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decent HRM under $150?(20 posts)

decent HRM under $150?Js Haiku Shop
Oct 24, 2001 12:02 PM
all this talk of HRMs has me thinking about winter training, and my wife is hitting me up for gift suggestions for the big 3-0 next month. she's not going for the $834 surley.

nashbar seems to have a few under $150, the polar m52 being right up there. any suggestions?
What features do you want?bikedodger
Oct 24, 2001 12:14 PM
In general the more features in the HRM, the higher the price.

I am happy with a Timex Ironman HRM that is usually less than $100 from Performance. It had all the features that I wanted (I don't need or want to hook it up to a computer) and has so far (1 yr) has worked great.

Pick the features that you need or want and let the price fall where it may.

just the basics, really...Js Haiku Shop
Oct 24, 2001 12:26 PM
zones, alarms, average, time in zone, etc.

not interested in PC interface.

what i'm really most intersted in is responses from the board on ease of use, reliability, etc.

i like my sports instruments circuit 5yodleboy
Oct 24, 2001 12:42 PM
It's a god awful orange color, but it has all the features you listed and a comfortable chest transmitter. Very easy to use and it seems accurate. I don't notice weird fluctuations like with my old Polar as often.

I don't think they make it anymore, but I got mine on sale from colorado cyclist last year for $50. I know of seen other HRM's from them on clearance recently, just can't remember where...

Looks like their newer ones look better:

SportsInstruments ECG 3
hate my Sports InstTim H
Oct 24, 2001 12:56 PM
no range, hard to use controls. barely audible alarm. it sucked
just the basics, really...dsc
Oct 24, 2001 2:11 PM
Performance sells two of their Axiom models for under $100 that do exactly what you're asking for. I've used one for about 2.5 yrs with no problems.
Are you willing to use it correctly? You will be riding a lotMB1
Oct 24, 2001 12:30 PM
slower a lot of the time. Is that what you really want to do?

BTW I think the fewer features the better, get the low end or the one just above it from a good company-Polar is fine.

BTW2 Man, you have the new bike stuff itch don't you?

BTW3 Any chance you could borrow one from a friend or rent one from a club for a few rides to see if you really need one. You will need to do a few rides before you figure it out.
Are you willing to use it correctly? You will be riding a lotJs Haiku Shop
Oct 24, 2001 12:44 PM
i'm thinking it might help me judge my effort over the longer rides. if this means slower at first, then okey dokey. i'm also training by heart rate on the cardio machines in the gym, and it would be nice NOT to hold that bar to provide the machine with HR. plus, i'd like to know when i'm in what zone for 'fat burning', since i have a little to burn...

btw1: i agree. let's not muck it up with a bunch of bells and whistles. i can't figure out how to use the lap timer on my $12 sports watch from Target.

btw2: it's a perpetual new stuff bike itch with me. at least 'til i feel i've got the basics (we each qualify our own "basics"). still putting effort toward finding what works for me. just decided today that i'm not 100% convinced i like these look pedals. i have double-sided mtb SPDs on my mtb and 3 pairs of mtb shoes, i'm thinking about trying them on my road bikes for club and other rides. seems to be alot of walking at club ride breaks and event SAGs, walkable shoes would be nice. only problem is...if i like it, that's another few pairs of pedals i have to buy. ugh!

btw3: not sure any of my cycling friends are close enough to let me sweat all over their HRM. besides, i can still use it for gym work and running.

btw4: where ya been?
Re:btw4: Riding, Miss M works on Capital Hill, all the buildingsMB1
Oct 24, 2001 1:22 PM
are shut down till further notice. She is going stir crazy so we have been riding and riding. I'm getting pretty tired, need a few easy days-fat chance of that ever happening! In the meantime I'm praying for bad weather and a cure for anthrax.

All the guys here complaining about how their wives don't understand just don't understand!
re: decent HRM under $150?cioccman
Oct 24, 2001 12:48 PM
Well, I've been using them for quite some time and I have a few, from the basic a1 all the way to a full feature unit. I didn't want the two units more geared for the bicyclist because I don't like all the ugly and not too light Polar transmitters.

Basically I utilize very few of my top end units features. I do not utilize it as a guide for interval workouts. If you don't want more storage and an infra red connection to a computer, there's no reason to go above an S410. I'd say that if you don't need the his/her function, there's no reason for the m52, go with the m51 or lower. If you don't need need the index and calorie type stuff, go with the a3 or a5.

I use basically what you mentioned, clock, timers, alarms, etc. It's also nice to have the index and calorie features on my higher end unit. I've yet to upload anything to the computer. I wouldn't consider anything but Polar. In the gym many of the equipment will work with it. No other brand will. The company is solid, replacement parts are easy to get and reasonable.

I strongly recommend Great service, very nice, small company, went the extra mile for me even at their nicely discounted prices.
I use this one nowDog
Oct 24, 2001 12:54 PM

Timex; pretty simple, and the watch is pretty much a regular sports watch, too. I got it for $89.

