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  1. #1
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    HRM bells and whistles

    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?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    OK. Talking to myself here. The Polar RS300X seems to hit the sweet spot in the lower price category. It does the things the things mentioned above, but it also has five heart rate zones preset. It records and reports the relative time spent in each zone. That sounds like a really useful feature. It's $90+/- online. Still no HR over time data.

    Polar is kind of weird in that their different products have an unpredictable mix of features. By going up a step, you can't assume that it has everything the lower-level ones have....

  3. #3
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    I've not had a polar product. Looked at them when both myself and then Mrs. Fred went shopping. But, in both instances we've ended up with Garmin products.

    I really enjoy the ability to download my data and analyze post workout. I have an Edge 500 for solely cycling purposes. She has an 910xt for running and cycling. If she were to go shopping again, I suspect she would get a dedicated cycling computer and different running watch.

    If you're looking at wrist worn HRM, GPS, units there are a lot of new options. Some of them surprisingly affordable. And, which include every imaginable combination of other functions.

    Cycling specific, Garmin is still the dominant player.

    With regard to all the alarm zones etc. I never use more than one. I'll set an upper limit for a ride and only want/need to know when I've exceeded that. All other zone/time tracking is performed in post workout software, Training Center, Garmin Connect, Strava, etc.
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input. I think that having more data to download and analyze would be useful, but I'm trying to figure out if it's worth spending 2-4 times as much to get that capability. The Garmin units you mentioned looked really good, but they're going around $400+/-.

  5. #5
    Has a magic bike Heathpack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spld cyclist View Post
    Thanks for the input. I think that having more data to download and analyze would be useful, but I'm trying to figure out if it's worth spending 2-4 times as much to get that capability. The Garmin units you mentioned looked really good, but they're going around $400+/-.
    If you are by any chance referring to my recent posts, my data was not generated by a stand-alone HR monitor. It's a Garmin Edge 510 plus HR monitor. The bike computer itself was around $500 (that model has the ability to pair with my cell phone, which then transmits the data to a website, I can send a link to anyone I want so they can follow my ride live. This is a safety feature for me when I ride alone, husband tracks me. You probably don't need this feature). I had an inexpensive HR monitor that cost $30 but was glitchy. I replaced it with a $70 Garmin HR monitor which works perfectly.

    The data has been very helpful as I am training for my first century ride. I'm surprised at how much it helps me understand my rides, where I am now, where I need to go next, etc.

    H

  6. #6
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    Hi Heathpack,

    I saw the data you posted, as well as some others (I've been reading quite a bit back in this forum lately). That's the type of data I was curious about. Looks like there are various ways of getting it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  7. #7
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    I really, really like HRMs that will upload data to software that shows time spent in zone, not just graphs, and/or high, low, average. I upload data from my old Polar 725x to Polar software with very good tracking features. I upload data from my Garmin Edge 800 to TrainingPeaks, which also has very good tracking features.

    I just purchased a Cateye GL50 which will upload to TrainingPeaks:
    http://www.cateye.com/en/products/detail/CC-GL50/
    I purchased it on ebay for $135. One also needs an ANT+ HR transmitter belt and an ANT+ speed/cadence sensor, which I already had. Garmin or Cateye products work well for both of these. More than $100, but I don't think you'll find anything with what you want for that price.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    What's new and interesting are new models from Sigma. ROX 9.1 was new over the past few years, is very full-featured, and uses included Sigma wireless sensors. It captures 90 hours of data, and can take all the data from a PBP. The top model uses an ANT interface and has GPS receivers in it, so it tracks location and can output what you actually did to your computer. It also will do all regular cyclocomputer, HRM, and power meter functions. 9.1 is between $175 and $225 on Ebay, and 10.0 is $260 (I think) up to $325 or so. These are all US dollars.

    For the 10.0 I haven't fully figured out what ANT extras are essential, so I haven't bought yet. Maybe when I start my new job I'll just close my eyes and buy ...

  9. #9
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
    What's new and interesting are new models from Sigma. ROX 9.1 was new over the past few years, is very full-featured, and uses included Sigma wireless sensors. It captures 90 hours of data, and can take all the data from a PBP. The top model uses an ANT interface and has GPS receivers in it, so it tracks location and can output what you actually did to your computer. It also will do all regular cyclocomputer, HRM, and power meter functions. 9.1 is between $175 and $225 on Ebay, and 10.0 is $260 (I think) up to $325 or so. These are all US dollars.

    For the 10.0 I haven't fully figured out what ANT extras are essential, so I haven't bought yet. Maybe when I start my new job I'll just close my eyes and buy ...
    Reviews haven't been good for these ROX units: battery NG below 50-60, various other things. Do you know what battery life is? I don't see that mentioned. The Cateye GL50 is only 10 hours, which is a problem for me. Doesn't really matter what max recording is if battery won't last.

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