buy power without the independence of the left / right, or the full option. That way they can now offer various price breakdowns. The left / right balance feature on the Vector I is something I have used and spent a lot of time with. I now find that I'm a very balanced cyclist and cycling up a 1 km mountain will show me if I can get 50-50 left / right balance. I am not sure if my balance has been fixed because of the vectors or if they've just been ironed out as my cycling has improved, but I'd definitely say is a bit of both.

Also riding for several years with a power meter on its own, it won't make you faster, but it will build your power if you use the data to start to push yourself harder and harder. Can I justify a spend of £1000 plus to get what I currently know? Is that extra bit of data from Garmin worth over £1000. That is what I'm going to put into the test. Is it worth upgrading your Vector II to the Garmin Vector II.

The Data from Garmin Vector I 

Vector I gives you plenty of data. And after updates to the pedals, you may even see new data fields in Connect. 

Power Chart from Garmin ConnectRight Platform Centre Offset Chart from Garmin Connect

Left Platform Centre Offset Chart from Garmin Connect

Power Phase Start Chart from Garmin ConnectPower Phase End Chart from Garmin Connect

Left / Right Balance Chart from Garmin Connect

Cadence Chart from Garmin Connect

A typical set of data from the Vector I Power / Watts Zones

  • 199 W Avg Power
  • 737 W Max Power
  • 297 W Max Avg Power (20 min) 
  • 51% L / 49% R L/R Balance
  • 83% L / 81% R  L/R Torque Effectiveness
  • 25% L / 26% R L/R Pedal Smoothness
  • 233 W Normalized Power® (NP®)
  • 1.166 Intensity Factor® (IF®)
  • 919.3 Training Stress Score®
  • 200 W FTP Setting
  • 4,861 kJ Work

Vector II test begins.. Watch this space. 

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