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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 02-22-11, 11:44 PM   #1
zjrog
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OK Clydes and Athenas, what HRM?

I've never been obsessed with numbers before, but for some reason I am this year. I want one of those fancy pants do everything Garmin units... But, not this year. I would like something I can download to the computer, but that is not practical in my price range. Besides, I don't want something on the bike worth more than the bike! Would prefer to keep it under $100.

So what do you folks use?

No I don't know why I'm so obsessed with data... I use a USB stick in the Life Fitness bikes, treadmill and elliptical. Well, once so far. But it intrigues me. I have a Garmin GPS that I can track speed, distance and elevation. The Garmin Connect website is a pretty neat tool.
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Old 02-23-11, 12:38 AM   #2
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It's definitely not under $100, but I use a Garmin Edge 500 with the premium HR strap. My favorite features are the percent grade and elevation readings, and of course being able to upload the ride to Garmin Connect. It's also nice to be able to use it on any bike without a sensor or wires.
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Old 02-23-11, 01:06 AM   #3
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Before I bought my Garmin Edge 705, I was using an old Polar A5 HRM. The closest current model is probably the Polar FT4. The problem with my A5 is that it's nearly impossible to use without the manual. I can start and stop it and maybe figure out how to cycle between screens. Everything else needs so many key presses that I have to pull out the manual.

Still if you're willing to spend $100, I'd recommend searching eBay for a Garmin Edge 305. Prices seem to start around $90 w/o HR, $120 w/HR...
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Old 02-23-11, 11:29 AM   #4
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Rob a liquor store and buy a Power Tap wheel and do it right....
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Old 02-23-11, 11:35 AM   #5
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I just bought myself the Garmin Forerunner 305. It's slightly over $100 but you can get used ones for under $100. It combines the speed/distance tracking of the Garmin with a heart rate monitor in the same unit. It's watch-style, but I just strap the watch to my handlebars (over a light mount to make the "wrist" bigger) and it works fine. And you can download the data to your PC.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...SIN=B000CSWCQA
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Old 02-23-11, 12:16 PM   #6
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I have a Polar F4, and I got it for about $90. It's a very basic model: simple wristwatch receiver and T31 non-coded transmitter strap. You can set a single target HR zone for workouts, record individual workout data for calories burned/minutes in zone, it will tally totals for multiple workouts, etc. Your input parameters are the basic age/ht/wt. There's no DL to computer or anything fancy.
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Old 02-23-11, 02:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by zjrog View Post
So what do you folks use?
Garmin Edge 500 + Powertap branded heart rate + GSC 10 speed/cadence + Powertap hub. Upgraded from a Polar CS 200CAD. Power works better for pacing since its immediate instead of lagging up to a minute and doesn't drift with dehydration or aerobic decoupling. Power also works on short/anaerobic intervals.

I'd second the recommendation for a used Garmin of some sort - you really want the download capability. You can see whether you're slacking in the middle of long intervals or starting too hard, approximate lactate threshold off a histogram from a hard ride (without thousands of quality miles in your legs your LTHR will still be increasing and you want to adjust your zones upward to match), manage training stress via TRIMP points (Golden Cheetah is free, runs on Windows/Linux/Mac, and works great), etc.

I don't recommend the Polar apart from the strap with conductive electrodes although the package without cadence is in your price range . You get a lot more with computer downloads that include second-by-second samples, the Polar will end your ride if you accidentally hit the stop button twice, and both the 5Khz EM heart rate monitor and wireless speed/cadence sensors glitch from power lines/traffic lights/etc.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 02-23-11 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 02-23-11, 03:09 PM   #8
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I've seen some watch types at Best Buy for about $50 (and up). From what I've seen, they all use a chest strap. Are there models without? I don't think I'd be comfy with a chest strap.
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Old 02-23-11, 03:16 PM   #9
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I've seen some watch types at Best Buy for about $50 (and up). From what I've seen, they all use a chest strap. Are there models without? I don't think I'd be comfy with a chest strap.
Yes but some (many? most? all? I don't know) only take a reading when you put your index and middle fingers on the watch. When you're working hard enough that you can't do much more than grunt and are four beats shy of your maximum heart rate you're not going to do that.

