Power and bikes: one year with Garmin Vector

If the mass use of power meters in professional sports did not coincide with the same massive use of doping, then the day of the appearance of the meters in the peloton could be calculated from the history of changes in the average speed at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Garmin Vector – the meter is not without its drawbacks, but if it works, then it works fine. There are no complaints about power reproduction. This is the best investment in Velo.

By the way, it was at the amateur grandfondo Liège-Bastogne that I first ran around my sight. Since then, my power profile has become much better, and articles about training with a perimeter regularly appear on the pages of this blog.

This time I want to talk about the practical features of the meter that I use – Garmin Vector.

Garmin Vector With Power and bikes

Power does not lie, unlike Conconi.

Those who tried to train on the pulse probably noticed that it changes not only from day to day but even within the same near-threshold interval. So, in one of the last training, my heart rate slowly grew from 158 to 174 beats/min during the 40-minute interval. I tried to keep the power constant. This effect is called cardiac drift, and if correction is not carried out on the fly, then there is a high probability of not getting the most out of the workout.

In turn, the determination of the anaerobic threshold (ANSP) is also fortune-telling on coffee grounds, and the most popular method for this is the Conconi test. The problem is that the Conconi method, despite its solid age, still cannot boast of support from physiological models, and it will be easier to find criticism of this test in scientific journals than unanimous approval.

From a practical point of view, if the Conconi test already conducted, then this is done at the end of the recovery week. At this time, blood plasma volume is noticeably lower than usual, which leads to overestimated rates of ANSP. I don’t remember that the same Joe Friel focused on this, but in his book The Cyclist’s Training Bible, there is a phrase that at the peak of the form, with the right taper, the pulse during the race will be lower than the usual test PANO. It’s not a tragedy, but on some Marathon, there is a chance to recycle Sella Ronda on the slopes and come to Passo Giau empty, if you follow the wrong pulse.

The chief officer does not have all these shortcomings. It is enough to measure the power profile regularly. On the hands, there will be enough information about how the body behaves on long alpine climbs, what are the legs during the finish sprint and is there any point in leaving the gap 5 minutes before the finish. During training, it will be possible to set tangible goals and starts correctly distribute the load over the distance.

I continue to use the heart rate monitor only during long endurance training sessions and to monitor the state of overtraining by the resting pulse rate and the rate of return of the pulse to normal after anaerobic intervals. 

I appreciate the sensor on a good bike.

My first serious bike cost a little over 1000 euros. You will have to layout the same amount for Garmin Vector. This is a lot of money, but if you take your cycling enthusiasm seriously and have 2000 euros in your pocket, then it’s better to buy a mid-level bike + meter than to invest in a cool repeat. In practice, this means that Wilier Izoard + Garmin Vector will very soon become faster than any bike more than 2000 euros.

By the way, the French racer Thibault Pino, who became the second at last year’s TDF, at the dawn of his career,bought a sight meter from the first prize money

Garmin vector vs. Stages

When I chose the meter, I seriously considered only the Vector pedals and the connecting rod from the Stages. At the same time, Garmin’s attempt to adjust the ability to measure the balance of legs and circular pedaling interested me the least – I know all about my technical shortcomings thanks to The Elements of Style training and the sensations during pedaling with one foot give me more useful information than the sensor readings.

The decisive factor in the choice was the compatibility with my bicycles – on the Cervelo, I have the Rotor system, while on Wilier – the Shimano Integra. It would be everywhere a Shimano, and I give a tooth, I would write about Stages now. 

Installation and myths about 40 Nm

If Garmin has a department that is responsible for customer experience, then I would fire him for fucking. On the one hand, they all buzz with their ears, how important it is to tighten the pedals with the right moment of force, but the adapter for the torque wrench – crowfoot, is not supplied with the pedals. I want to remind you that these pedals cost more than 1000 euros, and for that kind of money, it’s not like an adapter. A Haribo bag needs to add. In general, those who read the review of the vector from DeceEzhededel know that after ordering the pedals, you need to order the crowfoot adapter on Amazon immediately, and you need to order a narrow version that fits between the pedal and the connecting rod.

The crowfoot from Dozhdedel has a nuance – it works well only when paired with the Park Tool torque wrench. For all other keys, this adapter is too short, which limits access to the pedals, thereby complicating the installation. Fortunately, the industry protects us, and the same Park Took launches an excellent long crowfoot TWB-15 adapter.

But all this whistling with an adapter is far from the most interesting. Torque wrenches are not needed. The instructions for the vector give recommendations on what to tighten with a torque of 25 – 40 Nm, which in ordinary language means – tighten well and tightly, but do not overtighten, because we (Garmin) are idiots and use the aluminum ear of the hearth transmitter instead of the washer and, if pulled, aluminum tends to break with a crunch.

