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Arg! Don't believe everything you read. HRM gripe and moan(37 posts)

Arg! Don't believe everything you read. HRM gripe and moanKristin
Feb 10, 2003 2:39 PM
So a word to the wise when buying your first HRM. If you need it for zone training, don't just read the little chart on the wall. Take out the manual and read the detailed description of the zones.

Yesterday I got impatient and decided screw the research--screw the though process--screw the brain waves. I just wanted to buy any heart rate monitor under $40 and be done with it. No mail order. No waiting. (Though I won't need it til April.) So, I drove to my friendly Performance shop and walked out 10 minutes (okay 45 minutes) later with a Sports Instrument ECG2. Big mistake.

Sure it has programable target zones. But if you bring one home, you will soon discover that SI is testing the limits of the word programable here. To be more precise, the HRM has A (Uno, One, Singulaire) programable zone. And that zone is 30-70 (THIRTY thru SEVENTY!!) percent of your max heart rate. What the hell use is a zone that wide? Perhaps for someone with a medical condition its just the thing. But how will this do a cyclist any good? I'm very disappointed and now have to drive back to the store to return it.

Eeks. I'm showing signs of accut winteritis!
Make sure you buy a Polar(nm)TREKY
Feb 10, 2003 2:45 PM
No way. Battery replacement is too much trouble.Kristin
Feb 10, 2003 2:49 PM
But thanks for the advice. I just decided I'd rather have one that I don't have to mail out to get a new battery.
battery changing is not that big of a dealColnagoFE
Feb 10, 2003 3:33 PM
I'mn going on 2 years now for the strap. Had to replace the battery once in the watch and had a local Jeweler do it. I don't swim with it so I don't care about total waterproofing gauranteed by Polar. Works fine.
re: Arg! Don't believe everything you read. HRM gripe and moanColnagoDreamin
Feb 10, 2003 2:49 PM
At least Performance has a good return policy. It is just too bad that no one that works there actually has a clue about what they are selling, yet a love of cycling. You should order a real heart monitor from Licktons. Bob will hook you up, and has a good knowledge of heart monitors.
Thanks. I've gotten so many referals for themKristin
Feb 10, 2003 2:51 PM
They are already the shop I intend to visit when I'm ready and able to buy a real bike. (But first I have to win the lottery.)
What kind of bike are you riding right now?ColnagoDreamin
Feb 10, 2003 2:54 PM
What components, frame, wheels, frame color etc.?
Feb 10, 2003 3:03 PM
Kristin "What's you ride? Post a pic..." 2/10/03 7:59am

Whether or not it fits has been a matter of great debate on this board in at LBS's across Illinios. Currently I've got a 90mm Profile stem as high as I can get it. My knees hit the bars when I stand, but I've learned to deal with it. I was nervous about putting the 90mm on it (from a 110) but I must confess it feels better.
re: Arg! Don't believe everything you read. HRM gripe and moanCHRoadie
Feb 10, 2003 3:30 PM
You have access to the internet, right? Didn't you do any homework before you bought?

And as far as Polar goes, the hassle of a battery replacement (which should only happen every couple of years) is worth getting the best equipment on the market.
"You have access to the internet, right? Didn't you do any..."Kristin
Feb 10, 2003 3:34 PM
I thought I addressed that in my post. Here, let me recap: "Yesterday I got impatient and decided screw the research--screw the though process--screw the brain waves. I just wanted to buy any heart rate monitor under $40 and be done with it."

"You have access to the internet, right? Didn't you do any..."CHRoadie
Feb 10, 2003 3:37 PM
Mistake #2: <$40. Remember the old adage "you get what you pay for."
I also had an awful experience with a SI HRMColnagoFE
Feb 10, 2003 3:31 PM
The thing had no range. Moving my arm away from my body would cause it to misread. Its buttons were hard to activate and it was hard to program. I returned it for a Polar Coach. I've never had a non-Polar monitor that worked worth a damn.
You do get what you pay for but a hrm is a hrmPODIUMBOUNDdotCA
Feb 10, 2003 4:03 PM
I have an ECG 5 and used it for a couple years very happily until I got my Polar S710 with almost every bell and whistle imaginable... except for small size.

But you do get what you pay for. But the most important feature is heart rate and you have that.The zones aren't important as opposed to more how you use the data your hrm gives you. Its a gauge of your effort level and when used well will help your training immensely. I recommend ignoring any and all charts on walls at gyms and buying a book like Joe Friels Cyclists Training Bible.

Then double check you are fiddling with the zone right because I have a suspicion your impatience might be getting in the way. READ THE MANUAL! Then try to change it. I know my ECG 5 goes from like 25 up to 220 on both upper and lower limits. Seriously put the watch down for a day or 2 then come back and try to figure it out.