Polar's Wearlink strap with conductive fabric electrodes is pretty good for comfort apart from picking up more sweat than your jersey. The standard straps aren't too bad.
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Old 02-23-11, 03:23 PM   #10
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Yes but some (many? most? all? I don't know) only take a reading when you put your index and middle fingers on the watch. When you're working hard enough that you can't do much more than grunt and are four beats shy of your maximum heart rate you're not going to do that.
Really? I thought maybe they took a reading from the back of the watch (senror plate maybe). Sounds like a hassle.
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Old 02-23-11, 03:30 PM   #11
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I just bought myself the Garmin Forerunner 305. It's slightly over $100 but you can get used ones for under $100. It combines the speed/distance tracking of the Garmin with a heart rate monitor in the same unit. It's watch-style, but I just strap the watch to my handlebars (over a light mount to make the "wrist" bigger) and it works fine. And you can download the data to your PC.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...SIN=B000CSWCQA
Curse you!!! You made me buy it!!!

Now how to hide the new gizmo from the SO? She's getting tired of me buying myself all sorts of cool things... perhaps spending more money on some flowers will cover my spending money on myself?

Last edited by fsc; 02-23-11 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 02-23-11, 03:46 PM   #12
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I use a Garmin Edge 305. Gives HR, cadence, speed, elevation, grade, distance, time, laps, you can program intervals for training, download to your computer or the Garmin Connect website, does a virtual partner to race against your previous rides, etc. Great unit, now I'm saving up for a 500 or 805 & Quarq.
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Old 02-23-11, 05:58 PM   #13
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Rob a liquor store and buy a Power Tap wheel and do it right....
That's what I did! In retrospect, I probably should have robbed a second liquor store and bought a Quarq power meter... I love the PowerTap, but I'd be happier if I had more freedom with wheels and tires.
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Old 02-23-11, 06:07 PM   #14
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I've seen some watch types at Best Buy for about $50 (and up). From what I've seen, they all use a chest strap. Are there models without? I don't think I'd be comfy with a chest strap.
I have a Suunto t6c watch with a wireless chest strap. This is the most comfortable HRM that I have ever worn. I hardly even feel it. I did purchase the extra large strap separately.
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Old 02-23-11, 06:14 PM   #15
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I use the Sigma BC 1706HR Bike computer. No download, no cadence, not a lot of other extras, but a bike computer with HR for less than $60 online. It does occasionally drop signals, but it's accurate most of the time.
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Old 02-23-11, 06:42 PM   #16
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I second the 305, unless you're looking to get into triathlon. Then in the long run you may want a higher level device.
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Old 02-23-11, 07:50 PM   #17
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That's what I did! In retrospect, I probably should have robbed a second liquor store and bought a Quarq power meter... I love the PowerTap, but I'd be happier if I had more freedom with wheels and tires.
1+ Power is power. HR isn't.
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Old 02-23-11, 08:54 PM   #18
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1+ Power is power. HR isn't.
If you're training for a pro team, then power is the way to go. There's no doubt about what your work level is when the PT hub tells you how many Watts you're outputting.
When you're looking to get in shape and your budget is ~$100, a power meter is like buying a Bugatti Veyron because you need a car to get to/from the grocery.
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Old 02-23-11, 08:54 PM   #19
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I have a polar F6 with the heartstrap...not a big issue mr b. Also, if you own an Iphone you can probably get a cycling app with it that includes a hrm. You would need to get a blue tooth hrm chest strap.
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Old 02-23-11, 08:59 PM   #20
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My Garmin 705 appears to work great. I dont even feel the chest strap as its nestled between the rolls of fat -
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Old 02-23-11, 09:17 PM   #21
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Thanks. I appreciate the info. I like the Forerunner 305. Might have to snag that after tax season. I have an older Cateye computer that does speed and cadence, expensive when I bought it 20 years ago. Really surprised the bargain computers don't have cadence these days. I will put the Cateye on my MTB for now. I have a Sigma computer for speed that I had put on the Schwinn hybrid years ago. And the Cannondale has a SPecialized comp for speed on the FRONT wheel (which doesn't help me no matter what on the trainer!)...
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Old 02-23-11, 09:59 PM   #22
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I have a Suunto t6c watch with a wireless chest strap. This is the most comfortable HRM that I have ever worn. I hardly even feel it. I did purchase the extra large strap separately.


Thanks!
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Old 02-23-11, 11:24 PM   #23
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ebay has great deals on edge 500 deals.
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Old 02-23-11, 11:38 PM   #24
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I don't do Ebay anymore. Got burned one time too many.
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Old 02-24-11, 01:03 AM   #25
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+1 on the Garmin 305. You can also get a quick-release kit and bike mount for it. I've got the mounts on all my bikes, and the cadence sensor on my road bike.
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