I like the zone alarms, which are easy to adust. I also use the count down timer to remind me to drink regularly on the bike. Plus, you have the regular watch, chrono, alarm clock, countdown, and a good back light. Can't beat the price.

It has worked very well, and I used it in the 508 with good results.

I had lots of problems with Polars. I had two of their cheaper models, and both just quit working on me. I also found them too complicated to adjust.

I have a Cateye that is a combined bike computer, too. It has the rate averaging, but no timers or zone alarms. It sort of quit working on me, too, despite changing batteries. Don't know why.

I don't like computers that are watches, with watch bands, that you wrap around some gizmo on your handlebars. Why can't they make a bike hrm with computer that mounts like a regular bike computer? Cateye is one, but not many features.

Zone alarms are great for keeping you slow enough, or set it up really high and act like you are racing someone up a hill (it sounds if your heart rate drops below a setting). I do that for long hill intervals.

dog, you don't miss averages or calorie counter? nmJs Haiku Shop
Oct 24, 2001 1:36 PM
not reallyDog
Oct 24, 2001 2:23 PM
I rarely used the average function. I used it only for anaerobic threshold testing, and then it required resetting the computer for that portion of the ride. Doing an average for a whole 100 mile ride won't mean much to me, especially if the strap moves and doesn't transmit for a while, or you get electrical interference that makes the thing show some crazy numbers (I once showed 182 bpm on a long descent where I was nearly falling asleep).

The calorie counter thing I found no better than estimating. When you don't even plug your weight into the computer, how accurate can it be?

All that said, I'd seriously like to have a Polar 710, with all the gizmos. The primary reason would be to communicate ride information to a coach, though.

Gotta admit, re: S710cioccman
Oct 24, 2001 2:42 PM
It is really really cool if you go full bore with the cadence meter, etc. A friend of mine has one and we played with the software and charts from his past few rides. Wow, that thing really does everything. The Polar transmitters that must be mounted are large and ugly though....

I wish Cateye would come up with a computer that would incorporate many of the functions that Polar S510s and S710s do using their existing wiring and unit types.
Oct 24, 2001 1:02 PM
I bought a (new) Sports Instruments Circuit 7 on E-Bay for about $50 early this year. Been working fine for me. Mine is not orange like the current offerings on E-Bay and so I did not have a fashion crsis like I might with orange.
thanks, all...stuff to think about...Js Haiku Shop
Oct 25, 2001 5:57 AM
timex, polar or axiom.

leaning toward timex. polar has a mixed reputation, and i'm not big on performance stuff. i wore a timex triathlon watch for several years through some pretty serious garbage weather and underwater, no problems.

dog, found that one online for $74.99. i'm thinking i might like the next one up, with the average stuff and data link, in case i get into that in the next few years. it's $125 at, but i've found it online elsewhere for $84.

thanks, all!
Sigma Sport PC14. $69 at!!nigel
Oct 25, 2001 6:00 AM
I've written in praise of this fine piece of equipment before, and I'll do it again.

Check out the functions at, and go into their Pulse section (PC=Pulse Computer). You can actually see all the features it has by clicking on Testcenter at the bottom of the page. Try it.

I've had it since the spring, and it's been a super training tool. It took about two or three days to get used to (the setting up and different buttons), but once you know it, you're all set (Keep the instructions, though, of course). This computer gives users much more than the basic Polar units, and a much lower price.

It tells you: current, average, maximum (all for the particular ride/run/etc.), % of max presently exercising at (VERY HELPFUL--no math to do while riding), calories burned, and % of time spent out of the specified heart rate zone. It also features a lap counter, timer, backlight, audible and visual (blinking) alarms for high and low deviations from the zone--which you can turn off if you'd like, and comes with both a comfortable chest strap (I never even know I'm wearing it) AND a handlebar mount. ALL FOR $69.99. It tells me everything--and more--than I need to know. Since I wasn't going to hook it up to a computer (home computer) for input, I didn't need (and couldn't afford) to spend big bucks. With the PC14, I've learned a lot about the proper way to get maximum benefits (both strength/cardiovascular and recovery) from my riding. By focusing on the different heart zones, I've been able to target fat loss with great results.

I never ride without it now. Seeing how many calories I've consumed on rides is very motivational, and helps me balance what I eat during the day--and not to overdo the eating, so that I can still lose more weight and get fitter.

Very inexpensive, and I've had NO problems with it at all. If you get it, though, call the 800 number and ask for the additional English instructions--they're clearer, and more helpful. It comes with English instrucs, but the extra ones they've done are better and tell you more. Sigma will email them to you within a day of your call, and customer service was very nice and very helpful.

Good luck, and keep those haikus coming!

hmmmmmmmmm...more food for thought. thanks!!! nmJs Haiku Shop
Oct 25, 2001 6:11 AM
Nike HRMMax
Oct 25, 2001 10:20 AM
Nike makes one for $135. It's basically one of their Triax watches with Polar HRM guts in it.
Inexpensive Polarchar
Oct 25, 2001 6:17 PM
I purchased the Polar Beat earlier this summer, $35. It does the job - shows the current heart rate, that's it, works great. What more could you want?