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Heart Rate Monitor

Old 05-02-12, 10:04 AM
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yallgotfakepoo
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Heart Rate Monitor

How many of you ride with a heart rate monitor, and if so, any recommendations for something reasonably priced? I currently just use a simple cyclocomputer for on-ride data, and I have Strava on my iPhone for post-ride analysis. I feel like adding a HRM could help my training (will be racing MTB this summer and hopefully road next year and beyond). What say you, 41?
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Old 05-02-12, 10:08 AM
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I use a polar rs100 for both cycling and jogging otherwise I'd probably look at an integrated cycling unit that would do all the cycling functions plus HR. My setup is just a watch and a chest strap. When I bike, I mount the watch next to my stem.

I'm not "training" to my HR per se...but I use it for longer rides as I have a habit of going out to fast early on and then suffering at the end. This keeps me at a reasonable pace through the first half of my rides.
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Old 05-02-12, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by yallgotfakepoo View Post
How many of you ride with a heart rate monitor, and if so, any recommendations for something reasonably priced? I currently just use a simple cyclocomputer for on-ride data, and I have Strava on my iPhone for post-ride analysis. I feel like adding a HRM could help my training (will be racing MTB this summer and hopefully road next year and beyond). What say you, 41?
Have you searched?
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Old 05-02-12, 10:30 AM
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Once I ticked over 40, even though I am in excellent health, my doctor told me not to ever ride without one. I stared with a Polar CS200CAD system that had HR, CAD, Speed, all the good stuff. However it was problematic from the start, was sealed so you had to send it in for battery replacement when the batteries died, and was at best intermittent. I replaced it with a Bontrager Node 2 system and have not had a single problem with it in 5 months.
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Old 05-02-12, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by mpath View Post
Have you searched?
I have, but since you've obviously done it as well and come up with something I haven't, please point me to a recent (like within the last 2 years) thread that addresses this from the road forum. I'll hang up and wait for my answer.
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Old 05-02-12, 10:37 AM
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Ideally, if you can afford it a Garmin Edge 500 would be a good investment. It will give you your HRM for now and in future if you pick up an ANT+ powermeter it will work with that as well.
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Old 05-02-12, 10:39 AM
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I use one with a Garmin 705. I like to think it is very useful---at a minimum it is very entertaining to watch.
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Old 05-02-12, 10:49 AM
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If you want something basic, this has worked for me for four years: Omron HR-100C
My wife has one also, and it works for her, too.
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Old 05-02-12, 10:52 AM
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If you are going to stick with iPhone... might as well get wahoo and just use ant+ HR.
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Old 05-02-12, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by yallgotfakepoo View Post
I have, but since you've obviously done it as well and come up with something I haven't, please point me to a recent (like within the last 2 years) thread that addresses this from the road forum. I'll hang up and wait for my answer.
Chill, noob. It was just a question. If you can't, you'll fit in the 41.
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Old 05-02-12, 12:02 PM
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I used to use a HRM to determine training zones, but once you have a sense of what your LTHR is and how hard you are working, you probably don't need it as much. It's still a fun toy and they are not expensive so go ahead and get one if you want.

Make sure you do a real field test to determine your maximum HR and LTHR, don't go by the formulas they are generally inaccurate.
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Old 05-02-12, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by TNDave View Post
I replaced it with a Bontrager Node 2 system and have not had a single problem with it in 5 months.
+1 on the Bontrager HRM strap. I purchased the Garmin DeLuxe HRM strap with my Edge 500, and it is a piece of junk, (the strap, not the 500). The lower-priced Garmin HRM strap is said to be more stable and give more accurate readings, but I've been using my Node 2 Bontrager HRM with no issues at all for over a year now. I might have to replace at the end of this year because the elastic part of the strap is starting to get trashed.
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Old 05-02-12, 12:28 PM
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Do you have an iPhone 4S? I'd suggest either getting a Garmin 500 and the Garmin HRM, if you have a 4S a cheaper overall solution is the Wahoo BlueHR which uses Bluetooth so you don't need a dongle. Otherwise as others mentioned, ANT+ adapter for the phone + HRM Strap, but now you're adding a clunky dongle to the phone.

Otherwise Timex has a cheap watch for around $40 that does HR (T5G941), if all you want is the HR readout, it should do the trick.
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Old 05-02-12, 12:33 PM
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I would consider getting a Garmin 500. The added cadence, GPS, altimeter, Speed, ANT+ functions are worth it. I have had an Edge 305 for 3 years now and it is one of the better investements in cycling I have made. I also set up heart rate alarms at 180+ bpm to remind me: Hey! It's time for the guy behind me to pull.
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Old 05-02-12, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Miami Dave View Post
I would consider getting a Garmin 500. The added cadence, GPS, altimeter, Speed, ANT+ functions are worth it.
And...the ability to upload a route. For the first time this past weekend, I didn't take a wrong turn on an organized charity century ride because I had the route in my 500 and it told me where and when to turn.
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Old 05-02-12, 12:52 PM
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Cheap: FR70 Garmin watch with HRM for $119 https://www.amazon.com/Garmin-Fitness...5984147&sr=1-2 , plus a GSC-10 if you want speed/cadence data.

Not Cheap: Edge 500 for $250'ish + $40 HRM.

