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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 08-08-10, 09:57 AM   #1
episodic
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Heart rate monitors

Do heart rate monitors' straps usually fit around a large person's chest. I measured myself at chest level and am around 52 inches.

I want a heart rate monitor that tells me where I am, records the average heartrate, and tells me the max and min.

Do any of the heart rate monitors out there let you input your age, weight, height, etc - and give you a 'good' estimation of calories burned, or should I just take the info from the monitor and go online to various calculators and use it.

I see the 'strapless' heart monitors that are usually cheaper - I'm assuming those are far beneath the quality of the 'chest' strap ones.

Thanks for thoughts and or information!
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Old 08-08-10, 11:05 AM   #2
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Do heart rate monitors' straps usually fit around a large person's chest. I measured myself at chest level and am around 52 inches.

I want a heart rate monitor that tells me where I am, records the average heartrate, and tells me the max and min.

Do any of the heart rate monitors out there let you input your age, weight, height, etc - and give you a 'good' estimation of calories burned, or should I just take the info from the monitor and go online to various calculators and use it.

I see the 'strapless' heart monitors that are usually cheaper - I'm assuming those are far beneath the quality of the 'chest' strap ones.

Thanks for thoughts and or information!
I've had good luck with Polar HR over the years... I bought a new one a couple months ago and it has the new WearLink strap which is great. You can get the WearLink straps up to a like a XXXL. My new Polar came with a strap that is Medium to XXL.
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Old 08-08-10, 11:11 AM   #3
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I have a Timex that I use and it has quite a bit of adjustment on the elastic strap that goes around your chest. You can enter your max heart rate and then monitor one of 5 preset zones or there is a manual zone if you like. I enter my weight and it will calculate calories burned. I like this feature but I believe it estimates on the high side of calories burned so I just use it as a reference.

Good luck
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Old 08-08-10, 11:20 AM   #4
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I have the Garmin 305, I'm not sure if the strap would fit, but if it doesn't it would be easy to buy a piece of elastic and cut the strap and sew in the new piece of elastic. Maybe not the best solution, but something easy to fix. The Garmin allows you to enter your weight and uses it to calculate your calories burned. Some suggest that the calories burned should be cut in half to be more accurate. As mentioned above it is a point of reference, like a scale.

If you use the software with Garmin you can enter you height, weight, and target heart rates.
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Old 08-08-10, 11:42 AM   #5
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Strapless HR monitors (at least the good ones) actually work the same way - by measuring the electrical impulses associated with the heart contracting. Some aren't good for cycling - they need you to stop exercising and put 2 fingers on the contacts on the watch body. So no continuous monitoring, plus who wants to stop just to find out your HR? Others are better, but since they are further away from your heart are supposed to be a little less reliable at measuring the HR, particularly during intense exercise.

I used to have a Polar watch-style HR monitor with a chest strap that had tons of adjustability - more than the current Garmin one I'm using. The watch features were basic, but met your needs - Max HR, avg. HR, duration of exercise plus displayed current HR and beeped if you went outside your target HR zone.

I use my target HR's when training and also when doing long events. However, keep in mind that there are limits. The big one is that if you put out a sudden big effort, your HR may take up to 30 seconds to start increasing. If you just go by the HR numbers, you could actually put yourself into the red zone, where you may not want to be.

JB
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Old 08-08-10, 12:06 PM   #6
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Agree with what the others have said, I have a polar F6 and the band is plenty big and I have a 54 inch chest...solid muscle of course
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Old 08-08-10, 01:48 PM   #7
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i have the polar cs200 bike computer, search for it online, i got it for about 90 bucks, it was a steal. You input your resting heart rate, age, and weight and it makes calorie calculations. Take them with a grain of saltof course but the way i see it is even if it estimates double what i really burned i'm still doing some rides that burn a couple thousand calories.
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Old 08-08-10, 02:18 PM   #8
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Wow, I'm finding the Garmin GPS Forerunner 305 with the heart monitor at cheaper prices than some of the before mentioned solutions. I guess I have a justification for a GPS after all ;P
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Old 08-08-10, 03:06 PM   #9
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Wow, I'm finding the Garmin GPS Forerunner 305 with the heart monitor at cheaper prices than some of the before mentioned solutions. I guess I have a justification for a GPS after all ;P
The share your route thread has me seriously considering upgrading to a GPS/HR setup... Now around town here every thing is FLAT... but all the weekend rides I've been doing out of town have quite a bit of hills... would be nice to track my HR on the hills...
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Old 08-08-10, 06:24 PM   #10
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i have the polar cs200 bike computer, search for it online, i got it for about 90 bucks, it was a steal. You input your resting heart rate, age, and weight and it makes calorie calculations. Take them with a grain of saltof course but the way i see it is even if it estimates double what i really burned i'm still doing some rides that burn a couple thousand calories.
+1 on the cs200. Bike Nashbar has it for 100 bucks, but they have a 20% off any one item discount going on right now, so its 80 bucks plus shipping. Pretty tough to beat.
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Old 08-08-10, 11:24 PM   #11
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I used a Garmin Forerunner 50, then a 405, and finally got an Edge 500 when I started cycling again. I've been very happy with the heart rate monitors that go with those units...except for the way the strap fits me. I'm a 50" chest and the Garmin strap is tight...not so much that it is painful, but it looks like it's wearing fast. At the suggestion of a friend, I bought the Garmin premium heart rate strap and while it's more comfortable, it's still not quite big enough.

