Heart-rate Monitors

Aug 17, 2007
121
0
36
Yotsuya, Tokyo
#1
I'm thinking of joining the 20th century (one century at a time, please!) by getting a basic heart rate monitor to help me train in my correct zones. Polar USA is the company that was heralded in the book I am reading. However, I'm positive that some of you have opinions on this subject.

What heart rate monitor should I get if I want a good basic model with room to grow into more advanced features?

Is it available here in Tokyo with instructions in English?

A heart-felt (but un-monitored) thanks in advance.
 

Terry

Speeding Up
Jan 13, 2007
60
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26
44
Tokyo
www.team-nfcc.com
#2
Hi adrew,

I use a Polar s625x since a year. I am very satisfied with it. I bought it in tokyo, the instruction was in japanese but I could downlaod english one from Polar website.

The Polar 720 should be fine for you.


Thierry
 
Jan 14, 2007
2,514
213
83
Noda
japanichiban.com
#3
I also have a Polar 720Si. Very happy with it. My dog bit the glass and it leaked water and Polar in Japan replaced it for free. ( I bought it online form the States at almost half the price).
The 2nd one has been going well. Changed the battery once.
I bought one for my wife as well.

I was going to change over to a Garmin with GPS next time but Polar sent me a newsletter yesterday and now they have a GPS model. I'll study up on that.

However my 720 is fine and I'll wait till it dies before I get a new one. (Now 3 years old).

It's good to test your Max, monitor your cadence and if you have an indoor trainer it is essential for proper interval training and progress data.

I should use mine more (seriously). I get lazy with my cadence and I like it for keeping my cadence at around 100.
 
Aug 17, 2007
121
0
36
Yotsuya, Tokyo
#5
I also have a Polar 720Si. Very happy with it. ( I bought it online form the States at almost half the price).
The 2nd one has been going well. Changed the battery once.

However my 720 is fine and I'll wait till it dies before I get a new one. (Now 3 years old).

It's good to test your Max, monitor your cadence and if you have an indoor trainer it is essential for proper interval training and progress data.

I should use mine more (seriously). I get lazy with my cadence and I like it for keeping my cadence at around 100.
Thanks, Edogawakikkomon! I have now two recos for the 720, so I will check it out on their website.
 

jam

Warming-Up
Sep 14, 2007
10
0
0
Ichikawa
#7
I believe Polar is a Finnish company. Polar USA is just their North American
Distributor. However, from what I've seen (I bought a Polar S150 in Feb.)
their stuff is cheapest in the States. I looked at them in Helsinki last
December and was amazed to find prices higher than the U.S. Not as
high as they are here, of course, but you'd think they'd be cheaper in
the country of manufacture. (But maybe they're made in China?)

Anyway, I got the cheapest one I could find that included bike
functions because I wasn't sure I'd use it. It's on my handlebar and
I use it regularly as a speedometer and timer etc. but I seldom wear
the heart sensor. I got mine through eBay for about $75.

There are at least four just like it (new in box) online now for $71.87
(plus $20.83 for shipping to Japan). That's Y10,670 at todays rate.
I don't know how this compares since I haven't shopped locally, but
I'd bet it's cheaper.

Here's an example:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120161754971

If the link doesn't work, just go to ebay.com and search for "Polar S150".

- jam
 
Aug 17, 2007
121
0
36
Yotsuya, Tokyo
#8
Edogawakikkomon,

The RS800 system complete looks awesome (at least, the PR on the site is awesome), but it's worth more than my entire bike!

I'd feel like a first-timer at a crit with a brand new titanium-frame bike...

My wife is already making noises about the cash outlay on my hobbies. But, to be fair to her, my road bike was her engagement present to me (Perhaps she just wanted to assure that I'd be out of the house on a regular basis?). So, the HRM will have to be a little more modest in cost.
 
Aug 17, 2007
121
0
36
Yotsuya, Tokyo
#9
Jam,

Thanks for the heads-up on Ebay sources. I'll take a look at other Polar offerings. How reliable has been the model you got? I read some scathing reviews on some Polar products, but they were not dated, so they may have referred to older gen mods.

Thanks,
Andrew
 

jam

Warming-Up
Sep 14, 2007
10
0
0
Ichikawa
#10
Andrew -

I've had two problems with mine that aren't directly the fault of
Polar. That is, unless you want to fault their lack of foresight on
real world conditions.

First, when last I wrapped my handlebar, I ran the tape a bit too
far and left only about three centimeters bare near the stem.
That's plenty for the Polar bracket, which basically uses the
watchband to wrap itself around the plastic bit that serves as a
mount and contact block. The trouble was that my brake cable
comes out from under the cork tape right where the buckle on the
watchband wants to be. And the brake housing moves around
with a fair bit of force while steering. If I put the watchband
under the cable housing (between it and the bar) I can't aim the
display face at my face properly. So I've put it around the whole
bundle. What happens is that when I turn the steerer too far one
way or the other, the brake housing pulls on the band and
sometimes the magnet contracts lose connection and the thing
thinks I've come to a stop. (Bip bip beeeeeep!)

That vexed me the whole first month until I finally gave-in and
peeled back the cork a bit.

