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  1. #1
    Yen
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    An inexpensive, good HRM?

    We're thinking of getting a HR monitor. Since we will buy two of them, we don't want expensive models and nothing too fancy. Just something to check our heart rate relative to our effort. Our heart rates recover back to normal fairly quickly after we stop riding and neither of us has any cardiac history and no significant cardiac family history (one stroke in each family). So, this is just to help us keep it in the zone as best as we can, and to see what our current progress really is. I've learned that after our longer rides (18, 24 miles) I feel good while Hubby feels a little tired and seems to need an extra day for recovery. He's more competitive with himself than I am..... I will not exceed my known limits (I know the cost).

    Can anyone recommend a reliable model that just monitors HR? We don't care to upload the data to our computer or anything like that.

    Jen
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  2. #2
    Streetfire HopedaleHills's Avatar
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    Jen,

    Polar makes several inxpensive models that basically look like a wrist watch. My wife has had one for over a year and it has perfomed flawlessly. Take a look at your local REI if you have them there, or you can order online.
    Tim
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  3. #3
    Hypoxic Member head_wind's Avatar
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    There are simple models from Polar and Sigma Sport that my wife
    and I have used that cost $30 to $35. I believe that I bought
    them at Performance.
    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_id=4115
    The Sigma sport that I used was the PC-3 and that was a while ago.

  4. #4
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    I've used the Sigma Sport PC-7 with no problems ($30). You can get it at Performance or read about it if you're interested.


    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=4115
    Oh I used to be disgusted and now I try to be amused. But since their wings have got rusted, you know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes. But when they told me 'bout their side of the bargain, that's when I knew that I could not refuse. And I won't get any older, now the angels wanna wear my red shoes.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Old School's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HopedaleHills
    Jen,

    Polar makes several inxpensive models that basically look like a wrist watch. My wife has had one for over a year and it has perfomed flawlessly. Take a look at your local REI if you have them there, or you can order online.

    +1
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW! WHAT A RIDE!"

  6. #6
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    I had some good results with Ciclosports models I got on eBay. I don't recall how much they were but had the basic function you probably need.

  7. #7
    Senior Member SaiKaiTai's Avatar
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    I got a Polar F-1 (I think it is. No, the FS-1) at REI last year. Been very happy with it. Keeps track of elapsed time and my HR with a settable upper and lower zone. Cheap, too. It has been my best friend especially after my cardio visit earlier this year.
    '13 Felt Z3 - '08 Jamis Aurora Elite - ('07 Giant OCR C2)

  8. #8
    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
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    FWIW, I went through 3 or 4 Sigmas that I bought from Performance that either didn't work at all or crapped out and had to be returned. So even though I got a good deal ($30) and the folks at Performance never complained about replacing them, I decided it was worth it to get a Polar (can't remember whether it was F5 or F6) which has so far turned out to be very reliable. Easy to recall data from prior workouts, etc.

    Maybe it was just bad luck on the Sigmas; YMMV.

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    The $15 - $30 ones you see at the discount stores (Bell brand for example) are junk and will not last very long. Also avoid Nike HR monitors which are expensive and are also Chineese junk.

  10. #10
    bac
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    Agreed with the Polar! Get the low-end model, and you'll be golden.

    ... Brad

  11. #11
    lunatic fringe Dogbait's Avatar
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    A cheap HRM (or anything else) gets expensive after you have tried a few that don't work well or at all. I had a cheap wrist unit that was supposed to read the ulnar pulse but it didn't work for me. It turned out to be a complete waste of $29.95. I then bought a Polar F6 at REI and it works flawlessly. It was about $100.00 but you can find it for less on ebay, etc. The most basic Polar, the B1, is about $45.00 and it is what one of the personal trainers at my gym recommends for folks who want a lower priced unit.

    Here is a link to the Polar site for a comparison of all their models:
    Polar HRM

  12. #12
    Yen
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    Thank you! Now, if we are willing to spend more than $30, are there any really-nice-to-have features that wouldn't put it in the $200+ bracket?
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    Yen
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogbait
    A cheap HRM (or anything else) gets expensive after you have tried a few that don't work well or at all.
    I can't count how many times we set out to buy something with a set price (our new bikes, for instance -- but it could be anything around the house) and ended up spending much more once we learned about additional features we'd like to have and the real cost of not getting what we really need or want. We're thinking that at our current level, we don't need anything very sophisticated. But then again, we are enjoying this so much and beginning to set some goals, and perhaps we might want something we can grow into.

    I suggested to Hubby that we get one he wants with additional features like GPS (and measuring HR may be more important for him, being a few years older and needing a little more recovery time) since we usually ride together anyway, and I can get a simpler one for myself to report just my HR.

    Jen
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  14. #14
    lunatic fringe Dogbait's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen
    Thank you! Now, if we are willing to spend more than $30, are there any really-nice-to-have features that wouldn't put it in the $200+ bracket?
    If you will be in a group with others who wear HRM's, a coded transmitter will eliminate crosstalk... your reading won't show on your partners display.

  15. #15
    Senior Member wrafl's Avatar
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    Timex make some inexpensive models. Got mine on Amazon.com for $30.00 and it serves me well. It keep record of activity, avg. HR and max. HR. I record my mileage and HR on a spreadsheet so I can monitor my progress.

