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The Garmin Vector power pedals were voted the top technological innovation for 2011 by the Cycling News Reader's Poll with one caveat; they won't be available until March of 2012. The Garmin Vector pedals announced over a year ago when Garmin quietly acquired a little company named MetriGear which had been working on a pedal based power system for Speedplay pedals.
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HOW POWER WORKS
Power eliminates environmental variables, such as wind, from the calculation of output and strictly looks at applied forces, thus someone pedaling 15 miles per hour into a head wind could generate a significantly higher output than someone pedaling 30 miles per hour in a tail wind. The whole point being that watts keep you honest on applied effort.
The final product arrives March of 2012 and these power pedals use a strain gauge in the pedal spindle to measure power. They can also measure things like left/right power balance. A lot of people might ask, "Why is that important?” The answer is that learning to strengthen the non-dominant leg to balance leg power is always important. I remember a bike coach I had that used to make us pedal uphill clipped in with our non-dominant legs until we practically fell over (we were pretty crude from a methodology standpoint back in the 1970's).
Many early adopters have expressed concerns over the pedal pod, which also contains the battery that powers the unit, as being vulnerable to breakage. According to Garmin this is not something to worry about as they have yet to hit the pod even when the pedal body touches the pavement - good news for all of those criterium riders who like to observe that 1,700 watt sprint power.
Garmin has developed a firmware update for the Garmin Edge 800 and the Garmin Edge 500 pedals that will allow them to understand the right/left power balance but it is key that you update your firmware to the latest version for both devices to receive this power metric.
Garmin will ship the USB data sticks with the Garmin Vector so that you can complete any firmware updates as firmware is updated and improved by Garmin's engineers.
TRAINING PEAKS METRICS
The new Garmin Vector pedals will be capable of displaying several Training Peaks power metrics including normalized power, training stress score and intensity factor.
Most power meters today are utilizing foil strain gauges whereas the Vector uses silicon strain gauges mounted in glass on stainless steel which has meant that additional calibration is not required when these pedals leave arrive.
SUPPORTED HEAD UNITS
Garmin intends to support operation with the Garmin Edge 800, Edge 500 and Edge 705 as cited above but the Vector pedals will also be useable by owners of the Garmin Forerunner 310XT and the new Garmin 910xt triathlon watches which create a great alternative for triathlon competitors.
Nearly every pro cyclist and many amateurs train with power metrics to help improve their cycling. When you consider the number of hours of dedication it takes to achieve respectable cycling fitness then an investment in power pedals that can help shorten the path is insignificant relative to the value created.
Needless to say, Garmin Vector power pedals are about as complete and ready to go straight out of the box as any power meter available on the market today.
CALL AN EXPERT
If you have further questions or would like some real expert help on the Garmin Vector power pedals then just contact the real pros at the Heart Rate Watch Company at 866-586-7129.
copyright 2013, Rusty Squire, author, email@example.com