To summarize, there is always the possibility of missing the pedals, which will lead to chaotic sensor performance, so you need to tighten the pedals tightly and, when I speak tightly, I want to remind you that 25 Nm is equivalent to raising a 2.5 kg meter handle. The only thing to watch out for is the crunch of an aluminum hearth, which can break from excessive zeal.

If I install the pedals at home, then I do this with a torque wrench, but if I take the pedals on vacation, where I install them on a rented bike, then I restrict myself to the usual key.


And again about the fragile hearth

Let’s go back to the hearth. In addition to brittle aluminum, the entire structure of this hearth very absurdly rises above the pedals. This design creates a sense of risk that this hearth can catch on a curb or asphalt. Practice shows that light falls – when it was just combing the asphalt, my pedals were OK, but on a large one, pah-pah, I did not have to fall. Failing the bike in the corners of the criteria also poses no risk to the hearths, which has been repeatedly checked and about which traces remained on the very pedals.

Nevertheless, if the head is bad, there is a lot of strength, and the tool fails, for example, I refused to click the key in one of the directions, then this is a recipe for a broken ear. The funny thing is that in the hearth, there is only a battery and ANT + transmitter, and the tape reinforced under continues to work perfectly.

And to finish the topic, the replacement price for one hearth is 55 euros.

And so they’d finally finish this theme, the Garmin announced a new under, which is now fixed using self-clamping to the pedal axle, thereby solving the problem caused by the presence of an excess of power or a bad head and narabochego tool. 

Cheap Exustar Pedals

The entire structure of the Garmin Vector overtime is Exustar pedals under the Look spike with Garmin filling. If there are no complaints about the filling from Garmin, except for the hearth, then cheap Exustar pedals make themselves felt very quickly. The most serious problem is the wear of the bearing glasses, due to which the pedals begin to play. After a year of use (10 thousand km), my right pedal started to play. Repair, or rather replacement, will cost 200 euros. 

Reinstall from bike to bike

An absolute plus of the vector is mobility and independence from the type of system. I have a rotor on one bike, on the other an ultra. I don’t change pedals often, but the opportunity itself is beneficial, for example, in winter – when I change from Cervelo to Wilier, or on vacation, where I come with my pedals and rent a bike.

The whole process of reinstalling and tightening with the right moment is quite exaggerated. You can tighten anything, just to tighten tight enough and not to break under. The measurement accuracy with a “sufficiently” drawn vector does not suffer. At home, I tighten with a torque wrench, and on vacation, I have to pull with what turns up by the arm. Playback power – OK. 


Vagaries and diagnosis

If all well-drawn vectors work the same way, then badly -drawn vectors act up each in their way. These moods are annoying, but, on the other hand, they say that something went wrong during the installation process. The classic symptoms are loss of cadence information at high speeds (110+) and a skewed balance. A reasonable delay resolves the issue.

If the vector stops working suddenly, what happens to it, then, in this case, the problem is solved by reinstalling the battery in the hearth. After installing the batteries, the vector does not immediately come to its senses since it needs to calibrate the angles. This is done by slowly accelerating from 50 to 80 rpm and takes a little less than a minute.

Ultimately, manipulating the battery is the only way to bring the pedals back to life. Not that it often had to be done, but with good shaking, the power from the brakes tends to disappear (I think that accelerometers are buggy) and sometimes do not come back to life. The battery will save everything.

A freshly installed vector also likes to be capricious, but here you need to keep in mind that:

  1. The pedals are activated while driving, so you have to make a couple of revolutions for Garmin Edge to detect a new device
  2. Freshly installed pedals require angle calibration. Here you already have to sit on the bike and slowly accelerate from 50 to 80 pm. Without this calibration, capacities will not be displayed
  3. If points “1” or “2” do not give the expected results, you will have to remove and insert the battery and repeat all over again

Conflicts with other ANT + devices

This is a classic problem with ANT + devices – the heart rate monitor can show cadence and vice versa. In the case of a conflicting vector, power indices can be completely nothing. I hung up a new speed sensor from Garmin on my bike and immediately lost 30 watts. The sensor took off, and the power returned to its previous performance.

Such problems are solved only by dancing with a tambourine, and hands often do not reach the tambourine – you have to remove conflicting sensors. The last meter leaves the bike.

In custody

  1. Garmin Vector – the meter is not without flaws, but if it works, it works fine. There are no complaints about power reproduction. This is the best investment in cycling after buying the bike itself.
  2. The complexity of the installation process is exaggerated and, if you have a cold head, you can get by with the usual pedal wrench, and with the new hearth design this process will become even easier
  3. All the vagaries of the vector are solved by reinstalling the battery
  4. Exustar pedals are a weak link in the whole design. Replacing the pedals will cost 200 euros
  5. All bells and whistles such as foot balances and smooth pedaling are information about nothing. A good training program will not only identify problems with the pedaling technique but will immediately solve them
  6. If there is a Shimano system on all bicycles, then you can safely save money and buy a meter from Stages. Froom will not let you lie.

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