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Old 08-25-06, 07:17 PM   #1
FarHorizon
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Do I need a HRM?

The cycle computer I've been using hasn't impressed me too much. The current speed function is about the only thing I use. For fitness riding, would a heart-rate monitor be a better choice? I understand that you can get watches with that function built in?
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Old 08-25-06, 07:28 PM   #2
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There are so many different options out there it can be quite confusing. One place you can look to check prices and features is http://heartmonitors.com/
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Old 08-25-06, 08:33 PM   #3
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Thanks for the tip, dauphin. This has been tweaking my interest for awhile, now.

EDIT: Can I ask which you think is the least intrusive, without giving up too much accuracy?
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Old 08-25-06, 08:48 PM   #4
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"Do I need a HRM?"

No, but you may want one.
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Old 08-25-06, 08:51 PM   #5
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A HRM gives you better feedback of your exercise level than a cyclocomputer. I have two Polar HRMs, a CS200 which is a full function cyclocomputer and an F6 which is a HRM/wristwatch. I use the F6 in conjunction with a Cateye wireless cyclocomputer and they don't interfere with each other. I can also use the F6 at the gym.

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Old 08-25-06, 10:49 PM   #6
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I was interested for a bit in getting an HRM, but couldn't at the time because of my cardiac pacemaker. I checked into the watches, and found out you have to put your other hand on it to make it read your heart rate.
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Old 08-25-06, 10:55 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Dchiefransom
I was interested for a bit in getting an HRM, but couldn't at the time because of my cardiac pacemaker. I checked into the watches, and found out you have to put your other hand on it to make it read your heart rate.
Yeah - I noticed they came with a "watch" and a "bracelet." Maybe the all do?
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Old 08-25-06, 11:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FarHorizon
Yeah - I noticed they came with a "watch" and a "bracelet." Maybe the all do?
The ones that are just a watch without a chest strap make you touch the watch with your index and middle finger.
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Old 08-26-06, 08:45 AM   #9
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I use a Sports Instruments watch, it has a chest strap.Looks exactly like a polar but much better price. It is durable as I am on my third season.It has more features than I can use.Great for riding in your 75% range then bumping up for intervals in the 85%. I seldom ride without it. Ediscountbikes usaully has them at a great price.They look so much like a polar , that iisuspect they might make them also.
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Old 08-26-06, 11:20 AM   #10
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I find the HR monitor essential to my riding. For instance if I stay at 85% of my MaxHR and I am going 20mph+ I am in good shape. If on the other hand I notice that my HR is >85% and I'm only going about 15-17mph I am probably in trouble. If my HR hits above 96% I know that I am doomed. By watching the HR during the ride you can push it up and then watch it to recover and the go again. That is the whole purpose of interval training. I use the HR feature that came with my edge. I no longer look at speed at all during my rides just %MHR and cadence.
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Old 08-26-06, 11:47 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesDawg
"Do I need a HRM?"

No, but you may want one.
I agree with BluesDawg,

While I am on a very limited budget in some
ways, I have all I could want for, besides
tri-weekly congugal visits from 3 HOT - 20 something
yr. old women. But I digress.

I have never felt the need for a HRM. I look at
viril healthy young men running down the street
with them on and laugh. Maybe 1 percent of the
male population has a heart defect that would
drop them in their tracks on a run or bike ride
and these guys are wearing them why?

Of course I have seen some obese women
using them, and for their part they
may need to! And that was not
a sexist remark. I just haven't
seen any obese men using them.

Anyway, I'd rather spend my money
on something I can enjoy than a HRM.
And I am 55. I don't fear a collapse of
the heart as much as I fear hyponatremia
and bonking from too few electrolytes.
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Old 08-26-06, 01:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nedgoudy
I agree with BluesDawg,

While I am on a very limited budget in some
ways, I have all I could want for, besides
tri-weekly congugal visits from 3 HOT - 20 something
yr. old women. But I digress.

I have never felt the need for a HRM. I look at
viril healthy young men running down the street
with them on and laugh. Maybe 1 percent of the
male population has a heart defect that would
drop them in their tracks on a run or bike ride
and these guys are wearing them why?