I have an SI Circuit 7Sintesi
Feb 10, 2003 6:00 PM
It's worked well for two years. It also is programmable up to 220. It's not the best but works well for my needs. Hope your right, try the manual again Kristin, maybe there's something you're missing.
Hmmm...I'm looking at my third grade diploma right nowKristin
Feb 11, 2003 6:47 AM
It took nearly 10 years, but I did eventually pass grade three. Now, since I've already read the manual twice, I can assume that passing the third grade qualified me for the job. So I'm digging deep into my bag of tricks looking for that left over bit of humor I found on the sidewalk last week. I can't find it right now, otherwise I would have used to jokingly rebut the fact that you have assumed either:

A) I didn't even glance that the manual, or
B) That I'm not compitent enough to understand it.

But its February friggin 11th, -11 degrees outside, my car is running on vapors--thank God for plastic gas lines (Plastic may eventually kill us all, but at least I know my car will start on cold February mornings on only .5 gallons of gas.), I was late to work again because my diabetic cat can't keep food down, I haven't gotten my HR over 140 in 3 months, and I'm about to spend another Valentines day home alone with my cat. So screw the humor. Besides, you know what they say about assumptions, don't you? So I tell you what. Here's the damn manual. You read it and tell me if there is anything that I missed. Okay. (smile)

Geez Louise. There is this thing called marketing. It means that anything with a 5 or 7 after the name (your heart rate monitors) is bound to have a crapload more features than anything with a 2 after it (my heart rate monitor).

Deep exhale. Ahhh. I feel better. Now you have a nice day. :-)

(Really, And read that manual if you doubt me.)
Do I offend?Sintesi
Feb 12, 2003 3:08 PM
Sniff. Sniff. Checking my armpits.

Didn't mean to sound patronizing but it SURE ENDED UP THAT WAY! I know your a technical maven. You know I'm a resident dingbat. I couldn't understand my HRM manual, except for the zone setting so I threw it away. Shouldn't assume people are as dense as me.

Anyhoo, your hrm sucks, made for babies who are afraid to excercise, throw it in lake Michigan. Who ever heard of a basic HRM that doesn't have 1 lousy programmable zone?
As long as you have to go back to Performance........MR_GRUMPY
Feb 10, 2003 4:23 PM
Just exchange the SI. for the house brand Axiom HR150. It's on sale in the catalog for $50. If it's not that price in the store, just make them price match it. You can set the zones to whatever you want, and the battery in the chest strap is replaceable. One good thing about Performance, is that if the HRM ever craps out, you can always take it back and tell them that you aren't satisfied.
I hate to admit it, but I worked part time at three of the Performance retail shops, so I know what type of people they hire to work the floor. Which shop didn't help you ?
As long as you have to go back to Performance........ColnagoDreamin
Feb 10, 2003 4:36 PM
Which Performance do you work at. I ride with a couple of guys from the NB store.
As long as you have to go back to Performance........MR_GRUMPY
Feb 10, 2003 5:08 PM
I retired (to save my sanity) over 2 years ago. I worked at the Schaumberg store (closed), Park Ridge store (closed) and finally , at the Northbrook store.
I probably could write a book about the strange things that happened at the different stores, but that has already been done.
When people bought tires and needed them glued on, they had to wait until it was my night to work. Most of the people there was MTN bike riders. I was the only roadie.
As long as you have to go back to Performance........ColnagoDreamin
Feb 10, 2003 6:20 PM
What is up with Carol Ann who works there? She has no sense of humor at all.
Supergo HRM any good?komatiite
Feb 10, 2003 6:38 PM
They have a HRM for $40 including chest strap an dhandlebar mount. anyone have any experience with these? im looking for a good, CHEAP first HRM.
As long as you have to go back to Performance........MR_GRUMPY
Feb 10, 2003 7:13 PM
I've seen so many managers come and go there that I can't really remember her. She might have been coming in the door when I was going out.
Speaking of Performance, I was down at the Naperville store 2 or 3 weeks ago. Many of the people who I talked to, had zero bike knowledge. It's a great place if you know what you want and don't have any questions. Just before I left, I found one person who knew bikes.
As long as you have to go back to Performance........ColnagoDreamin
Feb 11, 2003 4:59 AM
Naperville is Carol Ann's store. Northbrook has a new manager everytime you turn around. They went through four managers last year. I never go to the Lincoln Park store.
As long as you have to go back to Performance........MR_GRUMPY
Feb 11, 2003 5:29 AM
When I was at Northbrook, it was only 3 a year.
As long as you have to go back to Performance........ColnagoDreamin
Feb 11, 2003 6:00 AM
That store is the worst of the bunch in Chicago. I went in there one day and there was a spiked red headed kid in there who is one of the mechanics doing stunts in the middle of the showroom on his BMX bike.
As long as you have to go back to Performance........MR_GRUMPY
Feb 11, 2003 11:05 AM
Every Performance store that I worked at had a kid like that.
LOL. Thats where I wasKristin
Feb 11, 2003 6:53 AM
I bumped into a guy who used to work at Bike Specialities that was bought out by Bike Source, then became Arlington Bike for a while before completely closing. The whole Chicagoland LBS scene seems like a really boring soap opera to me. Theres always all these rumors flying around. Though I do enjoy the Spokes gossip.
Feb 11, 2003 7:02 AM
Ah, The Spokes bunch. It has been a while since they have appeared on the board. I have never done much business with them. Found them to be very friendly, almost wonder to the point if they are homosexual men who run it. Always calling other men in the store handsome and stuff. Seem like nice guys none the less. The store is unorganized though. A lot of the bikes looked like they weren't taken care of very well. Bike Source was a good shop. I recently drove by the shop on 63rd and 83, I can't recall the name, to find that it too has closed its doors. They had a beautiful shop. Wasn't it called Blazing Saddles?
You're not talking about the shop in Hinsdale are you?Kristin
Feb 11, 2003 7:17 AM
That one (I think in Hinsdale, but perhaps in Claredon Hills) was called Hartleys and I believe its now closed to--the phone is disconnected.

