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  1. #1
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Heart Rate Monitors

    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,
    Raymond
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  2. #2
    Senior Member dirtsqueezer's Avatar
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    I have a polar Pacer which is a basic unit. Has upper and lower alarms, current rate and that's about it. Only other thing I would like on it is a chronograph. I just check it every once in a while to see if I'm in my target range.

    I use it more like a tachometer, so I can see where my heart rate is now, not as a recorder to review how I did. My wife has one of the fancy Polars and she likes it, just reviews how many spent in her zone and average rate. Just not of interest to me though.

    Polar makes a good product. They have been on the market for a long time and are often compatible with cardio equipment in gyms.

    If you can't get them locally, ceative health products (web) is pretty good.
    -DS-

    The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".

  3. #3
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Thanks, Dirtsqueezer, that is the kind of feedback that is helpful. I want the upper/lower out of range audible alarms so if I am doing an interval that is supposed to be 85-90% of max, I don't have to look at the HRM to know when I get there. Stopwatch is a good point.

    I am leaning toward the Polar products simply because they seem to be the de facto standard.
    Thanks,
    Raymond
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  4. #4
    Judged by weight alone... Ranger Jake's Avatar
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    Servus!

    I found that this is one of those things that I just can't stand to live without. I have a Polar M52 (unlike that horrible lie I told in the Best/Worst purchase post in Off Topic where I stated I had a M51) and I find that it is the best investment in my training that I have ever made.

    I like the fact that my Polar has variable activity level settings, meaning that when RangerGirl and I go for a ride together, I can still record my workout even though we ride at a more relaxed pace than when I am alone or with the group. I can see how I am improving physically without having to guess or use some sort of magical mathematical formula and the calorie use feature shows about how much energy I burn during a ride. I have never been so efficient since I got my HRM.

    My viewpoint about which one to get is like my opinion about buying tools: why waste more money in the future buying a replacement when you can have quality now? I trust Polar beacuse that is all they make - no bike parts, no computers, just heart rate monitors. Polar invented the wristworn HRM, so why shop anywhere else?

    My humble opinion...
    Figured I would come back to RF cause I don't get enough ***** about being overweight anywhere else...

    Ranger Jake

  5. #5
    Love Me....Love My Bike! aerobat's Avatar
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    I've been using a Cateye HRM-100 for a couple of years.

    I like having the hrm combined with the cycle computer so there's one less thing to worry about wearing.

    It's pretty basic, just has present, average heart rates, and you can set upper and lower limits. They're not audible, just shown by arrows on the display, but I'm not sure if I'd hear an audible one anyway. How loud are they?

    The computer has three displays, so you can see speed, heartrate, and one of the other functions simultaneously.

    You can buy a wrist strap, if you want to use the hrm for other sports, although it's fairly bulky.
    "...perhaps the world needs a little more Canada" - Jean Chretian, 2003.

  6. #6
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    HRM

    Thanks, guys. Yeah, Ba-Dg-Er, I was going to avoid the all-in-ones. Aerobat, I can see the attraction for an all in one, but at some point, my meager faculties have trouble keeping up with all the features. Sometimes it is easier for me to deal with separate units. My Sigma 1200 works fine for all the computer info and cadence. Ranger, the M52 was one I was looking at (I figured that was what you meant on your best/worst post or that it was just a more recent model).

    I will let you know what I decide to get.

    Regards,
    Raymond
    Last edited by RainmanP; 05-27-01 at 01:51 PM.
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  7. #7
    riding a Pinarello Prince orguasch's Avatar
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by aerobat
    [B]I've been using a Cateye HRM-100 for a couple of years.

    I also used the Cateye HRM 100, and I find it good.
    "Racso", the well oiled machine;)

  8. #8
    Carfree since '82. Grrr! JonR's Avatar
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    I haven't used a heart-rate monitor, feeling satisfied with Pete's two-fingers-and-thumb version myself, in addition to the overruling "perceived exertion" standard. However, I know the monitors can be very useful (and fun).

    I did read an article recently, though, that stated that researchers are revising their notion of "normal" heart rate. It seems that in real-world studies of athletes, the rate that was used years ago to determine the formula, was way too low.

    Most if not all heart-rate monitors are calibrated according to the standard formula, which is now under scrutiny for potential revision....

    It's always something!

    P. S. I wish I'd made a note of the article. I have no idea, now, where I read it--probably the New York Times online health section.

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