Training & Nutrition - Heart Rate Monitor (help, i'm new here)
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05-28-06, 12:29 AM
I've only just started to read through some threads regarding heart monitors. I'm sure there's a lot more out here somewhere but I thought I'd post a question anyway. I have a bike computer already, Cateye Astrale. How much of a heart monitor do I need to compliment this? Can I presume that it's best to mount the monitor on the handlebars as opposed to wearing on your wrist so it's easier to view?
I've been to the Polar site and based on their reputation, I think that's what I'd go with. I just don't know if I need something from their "cycling/bike computer line" or if something else would do. Lastly, what is the best way to learn how to effectively use a monitor? Is there a short and simple book on the subject?
05-29-06, 01:31 PM
Personally I'd get a Sigma Sport. Polar is overrated.
All you really need is one that shows your current heart rate, which you can get for $30 or so, and comes with a bike mount. (i do prefer having it on the handlebar)
Sometimes the monitors come with a little book about HR training, but you can probably find some good info online for free!
05-30-06, 08:57 AM
I was in your place about a month ago.
I did a ton of research and asked everyone I knew about HRM's and what I would need. I finally narrowed the search down to 2 units, the S120 and S150.
Just like you I already had a cateye computer that told me what the bike was doing, so I narrowed the search even further to only needing to know what I was doing, and that lead me to the S120.
The S120 is the 150 but without the bike computer part of it and costs about 50 bucks less (in Canada anyway).
I highly recommend the Polar S120 if you already have a computer on your bike. You can easily mount it on your bars as well, and regardless of which bike you're on (I have a XC and Road) you'll consistently know what your heart is doing. That was the most important thing to me.
Any other questions? Anything I missed?
06-02-06, 12:25 PM
Thank you for the reply. The information is very helpful. I have to go back and study those models in greater detail. On the polar site, it wasn't clear to me if you get the strap for wearing around your chest in the price. Is that what you got? Have you been pleased with the unit?
06-02-06, 01:18 PM
The chest strap comes with the watch.
By the way, www.performancebike.com is having a weekend websale. They have the S150 for $75US.
06-03-06, 11:16 PM
I saw that too as I got a catalog today in the mail which showed that or at least priced at $79.99 for the longer term. Do you also have a favorable opinion of the s120 or s150 series?
Get a cheap HRM, figure out what you don't like about it, and upgrade when the end-of-season sales hit. If ALL you're trying to do is zone-based training, you want current HR and average HR. The bike computer will give you total time, miles and speed data. An HRM with a "lap" function can (depending on how it's implemented) can give you HR average for each lap; handy if you are trying to monitor riding in different zones during a ride. An advantage of wrist-watch style HRMs is you can use them during other activities; a bike-only one (combo cyclecomputer and HRM with permanent bike mount) is only useful on the bike.
I have a Polar 150 and a 720. I started with the 150 (it was on sale); upgraded to the 720 (also on sale) after 2 seasons: digital-coded HR sensor is less susceptible to power line interference (a big problem for me - much of my riding is on a bike trail with overhead transmission wires), wanted more detailed data recorded for each lap (speed, distance, time, HR and averages), altitude capture (barometric), and data transfer and logging. You don't need this to get started. The 120 or 150 (cycling functions) are good units, too.
The Astrale is a great computer; I use one on my road bike with the 720 (I am a data geek) so I can display HR, speed, distance, cadence, and lap or elapsed time all at once.
For books, there are a couple by Sally Edwards and Sally Reed: The Heart Rate Monitor Book for Outdoor and Indoor Cyclists: A Heart Zone Training Program (Heart Zone Training Program Series) (Paperback) by Sally Edwards, Sally Reed . It also looks like they have a brand new book (or a new edition of an old book) out this month: Heart Zones Cycling : The Avid Cyclist's Guide to Riding Faster and Farther (Paperback), Publisher: VeloPress; 3.00 edition (June 28, 2006). Friel, Burke, and Pruitt all discuss HR-based training extensively in their cycling training books.
I use a basic Timex for versatility. You can get Timex Speed and Distance systems for very cheap these days.
For most of us, the only HR features we use are in setting the upper and lower limit and the various stopwatch functions. If I'm doing intervals, I set my HRM to beep when I reach a certain HR, either 166 or 174. If I'm doing distance, I set my HRM to beep at a lower HR, 148 in my case. Nothing else matters for me.
BTW what does one do with the average HR data? How does that apply to training? I can see storing the max HR reached, and the amount of time inside a particular zone, but I don't see the point of average HR.
06-08-06, 12:17 PM
I was giving thought to either the Polar 120 or the 150 based on an earlier reply to my question. I am a little concerned that the models are being discontinued which is why there being sold for a good discount. As noted earlier, I don't need the bike functions but that doesn't mean this wouldn't be a good unit for me anyway. There's a part of me that wants an F11 with the interesting features it has, then of course, when I think more practical, maybe all I need is something really basic. I guess I'll continue to mull it over.
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