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Polar HRMs...

Old 07-15-03, 11:05 PM
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Ants
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Polar HRMs...

Sorry if this has been done to death...

I'm considering either the Polar S150 or the S520. The difference is that the 520 is uploadable to the computer and has a few extra features like cadence, a fitness test (approximates VO2max) and calorie expenditure. My goal is to train more strategically and thereby improve my fitness rather than just going out and riding with no discernable improvement as I do now.

The price difference is around $160 Australian (or 100US at the moment?). Is it worth the extra dosh for the extra goodies or are they really just useless but fun to play with toys? I tend to think I wouldn't really do much uploading and messing about on the computer since I spend far too much time with computers anyway. But maybe the other non computer features are worth having.

Any helpful opions are welcome...

cheers,
Anthony

Last edited by Ants; 07-16-03 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 07-15-03, 11:21 PM
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I have the Polar 710i and must say that after 6 months of use, I wish I had a PC that could download the readout's. The calorie and fitness test functions are nice to have, but a cadence function is more important.
http://tdf.polar.fi/tourdefrance/heartrates.html Polar have some readout's from the Tour. This has really excited me about getting a PC so I can download my sessions.
Being able to compare my heart rate at the top of a climb with previous rides is a great way to see if my training is getting me fitter or have I reached a plateau.
The cadence and PC connection are a vital part of assessing performance. Having said that, I should point out that I am very analytical and love number crunching.

CHEERS.

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Old 07-16-03, 04:20 AM
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I'm not familiar with the features of either one, but I'd recommend that you get one with built-in bike computer functions.

I have an S210 and use the training features... interval timers, various zones, etc. What I wish I had was a way to checkpoint bike computer info along with HR info, so on a long ride when I hit the "lap" button, I could go back afterwards and recall the mileage and average speed along with the time, AHR, & MHR at that point.
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Old 07-16-03, 04:51 AM
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Originally posted by Dutchy
Having said that, I should point out that I am very analytical and love number crunching.
nothing wrong with that - when I had the Polar 610i, my "diet" and exercise regime was 10/10.

I sold it with the intention of getting a 710i, and hit a bad spell moneywise, so won't be able to buy it just yet.

Now my committment is 7/10 at best - I'm holding steady on the weight loss, but I am still getting fitter.

The Polar range connect to the mysporttraining saoftware brilliantly... seeing my progress in th palm of my hand (pocketPC) was incredinly motivating to me.

Can't wait to be able to afford the 710i, help get back on track.
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Old 07-16-03, 05:17 PM
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Thanks guys,

I think I'll go for the cheap option of the s150. Having just spent over 3 grand on a new bike, I'm having trouble justifying more dosh on bike stuff. I suspect that if I got the 520 I'd spend a couple of weeks downloading and checking out graphs and stuff (which I admit I would find fascinating) and then not bother any more. (The 710 or 720 is right out of the question dollars wise...) If I can see heart rate as I'm going up the crazy hills around here, see what zone I'm in at any given time, and keep max and average on the machine to then record in a diary, I think that'll do me.

Further technical question on the 150 - the brochure says it has one 'exercise file'. I take it this is a record of your session, but it doesn't explain just what it records? Can anyone fill me in?

cheers,
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Old 07-16-03, 05:29 PM
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Originally posted by Ants
Further technical question on the 150 - the brochure says it has one 'exercise file'. I take it this is a record of your session, but it doesn't explain just what it records? Can anyone fill me in?

cheers,
Ants


One exercise file is pretty poor. So is one exercise set - can't have i set up for cycling AND running AND swimming etc....

I also think it's quite limited in it's storage capacity compared to the 710i.... can't remember the exact details - the 710i stores your heart for about 22 hrs or so at 5sec intervals.
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Last edited by belfast-biker; 07-16-03 at 05:43 PM.
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Old 07-17-03, 12:03 AM
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Polar is a good bet; I have a plain ol' HRM without the cyclocomputer functions.
I would recommend checking out the Ciclosport HAC 4.
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Old 07-17-03, 05:38 AM
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Originally posted by Ants
Further technical question on the 150 - the brochure says it has one 'exercise file'. I take it this is a record of your session, but it doesn't explain just what it records? Can anyone fill me in?
You're right. The exercise file is a record of your last workout. It'll have your max HR, average HR, time spent in each programmed HR zone, workout duration, date and time of workout, etc. etc.