Both will let you monitor HR and save the whole ride out to a data file (a .fit file) and have the capability to read speed/cadence sensors. The data files from an FR70 will only upload to garmin connect, strava wont accept them since there's no GPS data. FR70 is great if you're also a runner, just make sure to get the foot pod to enable that feature.

The cell phone solution isn't a viable solution to me, battery life just isn't there even with the screen off. I like to have my numbers displayed at all times which further kills battery life.
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Old 05-02-12, 01:01 PM
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Thanks for the good replies. It sounds like you use HRM data while riding. That's why I don't think the iPhone solution is for me - I have a 4, so I would need the dongle, and to that, I would need to mount it on my bike and keep the display on constantly, which kills battery. I think a watch is the way to go. I'll look into the models posted. It sure seems like Garmin is popular, but aside from GPS capabilities, is there any reason to go that route as opposed to one of the other brands?
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Old 05-02-12, 01:09 PM
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Garmin is just currently the leader in running and cycling computers right now, so they are often recommended. The Edge 500 is hands down the most popular high end cycling computer at the moment, but it runs nearly $350 once you get a HRM and a cadence sensor. The FR70 is their super low-end watch, which I listed just for a budget option. My wife uses our FR70 on bike rides just to measure HRM, and we got the speed/cadence sensor for $35 so we can also measure how fast she's going. The data files are nice to look at after the ride.

Another plus side to garmin is that they're all ANT+ compatible. ANT+ is the current wireless standard used by most heart rate straps and wireless speed/cadence sensors. Other companies like Polar may use a different tech. There are some thoughts that bluetooth may take over this market at some point, but for now ANT+ is the leader.
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Old 05-02-12, 01:18 PM
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best cheap computer with HR and cadence is the sigma 1909. it has a big display you can read at a glance and it's $90 on amazon. don't bother with the docking station, the sigma software blows and it's better to just log data your own after the ride or use a smartphone running a fitness app.

garmin 500 is unquestionably the lowest priced, best featured computer with gps, HR, cadence and the ability to add power. problem is, the power meter itself is going to cost you a ton so you may never do that.

I'd make it one of those two computers.


Now, as to how I use HR with my sigma 1909:
You can use it in concert with perceived effort to work within HR zones. you will have some variance in HR from day to day, and to what extent varies for each person.

You can use HR in racing in order to help you judge if you can afford to follow a break or make a move of your own and not implode. But if you ride hard, often, a lot of people can just feel that too. Both of the above computers have HR max warnings; the sigma is a little arrow by HR which is animated and points down.
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Old 05-02-12, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by yallgotfakepoo View Post
It sure seems like Garmin is popular, but aside from GPS capabilities, is there any reason to go that route as opposed to one of the other brands?
If you don't care about recording your HR data you can get a Timex HRM for under $40. I had one and it worked well. Years ago I also had a little Timex recording pod that would allow one to capture and upload HR data. Not as convenient as a watch but it worked well.
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Old 05-02-12, 01:30 PM
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oh. I should've mentioned this in my previous post, but if you don't need cadence, *and* you have a smartphone, *and* you keep your rides to ~3 hours or less, you can buy a bluetooth HR strap for $50-75 and just run strava, endomondo or a similar fitness app.

it is actually useful to see gps (elevation, direction/location, speed) and HR together. that is a big plus for the garmin but it's also something you can have a lot cheaper if you have a smartphone.


you will still want a cheapie computer for a dashboard to check speed, distance, time. smartphones aren't feasible on your bars for a lot of reasons: waterproofing, battery life, flying off the bars, etc. I'm curious if someone will eventually make a small lcd screen and connect to a smartphone via bluetooth to address this.

Last edited by ColinL; 05-02-12 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 05-02-12, 01:39 PM
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There's also the garmin edge 305, i've seen new for around $160 with cadence/hr, can probably find cheaper refurbed or used. This will satify the needs of most ppl anyway, it just doesn't support ant+ power meters, but for the most part the same functions as 500. I actually think the gps reciever is better on the 305 than the 500 from my experience.
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Old 05-02-12, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by yallgotfakepoo View Post
Thanks for the good replies. It sounds like you use HRM data while riding. That's why I don't think the iPhone solution is for me - I have a 4, so I would need the dongle, and to that, I would need to mount it on my bike and keep the display on constantly, which kills battery. I think a watch is the way to go. I'll look into the models posted. It sure seems like Garmin is popular, but aside from GPS capabilities, is there any reason to go that route as opposed to one of the other brands?
With the Garmin, you can program heart-rate based workouts and the device will prompt you when to start intervals and when to rest and it will alert you when your heart-rate is too high or low. It also records all your ride data so that you can review it later with GarminConnect or Strava. Having it all on one device means you only need to start that device at the beginning: I used to often forget to start my heart-rate watch.

I used to use Cyclemeter with the iPhone4 and loved it until my mount broke and the phone bounced off the ground and smashed! Cyclemeter is a great app and now supports ANT+ so it might be a decent solution coupled with the Wahoo ANT+ bike mount if it's solid enough. Battery life is an issue, but on longer rides I switched off the display and never really had a problem recording 5+ hour rides.

There are some things I miss about Cyclemeter, but over all the Garmin 500 is probably the best cycling accessory I've purchased.
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