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Old 06-11-05, 05:13 PM   #1
Cronjob
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Heart Rate Monitor

I'm looking for a good heart rate monitor:

+ All of the monitors I've found require that you wear a strap across your chest. I'm an extremely obese guy and I don't think these will fit me (the one with my SmoothFitness treadmill doesn't).

+ I like lots of statistics and goals and toys and whizbang bells and whistles. I'm a geek - I can't help it. The more neat information I can track and play with, the more likely I'll feel motivated to keep at it.

+ I'm not a fan of wearing watches, so a monitor that can have the display mounted easily to the handlebars would be cool. At the same time, it woudl be nice if it could double as a watch or something portable (so I could put it on my bike when riding and wear it when doing something else). This isn't a huge issue though. I'd take a wrist-only solution if I had to.

+ I've seen multipurpose computers from Shimano and a few other companies that include the standard bike information (cadence, distance, speed, etc) but also incorporate heart rate readings. I already have a decent bike computer though (nothing expensive - under $60) so maybe I shouldn't look at an all-in-one componant?

+ Money is not a huge issue, but I'd still like to keep the price low if possible.


I've found that the Polar S410 is extremely well reviewed, but I can't find it for sale anywhere right now (though it is still listed at Polar's website). Is there a newer version that has replaced it? Should I consider a different Polar? Or a different HRM altogether?

Thanks for any advice/suggestions you can offer.
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Old 06-11-05, 06:40 PM   #2
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Ahh, you'll want to record the information your bike computer does also so you can overlay your heart rate with speed/cadence etc. I don't know about the strap thing, maybe you can email polar and ask if they make an extra wide chest strap?

Other than that, the only option is the wristwatch type unit (inherently less accurate) which does not use a strap.
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Old 06-11-05, 09:11 PM   #3
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Cronjob, I'm afraid you'll be stuck with a chest strap if you want accurate results. You can always splice some extra elastic material into the strap part of it. It shoudln't be too hard to do.
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Old 06-11-05, 10:55 PM   #4
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Polar sells large, medium (std) and small versions of the elastic part of the chest sensor. The S720i does everything you want. I just got one last week and it's a pretty amazing tool.
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Old 06-11-05, 11:59 PM   #5
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I just bought a wireless cycle computer with heart rate function for around 50 bucks at Supergo, but it uses a chest strap. I once saw a chest strapless watch HRM in a Sharper Image catalog, but i didn't buy it because i wasn't sure of the accuracy.
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Old 06-12-05, 12:25 AM   #6
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I would think they'd use those round patchy things like doctors use. I mean, even a strap can't be that accurate (would imagine it would move away from your heart very easily with regular movement). A patch would be immobile and remain until you detached it.

Of course, I guess then you'd have a really heavy battery case hanging from your niplles to power it. Hm. Guess I just answered my own questions.
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Old 06-12-05, 12:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cronjob
I'm looking for a good heart rate monitor:

+ All of the monitors I've found require that you wear a strap across your chest. I'm an extremely obese guy and I don't think these will fit me (the one with my SmoothFitness treadmill doesn't).
Get the wife or other person to cut the strap and sew in some similar stretchy material to extend the strap. Bam, problem solved.
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Old 06-12-05, 12:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cronjob
I would think they'd use those round patchy things like doctors use. I mean, even a strap can't be that accurate (would imagine it would move away from your heart very easily with regular movement).
The medical patches are single-use. You'd be throwing away money and a lot of garbage if you used a new set each time.

As far as the chest belt losing contact with the skin... that happens very rarely during exercise (especially cycling... I can see it happening to runners though). The elastic belt keeps it tight and the rubber pads kinda stick to skin (even when wet)... I've logged over 7700 km with a Polar HRM and it's never "lost contact". The only time it's a problem is when I want to log my sleeping HR throughout the night. As I toss around I usually lose contact with the sensor (no biggie, that's not what it's designed for anyway).

If you're a gadget geek then you need the Polar 720i. I have the 710i and love it. I'm a geek who loves gadgets and data interpretation and sometimes the only thing that motivates me to ride is the collection of more data Speed, altitude, cadence, HR and so much more... so sweet.
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Old 06-12-05, 01:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F1_Fan
Get the wife or other person to cut the strap and sew in some similar stretchy material to extend the strap. Bam, problem solved.
I actually hadn't thought of that. Being a dude, I was thinking more along the line of "I bet I can solve this with duct tape, somehow".
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Old 06-12-05, 11:25 AM   #10
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I thought the strap would bother me too, but even on a century I forget it's there.

I found a Polar S710 on ebay for $135 with infrared interface. Seen on even go for cheaper the other day.
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Old 06-12-05, 03:25 PM   #11
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Have a look at this one. I've used the 201 for a year with good results and will probably upgrade to this.
http://www.garmin.com/products/forerunner301/
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Old 06-12-05, 05:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cronjob
I actually hadn't thought of that. Being a dude, I was thinking more along the line of "I bet I can solve this with duct tape, somehow".
Comes complete with free chest waxing after each HRM removal!!
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Old 06-12-05, 07:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woof
Have a look at this one. I've used the 201 for a year with good results and will probably upgrade to this.
http://www.garmin.com/products/forerunner301/
I bought a 301 and kept it a couple weeks, then finally returned it for a refund because it just worked very poorly.

The HRM only registered my heartbeat about 1/2 the time. I tried moistening the contacts with spit and with BahBump electrode cream. I even tried Garmin's suggestion of wearing it backwards (with the electrodes on my back). Nothing made any difference, the thing just doesn't do HRM functions well at all.

The software is lame.

The gps is useless for navigation, but it does record neat track logs you can download to your computer and analyze with the lame software. Mine always took about five minutes to sync to enough birds to operate, in the meantime I'm cooling my heels wanting to start my ride.

Small as it is, it's still HUGE on your wrist and difficult to read because you have to take your hand off the bars and rotate your wrist so you can read it.

Fortunately I bought it at my local REI store, and they have a no questions asked return policy. They gave me a cash refund, and I spent it on a Polar S720i (I already have a Garmin Etrex Vista for when I need GPS, and it works SOOOO much better as a GPS than the Foreskin 301).

I say don't waste your money on the FS301.
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