FWIW, many of the higher end models have more files, but they don't retain very much data.

Looking at the specs, I'd be more concerned about the fact that the 150 doesn't have interval timers and only has one programmable exercise set. Not very useful if you're going to use it for work-outs. Adequate if you're mostly going to use it for pacing yourself.

Your mileage may vary, but when I got my S210, I wasn't interested enough in graphs, etc., to warrant the additional expenditure. After getting some experience with the device I regret not having the information. For a good example of how you can use this information, take a look at this thread, particularly where Velocipedio analyzes lshield's graph.
New HRM ???

It might be worth waiting a little longer to get a model that will serve your purposes better.

Last edited by roadbuzz; 07-17-03 at 05:48 AM.
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Old 07-17-03, 06:02 AM
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Get the new S720, totally cool new design, just the aesthetics though. I believe they are no longer selling the S710. I find the S710 adequate, but even then, the memory is very little. I use the 5s interval recording rate, and there is only space for less than 20 files. Adding cycling to all that, there is space for maybe only 10 and less.

It is the best value for money, next on par would be the Hac4 from Ciclosport, being used by the USPS Pro Cycling Team. I have considered those before, whole lot of functions, but I couldn't find it anywhere in this part of the world. I would recommend you hold on to your money because the Polar S720 is a great investment. Save up a little and get it a couple of months later. Buying a lower-end model and then upgrading later on would be a utter waste of money. If you feel the need for such technology, honestly, hold on a while and get the best.
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Old 07-18-03, 09:57 PM
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Shimano Flight Deck
Polar S210
All the info you'll ever need, plus you'll have a HRM that you can use; running, swimming, hiking, sex...???

Unless, you're on a pro cycling team with a coach who will be able to take all that data, analyze it and put it to good use.

Is the USPS Team using Vetta now?
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Old 07-19-03, 01:06 AM
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Erm, USPS used to be using Vetta, but now they are using the Ciclosport HAC4. It has 57 functions and totally cool.
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Old 07-19-03, 06:41 AM
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57 functions....Hmmm, do ya need 57 functions?
Some folks are techno weenies and will find the Hac57 interesting, but is it really useful to the average cyclist?

If you look at cycling as a yard stick and the 36th inch being the pros; Armstrong and Hamilton, I'm somewhere around the 12th inch and all the data is pretty much useless to me.
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Old 07-19-03, 07:19 AM
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Originally posted by oxologic
[...] Ciclosport HAC4. It has 57 functions and totally cool.

Fifty Seven? I would only use 56 of those...

I'll stick to the 710i....
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Old 07-20-03, 10:07 PM
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One thing to keep in mind with Polar is that you need to send the transmitter belt back to them when the battery dies. I've also found their service to be quite lacking in the warranty area-they expect the customer to pay shipping on warranty items and took 2 months on the last one I had.
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Old 07-21-03, 08:16 PM
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Originally posted by Waldo
One thing to keep in mind with Polar is that you need to send the transmitter belt back to them when the battery dies. I've also found their service to be quite lacking in the warranty area-they expect the customer to pay shipping on warranty items and took 2 months on the last one I had.
Paying $5 to send it to them for warranty work, whether it's for a dead battery or repair is not a problem for me.
It keeps people from beating them up for two years on their warranty.
More than likely they would extend that cost on to customers who never have problems and most don't.
2 months is not acceptable to me. Hopefully that's not the norm.
I do like my S210 and $141 delivered is not that bad of a deal for what the damn thing does and how much it's helped me.
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Old 07-21-03, 08:58 PM
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Originally posted by Waldo
One thing to keep in mind with Polar is that you need to send the transmitter belt back to them when the battery dies.
Er... I'm pretty sure the Polar chest belt is disposable (at least the coded one is). When the battery dies (2 yr est) you simply buy a new sensor.

A PITA but with my old-style Polar I found the rubber started becoming brittle and cracked after about three years anyway.
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Old 07-21-03, 09:01 PM
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Originally posted by oxologic
I find the S710 adequate, but even then, the memory is very little. I use the 5s interval recording rate, and there is only space for less than 20 files. Adding cycling to all that, there is space for maybe only 10 and less.
Isn't the download time a bit slow with all those files? As near as I can tell the software isn't clever enough to know which files it has read before and reads the whole fileset each time.

