New Heartrate/Cadence/power/GPS COMPUTER

May 20, 2010
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Hi Guys,

Going to upgrade this week, currently using a cateye wireless strada...what would ye reccommend... Are the Garmin cracked up to all there meant to be? And any idea on this new Byron? Looking for advice on what to buy,,,

Thanks,
 
Jun 13, 2010
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I love garmin, super easy to navigate, no sensors on the bike or wheel magnets to deal with, moves between bikes super easy. I also have paired mine up with a SRM worked perfect from day one. If you don't need the maps get the edge 500 all the info, least expensive. Besides you get maps once off the bike via google maps or the garmin connect software.
 
Jun 3, 2010
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Another recommendation for Garmin Edge 500. Everything I want, in the order I want, and nothing I don't.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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+1 Garmin Edge 500.

It can sometimes freeze if you are riding a long course on it, but you just need to switch it off and on to clear that problem.

Other than that, configurable screens, great ability to load workouts onto it that you can then follow VERY easily, good course tracking and a small unit that doesnt feel like a brick on the bars. oh and unlike the Polars it can talk to any ANT+ device. Excellent
 
Aug 5, 2009
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+1 for the Garmin Edge 500.

The only caveat is that I would recommend getting the GSC-10 sensor and not rely on the GPS for ground speed. I live in Silicon Valley and the redwood forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains here are dense enough that getting a continuous GPS signal required for speed is sometimes problematic.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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would agree with that. I have the speed/cadence sensor on my race bike but on my commute/trainer I just use the GPS data. Where I live it is accurate enough for all but really serious interval training but I did notice in the mountains a week back that it got lost in a deep gully on the switchbacks up the climb (found itself quickly a minute later though when I cam back out)
 
Jul 4, 2009
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Boeing said:
Do not get anything Polar
Overall, I have okay luck with my Polar products through out the years (20+ years on owning their range of products). I am currently still using an S720i for biking and running and it works well. But they are definetly behind the curve on current product trends in the cycling world. Garmin seems to be the one that is leading in my opinion. Anyone have a recomendation on a multi-use device? Biking, running, etc.
 
Aug 13, 2009
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L29205 said:
Overall, I have okay luck with my Polar products through out the years (20+ years on owning their range of products). I am currently still using an S720i for biking and running and it works well. But they are definetly behind the curve on current product trends in the cycling world. Garmin seems to be the one that is leading in my opinion. Anyone have a recomendation on a multi-use device? Biking, running, etc.
I use my Garmin for running as well. When you upload it to the web tool you can change the activity to running and it will give you pace etc.

I will never buy another Polar product. Ridiculously hard to set up, horrible customer support.
 
Feb 16, 2011
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L29205 said:
Overall, I have okay luck with my Polar products through out the years (20+ years on owning their range of products). I am currently still using an S720i for biking and running and it works well. But they are definetly behind the curve on current product trends in the cycling world. Garmin seems to be the one that is leading in my opinion. Anyone have a recomendation on a multi-use device? Biking, running, etc.
I've just bought a Polar RS800CX to use for cycling and running with an S3 footpod to measure speed, distance, pace (min/km) stride, cadence when running. I choose it because it's a watch that can be used in a number of ways. It has an astonishing number of functions, esp in regards to fitness and training. I agree with RaceRadio that it is fiddly as hell to set up and the information you need isn't easy to find in the user manual.

http://www.polaraustralia.com.au/au-en/products/maximize_performance/running_multisport/RS800CX

For cycling I didn't wan't to replace my trusty computer and just wanted HR and elevation/gradient %. If you check Polar's site it says it does all this, but you have to dig deep to find out you need an optional speed sensor to get gradient (you won't find it in the link above.)

