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4th place, age group M30-34, Kona qualification

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Winner, age group M30-34

2013 IRONMAN Kalmar
2nd place, age group M30-34, Kona qualification

Finisher in 9 hours 30 minutes

5th place, Finnish Championship

Winner, age group M30-34

More results here.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Garmin Vector Powermeter

I have been training with power almost since the beginning of my short triathlon career. My first powermeter wasn't on the bike itself, but on the Tacx Bushido indoor trainer that I bought in 2009 mainly to be able to ride also during the winters. I learned pretty quickly to appreciate power as a training metric and learned myself all the tricks from Training And Racing With Powermeter by H. Allen and A. Coggan. For a long time I was looking for a suitable powermeter also for my bike so that I could use power when riding outside as well as racing. While there were many products on the market, none of them seemed to fulfill all my criteria. I wanted the powermeter to be:

-    Accurate and consistent
-    Easily transferrable between bikes
-    Not tied to only one wheelset
-    Reasonably priced
-    Light

Last year when Garmin finally released its long-awaited Vector powerpedals, at least on paper, I had found what I was looking for. I received my Vectors, among some other Garmin products, early February when Garmin started to sponsor me. That was one happy afternoon! It felt like Christmas again opening the package.

I've now been using the pedals for over two months in all kinds of conditions ranging from riding indoors on the trainer, outside at -15 degrees Celsius, at +25 degrees Celsius, at sea level and at 2500+ meters, on a road bike and on a triathlon bike. I can honestly say they've worked very well for me and I'm very, very happy with them! They are everything I wanted from them, plus some.

I'm going to shortly cover here some of my experiences with the Vectors. For an in-depth review visit As always in his reviews, he has left no rock unturned covering all the features and aspects of the product.

The pedals and installation

The Garmin Vector powermeter consists of Look Keo compatible pedals, pedal spindles that contain the powermeter itself and Ant+ transmitter pods that attach between the spindles and the crankarms. In addition, an Ant+ compatible bike computer is needed. I'm using Garmin FR910XT myself as it's still the best one for a triathlete. The weight gain from the powermeter is basically negligible.

Installation to a bike doesn't require any more mechanic's skills than installing normal pedals, but it is very important to use the correct amount of torque (34-40Nm) as described in the instructions. Otherwise the power shown might be erratic. The other important thing is to follow the simple protocol for calibrating the pedals before every ride. All of this shouldn't take more than 5 minutes and you're ready to hit it. Sweet!

Easy 5-step installation:

1.     Install pedals with the correct torque of 34-40Nm
2.     Remove tensions by sprinting a few times
3.     Ride with increasing cadence from 70 to 90 rpm to determine installation angles
4.     Perform static calibration
5.     Perform dynamic calibration


Everyday Use

As I said, the Vectors have performed well for me and I have now been able to take power training also outside in addition to the rides on the trainer. The power values compare fairly well with my Tacx Bushido readings. Vector readings are about 5% lower than Bushido's but they track each other nicely. Based on various reports I've read, I'm inclined to believe that Garmin is the more accurate one between these two. Additionally, on longer/harder trainer rides, I've noticed that Bushido readings tend to drift up a little due to tire and the brake warming up.

One of the nice new features that the Vector is bringing to the table is pedaling balance. Being actually two separate power sensors, the Vector can measure accurately the individual inputs of both legs. Wether this is actually useful data at the moment without much research done in this field, remains debatable. At least I've noticed that the balance between legs depends on several factors e.g. cadence, total power, fatigue and that my left leg is predominant even though I'm right handed.

Racing With Power

One of the primary reasons for me to get a powermeter was to be able to pace my race effort on the bike more evenly, thus leaving more to the tank for running. My first race with Vector is yet to come (Ironman 70.3 Mallorca in May) but I've noticed already on training rides just how easy it is to start too hard with subsequent decline in performance. Racing with only perceived effort or a heart rate monitor, this can be hard to spot. This can make all the difference when its 180km youre riding!

Riding with a powermeter doesn't necessarily make you go faster on the bike, but when used smartly, it can save you some precious energy for that marathon you still have ahead of you. I'm really looking forward to get to race with the Vector!

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