General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Power Novice Garmin Vector 3 Review Rss Feed  
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2017-12-10 5:27 PM

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Subject: Power Novice Garmin Vector 3 Review
This is a Garmin Vector 3 (not 3S) review. Note that I also purchased and paired with the Garmin Edge 1030. The purpose of this review is to demonstrate how someone new to Power is experiencing the Garmin Vector 3.

First off, one of the reasons that I've been holding off on Power in my 6 year triathlon experience has been complexity followed by cost. When Garmin first introduced Vector pedals, I was interested but still felt it was too complex. I'm the kind of triathlete that likes to go out for a workout in shorts, tanktop, runners and maybe a watch. Don't make me think about wheels, cranks etc....it already takes me 10 minutes to prep my bike rides - clothing, nutrition, lights, etc.

Once I saw DC Rainmaker's review of Garmin Vector 3 I knew that it would change my life. I had been following the benefits of Power for some time but it wasn't until the last few 70.3 distances that I fully began to appreciate Power (even though I did not have any equipment). You see, I tend to struggle on the run.

Oh, I know that my TSS is over the top on the bike. But heart rate based bike efforts really don't tell the story, so its diiffcult to pace based on heart rate on a bike, like it is on the run. The bike has too many variables - lulls in effort, hills, wind - to make heart rate a great guide. Power on the other hand, especially average Power, tells you exactly how much effort you've put in (well, the 1030 also provides TSS...which ultimately is what I'll be using in Galveston). On the run, there's no coasting, wind is almost always negligeable, so heart rate makes sense.

But the Garmin Vector 3 is a simple pedal. It's simply a Look/KEO pedal (ok, not exactly, but who cares? There are no gimmicks). I've put it on my Cervelo P3 trainer to measure Threshold Power, on my roadie (Willier Gran Turismo) for easy rides, and on my Cervelo P5x for serious training. It adds maybe a minute to my prep. So easy, especially since I bought a Park Tool pedal wrench. If you don't have a pedal based power meter, moving that from bike to bike is annoying to impossible.

And then voila...you suddenly can leverage all the power metrics from your Edge or equivalent computer. And through that, I validated my Vector 3 purchase vs a Vector 3s purchase. The latter provides a dummy pedal for the left side, and doubles the power output on the right. But guess what I found out with the full Vector 3? My left side produces less power by anywhere between a few Watts all the way to 15 Watts!!!! Now, as we all know, every triathlete with that info is going to get obssesed with evening that out to get the appropriate gains.

Pairing...wow that was easy. The edge found it, and paired it. I supposed we should be used to Ant+ pairing these days. But I mean, I didn't even read a manual.

Calibration...just measures the static torque on the pedal. Spin the peda then go to Sensors->Power Meter->Calibrate. (Torque * rotation per unit time is Power, so its important to know the static torque so Edge can deduct it.

Overall, easy to use. Easy to move from bike to bike. Easy to pair. Easy to clip in. Accurate (per DC Rainmaker). Just easy. And now, I have all that power data.

PS: Interestingly, on my latest road ride, I kept a default screen on the Edge 1030 that just showed power info, calories and heart rate. I almost never checked speed. As a result, he run portion of the workout was easy.... And that, my friends, is how I'll not burn out for Galveston.


2017-12-10 10:07 PM
in reply to: FranzZemen

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Subject: RE: Power Novice Garmin Vector 3 Review

I too like the idea of a power meter in the pedals.  I'm pretty sure that's the direction I'll go in as well at the end of the day.

2017-12-15 3:14 PM
in reply to: FranzZemen


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Subject: RE: Power Novice Garmin Vector 3 Review
You own a P3, A Willier and a P5X, and you didnt buy a powermeter before because of the cost? Thanks for reviewing, im also thinking of buying a vector3

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