What turned me off Garmin is the unreliability of the GPS sensor. It tends to cut out and can show some irregularities with speed. When that technology improves it will be perfect.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Edge 500 is great. Did not want the 800 since %99 of my rides I know where I am going. Simple setup, well constructed, easy to connect to your computer including a mac.
I have a Polar 710 with the dedicated IR sensor that no longer works for me. I have upgraded all the computers to 64 bit operating systems and Polar won't provide drivers for the IR sensor. They actually told someone that it is time to upgrade anyway. I could create a 32 bit virtual environment to load the polar software and drivers for the IR sensor but I think Polar is right. It is time to take my perfectly functional 710 and just throw it away. i mean who thinks a
$500 electronic toy that has never given a problem and works perfectly shouldn't just be throw away because there are no new drivers for the computer interface or work with a mac.
Polar may have set a standard for HR monitors but fail in customer satisfaction, special unsupported drivers and crap attitude toward their customers.
 
Jul 4, 2009
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Master50 said:
Edge 500 is great. Did not want the 800 since %99 of my rides I know where I am going. Simple setup, well constructed, easy to connect to your computer including a mac.
I have a Polar 710 with the dedicated IR sensor that no longer works for me. I have upgraded all the computers to 64 bit operating systems and Polar won't provide drivers for the IR sensor. They actually told someone that it is time to upgrade anyway. I could create a 32 bit virtual environment to load the polar software and drivers for the IR sensor but I think Polar is right. It is time to take my perfectly functional 710 and just throw it away. i mean who thinks a
$500 electronic toy that has never given a problem and works perfectly shouldn't just be throw away because there are no new drivers for the computer interface or work with a mac.
Polar may have set a standard for HR monitors but fail in customer satisfaction, special unsupported drivers and crap attitude toward their customers.
That is one of the reasons I am considering dumping the 720 that I currently have. I cannot belive that they are not willing to get their driver digitally signed to support the 64bit OS's. I ended up having to move my software to an old windows 2003 server I have running on my network in order to get it to work correctly again. I have looked into disabling the certificate checks on windows 7 64bit but I still have been able to find out if that will allow it to work.:(
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Master50 said:
I have a Polar 710 with the dedicated IR sensor that no longer works for me. I have upgraded all the computers to 64 bit operating systems and Polar won't provide drivers for the IR sensor. They actually told someone that it is time to upgrade anyway. I could create a 32 bit virtual environment to load the polar software and drivers for the IR sensor but I think Polar is right. It is time to take my perfectly functional 710 and just throw it away. i mean who thinks a
$500 electronic toy that has never given a problem and works perfectly shouldn't just be throw away because there are no new drivers for the computer interface or work with a mac.
Polar may have set a standard for HR monitors but fail in customer satisfaction, special unsupported drivers and crap attitude toward their customers.
My 700 is what soured me on Polar. I had a ton of problems with it; and what really p!ssed me off was that at the time I bought it, it was their top end product. The problems that I can remember are:

* IR interface issues. The interface did not work with certain operating systems, starting with XP.

* The transmitter in the speed sensor was underpowered. The sensor needed to be placed as close to the watch as possible. Even then it could be flaky. So people posted instructions on the Internet about how to open the sensor and change a jumper to increase the power. This was something Polar should have discovered if they had done adequate testing of the product.

* The chest strap was hyper sensitive to changes in skin temperature. During windy spring days, there were times when I would take a zig-zag route and I could predict when the heart rate data would cut out. I could be going west the wind would hit me in the chest, cool my skin, and the heart rate data would stop. Turn north and it would start working again. When doing a series of west then north then west turns to get ten miles north-west, it was annoying as hell.

* The chest strap was not very flexible. When traill running or even riding out of the saddle, movements of my torso could cause the strap to move slightly and that caused the heart rate data to stop. It could take quite a while for the HRM display to get going again.

* If the watch could not pick up HRM data for five minutes then it would shut down, including shutting down the recording. Later models changed the five minute time to twenty or thirty because of this.

* I decided that I would be smart about the strap issues I was having by ordering the Wearlink strap, which was almost all flexible cloth except for small transmitter in the center. It had the added benefit of being able to replace the battery. The strap, which was non-replacable, came in size M-XXL. This struck me as a really really stupid size range. With some use and sweat, the strap stretches out and it no longer fits medium. How about putting medium, you know, the average size, in the middle of the freaking range?

