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Using the Polar S-710.(14 posts)

Using the Polar S-710.Len J
Jan 29, 2002 7:39 AM
My wife surprised me on Thursday with an early Valentine gift, a Polar S-710 HRM. I intalled it on Friday evening and then did two long rides on Saturday & Sunday. My observations so far FWIW:

1.)I am not crazy about the speed sensor. It is large, noisy (It makes a noise every time the magnet passes the receiver, and no, the magnet is not hitting the unit), it so far has a tendancy to lose the signal (speed goes to zero) frequently, and due to its only recording in a minimum of 5 second intervals, the speed is not as realtime as a normal cycle computer. I am not sure yet wether the loss of signal is a setup issue (still experimenting) as the sensor has to be in a specific position relative to the HRM in order to receive. Incedentally, it seems to go to 0 whenever I begin a descent. Anyone have a similar experience? I left my flightdeck on the bike, in order to compare cycling specific readings and definatly like the FD better than the s-710 so far.

2.) Setting up the s-710 was really easier than I expected for a unit that has so many capabilities. It is fairly intuitive. I did all the settings manually before I set up the PC software, and then set up the software & downloaded the settings in order to learn both ways. Both were easy.

3.) The software is pretty basic & functional, I had no problems getting the IR download option to work the first time (Lucky from what I have read). Downloading workouts to the HRM, doing the workout & then uploading the results for analysis was pretty cool, and worked well. The only difficulty for me was remembering what exercise set (you can program several) I wanted to do & remembering to call it before I started the session. Still figuring that out.

4.) You have to use a specific sequence of keystrokes to tell the unit if you want to record just HRM or HRM & cycling data (& I suppose cadence & Power if you have it). I still am fumbling with doing this right. I have to keep looking it up.

5.) The Altimeter function is pretty cool, seems to work OK for what it is. I am looking forward to riding somewhere with climbs to see it work more fully. I did ride in a rolling area (for the eastern shore) & it did pick up & record very small climbs (10 ft).

6.) This is the first HRM I have had that allows you to record 3 different zones & then reports time in each zone. That's pretty cool.

7.) I did not have any of the interference issues That I've read about with the Polar HRM"s. The HR function was perfect.

8.) My wife bought me the cadence option but I have not installed it. It has a very large wireless transmitter (same size as speed sensor) that is supposed to be installed on the downtube, so that it picks up the signal from a magnet placed on the end of the left crank (crank magnet goes on the crank just before the pedal spindal hole). I was not crazy about how obtrusive it looked so I haven't installed it. I will wait until I decide wether to leave the speed sensor on & then make the decision.

9.) The battery in the speed sensor has a 2500 hr life and can only be replaced by the factory. I hope this isn't as bg a pain as it seems. Although 2500 hours is over 5 years for me, I'll probably gert some other toy by then.

All in all it seems to be a great unit, especially for someone on a race training program. For me it is definatly overkill. There are some rides that I will be interested in looking at data of HR,Speed,Altitude & time in ride where I will be glad I got the unit, otherwise I probably will just use it as a HRM. If I can get comfortable with the Bike funtions being accurate, bulletproof & reliable & decide to leave them on the bike, I will get rid of my regular computer & clean up my bars. If I can do this then The unit will be a big gain. Right now the jury is out.

My observations, hope they help someone else who is thinking of this unit.

great postszybki
Jan 29, 2002 8:37 AM
Thanks for the info. I am in the market for a new HRM and was considering the S710. Great observations on the speed sensor and recording rate. I wondered about the cadence sensor... Thanks again for the info.
You might want to see for yourself.....Len J
Jan 29, 2002 10:39 AM
and talk to other riders. Remember mine are impressions after 2 days of riding. Stay tuned.

re: Using the Polar S-710.litespeedcat
Jan 29, 2002 7:42 PM
Does the altitude work seperately from the cycling functions? How do you like it now that you have had it a while.

Yes...Len J
Jan 30, 2002 4:56 AM
Altitude is seperate from cycling functions. Basically, part of the setup Routine (any part of which can be repeated) is to instruct the unit as to which capabilities to turn on, cycle functions, altitude, cadence, or power.

Jury is still out for me as I've had it less than a week

my impressionDuane Gran
Jan 30, 2002 5:12 AM
Nice writeup. I too have an S-710 and have been using it for over 3 months. The speed display does update less often than most bike computers and I also own a flight deck. I use both computers simply because I find the display on the flight deck to be easier to read at a glance. I haven't experienced outages in the speed display and I'm surprised that you can hear the speed sensor. I can hear it if I spin the wheel in doors, but on the road there are plenty of other sounds that drown it out. Possibly I need to clean my drivetrain a little more? ;)

In the very near future (possibly next week) I should receive my power unit, which allows plotting HR, speed, altitude, cadence and wattage. For serious training I can see this being a very useful device, but as you point out, it can be overkill for casual users. I believe I posted this before, but I put together a web page detailing my favorite mountain climb out east:

I personally find the software analysis to be the greatest benefit of the S710, so the above link may be helpful to illustrate this to others.
Questions....Len J
Jan 30, 2002 5:42 AM
Do you have the Flight deck pickup on the same side of the fork as the Polar speed pickup? I'm wondering if this is causing interference for me.

How far apart do you have the two pickups?

How far is the polar pickup from the HRM?

I'm trying to figure out what the problem is with the intermitent pickup, help would be appreciated.

HRM SoftwareBlondPower
Jan 30, 2002 9:27 AM
I just put a Polar S710 on order and am looking forward to it. I currently have a M71 and like it as well but I am looking at get the Upload to PC capabilities. I see there is a software called PC Coach. Is it worth buying? or is the software that comes with the S710 enough??
Questions....Duane Gran
Jan 30, 2002 12:40 PM
I place the wireless flight deck pickup above the Polar sensor, both facing forward. It seems to work well for me. I found that I need to have the HRM on the right side of the bars, as it needs a direct line of sight.
my impressionBlondPower
Jan 30, 2002 9:13 AM
I just put a Polar S710 on order and am looking forward to it. I currently have a M71 and like it as well but I am looking at get the Upload to PC capabilities. I see there is a software called PC Coach. Is it worth buying? or is the software that comes with the S710 enough??
Polar S410 v S710Bill RHIT
Jan 30, 2002 1:49 PM
I am looking into a new HRM and I am curious if the graph on your webpage can be produced by an S410 without the altitude data? If so I think the S410 is a little more in my price range. Also, do you have to buy the IR data transmitter and speed reader as add ons?

- Bill -
re: Using the Polar S-710.Bikewithadam
Jan 30, 2002 7:52 AM
Thanks for the post--I'm thinking of putting the S710 on my new ride. (Thanks also for the wheel input over in the components forum!) What is the availability on these things? I'm expecting delivery on my frame in 4-8 weeks. Should I order the S710 now just to be on the safe side?

Look around..Len J
Jan 30, 2002 8:12 AM
My wife did a search under "Polar". She told me they were backordered, but received it in 2 weeks. Others had them in stock.

re: Using the Polar S-710.Duane Gran
Jan 30, 2002 12:42 PM
They are a little hard to come by, but I've seen them in the bike shops lately. I don't think you should have to wait more than a few weeks though. You might check out this place for ordering:

I've never used them, but they have the most reasonable rates I have seen online.