Heart rate monitors

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Heart rate monitors

Postby tuco » Mon Feb 19, 2007 12:12 pm

I'm looking at upgrading my current heart rate monitor. It was an al cheapo bike computer ($35) which happened to have a HRM. The computer part stopped working so I've been using it as a HRM but the updates are very slow and sometimes it won't work at all. It's annoying when it's reading 150 bpm and I can feel it's a lot less.

Can anyone recommend something which won't cost the earth but is reliable?
Features :
heart rate (obviously).
average HR.
max HR.
calories burnt.
able to set zones EG percentage of max.
upload to PC not necessary but would be interesting to store and compare.
No need for it to also be a bike computer.
Doesn't even have to have a clock function.
Really just after something basic (apart from the pc upload) but not so basic that it'll stop working after the first ride.

I've looked at the polar web site but it's just too much information to sift through. The polars seem to have far too many features and I don't like ready instruction manuals.

Coincidently Torpedo 7 have a weekly special on a ECHOWELL Elite T301.
I'll have to research that one, especially the price. I've noticed Torpedo 7 tend to inflate the regular prices of their specials.

You can do all the research in the world but there's still no better information than that from people who have owned and use the products.

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Postby MJF » Mon Feb 19, 2007 12:54 pm

Polar FS1, under $100, it's just a watch and a HRM with no extras, misses Max HR & calories, but you can set an alarm point. Stores the average and exercise time from the last session. What I can say, however, is that it has worked perfectly...

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Postby europa » Mon Feb 19, 2007 12:59 pm

I've got the Polar CS200cad. Yes, it is an expensive, full bike computer.

BUT ...

everything cheap or cheaper I've bought has given me troubles one way or another. The polar has been dead reliable.

This unit does everything you specified and no more - you aren't paying for stuff you don't need, assuming you use it as a bike computer as well.

It has proven to be very easy to learn how to use ... and then there's the bloody manual. But I can answer your questions (it's pretty straight forward actually).

Mine spent a day in heavy rain and never missed a beat, nor has it since. Although I haven't taken it swimming, it's waterproof. I hear of so many people with other brands fussing about with bags and the like because they fear the rain - I reckon waterproof has to be an essential for something on a bike.

It's also spent time in my back pocket while I was using the HRM on my Europa (she wears a basic Sigma Sport bike computer) where it got knocked around and soaked with sweat ... and hasn't even looked like missing a beat.

It never tells me I'd dead :D (the cheapy delights in it :roll: ) and responds instantly.

The new chest strap has a smallish connector in the middle and the sensors are material - not like the older and cheaper models with the long, hard, plastic strip. Mind you, that soft strap might be becoming standard elsewhere too now that it's on the market with one company.

I understand the contraints of money Tuco, but I tried to save money on this caper and in the end, paying for the big Polar has proven to be the smartest thing I did. As I said, it's not overly complicated, it doesn't give you stuff you don't need, the upload onto the computer works easily (once you work out what the confounded manual's telling you) and the data goes straight into Polar's own fitness and training website. I think the CS200cad would be a good buy.

It does have the advantage that you don't have to buy everything in one hit - you can buy the unit and heart rate strap, then later buy the cadence sensor and bike sensor, just turning on the extra functions as you get the sensors. It's all wireless and that works reliably.

But I also understand that $300 (for the full unit) is a big ask :?


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Postby LuckyPierre » Mon Feb 19, 2007 1:41 pm

I'm an 'almost Richard' - as in, I'm saving up for the Polar CS200cad. :)
It's more 'waiting' than 'saving up', as I just have to wait for it to come the top of the list of things to buy - without anything else 'gatecrashing'. I really would prefer a heart rate monitor to some new shockers for my car, but ....
Check out the online stores / eBay, I'm probably going to buy mine direct from the US.

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Postby tuco » Mon Feb 19, 2007 2:26 pm

europa wrote:I understand the contraints of money Tuco . . .

Money isn't the problem. I was after something cheaper because cheaper wouldn't include a computer. I already have a computer (Shimano flightdeck) so there's no point doubling up with another computer. I like that the flight deck shows me which gear I'm in. Also the main reason I bought a Suzuki motor bike years ago. It was the only brand (in the 250's) which showed which gear I was in.

I've been looking into the running models since they wouldn't have the cycling computer.

And Lucky, check out this site http://www.pursuit-performance.com.au/polar/index.html
They sell polar items in Australia and also sell demo and out dated models.

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Postby pugsly » Mon Feb 19, 2007 2:42 pm

I've got the Polar F11

Features :
heart rate (obviously). CHECK
average HR. CHECK
calories burnt. CHECK
able to set zones EG percentage of max. CHECK
upload to PC not necessary but would be interesting to store and compare. CHECK
No need for it to also be a bike computer. It's not
Doesn't even have to have a clock function. - well it does tell the time - handy for keeping a log
Really just after something basic (apart from the pc upload) but not so basic that it'll stop working after the first ride.