The second peccadillo was the comm-link from my PC. In the
S150 the data exchange is one way: the PC can send settings,
exercise targets, custom graphics and animations etc. to the
unit via modem-like sounds thru the PC speaker. (Feedback is
manual. You read the face of the unit and type the relevant data
into whatever training/analysis software you use.) And I was
not successful until I discovered two things: 1) that my laptop's
speakers weren't up to the job, (headphones cured that) and to
hit the <SEND> button every time I changed some parameter,
not just when I was all done. (Very unlike Windows that way.)

It is kind of cool having the unit's standby display (when it's
static or in wris****ch mode) show my name in katakana.

Overall I'm happy with it. Very glad I didn't drop $350 on the
unit I looked at before shopping around.

- jam
 
Aug 17, 2007
121
0
36
Yotsuya, Tokyo
#11
Thanks, Jam.

Food for thought. I'm with you on a conservative expenditure as I am really only using the HRM mode for the most part. I track most of my "training" (read "recreational dabbling in health-related matters") on an Excel spread sheet, so com-link, cadence & wattage might be overkill. Still, some cool features go a long way to furthering the illusion of being a serious cyclist!

Andrew (the Amateur)
 

evan06

Warming-Up
Jul 23, 2007
103
0
0
Yokosuka
#12
How much is too much as far as accessories to aid in training more effectively? Many of the top coaches are now recommending adding adding powermeter systems to help train more effectively. Wow, now not only must I worry about maintaining my heart rate at various levels of training, but I must now concentrate on the wattage I output? Well I cannot see paying almost $4000 for a system that MAY help me ride faster and stronger.

My issue with HRM's is that they seem not to work all the time for me or that I get alot of false readings. This effect alone is very annoying. Since I run alot in addition to cycling I have opted for the Garmin system. Yes, in cities with high rises getting an optimum line of site is not all that great. I train more effectively now with my Garmin w/out HRM because I know what pace I need to run at for various levels of training. The same applies for when i ride. If you shop around you can find some sweet deals on a Garmin system that makes it a comparable choice to a HRM system.

However, I guess if you want to train at the high end then investing in all these gizmos may be beneficial for those seeking to become more competitive.

Ride on

James
 
Jan 14, 2007
2,514
213
83
Noda
japanichiban.com
#13
Adding the power accessories to my bike seems like a waste of time and only clutters up the bike more so.
I would like to know my wattage and I've heard it's a better judge of your fitness than what your heart is doing... however I'm going to just go on my heart rate and not worry about wattage.

One guy at training this morning said we were going too fast and when his heart went over 180 he pulled out. I told him he shouldn't have looked at his HRM and he may have been able to hang on as it eased up towards the end anyway.

I was watching my HRM as well and did exactly the same thing. We'd dropped everybody else and there were 3 of us with a km to go. I chickened out as it was windy and I was hurting. The 2 others battled on. They must have been hurting more than I was though as I almost caught up to them at the finish line by myself. HRMs are good for training but they can psyche you out when the going gets tough.
I know I can battle on for a long time at 178bpm and my current known max is 194bpm and in a sprint I go at about 184bpm. In a race I try and keep under 170bpm by going for higher cadences when my heart is going up rather than heavier gears. When I'm in a race and look down and see I'm at 160bpm and we are near the end...I feel very confident... if I see 180...I give up...

If I'm fit it all works out well. Based on my work out this morning I can see I need to do more erratic interval training so that my heart gets used to going hard when it doesn't want to and recovering quickly when it gets a chance. Therefore my HRM is my only guage when I'm on my indoor roller of my progress...watts wouldn't make much sense to me I don't think...

For me cadence and HR are the two main things to look at....
cadence.
80 minimum, warming up or cooling down.
90 for lazy riding.
100 for serious training and racing.
120 for the burst befoe the sprint and when you start to go for the harder gears at top speed...

When your legs are used to going 100rpm, when it counts, it won't matter how many watts you're putting out. You'll probably be pumping out enough to run your TV or more......
 
Aug 17, 2007
121
0
36
Yotsuya, Tokyo
#14
Thanks, everybody, who contributed to this thread.

It's been instructive. I am going to hold off buying an HRM for now, and drop the money instead into upgrading my bike. I have a feeling that slightly better brakes (applied all too often along Route 246) and more frequent, more challenging rides will probably do this rookie more good than a fancy new piece of electronic hardware he hardly knows how to use!

Keep the beat, people, and the rhythm comes naturally, they say!

P.S. Sure would be useful if TCC had its own jerseys: it would be great to know who the friendlys are out there on the roads.
 

Wolfman

Speeding Up
Jul 31, 2007
631
18
38
Suginamiku
#15
I've been actively considering the cs400 by polar (if anyone has any arguments against i'd be very pleased to learn of them). The main appeal has been the combination of functions including HRM, incline and ascent, cadence, as well as the software pack as I'm too lazy to use excel sheets and just want to automatically input the data into the computer.
In my efforts so far I've noticed that it sells for 319 dollars in the states, as opposed to 50,000 yen here. It seems like a lot of the sellers in the states don't ship this product overseas, and it's the same in the UK (primarily amazon). I wonder if this a polar thing.