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Heart Rate Monitors(5 posts)

Heart Rate MonitorsAztecs
Sep 20, 2001 4:59 AM
I have been reading that HRM are a great way to increase your cycling performance. Dumb question: I see these online and they look like watches. Is there a chest strap involved also? If so how does it connect? If so is it uncomfortable? Can I get something decent for < $75?

Thanks for any help
Polar A3 HRMMazz
Sep 20, 2001 5:16 AM
I have a Polar A3 HRM, and yes most HRMs involve a chest strap. I do not know of any that do not have chest straps but I can imagine there are ones that get HR readings through the wrist. Now that I think about it, I know there are ones where you put your finger on a metal sheet on on the watch. I don't think this type gives you real-time HR readings. Back to the Polar A3, the chest strap has a wireless transmitter it it and it sends the signals to the watch wirless, so no there are no wires involved. The strap is kind of annoying at first but after a couple of times you get really used to it, and don't even notice it. I use it for running also, so I have to re-adjust it every 30min to and hour or so. But it's really no big deal.

My Polar A3 was 70 dollars through E-bay ($79 MSRP?) It does the basics. HRM, average HR, exercise time, Target zone, clock (NO BACK LIGHT) It's good for basics stuff, but the stop watch function is really limited. I would suggest putting in a little bit more extra money for one that has lap recall and a real stop watch on it. Otherwise I'm really happy with mine.

Well hope this helps. Later
Polar A3 HRMAztecs
Sep 20, 2001 7:21 AM
Thanks for the info!!!
Yes, no, yesRich Clark
Sep 20, 2001 8:11 AM
Yes, there's a chest strap. It just goes around your chest with an elastic band, and transmits via radio frequencies to the wrist receiver (which you can also strap around your handlebar using a piece of foam padding if you like). I don't even notice the transmitter, and sometimes end up wearing it all day without thinking about it.

Polar HRM's are the "gold standard" for the industry. They're a bit pricy, and some people don't like that the battery in the transmitter is sealed and you have to send the whole thing back to Polar when the battery dies. But that usually takes years to happen. But then it costs a lot, almost as much as some entire HRM systems.

Cardiosport HRM's seem to be a nice compromise between quality, price, and user-replaceable batteries. I currently have a Cardiosport TZ that cost, I think, $60 at Performance that's working very well.

Sometimes cheap HRM's can be fine as well. I used to have a Nashbar unit that worked great. It cost about $45, but it got wrecked in a non-cycling incident best left undescribed.

It would pay to take some time to think about the functions of a HRM and which ones would be of use in the type of riding/training you do. For example, in my situation, I don't need to record and track my daily performance, but I do find it very useful to know how "hard" a ride was. And I absolutely need to be warned when I'm exceeding 90% of my MHR. So a unit with programmable zones, and which tracks "time in zone," and which has audible alarms, suited my needs.

Having it look good and be functional as an ordinary writstwatch is a plus as well.

Sep 20, 2001 7:01 PM
I've got a Sports Instruments unit that does both the HRM and cyclecomputer functions. I paid $71.55 on E-bay. It's also wireless which is pretty nice. The functions are pretty basic: 3 zones, time above, below and at target. The unit doesn't beep when you are out of the zone, which I like, 'cause I didn't want to be hassled.

I'm real happy with the unit right now, but it didn't start that way. The HRM transitter/betl didn't work initially & the unit didn't seem to mount very actually feel off the 1st time I used it. The replacement seems to be a some what later unit & it feels more secure. From what reviews I've seen, this seems somewhat typically of the state-of-the-art, in that quality & reliability are suspect. (It ain't no Timex.)