With the likely announcement of the Vector 3 and 3s later this year, as an upgrade to the already sound Vector 2 equivalents, what can Garmin meaningfully add to their pedal-based power meters?
ESSENTIAL READING: Garmin Vector 2 Review
- Metrics – yep maybe. Do you really need any more metrics though? The most likely one would be as already added to the Polar M460 recently ie the WATTBIKE peanut showing the power distribution throughout the entire pedal stroke. That’s actually useful IMHO. Any metric, like PP, which can also fine-tune the precise setting for an elliptical chainring would also be great (like ROTOR’s OCA/OCP for their INPOWER cranks)
- Frequency/Accuracy of readings – More frequently sensed and transmitted readings could better allow support for the elliptical front chain rings that even top riders use (and me 😉 ). I’m not sure how this could, or might, tie in with carbon crank support but that would be good too.
- Bluetooth – There is an imminent announcement of a non-Garmin product that is moving from an ANT+ only PM to include Bluetooth. This would be a wise move for Garmin to get into those pesky smartphone STRAVA user stats. With the recent dual BTLE/ANT+ support for the Fenix 5 it’s obvious that Garmin are going down this route in some form. The likely-upcoming Edge 1010 (September, 2017 – or earlier) will likely support that too as would an Edge 530/830 next year (2018).
- Design – Whilst the dangly-bit cannot really hit the ground (image, below) it just looks like it does when give a cursory glance. Even if it doesn’t touch the ground when cycling it’s likely to catch on something, sometime, somewhere as you throw it into the back of your car to take somewhere. Maybe the battery will move inside the spindle (Powertap P1) or to the bit which touches the crank (like the BePro)? Garmin’s Vector 2 (TWO) was an improvement in design but there is still scope for more design refinement. Design is REAL TRICKY though, there is not much space to play with as shown with, for example, the Powertap which is a bit too big and the BePro where the “crank-touching bit” can cause contact with some cleat/show combos.
- But the key aspect for any powermeter pedal is the ability to EASILY transfer easily between bikes. That just means being able to slap it on, tighten it up and go. ie with little or no calibration.
- Pricing – There is general downward pressure on PM pricing as more new entrants trickle into the market such as the ‘Game Changer’ WATTEAM POWERBEAT. However you can bet your bottom dollar that Garmin will enter with a premium-priced product whose price may, or may not really be justified. And if you are expecting a crash in Vector 2 prices you might be waiting a while. Vector 2 will likely drift downwards but take a look at Fenix 3 and Fenix 5 pricing. Because of the different price points, the F3 can still command a broadly similar price to what is has for a while. I would doubt if Garmin will simultaneously produce V2 and V3 units unless they specifically want to introduce two tiers of similar products (again like F3 F5) – that’s possible, I suppose.
- Thoughts? What else will be in the V3s? Comments below.
Source: Appelmoessite and deductions of the relatively obvious