Then one day in the LBS one of the salesmen was showing a customer the Polar stuff with the wearlink straps. He mentioned that they come in various sizes. I also noticed that the Polar transmitter "puck" attaches just like the Garmin premium strap transmitter puck using two clip buttons.

On a whim, I ordered the XXL Polar strap from Amazon (about $16) and when I got it, I clipped the Garmin puck onto the Polar strap. Voila! It felt wonderful. I fired up my Forerunner 50, and it read the heart rate fine.

I used this combo on my next ride, and found that after 3-4 hours, the strap stops transmitting well. The head unit (be it either of the Forerunners or the Edge 500) just doesn't get the signal well. If it readjust it and apply more conductive gel or saliva, it works for a few minutes and then again has problems. So the next long ride, I go back to my old all-Garmin setup. No problems. Next week, try out the Polar/Garmin combo and encounter the same problem about 3-4 hours into the ride.

Figuring that I have a bum strap, I order another Polar Wearlink strap from Amazon. It comes, and I try it out the next weekend. I run into the exact same issue.

I still don't know what the problem is, and I've gone back to the all-Garmin setup. Which is just not as comfortable. That Polar strap is really comfortable once you get it in your size.

I'll likely end up cutting up the elastic on the Garmin and having it sewn to the Polar strap...that way I get the elastic of the Polar, and the receptor pads of the Garmin so I probably won't have a problem.

Just wanted to post this in case anyone else had a similar idea, or in case anyone has had success with this combo.

Charles
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Old 08-09-10, 02:51 AM   #12
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Nashbar has the Polar CS200 for $81 after tax and shipping if you type in FSCLEAR and THANKS1 at checkout.

NOTE:this takes 40% off of most items in store.
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Old 08-09-10, 08:06 AM   #13
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Since no one else mentioned them I will put in a good word for Sigma heart rate monitors. I have one of the wristwatch style for use at the the gym and the wife recently gave me a Sigma bike computer with h/r monitor built in. Their chest straps seem to fit me just fine (think I'm a 48 chest) and I've had good luck with the devices so far.
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Old 08-09-10, 08:19 AM   #14
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Since no one else mentioned them I will put in a good word for Sigma heart rate monitors. I have one of the wristwatch style for use at the the gym and the wife recently gave me a Sigma bike computer with h/r monitor built in. Their chest straps seem to fit me just fine (think I'm a 48 chest) and I've had good luck with the devices so far.
I had one (the Rox 9.0) for my bike and it did not like getting wet or cold weather. It died completely after just a year. The price was great for the feature set, and maybe mine was just an isolated case, but i can't recommend them.

JB
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Old 08-09-10, 09:12 AM   #15
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I have the Suunto and it works fine. I only have a 46-48 chest and have the strap adjusted all the way out.
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Old 08-09-10, 11:40 AM   #16
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I have a Polar F4 and it fits my 48.5" chest just fine, with enough room to spare that I don't think a 52" would be out of the question.
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Old 08-09-10, 01:48 PM   #17
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I have a Polar F6 and I started wearing it when I was 488 lbs.

Get the big strap if you are worried. I'm down another 113 since then and still using it.

If it fits me it will fit you - trust me - just get the big one...
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Old 08-09-10, 02:49 PM   #18
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Wow, I'm finding the Garmin GPS Forerunner 305 with the heart monitor at cheaper prices than some of the before mentioned solutions. I guess I have a justification for a GPS after all ;P
I use a Garmin Oregon with an HRM, and love it. It does most of the things you asked about when starting the thread, although no calories. But that's easy enough to recreate on the PC, and GPS data means you can correlate your HR to things like whether you were climbing a hill at the time.
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Old 08-09-10, 03:57 PM   #19
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The strap that comes with a Garmin 705 will fit a 52 inch chest.

The calorie count from the Garmin is 200-400% above that the kilojoule count is with a powertap wheel. After religiously tracking calories on Fitday for almost 6 months, I do think the garmin calorie count is too high. i'd cut it down by 25-50%

If you want an easier way to see how the Garmin over-estimates, coast down a hill at 20MPH and watch the calorie count fly upward.
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Old 08-09-10, 04:04 PM   #20
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I have a 50" chest and had to use the XXXL Polar strap (which is very big)... the included M-XXL strap was -very- tight.
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Old 08-09-10, 04:59 PM   #21
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I got a Suunto t6c after a lot of research. Works great and the strap fits very well on my 54" chest. You can also input all the personal data you want. It's been a big help for my training regime.
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Old 08-09-10, 05:15 PM   #22
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I have no problem with the chest strap (old simple polar) but find the wirst band on the monitor/watch is small for me.
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Old 08-09-10, 05:22 PM   #23
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Two Words... Garmin 500. unless you want a map or training functions this is as good as it gets... I upgraded from the 305 to this, well i upgraded from a 305 mount. my 305 disappeared off the trunk of my car one day. I'm about your size and never had a HRM strap NOT fit me. The strap on my Garmin still has about 5" of adjustment left.
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