Garmin Vector: First Ride

I went for a ride today and it was 5C. I know this because my new Garmin spits out this data, along with a brain-melting number of other numbers and graphs. You can see for yourself by clicking on the link below. I have posted my Garmin stats – because that’s what you do.

Just a couple of notes on my first 24 hours with the 510 and Vector:

1. Garmin-Vector-power-systemBoth were so easy to set up that I kept looking back at the manuals to see if I’d forgotten anything. They give you tons of little plastic and rubber things in the box that make you think you need to use them. You don’t, for the most part. Kudos on including 8 rubber attachment rings to hold the computer on the stem (or handlebar). I know those things won’t last.

2. I didn’t need my new torque wrench to tighten the pedal to the crank arm after all. Don’t buy one. You don’t need it (although others who are smarter do not agree).


You can up to 10 bits of data on this thing!

3. There is a dizzying amount of data that you can have displayed on the computer. I am trying to figure out what is essential now. One thing is:

4. Left/Right power balance. I’d be interested to hear what others are experiencing with their Vectors because I got 46/54% on this ride (and I was probably pushing harder with the left because the display was taunting me the whole ride with my imbalance).  This balance discrepancy is unsurprising given my knee issues on the left. Still, I kept wondering how much faster I could go if it was as strong as the other one.

5. The power was jumping all over the place, but I think I can set it to average out a bit, e.g. a 3-second or 10-second average. Jan or Mark, you guys might be able to tell me what I need to set it at since you seemed to both have good, solid readings at Haute Route.

6.images I nearly bit the dust once or twice staring at my new computer when I should have been looking ahead. This will improve with time, but since it sits on the stem, it will probably continue to get a lot of attention when training heats up next year.

First Vector w/John by gerrypat at Garmin Connect – Details.

19 thoughts on “Garmin Vector: First Ride

  1. Nice job on getting out there in the cold. Bit too chilly for me. I noticed your stats are in miles not metric? Also, you can turn the gps off so that you can cycle inside. This has to be done every time you turn it on but you can keep a running total of your indoor rides. On my 500 I first, 1. Power on. 2. Hold menu button for 2 sec 3. Go to GPS. 4. Go to GPS status. 5. Press enter on Yes. 6. Toggle down to No and press enter. And then just back out to your home page. Just in case you decide to cycle inside.

    • That must be a default when sharing because I have it metric in my account. Strange. What do you think would happen if I rode on the trainer with the GPS on? It would still work, wouldn’t it? I’ll look on the 510 and see what it takes to turn it off, though. Thanks for the tip.

      • I use the the garmin but just turn the gps off as per the above instructions. If I leave it on it just keeps looking for the satellite and no data is visible. I did gain 2 meters on one of the indoor rides with the gps off though. Go figure.

      • The page I have open all the time has Speed, Grade, Cadence, and HR. You could use Power instead of HR. Btw, a great app to complement your garmin is ConnectStats. You can have it on your iPhone or iPad, not sure of android. It keeps all your stats and allows for great analysis.

        • And one last tip. I didn’t realise it till some 6 months after I got my Garmin, that there is a drop down menu in the top right hand corner of Garmin Connect and if you go to ‘Profile’ it has a cumulative tally of the total ride hours, meters climbed, total distance etc. After about 500 hrs total riding indoors and out this year, that means I only have 19 more years to get that magic 10,000 of cycling to become an expert.

        • I noticed that last night when looking around the site. Good luck on becoming an expert. Hope we’re all still around to celebrate it with you.

  2. Indoor with the GPS on will generally do strange things like tell you that you have gained 3 meters of altitude. Riding with the GPS on and not having the speed/cadence sensor enabled gets even more interesting. Every now and then you will move a meter or two even though your speed is 0. With Strava you can flag a ride a stationary and it will surpress most of that erroneous data.