* Most of the problems I saw with heart rate display I think were caused by the embedded software in the device. As near as I could tell, the watch uses a window of many beats to determine the heart rate. If the time interval between two beats changes during the window then the software decides that it cannot determine an average heart rate within the window, so it enlarges the window or starts a new window.

The end result has several bad effects. First, the heart rate display is slow to update. My older Polars would register fairly instantaneous changes in heart rate. I could easily notch my effort up or down slightly while climbing and watch my heart rate quickly change. My 700 would often take significant amounts of time to show a change in heart rate. Second, the HRM display was flaky. A loss of a beat or two of heart rate data would cause the receiver to take a bunch of time to relock on a heart rate. Three, rapidly rising or falling heart rates would cause the display to display the HR in a stair step like fashion. Heart rate could go from 132 to 143 to 157 with no intermediate rates even though the changes were taking place over a minute or so. There were times when I would peg my effort at the end of running or at the top of a climb. The rapid rise in HR would cause the display to stick to the number before max effort; and after stopping, the rapidly falling HR would prevent a number from being displayed until the rate of decline had slowed. At that point my HR would be sub 120, and I would never get to see my max HR. Four, the flakiness of the HR often made recorded workouts useless because of the amount of bad data.

I do think a bunch of the problems I had were due to crappy software on the watch.

* There were times when I just wanted to use the watch to display altitude and temperature. The display of those would not stay on unless there was HR data being detected.

I think there were other problems I cannot think of at the moment. The experience did sell me on the concept of using really simple HRMs without all the bells and whistles.
 
Feb 16, 2011
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Just an update on the Polar RS800CX I got on Friday.

Today is Sunday and I'm pretty disappointed in the product. The problems began on Friday night when I attempted to use the HRM. The guide says to wet and wear the strap and press the red OK button, wait 15 sec and your HR would appear. WIthin that time I kept getting the 'check wearlink' message. The machine was not detecting the transmitter. I read a bit further and it's mentioned that as the product is distibuted with batteries in place, they may not last long. So I attempted to remove the battery from the chest transmitter. That was not an easy job.

For a more detailed explanation I downloaded the full user manual. The 'Getting Started' info at the beginning is the same as the quick start booklet supplied with the product. It says in there any sensors sold as a package are already set to work with the watch. I doubted this to be true as the HR transmitter - in Polar's own words the 'core of system' and as Brodeal pointed out, the other functions won't work without this - didn't work as described.


It's not until page 44 of 59 in the manual that it's mentioned that the watch has to 'learn' to 'speak' to a new transmitter. I went thru this process and, thankfully, the machine began to work.

It strikes me as absurd that such a critcal function isn't mentioned in the beginning of the manual and that the information to make the unit even begin to work is buried in the last quarter of the download-only manual. Crazy.

Then the real trouble started.

At first the large, red OK button on the face of the watch worked normally. That is, it worked the first time the button was pushed. Even from the off, however, this button which turns the watch on and is critical in its every, myriad function, felt mushy to the touch.

As I was setting up the watch this button began to fail. I'd have to press it two, three, four, five times for it to work. Sometimes it would take a dozen pushes. One time I counted 33 presses before the unit would work. Just imagine the start of a race with this thing! Standing there at the start line pressing the infernal button while your competitors and the race itself disappears up the road.

I don't have to imagine this. It happened to me on Saturday morning. My running group was not impressed with this thing, the top-of-the-line product from Polar.

Tomorrow I will be sending it back for a full refund. I don't expect any hassles at all from the distributor. Just imagine the audacity. Then again, if they're anything like the products they sell...
 
Apr 5, 2010
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Weird, I've had a number of polar hrm watches and never had a problem with any of them.

I wouldn't go with any polar product for the bike. Even without the kinds of problems described here, they just appear inferior to other products (Garmin in particular). Couple a Garmin with a powertap and I don't what else you could want (well, maybe an SRM!).
 
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