Of course I have seen some obese women
using them, and for their part they
may need to! And that was not
a sexist remark. I just haven't
seen any obese men using them.

Anyway, I'd rather spend my money
on something I can enjoy than a HRM.
And I am 55. I don't fear a collapse of
the heart as much as I fear hyponatremia
and bonking from too few electrolytes.
Ned
I will agree that next to a computer on the bike- an HRM is the next best toy you can get. It has no practical use whatsoever- does not aid your fitness whatsoever and is just a toy.
It is not going to warn you that a heart attack is coming and is just a pointless waste of money.

Only thing is I have got one and I use it. I had a Bypass 7 years ago although I had one several years before- I got one for peace of mind. It would tell me when I was nearing my working area on the heart rate, but I could feel that. It would tell me that recovery time is not as short as I would like, but I could feel that too. So what was the point of getting one.

I mainly do longer rides and some of them are hard. An HRM will keep me in my working zone so that I can keep going all day if necessary. It will tell me if I am not working as hard as I should be-as the feeling between 135 which is below my optimum level of work and 150 which is just at the top-- cannot be felt by me. If I ride at 135. I will be slower than I want to be and if I am continually at 150- I should slow down a bit if I want to keep going for abother 6 hours. I still get up to my Age Max of 165 and by then I know it, and will even get up into the 170's but then I want to know when I am back to 140 so I can push again.
Then there is the Big worth of an HRM Bragging power- "Cor- that was a hard hill- got my heart rate up to 166 and kept it there all the way up"
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Old 08-26-06, 01:38 PM   #13
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I just recently stopped wearing my HRM. I don't miss the information one bit. And I can even breate a little bit easier without the strap around my chest.

Of course, after three years of weaing one, I know how my level of efforts effect my heart rate, so I can't say HRM's are of no use. It's just that after a while, there isn't much point if you aren't doing intervals. Since I HATE interval training, rides are now even more fun.
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Old 08-26-06, 01:41 PM   #14
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Heart rate monitors are excellent tools for those trying to lose weight. As an exercise instructor and a certifited Spinning instructor I have had the opportunity to use them quite a bit. It's like everything else, some people benefit from them and some people actually "need" them. Personally, I have never liked wearing the chest strap. I find the more equipment and gadgets I have to deal with, the less I enjoy something. That being said, I often would like to know how hard I am working going up some of the hills around here. Mainly out of curiosity more than anything else. To me the ideal device would mount on my handlebar and tell me my speed, my cadence, the grade I'm climbing, and give me all of the pertinent heart zone and heart rate data without the chest strap. Of course it would also double as a gps device, cell phone, and instant messenging computer and would be wired into my helmet so that I could activate it by voice control. Whatcha think a setup like that would cost???? In the meantime I will stick with my $20 Sigma computer that works like a champ.
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Old 08-27-06, 06:22 PM   #15
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As I said above, whether or not you need a HRM is a matter for debate. Today I picked up on by Oregon Scientific that was double marked down at REI for the final price of 15.00... For that price I figured it was worth grabbing one to play with.
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Old 08-27-06, 06:52 PM   #16
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According to my ex, who's an authority on everything, I don't need an HRM, because I don't have a heart.
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Old 08-27-06, 07:22 PM   #17
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There's a flaw in the logic, though. All ex'es are either liars or looneys, if not both.
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Old 08-27-06, 07:34 PM   #18
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I have three HRM, different brands, different functions. I used to wear them all the time. I had them on a 3000 mile tour.
What happened? I found out my comfort range for biking is limited more by my legs and joints than my heart. In other words, I can over-stress my joints and legs without reaching the limits of my HRM.
For instance: I go on a back to back century. If I pull all the stops I suffer the consequences of leg fatigue and not anything I can blame on my heart.
Nutrition and Hydration is much more critical than watching my HRM.
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Old 08-28-06, 12:57 AM   #19
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Got to come back on another side of the HRM bit. How else do you measure heart rate? Not something everyone wants to know, but one of the signs of my fitness is recovery rate. I have not been using the monitor this year, but recently got it out to see if I am working hard enough on the road bike. I felt that I was not working hard enough on it- and Will put the point across very clearly- His legs and Heart rate are not related. He knows when he is working hard enough, or too hard, because his legs will tell him. He does not need a monitor to tell him that he is putting in too much work.
This is what I felt on the Road bike. The legs were working hard enough but the HR did not seem to get as high as on the Mountain bike for the same effort. My heart rate on the road bike is not as high for the leg fatigue that I get on the road bike as on the Mountain bike. So why does the HR go up more on the Mountain bike. On the road- I use my legs and not much else- On the mountain bike I use the upper body- the torso- the butt. every part of the body works so for the same leg fatigue, With all those extra muscles working- the HR is higher on the mountain bike.


