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Hands on ... Garmin Vector

What is it?

A pedal-based cycling power meter.

How will it change my life? It's a phrase anyone who has ever opened a cycling training manual, listened to television commentary of the sport or heard the mutterings of Lycra-clad club riders at the top of a knee-trembling climb will be familiar with: power-to-weight ratio.

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In short, this determines a cyclist's strength compared to their weight and, ultimately, their ability to go fast. The formula is calculated to measure the number of watts you can generate per kilogram of body weight. The harder you push the pedals the more power you transfer to the wheels and the faster you go.

The Garmin Vector system captures all the power you can muster during rides and compiles the data so it can be easily analysed. Power is the only accurate measure of effort and therefore the training tool of choice for every professional rider.

The wattage you spawn is not affected by weather conditions or factors such as the weight of the bike or clothing so provides a true indicator of performance.

The Vector comprises two pedals with stress gauges to quantify the power of your pedal pushing. The pedals are compatible with the Look Keo cleat system and weigh slightly more than average due to the increased mechanics involved.

The overall experience and impact on my cycling has been phenomenal, with a wealth of knowledge gained from the information the Vector provides.

Good points? Garmin's take on the power meter is truly innovative, and able to determine what's being produced by each leg individually. Ideally you would want equal percentage of power output from both so any deviation from this means you need to work on either leg strength or a more efficient pedal stroke.

Being pedal-based means the meter is far easier to transfer to a different bike compared with crank or hub-based systems which can often require a level of expertise beyond many cyclists. The amount of information compiled is vast and will have you poring over statistics until you're cross-eyed and having night terrors.

Bad points? Many had hoped Garmin would be able to create a sufficiently accurate meter at a substantially lower cost than the competition. I've seen a lot of grumblings on cycling forums about the Vector's price tag. Although the cost is substantial, it's worth remembering that Garmin have constructed two power meters here for the price of one - and the Vector is still less expensive than most other systems.

Best for … The seasoned amateur racer looking for the professional training edge.

Avoid if … You are more inclined to a leisurely Sunday morning amble along the canal than seeking out the likes of Bealach na Ba to ascend. The hefty price tag will make many eyes water.

Score: 9/10. A perfect piece of equipment to help boost performance and knowledge.

l Garmin Vector, £1349.99 (garmin.com)

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