  16. #16
    Senior Member skinny's Avatar
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    When you calculate the meaning of inexpensive, you have to add in the cost of battery replacement. Polar HRMs are not user serviceable, meaning that if you replace the battery in one yourself, you will void any warranties on it. You are required to return it to Polar to replace the battery and that will cost you the price of another inexpensive Polar HRM, $30.USD. Spending is truly better than mending with Polar.

    I use only Sigma, and they work great. I've replaced the batteries in both the belt and the main unit with no difficulties.

    One caveat is that if you are going to use a HRM for swimming, you will want a sealed unit like a Polar.

    Cheers.

  17. #17
    Yen
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  18. #18
    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen
    Thank you! Now, if we are willing to spend more than $30, are there any really-nice-to-have features that wouldn't put it in the $200+ bracket?
    an HRM is mostly pretty simple - it displays beats per minute, and has a watch/timer. My goals, besides to get a better sense of what's going on are to use it for training. The F-6 (I think that's it) will tell me the current HR, peak HR, and my average for a given session. It records about a dozen sessions (so I can go back if I want to look at yesterday's workout). There's also an alarm so I can make it beep if I'm [not?] in the zone - although I haven't used this much (it will record how much of your session is in this zone).

    In practice I watch the current HR (like after I go up a big hill) and check the average and peak after a workout.

  19. #19
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I have used a Heart monitor for years and they are a good Toy. Or at least for me. I know my limits as I can feel them but I know them by measuring up against a monitor. Initially I had the cheap Polar unit and it worked fine- This was 10 years ago so no model numbers as it is no longer made. All it did was tell me if I was over limit- under limit and my current Heart rate. Then a couple of years ago I went to an expensive all singing and dancing one and all I want from that is Time within limits- time out of limits and current heart rate.

    For me- a basic unit that tells me My current HR is enough but many others take delight in plugging theirs onto the computer and seeing How bad a ride they had.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member CrossChain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinny
    You are required to return it to Polar to replace the battery and that will cost you the price of another inexpensive Polar HRM, $30.USD. Spending is truly better than mending with Polar.

    .
    I'm pleased with my Polar.....but it did take almost 6 weeks to get it returned from it's last battery replacement. That added to the $30 or so it cost.....may just as well have tossed it and bought a new one. Or another brand. But it did work faithfully, long, and seemingly accurately.

  21. #21
    Rid'n Rev sour01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrafl
    Timex make some inexpensive models. Got mine on Amazon.com for $30.00 and it serves me well. It keep record of activity, avg. HR and max. HR. I record my mileage and HR on a spreadsheet so I can monitor my progress.
    +1 on the Timex. My daughter bought me one for Christmas a couple of years ago. You can change your own batteries as well on Timex models. I found a handlebar adapter for it and it has served me well.

  22. #22
    The Grampster tlc20010's Avatar
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    You might just as well get a Garmin Edge 305, cause you know you are going to get one before long anyway. You can get cadence, HR and a dozen other parameters...for less than 3 bills

    Both Sigma and Polar seem top be the most popular models.
    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
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  23. #23
    lunatic fringe Dogbait's Avatar
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    Polar and batteries:
    The warranty is two years. My battery in the F6 lasted 2.5 years so warranty was out anyway. There are four tiny screws on the back cover. The battery is a cr2032, available at most grocery stores. Put in the new one the same way the old one came out and be careful not to pinch the o-ring seal when you put the cover back on. You will have to re-set after changing the battery (regardless of who does it). If you wear the HRM swimming, be aware that it may not be as waterproof as a new one after a battery change... but then again it might be.

    If you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself, check with a local jeweler who works on watches. They may be able to help you sooner and cheaper than sending it in to Polar.

    My Polar CS200 cyclocomputer and the wear-link transmitter both have user replaceable batteries (cr2032) and a coin-slot cover for access.

    The T31 coded transmitter that came with the F6 and the wear-link that came with the CS200 are interchangeable. I will not replace the T31 when the battery dies. It is a molded in unit and a new transmitter, with battery, sells for $39.00. If I had only the F6, I would replace a dead T31 with a wear-link for $49.00 and thereafter just replace the battery myself.

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  24. #24
    Yen
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    Have any of you ever tested the accuracy of your monitor by taking your pulse with your finger and comparing the result against your monitor? I don't mean while you're riding.... just stopping quickly and comparing, or taking your resting HR while you are not riding. If not, how do you know it is accurate? A reviewer of one was surprised at the difference she found while wearing her monitor for the first time. Her ride seemed too easy, so she assumed she had been riding too hard prior to wearing it. I wondered if her monitor just wasn't accurate.
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  25. #25
    Senior Member Old School's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen
    Have any of you ever tested the accuracy of your monitor by taking your pulse with your finger and comparing the result against your monitor? I don't mean while you're riding.... just stopping quickly and comparing, or taking your resting HR while you are not riding. If not, how do you know it is accurate? A reviewer of one was surprised at the difference she found while wearing her monitor for the first time. Her ride seemed too easy, so she assumed she had been riding too hard prior to wearing it. I wondered if her monitor just wasn't accurate.
    An HRM should be pretty accurate. It does requrie good conductivity between the skin and pickup unit, and some users apply a conductive gel first. I find that as soon as I begin to perspire, the conductivity is just fine! By the way, for a wrist-mounted display like my Polar it does have to be within a certain distance from the chest strap to receive data.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW! WHAT A RIDE!"

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