‘Leak’ new Cycling Dynamic metrics, new Garmin Vector – speculation

Here we get to look at the likelihood of a new Garmin Vector, and the possibilities of new Cycling Dynamics and a new off-road Edge


new Garmin Vector CX for Cyclo-Cross?

A recent patent application by Garmin indicates they are actively considering new cycling dynamic metrics for cyclocross and MTB/trail, perhaps also accompanied by an off-road specific Vector power meter with new onboard sensor types.

I’ve linked to the patent application below and a similar article to this by Liam at road.cc, you can see from the patent application and the image above that Garmin is attempting to derive new metrics like these

  • Foot on status (left/right)
  • Clipped in status (left/right)
  • Walking vs riding status
  • GPS location for these events
  • Derived metrics like time to unclip and clip-out as a percentage of ride time.

If like me, you went to the School of Sports Metrics then you will obviously agree that ‘any new metric is a good metric‘. However many of you might instead have attended the nearby School of ‘Metrics too far’ and you might be quite sceptical of the usefulness of some of this!

Nevertheless, significant portions of Cyclocross (CX) events may require running or carrying a bike and I’m guessing that CX devotees might genuinely be interested to have more insight into the optimum amounts of time not riding during races. Fair enough, I get that. Similarly, more technically skilled MTB riders (aka NOT me) might genuinely be interested to optimise their technique on their favourite descents looking at when they are anticipating taking their foot off the pedal and have unclipped but are still pedalling and indeed the total amount of time when they are not clipped in at all.

Yet judging by my knowledge and use of regular cycling dynamics, these metrics often sound far more interesting than they are actually useful. Still, someone might find them useful and someone else might be persuaded into buying a new bit of kit because of them and further boosting Garmin’s coffers.

Garmin Enduro

Right. That patent was interesting in itself but it also then adds a bit of weight behind the rumours of the Garmin Enduro (evidence: leak), whatever that might be. (it’s a watch!) Although the name does imply it’s trail/CX/MTB related and it is probably a head unit device on some kind. These potential new metrics (evidence: the image from Garmin in their patent filing!!) would sure look nice on a MTB/CX-specific Edge which would be heavily based on an Edge 530 in a more rugged shell but with something MORE than the current MTB package you can currently buy that adds a rubber case to the 520/530.

Garmin Vector CX, Garmin Vector 4, Garmin Vector 3 CX

Let’s turn now to the sensors.

First up there’s a 95% chance we will see Vector 4 in Q1.2021. Exactly what’s new is not known.

The patent filing suggests that some totally new sensors might be needed eg to detect being on the saddle. Personally, I don’t buy that. These patents may never become real products in whole or in part and I strongly suspect that the market for a bums-on-seat sensor is about 12 people worldwide. I can’t see Garmin bothering to make one. A new power meter with many and varied capabilities, however, is a different kettle of fish entirely.

If we are talking about ‘clipped-in’ time then this absolutely needs a modification to the pedal by adding a new sensor. The existing Garmin Vector 3, I would have thought, would be highly unlikely to be able to sense and transmit this data.

1 + 1 = 3

So Garmin needs to either create a new pedal just for CX/MTB that has these sensors OR incorporate the sensors into an off-road power meter, the latter of which is far more likely. We’ve seen the off-road PM market already start to develop with the SRM X-POWER METER PEDAL (USA Buy Link) and I seem to recall its possible to change the shell of a Favero Assioma to take SPD (Google: gplama). If the market is large enough Garmin will certainly be planning to enter it.

So might we see a modified version of the Garmin Vector 3 but for off-road usage? – Nope. It has to have new sensors right, not just be more rugged and able to work off-road

So might we see a wholly new PM just for off-road? – Nope. I would have thought he market is too small for that.

So my guess would be that we will see a Garmin Vector 4 and a Vector 4 (for CX/MTB)

Of course, that’s all speculation but I’m pretty certain there will be a Garmin Vector 4 at some point 😉

Source: USPO via: road.cc , 

Kudos to Liam. nice find. I briefly skimmed his article, you might find some different speculations and conclusion in there to what I make here

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5 thoughts on “‘Leak’ new Cycling Dynamic metrics, new Garmin Vector – speculation

  1. Well, Polar also published pending patent for new bicycle computer with new cycling metrics in January.

    1. Yes, I think it’s formally set for launch tomorrow (Tuesday 23rd Wed 24th confirmed). I’ve got some info somewhere from a couple of weeks back that I’ll dig out. It’s a good move by Garmin but the pricing is high. I’m not sure exactly what stocks they will have at launch (that will be key to success) but I think they could be good as this launch has been planned or a while and delayed as well -although outside the USA i am unsure about how even the good retailers will get much stock for the 6 skus.

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