Still, In the last year- my recovery time to get the heart rate back to resting after a ride has drastically redudced. Why I do not know as I have been riding for years and the only difference is that this year I am putting in a few extra miles on the road bike. Could be That i am getting fitter- or is a problem on the Way. Don't know but the HRM is back in its box, as its done the checking for the year.
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Old 08-28-06, 07:59 AM   #20
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I tried out the new monitor yesterday during a 25 mile ride that included some steep climbs. Generally I stayed between 118 and 125 beat per minute which is in my aerobic range. On the really steep climbs I moved anywhere from 140 to a maximum of 163 beats per minute. Not sure if I will wear it that much, but it was interesting to watch the changes.
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Old 08-28-06, 08:21 AM   #21
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It is pretty interesting to watch. I went out on a 60mi ride yesterday and worked to keep my HR under 80% = 156bpm. The first 40-50miles I was doing really well and my HR was actually staying around 75%= 146bpm. After 50mi I started to fatigue and my HR started climbing, by the time I dragged myself into the house it was at 85%=166bpm. I looked at the graph after the ride and there was a steady climb to this HR and it clearly showed I was starting to have trouble. Not sure if its just the heat/humidy this summer or what but after 50mi I am dragging. Even after 72oz of liquid I end up loosing about 5lbs during the ride in water weight.
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Old 08-28-06, 08:26 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogbait
A HRM gives you better feedback of your exercise level than a cyclocomputer. I have two Polar HRMs, a CS200 which is a full function cyclocomputer and an F6 which is a HRM/wristwatch. I use the F6 in conjunction with a Cateye wireless cyclocomputer and they don't interfere with each other. I can also use the F6 at the gym.

POLAR
I have the same setup - CatEye wireless and just bought an F6. (I had a SigmaSport but it didn't last an entire season, and it was the third that I had ordered. Nashbar was nice about replacing it, but the closeout didn't save much money when adding in all the shipping costs!).

I could live without it, but it's a great form of feedback for me. Plus, I hope to do some specific training in which case it's a little more important. That doesn't mean that your perceived effort isn't a valid measurement - it is. Guess I'm a geek
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Old 08-28-06, 08:32 AM   #23
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My experience is like that of Will Dehne: My legs tell me when to slack off. My heart and lungs recover much faster. No need for yet another gadget in my life.
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Old 08-28-06, 08:57 AM   #24
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I wonder what you think a heart rate monitor does? Do you suppose it will inform you when you're riding too hard? What about if your heart rate drops too low?

Heart rate monitors are good for one thing - telling you that you're riding too hard on your easy day. But you won't believe it anyway and you will continue to ride too hard.
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Old 08-28-06, 08:59 AM   #25
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Far Horizon,

Well, you ask whether a heart rate monitor would be better than your bike computer for fitness riding. I don't know the answer to that one. It depends on what you are interested in and what goals you have if any.

I keep a journal of my mileage so on my bike computer I watch current speed, average (which I do not record), max speed (just for fun) and trip distance (which I do record).

I have a heart rate monitor and use it. It gives me a better guage on my effort level than anything else. I always have the feeling that I should be able to go a little bit harder. The monitor tells me a bit more accurately when my heart rate is high. Also it tells me if I need to pull back a bit. On days when I seem to be working hard and the heart rate stays low (usually after a hard ride the day before), it helps me to justify backing off.

But if you really are happy with riding until you huff and puff or some other symptom, you really do not need a heart rate monitor. Now some people figure their heard rate zones and have the monitors which will tell them how long they spend in each zone and I guess they keep a journal of that and they use it to guide their training.

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