The Spokes guys have never had any problems with manners; but they're sort of a strange lot. Sammy & his brother own the shop--or perhaps just the brother owns it. I think their better at schmoozing people than anything else--which is probably what you hear their banter--but I'm not confident that they are experts on bike sizing. I know Sammy tried to sell me a 3 year old frame for more than it was worth. I posted the setup & price here and it was balked at.
You're not talking about the shop in Hinsdale are you?ColnagoDreamin
Feb 11, 2003 7:26 AM
What kind of bike did he try to sale you and for how much?

No the bike shop I am talking about was by Dominics and the American Sandwich Factory on Route 83 and 63rd. I am sure it was called Blazing Saddles. They sold Bianchis and Steelmans in there. Very cool and clean shop. I drove by there last month, and they were empty. They had a temporary holiday store set up. I am a bit surprised about Hartly's. It was a nice little shop who sold Bianchi and Cannondales in downtown Hindale just south of the tracks. I know Chad Hartley is racing professional now. He had a good season last year. That is the owners nephew, I believe. I never saw much traffic in there whenever I dropped by.
It was a 2 year old Zurich frameKristin
Feb 11, 2003 7:35 AM
It was a 2 year old Zurich built up with a Tourmelet stock kit for $1150.

Here's the original thread:
TJeanloz "Sweet Deal or No???" 3/19/01 6:10am
It was a 2 year old Zurich frameColnagoDreamin
Feb 11, 2003 7:48 AM
I noticed the couple of times I went into their store that some of their stock was dated, and didn't look all that great to be honest. It was kind of like a used car lot.
What's the big deal about programmable zones?OldEdScott
Feb 11, 2003 5:08 AM
It's just a noisy nuisance. Disable the zone function, mount the thing on your handlebars and look at it occasionally. Pretty soon you'll know instinctively if you're approaching your low end or high end, and won't have to suffer that dastardly beep-beep-beeping toward the top of your favorite hill, or while you're just soft pedaling easily and taking in the scenery.

Bells and whistles on HRMs are just distractions. I disabled the beep-beep-beep on mine after about a week. That was three years ago. All you need to know is your heart rate, big clear numbers on a display. In this case, simple is preferable and cheaper is usually better.
Agree. Sigma PC 14=cheap+works. nmcastrello
Feb 11, 2003 5:32 AM
Yup - Sigma PC 14. Works well and superb VFM (nm)GileyD
Feb 11, 2003 5:45 AM
Another vote for simple--Polar BeatContinental
Feb 11, 2003 7:17 AM
What's with the complexity? I've never had a problem remembering my target ranges for various workouts, and I've never been so out-of-it that I don't know if the reading is within range.
Ciclosport CP-29kgrider
Feb 11, 2003 8:36 AM
Ciclosport CP-29......$149, 3 year warranty, digital transmission, error correction between watch and strap, user replaceable batteries with out voiding warranty, microscopic chest strap. Only negatives I've found are that the watch body is a little wide and makes the band only fit smaller wrists.....I think you can purchase a longer band and the bike mount was not the nice rubber one pictured on the was a cheap piece of foam. I have used it since early December and no signs of interferance at all. The digital signal is so strong it will pick-up 10 feet away!

My $.02