At 5s recording I don't let more than 2 or 3 (2 rides) hours of data accumulate in the HRM or I have to go eat a Clif Bar while waiting.
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Old 07-24-03, 07:23 PM
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Thanks again folks for all the advice,

The day after I posted my last message on this, I crashed. Now typing one-handed with a broken collar bone... Now I have time to save up for a better HRM. Ha!

cheers,
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Old 07-25-03, 07:09 AM
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Erm, the software always reads everything when you connect to the watch. However, if you select the day in the calendar, add a new exercise and click connect to the HRM, you can select the one you wish to upload. Thus, you won't be wasting time.
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Old 04-19-04, 05:56 PM
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Has anyone with an S150 had problems with it starting and stopping all by its self? I just bought my S150 last week and used it on a ride on Saturday and it worked fine. Today I was on a walk and it was stopping and starting over and over. Even as I am sitting here typing this message it is stopping and starting.
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Old 04-27-04, 03:45 PM
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SpeedyGuy032, I have the S150 and have found it to start and stop on its own quite often. I guess I shouldnt have cheaped out with this model. I dont know if the quality control at the hong kong plant that made my S150 is less than the european plant that makes other Polar's, but I suspect so.
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Old 04-27-04, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by SpeedyGuy032
Has anyone with an S150 had problems with it starting and stopping all by its self? I just bought my S150 last week and used it on a ride on Saturday and it worked fine. Today I was on a walk and it was stopping and starting over and over. Even as I am sitting here typing this message it is stopping and starting.
My 710i is sensitive to EM fields... my PC monitors trick the HRM into starting and stopping. I have to switch it to "Bike Off". I've noticed odd behavoir on a few rides and it's always near overhead power lines.
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Old 04-28-04, 08:30 AM
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I was on a ride this past weekend on a city trail that had power lines nearby and I was completely frustrated that my Polar S510 was constantly stopping. I couldn't figure out why. I thought it was because I had the AutoStart feature on (starts/stops HRM when your bike starts/stops), but the HRM would stop even when the bike was moving. I'll bet it was the power lines. I'll certainly pay attention to that the next time I take that trail.
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Old 04-28-04, 10:15 AM
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Another thing is other electronics can mess up the HRM signal. When I run I can't hold my MP3 player in the same hand as the watch but it's fine in the other hand.
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Old 04-28-04, 10:59 AM
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My monitor stops or starts when I turn my truck on.

For the original fella who asked about the monitors, sorry to hear about the bum wing, I just had to start Physical therapy for a dislocated collar bone and fractured socket from an eight year old bike crash.

I have a 510, which is basically the same as the 520. I have no other computer mounted, and am pretty happy with the whole setup. I get speed, cadence and heart rate graphed out on the PC, which is great fun and very interesting too, at the end of the rides. I find that during the ride, I am way too busy, or hurting, to pay attention to much beside speed.

I can store all my rides, like a computer based log, and compare rides in various conditions, different levels of fitness, solo or group, etc. You can set the watch up for two different bikes, which is great for a mountain and road biker. You can step through the data point by point, so if there is a faulty reading somewhere you can edit it. You can set up quite a few different training sessions, intervals, etc. on the watch. You can set up three different training heart rate zones and monitor your time in each zone.

The cyclo-based HRM's also have a bigger number display than some of the other monitors, so you can read it from the bars easily.

Things that I have found:

1. Mount the speed sensor as close to the top of the fork as you can, and directly under the watch. This helps prevent faulty readings, being wireless and all.

2. remove the magnet from the plastic cadence sensor and epoxy it directly to the inside of your crank.

3. wet the chest strap before you put it on.

4. Don't roll or move the bike before you establish the heartrate on your monitor.

5. Be EXTREMELY CAREFUL removing the watch from the handlebars, when you have finished your ride, and take it inside and download immediately! The buttons on the watch are far to easy to push accidentally, and if you accidentally start a new session, the data for your ride will not be downloadable, and the file will be compressed to include only avg HR and a few other things. The 510 has 5 or 6 files, but only the most recent contains all the recorded material.

My friends all have cyclo computers, and HRMs, but I think they are slowly beginning to see the advantages of scrapping all that and just going with the cyclo HRM.

I watched E-Bay for a while and got my 510 for $135.00. My neighbor just picked one up last week for $147.00, so they are out there, and they are as cheap as a new one from a shop.


Good luck with the arm!

Whit
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