Entry Level Polar Cycling Heart Rate Monitor And Bike Computer.
PRODUCT: Polar CS100 Heart Rate Monitor Bike Computer, With Chest Strap, With Polar Bike Mount, With Polar Speed Sensor, With Heart Rate Information Per Lap And Overall
3 stars off 17 customer reviews on Amazon.
Bike Mounted Heart Rate Monitor Versus Normal Wrist Watch Heart Rate Monitor: From The Cyclist’s Point Of View.
If you know that at least 80% of your exercising (HRM use) is going to be done outdoors on a bicycle, you need to get a cycling specific heart rate monitor.
The cyclist’s benefits of having a cycling specific (handlebar mounted) heart rate monitor computer are:
- Do not have to release your bike handlebar grip, of the hand with a wrist watch heart rate monitor, to see your heart rate, exercise time or any other information. It is all displayed in plain view on your handlebars on the beautiful big CS100 display.
- Have your real-time speed and distance travelled when installed with the bike computer speed sensor, which is included. The speed sensor is a two piece gadget: magnet that attaches to your wheel spoke and rotates with the wheel and a sensor that attaches to your forks (stationary) and picks up the magnet every time it rotates. The sensor sends this information to the CS100 computer, which calculates speed and distance – knowing your bike wheel diameter.
- The buttons on the bike computer are much bigger than wrist watch monitors making it easier for us bikers to change screens or view data while staying on the bike. Even wearing full finger covering gloves, these buttons are easy enough to pinpoint during rides.
That’s A Wallop Of Benefits! I Want One!
What do I get if I upgrade to the Polar CS200cad cycling heart rate monitor?
- Cadence sensor
- Weekly history (7 data logging files instead of just 1)
- Polarpersonaltrainer.com training load and other tracking applications (CS100 does not appear to be compatible with polarpersonaltrainer.com applications).
If you wish to fork out another $50-$100 you can get the model up CS200cad. The “cad” stands for cadence (number of revolutions of your pedals per minute). One of the CS200cad perks is that it comes stock with a cadence sensor. You can purchase the sensor for the CS100 but you would have to pay $23 for it.
The weekly history data can be useful. Especially if you upload on a regular basis to the polar training website. I mean you can always keep a diary if you so please to save the money.
What cool features come with the basic CS100 bike mounted heart rate monitor?
Stopwatch with full heart rate per lap functionality. There are many things you can do with the heart rate per lap/stopwatch feature. It really depends on how and where you ride your bike.
Personally, I head to the base of a street that is about 1.5km long and has a steep incline like you have never seen. I ride up the hill as fast I can then once at the top I can push the middle button on the CS100 to say first lap done. The CS100 then begins recording lap 2, which will be my recovery ride back to the base of the hill. Then I can press the button again once at the base to go through a sort of sprinting bike training program. I love to have that data to see which lap I maxed out and to see my recovery values for every single lap.
Polar OwnZone personal heart rate zone trainer. The OwnZone feature is really just a way to smoothly reach your intended heart rate zone, which is going to usually be 65% – 85% (based on age). When you go to start recording your workout and press OwnZone you are meant to follow through a series of “levels” to allow OwnZone to calculate your zones based on your real-time physiological state. So if it works properly, it is meant to override your age based heart rate zones to better suite your current situation (stress, heart rate variability).
Speed during and distance travelled of bike ride. Every bike computer needs to have these metrics. The Polar team has done a good job bringing the most important data to the front screen of the computer. As you can see in the CS100 photo above the most dominating metrics displayed are heart rate and speed.
With the hit of 1 button (the right button) you can toggle screens to view:
Note: Heart rate is always displayed on the screen in the same place.
- Average speed
- Calories burned
- Time of day
- Heart rate limits.
You will have to read the manual to get a full understanding how to navigate around the CS100 most easily.
Looking At The Reviews
The CS100 has the same amount of 4 and 5 star reviews as it has 1 and 2 star reviews.
The main issue from all the critical reviews is the speed sensor connecting to the bike computer especially on bikes with front fork suspension.
The user manual gives clear guidelines for the installation of the speed sensor: It has to be no more than 30-40cm away from the bike computer if installed on the opposite side – and 50cm if installed on same side. Don’t worry about picturing that as the manual includes sketches.
If you have a bike with front fork suspension, you have to be aware of the fact that you will have extra travel (distance) between your handlebars and forks than in normal cycling bikes. Install the computer and speed sensor according to the instruction manual and you should have no issues.
Let’s be honest here: Not many people read the user manual before operating their cool new gadget. Do you? Do you think at least half of the people who had issues with the speed sensor had it installed incorrectly? I do.
- Full heart rate functionality: avg and max per lap and per workout, heart rate zones with alarms and OwnZone to calculate your zones on the spot
- Calories burned
- Recos 1 training routine at a time (only 1)
- Stopwatch with 50 lap capability
- User replaceable battery
- Water resistant
The Speed Sensor
- Attaches to bike fork using cable ties and includes a magnet that attaches to wheel spoke
- Measures real-time speed and distance data
Twist Lock Bike Mount
- Attaches to bike handlebars using some cable ties and rubber components (bike computer is placed in this mount)
In the box:
- 1 Polar CS100 cycling heart rate monitor
- 1 Chest strap
- 1 Speed sensor (not a cadence sensor)
- 1 Twist lock bike mount (mount computer to handlebars)
- 1 User manual
I Want To Start Cycle Training The Smart Way – The Heart Rate Way!
*Amazon Prices Vary Over Time. The price listed here may have gone up or down when you read this. Check Amazon page linked to for latest price. Cheers.