I'm thinking about buying my first heart rate monitor. I've followed some threads here where people posted graphs of heart rate vs. time on a ride. As I've been looking at some HRMs, I'm finding that the more affordable models don't record that information. I would prefer not to spend more than $100. You mostly get maximum and average HR and ride duration for data. On some you can define a range (or at least a maximum) if you're trying to train within a range during a ride. I've mostly looked at Polar models and a little bit at Garmin, but the lower end Garmin seems to have some reliability problems. One knock against Polar is that most of their models require you to buy another gadget to transmit the data to a computer.
I don't have a smart phone and have no interest in getting one, so getting a blue-tooth monitor that sends data to a phone isn't something I would consider.
I'm a mostly commuting cyclist who wants to gain some speed and endurance for occasional recreational rides. I rode over 2,000 miles last year, mostly in small bites on my commutes. Thinking about getting a trainer to add to that routine and do some higher-intensity work. I think even a pretty basic HRM would be pretty useful.
So I guess my questions are, how important is it to have the additional data to analyze? Alternatively, is there a cheaper way to get there?