Los Angeles Triathlon Club
Heart Rate Monitors/Cycle Computer Email Response
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Date Created: 10/25/04

Written By: Derek Dunn

Any advice for a novice/second-season triathlete for HRM and cycle computers? Doing my own research, it seems like there are many variations to this question and it might be a matter of pure personal preference. However, there does not seem to be a one-unit-fits-all device to measure cadence, heart rate, distance, speed, is waterproof, cost under the gross national product of a small nation, et cetera, for triathlon purposes (run/bike.) So, maybe a cycle computer plus HRM is best?

My cheap Supergo wireless cycle computer flew off my bike during a race this spring and I really missed it (especially going downhill - woohoo!) I am looking to possibly upgrade to something with cadence. Is it necessary? Or should I stay with the wireless $20 model?

Next, after 2.5 years, my Polar A5 battery died, replaced battery by a local watch store, did not listen when told "not guaranteed waterproof" by same store, and now reads a very slow time, frozen forevermore. Very simple and functional, was. Remember to replace thru the company. So, I want to upgrade to something with more bells and whistles, maybe with distance. Again, is this totally necessary, not sure? I have heard pros and cons about the both foot thingy versus GPS, like Nike Triax/Polar versus Timex. I don't care that much about having my stats beemed to the computer - a pen and my paper training log still work great.

I am looking for good value and good performance, not hottest feature.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated,

Derek from Sunset Beach

triderek@yahoo.com

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I know it will seem pricey to most, but you really have to love the new Polar 625X. I too had been wanting a unit that had many options and this is the one for now. It comes with a foot pod included and the connection works perfect. Plus, you can add any current Polar cycling functions/sensors that were used by other S models previously on the market except the Power Monitor (why, I don't understand) but at least that will get you cadence and a speed monitor. You have the ability to run two different sized bikes (I use mountain and road, but you could use a Road 700 and 650). The only thing that detracts is the fact that it does not continuously allow for a change between different exercise settings, so during a race you do have to do a couple of button pushes to switch to the running mode if you are using the foot pod, but you can opt not to use it since the pod really is for the distance and you have that already from the course.

No Name/Email

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Just to help a little with your HRM bike computer issue - you are right that there are so many versions of different gadgets on the market and if you have bottomless pockets (i.e., mucho $$) you can get yourself something very fancy.

However, many of the people I work with have asked for the same simple solution as you do and I think it's 2 reliable tools

1. Polar S120 HRM - simple HRM with big screen, heart rate zone limits, average HR function and $100 get the handle bar mount for $10 extra (- Polar has always been the best in my opinion - I still use a Polar watch in the lab I've had since 1996 as it does everything it needs to perfectly)

2. Cateye Astrale bike computer - speed, cadence, distance, etc - reliable if you take the time to install it tidily with cable ties and don't throw your bike around - speed and cadence all based on cranks and back wheel so you even get speed on your indoor trainer - yes, cadence is VITAL - $40/50

This way for $150 you have everything you need - large enough displays to see all readings when riding/ running without having to get out your magnifying glass (as is the case with some "dual" models) minus the downloading capability - but as you say pen and paper or Microsoft excel do the job for a training diary very adequately.

If you do have access to the bank deposit funds of a small country you can buy the SRM power meter elite for $5500 and the Polar S625X for $500 - download away all day, get very pretty graphs plus power output, running speed and something that makes you a cup of tea in the morning and tells you when your toast is ready!

Hope that helps - feel free to call/ email me for other solutions/questions
Gareth Thomas
858 361 4733

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I bought a Polar 510 off of Ebay (new) for under $300, and that included wireless speed and wireless cadence. It was a lot of money, but I really love it. The cadence feature has been of good benefit

I also still have my old Cateye computer on my bike as well, but only because I haven't found the motivation to take it off. On a training ride I can look down and see my time, HR, cadence, speed, and distance. Some think it's geeky, but then again I am pretty geeky.

Good luck in your search for the perfect computer, though I'm not yet convinced it has been produced.

Jeff Alexander

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Hi Derek,

I just go the Polar S625X (which has the running pod and the option to also connect to a bike computer). I really like it - as far as the heart rate monitor/running stats go, in addition, I bought it because if I wanted to I could add the bike computer on it as well (although I am not sure if it can track cadence - which my bike computer can do).

I have used the Nike Triax - in fact had 2 because they broke both times and would not recommend this product at all, the watches are very poorly made and in both cases broke. I've also tried the Gamin GPS system for running and found it very unreliable as my distance always seemed to be off because I hit spots that I couldn't get a signal.

Good luck!
Cherryl

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Hey-

Can't really help you out on the whole bike computer thing; but as far as heart rate monitors go, I use the Nike Triax CV10 and I love it. I used to have the Timex but it broke several times and would sometimes give me very inaccurate readings. The HR transmitter and the SDM pod on the Nike Triax have unique digital ids so they are good if you are running/spinning at the gym or training with someone who also is using a HR monitor- it will only pick up a signal from your strap. The SDM pod that attaches to your shoe is fairly light and extremely accurate - Ive taken it to the track several times and both pace and distance has been bang on. Plus its really easy to use.

Good luck with finding what you need!
Katie

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