    • Good to know. I see an indoor session in my near future, so I’ll figure out how to turn it off for sure. Also nice to know about the Strava thing. I also just realized that my indoor workouts can go up there, unlike with the Polar. But I can see that life is getting a little more complicated…

  3. Gerry: nice! First, it was 25F here this morning; tomorrow cross race at 15 to 20F (really? It’s going to be a darn long winter… Getting too old for that…)

    A few quick thoughts:
    My first few rides give 48% left, 52 right–I am not surprised given that my right leg is dominant.
    Be careful and keep your eye on the road vs the Garmin–I’ve crashed doing the latter…
    Your FTP at 200W is way too low for you–do a very strong 20min effort and take 95% of your average watts as your FTP.
    (Then your intensity, normalized power and TSS will be more representative.)

    It will take you a while to figure out which data fields you want to show on your Garmin.
    I like to have at least two windows:
    – one for during the ride with 3sec-power and lap time in big font and lap-power, normalized lap power, HR, speed, cadence, distance.
    – another with end-of-lap or ride stats, including kJ, TSS, intensity and max power, in addition to the usual.

    Try to make it as logical as possible; over time, however, you get “locked into” a certain dashboard, so it’s good to give it some thought now


    PS: I wonder whether accuracy falls when putting on the pedals by hand (as I will do when I travel) versus torquing at 25-30Nm?

    • Jan, good luck tomorrow. Better you than me!

      I think my left-right will be more pronounced tomorrow. I’ll try not to compensate this time.

      I remember you telling me the power we were pushing at HR one time. It was around 250 or so, I think. You said ‘let’s knock it back’, knowing, I suppose, what you could sustain. That impressed me greatly and basically sealed the deal on me getting a meter. I’ll do an LT Test soon, but I’d like to get some fitness back before then so it means something for when I start training.

      Thanks for the tips on the data fields. I’ll probably spend the first few weeks playing with options. I have a feeling that the data I’m used to seeing now will not be what I need once I figure out this ‘power’ thing.

      I have no idea about the accuracy, but what I do know is that the Garmin YouTube video doesn’t even show a torque wrench (although they it is recommended…sort of).

      Looking forward to comparing output next year on Ventoux!

      • Yes–will be fun.
        Now, “they” say you should adjust your FTP over the year. So it is still a good idea to do a 20min test now and that’ll be your benchmark for the off-season. As you start building, you retest and adjust FTP accordingly.
        Already savoring Ventoux climbs! Two more cross races and my season ends 🙂

  4. you last paragraph was one of the more interesting ones leads me to think that a pair of GOOGLE GLASSES are in order to ensure looking forward and yet reading data are available at the same time…… great review…..but 5C ?

    • I just added that to the blog article. Thanks. I will torque it to spec once I get the proper head for the wrench (got ‘crows feet’ that hook at the ends, so can’t use them on the pedals).

  5. OK, Gerry, I’m getting curious… Curiosity is a dangerous thing, however. But then again, I don’t even have a cycle computer…

  6. I normally have 10s and 30s power in front of me. You’ll find it averages out a lot better if you feel you are thumping the pedals after a few seconds you’ll see it inch up watt by watt. Prior to HR my FTP was 281W (296W for 20mins – 5% is a pretty good estimation of FTP). FTP is a good measure, but power to weight is the one you want to improve whether it be via weight loss or just pushing a bit harder 🙂

    For gauging the effort of a longer ride the NP (Normalised power) is much better than average power as it tends to zero out the times when very little effort is required (long descents etc..).

    I’ll confess to knowing very little beyond the above, but knowing your limits is a very good thing because when you ride within them you can go for a lot longer!


    • That’s great intel, Mark, thanks. I’ve been finding that even the 3sec Power has been ‘flighty’. I’ve changed it to 10 sec now.

      I’ll do an FTP Test once I feel like I have some fitness back. For now I’m not stressing about it since I’m not really training yet. As you said, though, knowing your limits is everything. It’s really the only reason I bought the damn meter anyway!

      I haven’t really looked into NP yet, but assumed it was taking out time spent freewheeling, which sounds as if that’s the case.

      Good luck with the off season. I really hope you have another Haute Route in you for 2015 because I don’t know if I can go two years without one now…

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