An extended write up from Tri Stupe on Garmin Vector 2S after Jun Shen's previous entry. Both of them have been comparing notes and this time around, Stupe provide a more lengthy entry touching on installation of the unit and a few important metric for Power training. Here you go!
Athletes comes in all different level of fitness and capabilities. Even ourselves, our heart rate differs everyday depending on our rest, performance and even the weather. So, to be training at "10 beat per minute" more than yesterday may very well meant different level of effort if you had a tough day or an easy day (at work or at training). However, having a consistent benchmark such as power, which is a function of force multiply by distance over time. It sort of provide a number where you can use to benchmark your training against. The level to generate 100Watt (W) when you are fresh or tired is the "same" to the power meter. But to get your heart to work to generate that 100W when you are tired, may meant busting your heart rate at Lactate Threshold than when you are fresh.
An analogy I could use would be to compare Heart Rate to a vehicle RPM while Power is the capacity. A car going uphill may require higher RPM (HR) to generate the same climbing power and definitely lesser RPM (HR) when you are moving on a flat ground. Now imagine if you can train at a given Power irrespective of your HR... you will become a more efficient cyclist or triathlete!
Garmin Vector 2S
Lucky for me, the good people in AECO Technologies, which is the authorized distributor of all Garmin products in Malaysia has been kind to provide myself and Chan a unit of their latest power meter to be used for our training. Chan has provided a write up on why in the team's blog. We both have been using the Vector2S and has compared a few notes on training. Among others, we soon found out that I can churn out more power compared to him. Question was - am I a stronger cyclist because I can fire up higher power? Now keep this question in mind while I continue today's review of the 2S.
First up is the Garmin Vector 2S itself. It is a pedal-mounted power meter. Other variations available in the market (for power meter of other brands) are crank mounted, bottom bracket mounted, hub mounted and crank-spider mounted. My exposure and knowledge was nil until the Garmin Vector 2S. This review will be specific for Garmin Vector 2S; until I manage to (afford???) another different type to compare.
The Garmin Vector 2S (I will call it 2S from now onward) is an upgrade from the original Vector where the older pod appears to be a ring (O) that goes through the bike spindle versus the newer Vector that has the pod coming as a clamp (()). The plus side? Easier installation. Meaning, You can remove the pedal and re-install it on another bike faster and easier. Ideally, I would think for such investment, you may unlikely remove the pedal and the pod. That is unless you decided to do so (or use a different bike setup like a road bike vs a TT bike) for race reasons.
|The closer look of the Pod clamp|
Vector 2S is single sided pod aka on the left pedal while the full fledged Vector 2 is both pedal - which gives you better left-right accuracy where power generation is concerned. On the "left" only power meter such as 2S, the total power are multiplied to provide the reading. While some of you may now argue the accuracy of a one-sided unit - I believe manufacturer like Garmin would had factored in this when building the algorithm to compensate or to correct the readings. For that, Garmin units has function of "Smoothness" in percentage (%) which could mean how smooth your pedaling motions are, and these translate to efficiency.