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Thread: Budget HRM ?

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    Senior Member datlas's Avatar
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    Budget HRM ?

    I am thinking of buying a heart rate monitor to help with training/intervals. I am on a strict budget. I see some units on ebay for $10 or less, are they any good? What would be the best, inexpensive HRM for a cyclist on a budget (i.e. less than $30 or so)???

    Doug

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    I don't think there are any heart rate monitors that are that cheap that you could say will be decent. Why spend $30 on a crappy heart rate monitor that will most likely give inaccurate results, and possibly break leading back to you having to buy another. Polar is makes great HRM and you can find some good ones for around $99. The polar cs200 is a great HRM and Computer it retails for about $140.
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    You can pick up Sigma heart rate monitors on eBay for good prices and Sigma make quality, reliable monitors. The PC-3's and PC-4's are pretty cheap and will give basic information although the PC-3 FT (finger touch) model is probably worth avoiding for cycling use. I've seen some PC-9 models at a good price and the PC-15 is a full featured HRM that isn't that expensive on eBay.

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    If all you want is HRM, I have the cheap Polar S120 and it has worked great for 4 years now, and I had to replace the battery in the watch this spring and that was $8.00. I think I have a whole $83.00 invested in it in the 4 years I have owned it. I bought it on sale, and I think with tax it was just under $75.00 new from Scheels. A few of the on-line bicycle stores have been sending out daily emails and they had HRM's on sale a few weeks ago.
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    Senior Member datlas's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips. The reason for the strict budget is that my wife has put a moratorium on any cycling purchases. I need something cheap enough that it can fly under the radar screen without being detected (ie purchased with spare change).

    I did see some Sigma units on eBay that are in the $35 range, which seem like my best bet.

    Doug

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    I picked up a cheap Polar at Target for $40. I think it's probably a lady's model, but I don't care. It doesn't have many features, but all I really want is current HR, average HR, elapsed time, and real time. I don't need all that other stuff.

    I've had it for three years and have had very good luck with it. Occasionally, I'll get some crosstalk with another person's monitor or cheap wireless bike computer, but not often.

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    I've had this Sigma for a year, and haven't managed to kill it. It allows you to set a high and low alarm, which is essential for working with heart zones.

    The Sigma Coach is a better monitor, and is cheaper right now at Nashbar. This looks like the best deal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris838 View Post
    Why spend $30 on a crappy heart rate monitor that will most likely give inaccurate results, and possibly break leading back to you having to buy another.
    It might give you inaccurate results, but if you use the same one everytime the readings will always be consistent.

    You should be able to find a Polar or Timex on sale. I'd pick Timex over Polar for simplicity of use and the fact that all of them have stopwatch functions. Don't buy the F series Polar. They don't have a stopwatch and they use that funky "ownindex" method of managing fitness.

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    MAK
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    I just posted a question asking about monitors that was a bit more specific than this one but let me give some input. Price Point has Sette monitors from $25 (20 functions) to $40 (28 functions). It also has a neat little rubber thing that lets you put the watch on your handle bar. Anyone familiar with Sette HR monitors?

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    Quote Originally Posted by datlas View Post
    Thanks for the tips. The reason for the strict budget is that my wife has put a moratorium on any cycling purchases. I need something cheap enough that it can fly under the radar screen without being detected (ie purchased with spare change).
    Doug
    I started cycling regularly again about two years ago. My wife is pleased that I have lost weight, have more energy, and generally have a better disposition. She encourages me to buy cycling stuff I never even wanted because she likes the changes cycling has made in me.

    I met a guy in Germany who lost 44 pounds by using heart rate training zones in order to train for a half-marathon. He maintains an HRM is a good investment.

    Tongue in cheek I say that when I make rather than buy something I save a certain number of dollars I am then entitled to spend on a new tool. How much does cycling save you in health club memberships or gasoline costs or medical bills? (I was taking eye drops for a couple of years before I bought a new bicycle. Cycling has improved blood flow and eliminated the need for the eyedrops. In a total of four years the co-payments on the drops that I am no longer making will cover the cost of the new bike!) Tell your wife you want to apply what your cycling saves the household to an HRM.
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    I bought a low end polar HRM, and after a year moved up to an F6. About a hundred bucks, but well worth it. More features that help you track the workout. I'd make the case to your wife that this is a serious investment in a valuable tool, and a few extra bucks makes the difference.

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    Cheaper HRMs won't be coded; they'll pick up other electric signals, like power lines, and mess up your readings. For me, my HR went up to over 200 and never went below 190. It was annoying.

    I bought a non-coded HRM last year, got so frustrated that I just replaced it with a digitally coded HRM. My new one is a Sigma Onyx Classic. Just got it, haven't fully tested it yet, but so far it hasn't picked up other signals.

    But, had I spent a bit more money to get the coded variety, I would have spent less money over-all.

    I wanted to avoid the Polars because you have to spend too much more money to get the battery replaced: either send in the strap, take it to a certified battery-replacement service, and/or buy a second strap.

    If your budget is tight (for whatever reason), save for it. Forgo one fancy coffee each week, in 2-3 months you've got an upgrade. Or, ask for the HRM for your birthday/anniversary/etc.
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    I have this Sports Instruments model -- currently on sale at Performance Bike for $30. It doesn't have all the features of my Polar CS200, but it has worked reliably for 2+ years now. And if you're a Team Performance member, their Double Points weekend starts tomorrow, making the price $24.

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    I was at the REI used gear sale and I picked up a Garmin Forerunner 50 watch with HRM for 21.83. Awesome! Maybe just use a 20 dollar timex until you come across a good deal.

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    Senior Member datlas's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips.

    I probably will try to get a cheapie to start, either on sale or Ebay....would love a better unit (maybe even one with GPS) but that is going to have to wait a year or so.

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