For whatever strange reason, I have been thinking about getting a heart rate monitor. Probably more out of curiosity than anything else, though I am thinking toward possibly doing some racing next year so I am reading up on training, etc.. I am seeking ideas and suggestions on HRMs, pros and cons of specific brands and models.
I am thinking that for now the minimum functions that would be most useful would be
1. Current HR
2. Average HR
3. Settable HR range with audible high and low range alarms
For those of you who have had experience with them, should I go ahead and get something more elaborate, like the kind that you can program with a specific training routine so you can kind of set and forget and just follow the signals say for doing intervals. I am not doing much of that yet, but I plan to before long. I guess the question is one of how much do you really use. For pretty basic training programs, how much is enough vs more than you'll ever need.
I don't ever see myself being a super serious training machine. If I ever got to that point, I might go ahead and get a $350 setup with PC interface and everything. For now I am just trying to decide pretty much between the very basic $70-100 or so units and a mid-range $150 unit. For instance, the Polar A3 at $80 meets the above minimums. The A5 adds maybe one feature plus a backlight, which I do need, at $100 and the Protrainer XT probably has everything I will ever need at $150. Or the Performance HR300 has nearly the same features as the Protrainer for $100. Then again, the Nashbar Generation 5 HRM has about the same features as the Protrainer and the HR300, and it is only $80.
So, are any of you using any of these models, or others? Are you happy with the features? Are there features you really wish you had gotten? What about ease of use? I know some of these things can be pretty complex. For the most part I want something that I can program a target range before I start riding, then push a button to start an interval, push a button to stop an interval, without having to really be able to see what I am doing since a lot of this will be in the dark. Do these things work that simply?
Thanks for your help,