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Heart Rate Monitors
#1
Hello all,
Does anyone here use a heart-rate monitor while they ride?
I've been thinking about using one during some of my longer weekend rides; I want to add in some workouts to my otherwise leisurely pace.

I currently use my Garmin eTrex GPS unit as a bike computer, but it has no exercise/ health features. I'm not really excited by the idea of spending another several hundred dollars for something like the Garmin Edge that would do most of (but probably not all) the same functions with the heart-rate tacked on.

Based on search results on Amazon, there are a LOT of options, and I have little idea of what I need. So how about it, does anyone have any opinions? Are there brands that should be avoided? Are there any wrist-watch type monitors that can also track cadence? Is there a good bike computer with those features for under $100?

As you can probably tell from my questions, I'm not trying to start on a hardcore training regime. I'm just looking for a decent way to know that I'm close to following my doctor's advice. Smile

Thanks,
Billy
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#2
Do not know about multi function units, BUT I do use Polar heart rate monitor. This brand got high ratings in some tests I read. I use it in the gym when I weight train to keep my cardio in the zone by not resting more than 15 sec between sets. Get muscles and cardio in one. I also use it when I bike.

This is the type where you wear a strap on your sending unit around chest and a wristwatch type receiver. There are other units and types . I found the chest strap, wrist watch, to be the most hands free automatic unit.
Never Give Up!!!
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#3
(06-11-2010, 04:44 AM)GeorgeET Wrote:  Do not know about multi function units, BUT I do use Polar heart rate monitor. This brand got high ratings in some tests I read. I use it in the gym when I weight train to keep my cardio in the zone by not resting more than 15 sec between sets. Get muscles and cardio in one. I also use it when I bike.

This is the type where you wear a strap on your sending unit around chest and a wristwatch type receiver. There are other units and types . I found the chest strap, wrist watch, to be the most hands free automatic unit.

Thanks for the reply, George. So no big problems with it?
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#4
Nope works good. The chest strap slips down a bit but OK. I do not always use it just once in a while to check if I am in the zone. My exercise level stays constant. I was only interested in heart rate. The more expansive units got more brain than me. So if you like gadgets the field is wide open to anyone that got a Garmin GPS as a bike computer. :-)))

These BTW are less than $100. Look for sales too.
Never Give Up!!!
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#5
Hey Billy,
You said you were looking for something inexpensive? I was looking about for a couple thing and found these. I do not know if they are good or not but for the price not too shabby. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200481246284 .
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#6
I have both a Polar RS300 and a dept store one. The cheap one is... ok. The chest strap is uncomfortable but the thing works. The Polar chest strap (WearLink) is very nice and comfy, the pre programmed trainings are sensible, the OwnZone method (finds your best zone for endurance training for that day and your current fitness) seems to work sensibly, when I feel tired it warns me not to go too fast, so that makes sense. The GPS sensor (measures speed + distance, doesn't record track!) it came with is... well... ok, but a power hog. It doesn't last more than 1 hour with my rechargeable batteries (sometimes even less). That said: the RS300 is probably not what you are looking for (you wrote "inexpensive" I think). I'd probably try an entry level Polar, They are well made and function very well.

(The reason for me to get the RS300 was the "lap" function, not many heart rate monitors come with that, and the cheap Sigma I tried was... not that nice, the keys were soft and wiggly).

---
Edit: Addendum.
A HRM really only makes sense if you know your maximum heart rate... there are ways to test that, google is your friend there.
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#7
Ye 10-4 to Polar, cheep aint cheap if it don't work good. :-)

I got the basic Polar FS-1 and that has more functions than I need.

http://www.heartratemonitorsusa.com/polar-fs1.html?gclid=CKa5zJb2naICFcpR6wod8XNoxA

http://walking.about.com/od/heartratemonitor/tp/hrm.htm
Never Give Up!!!
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#8
That's all good info, thanks folks!
I'll have to wait until next month to get one, but I'll definitely be going with an "entry level" model. The Polar FS-1 looks good, as does the Bowflex model.
I think I'm going to try the Omron HR-100C. Amazon has it for $33 with free shipping, and it has enough positive reviews that it seems to be a decent value.

I also found a bike computer that has all of the things I wanted: speed (current, max, average), cadence and trip odometer combined with the heart-rate functionality for $23 plus shipping.
http://www.amazon.com/Cycle-Computer-Ekho-Ascension-HRM/dp/B001O3R3U2/
Unfortunately, it seems to be a discontinued item, and "This item is being sold as is and may need new batteries(CR2032). All sales are final and no returns will be accepted." I'm not a big fan of the phrase "no returns will be accepted".
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#9
With the Polar monitors, do you have to send them back to have the battery changed?
My cheapo one I can change myself.
[font=Trebuchet MS]Ride hard or ride home alone![/font]
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#10
(01-07-2011, 09:47 AM)cyclerUK Wrote:  With the Polar monitors, do you have to send them back to have the battery changed?
My cheapo one I can change myself.

I was actually looking at the Polar monitors but for the same price of the FS-1 I picked up a Sigma, which has a few more functions than the Polar. It is also a wrist type receiver and the batteries on both the watch and chest strap are the same so it isn't hard to remember what battery to buy. Both are changed with a twist type battery cover that opens with any coin or key. I haven't had the chance to use it, but I am looking forward to putting it through some really good workouts.
HCFR Cycling Team
Ride Safe...Ride Hard...Ride Giant
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#11
I really like the Garmin units. They seem to be easy to use and last a long time. Saying that i've not used a Polar.
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#12
Funny this came up just now. My Polar FS-1 battery died and I found I needed to buy a new transmitter as batteries were not replaceable. I did cut open the back and can now replace the battery, BUT a recent Consumer reports rated Timex T5G971 F5 very highly for basic use (all I need is the heart function). It has more functions than I need and is nicely made.

I bought one shipped for $40. The batteries are replaceable. Could not support non replaceable battery monitors. Replacement Polar monitor would have cost almost as much.

Do not need to make rocket science out of it. YMMV..
Never Give Up!!!
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#13
As I mentioned in my prior post on this subject, both batteries for the Sigma that I have are user replaceable and use the same battery type. One of the reasons I didn't get the Polar when this thread started.
HCFR Cycling Team
Ride Safe...Ride Hard...Ride Giant
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