Garmin power meters just got a little more affordable with the announcement of their new Vector S. At $899.95 (including a pair of pedals), the new pedal-based power meter runs off a transmitter on the left crank only, rather than both sides.
Vector S works by measuring the deflection in the pedal spindle as you pedal. By comparing that measured deflection to a factory calibration, the device can determine how much force you’re applying to the pedal, at a few hundred times per second. Built-in accelerometers also determines your pedaling cadence.
By measuring the forces on the left pedal, Garmin will calculate your average power output (in Watts) at certain time intervals. If you don’t care that your left leg may be weaker/stronger than your right or about measuring the actual difference between the two, a single sided pedal-based power meter is definitely a more affordable entry.
Via ANT+, the Vector S power meter sends information to your cycling computer or any other ANT+ compatible device. The power meter operates off of a 2032 coin cell battery and will deliver a minimum of 175 hours of active cycling operation.
Garmin claims you should be able to install the Vector S power meter yourself within minutes. The Vector S system includes left pedal with embedded power meter, a right pedal without sensor, pedal pod, and related hardware. The standard pedal pods fit crank arms 12–15 mm thick and 44 mm wide. The large pedal pods fit crank arms 15-18 mm thick and 44 mm wide.
If you eventually decide you want to measure your power output on each side, you can upgrade the right pedal with a meter and transmitter for an additional $699.95. Upgrading the Vector S to a two-pedal system adds more metrics including left/right balance data and the new Cycling Dynamics advanced metrics where you can see how your power varies throughout your stroke, seated versus standing, as well as other detailed analyses.