Lower Priced Power Meter Options from Garmin and Quarq

Lower Priced Power Meter Options from Garmin and Quarq

With the Eurobike trade show going on now, the newest cycling products for ’15 are being announced by manufacturers.  One of the categories that continues to be on “fast forward” with advancements is power meters.  It has become evident that with PowerTap and Stages offering sub $1000 options over the past couple years, other manufacturers are determined to be in the conversation as well.  Two intriguing new options from Garmin and Quarq, as well as some interesting new free software updates offering new metrics and improved functionality that will work on many existing Garmin and Quarq systems, are as follows:Garmin Vector S

Garmin Vector S:  The Garmin Vector S takes the Garmin Vector power pedal concept and simplifies it down to a single sided pod transmitter.  An algorithm is used to calculate overall power based on the data from one side, much how the single sided Stages Power Meter.   Like the original Garmin Vector, the Garmin Vector S includes a new set of Look style Garmin power pedals and uses a transmitter pod to send data to an ANT+ compatible computer head.  However, whereas the Garmin Vector uses two pods to gain information from each leg independently, the Garmin Vector S has just a single pod.  So, you lose a little data compared to the full feature Garmin Vector, but not everyone wants/needs data for each leg and the Garmin Vector S still records accurate power overall.  While the two pod Garmin Vector has come down in price for ’15 to $1500, the single pod Vector S is a notable $900 – putting it in direct competition with Stages and other options when it comes to price.  In addition, the Vector S can be upgraded to the two pod equipped Vector (to allow for the two legged metrics, including the ones discussed below, to function) for $700 at anytime.

Our review and overview of Garmin’s Vector power pedal concept can be found here.

Quarq Elsa RS Shimano:  Quarq has announced a Shimano specific power meter that will work with the latest generation four bolt Shimano Hollowtech chain rings.   Well priced at $1650, the Quarq Elsa RS brings Quarq’s proven power meter design to those that want to be able to use Shimano’s excellent Hollowtech chainrings (the rings are sold separate of the Quarq…).  The Quarq Elsa RS Shimano compatible power meter includes the full range of Quarq power meter features, including left-right pedaling metrics (“Power Balance”) and OmniCal, which allows for chainring/gearing changes on the bike without fully recalibrating the unit.  In addition, the Quarq Elsa RS also has two of Quarq’s newest (and backward compatible) feature updates in accelerometer based cadence (no magnets to fall off the frame!) and “10K Active Temperature Calibration”, which is designed to reduce the drift some Quarq units have been prone to experiencing with temperature change over a ride in the past.  Both of these new firmware options can be updated on many more recent Quarq power meter units as well.  Quarq’s “Qalvin” updater app can be downloaded off their site and used to update your Quarq power meter at anytime.

The Fit Werx overview and review of the Quarq power meter concept can be found here.

Garmin Cycling Dynamics for Vector:  In addition to the new Vector S, Garmin also announced some significant advances to their cycling metrics data.  These updates are coming out as software/firmware updates over the fall and they will work with the two pod Garmin Vector power pedals (not the new single pod Vector S).  These include a metric that is somewhat like the CompuTrainer SpinScan in that it will show the power phase graphically on a compatible head; a metric that shows how much time the Garmin cycling-dynamicsrider spends seated versus standing; and a third metric called Platform Center Offset, which can be a little hard to understand initially. Platform Center Offset is a metric that shows the exact point of applied force axially/laterally.  While Garmin does not have a firm idea as to how useful this metric might be, we think it could prove useful in terms of figuring out how balanced the rider is on the pedals and how variables like stance width and foot support are affecting rider neutrality on the pedals.

These metrics will be a no charge upgrade when you update the software and will work on many of the more current Edge computer heads like the 810 and 1000.

In recent years, Fit Werx has been a Top Ten Stages dealer; the top selling brick and mortar SRM dealer in the countr; a top 25 SRAM/Quarq dealer; and we were one of the first dealers to stock PowerTap over ten years ago.  We have familiarity with the best power meter brands and options and how they can relate to your use and we’re here to help. With locations outside Boston in MA and near Burlington in Vermont, Fit Werx is the northeast’s power meter specialist.  We’re happy to answer questions and help you find the right power meter for your needs and we can ship most anywhere.   Just email or call!

About Ian

From first time riders to Olympians, Ian has helped thousands of athletes achieve their cycling and triathlon goals. Ian develops much of the Fit Werx fitting and analysis protocols and is responsible for technology training and development. He is regarded as one of the industry leaders in bicycle fitting, cycling biomechanics and bicycle geometry and design. He is dedicated to making sure the Fit Werx differences are delivered daily and provides Fit Werx with corporate direction and is responsible for uniting our staff and initiatives.

Find out more about Ian Here


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