The F11 is probably what you're looking for I think. I've had mine for a year or two now and it's been very reliable. I even swim with it.
Street price seems to be about $225 delivered.

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Postby mikesbytes » Mon Feb 19, 2007 3:02 pm

I use leg rate montoring.

Are my legs ****** no: pedal harder

Have a nice day
training log
If the R-1 rule is broken, what happens to N+1?

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Postby moosterbounce » Mon Feb 19, 2007 4:27 pm

I have the F11. As Pugsly said, it does everything you want, and a bit more.

It has a fitness program built in that I have used for the past 4 months (and lost 15kg using it too :D ) which you don't have to use, but it is there if you want to.

Once you set your goals (maintain or maximise fitness), it works out a program for you based on number of times per week you want to train and gives you times in each zone. At the end of the week, it measures your success against your target. If you are over a certain % the icon on your watch changes to a trophy!! It is a little pathetic, but I aim for that trophy every week and totally focus on it. It will probably be the only trophy I'll get for my cycling :?

I don't like the upload to PC. You basically upload to the Polar website where they provide graphs and history and progress etc for you. I'm an IT person, and find the sonic upload a bit annoying (it stops if the dogs bark) and would prefer a different connectivity. The site is also quite slow. That said, it does what I want (I am pretty picky about my PC stuff :oops: and most people probably wouldn't notice).

I tossed up with getting the F6 but it used the hard plastic chest strap. The F11 uses a material one except for the centrepiece which is only about an inch long. The hard plastic wasn't comfy for...girls :)

I wear the watch everyday and it hasn't missed a beat. In fact, it stores so much info that it tells me that since I got in in Sept 06, I've burnt 70.000 calories!!

No doubt all HRMs are similar, but I can't use this in our pool. Our pool is salt chlorinated and the salt interferes with transmission (as stated in the manual). A chlorine pool is ok though.

My husband bought the same model as he was so impressed with mine, though not as fanatical. We both found the cheapest price we could on the web, then went into AMart and they matched the price. Meant we could buy locally and not pay delivery!! The cheapest we found was on sportstek at $218 ish.

I have an adapter for my handlebars. Actually, hubby bought it and his watch seemed to play up when on it - maybe proximity to computer though they were on opposite sides of the stem. He has a wired computer, yet mine is wireless mounted on the stem (closer?) and neither has missed a beat with it being close. So I got it, and he gets a tan line!!

Hope this helps.

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Postby gururug » Mon Feb 19, 2007 4:59 pm

I got a cheap (50$) echowell off torpedo7, it works, but the features are a bit cumbersome.

I think usability is as critical as the features on these devices.

Yet to take mine on a spin but it will be interesting.

There is a bit of a danger with these things to "overcycle" as your hr might be low but you are completely ganked from yesterdays ride and your body needs to rest. By all means read/analyse the HRM output to improve/understand your fitness levels better. But be carefull not to let it dictate your pace all the time.

PC connectivity and alaysis would also be great as on the ride you often don't have time to analyse all the details (just current/max/avg).

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Postby tuco » Mon Feb 19, 2007 11:04 pm

Thanks for the replies.

I should have pointed out to keep the replies short because I don't read more than one paragraph so if you want to talk about me then write it in the second paragraph.

So it looks like the F11 so far.

I had a rest day today so I watched that stupid biggest loser and I noticed they were all wearing HRT monitors even when sitting around. The doctors on the show must really be worried they'll fall of their perches.

I was doing some serious hill climbing (on foot) but it was getting my heart rate way above the fat burning heart rate. It was good for muscle building but I want to lose weight. I'm already fairly muscular without having to add to it.
I'll hoping a HR monitor will allow me to slow down to the correct HR.

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Postby reparto corse » Mon Feb 19, 2007 11:04 pm

I got the cs300 Polar, thought along the same lines as you as i didn't want two computers on the bike .even though i usualy end up putting it on the handle bars anyway. I find it good, it has all the info i need without all the bells and whistles that the cs725 has, and neither the price tag of the cs725. I wear it all the time as it's also my every day watch, it's easy to use. Only problem is if you want all the options for it you have to order them from the U.S. as it aint an australian release. I probably should have chosen the cs200 cad instead. For the reasons of warranty and that the extra's are readily available.IE.(cadence sensor & pc link )

Choose wisely.

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Postby tuco » Fri Mar 02, 2007 5:06 pm


I was in a lbs shop today and they had a polar F4 marked down from $199 to $99

I did what I hate people doing in my store and asked what's wrong with it. (well the box was a little torn)
It was an order which was never picked up and had been sitting in the store for months.

May have to pay them another visit very soon :D

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