Heart rate monitors

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Rcartes
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Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 7:30pm

Heart rate monitors

Postby Rcartes » 5 Dec 2018, 11:33am

I'm thinking of getting one, but am bemused by the range of choice. Amazon, for example, lists dozens, many of them around £20-25, but the reviews seem mixed (but can you believe either the good or the bad ones? There's been so much cheating on this, with rival producers posting rotten reviews for other people's goods).

So does anyone have any recommendation for a (not too horribly expensive) heart rate monitor? I'm not bothered about other features like GPS (I have that on my phone), step measurement or blood pressure, etc, just the heart rate.
"....And Umpire Bucknor's trousers are filling with the wind." - Jonathan Agnew, TMS, November 2006.

gbnz
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Joined: 13 Sep 2008, 10:38am

Re: Heart rate monitors

Postby gbnz » 5 Dec 2018, 3:59pm

Won't recommend a specific model, that said I've found it worthwhile buying the cheapest/basic model of an established manufacturer such as Polar, rather than cheap unbranded copies.

Having used a HRM monitor for 18-19 years my original VDU monitor lasted a good few years of routine use/abuse. On replacement I had 2-3 cheap, non branded HRM monitors (Nb. Type of thing you'd pick up at Argo's et al as an own brand product, at a fraction of the price of the established manufactuer). Such HRM monitors survived a few months of routine use prior to failing.

In contrast the basic Polar model I currently have has survived a few years of routine use without an issue.

Norman H
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Re: Heart rate monitors

Postby Norman H » 5 Dec 2018, 5:30pm

I'd echo what gbnz says about established manufacturers. I've got a couple of Sigma HRM's. One is a basic wrist mounted model and the other is part of a wireless bike computer. The strap on the wrist watch broke recently but the HR functions on both are still working well after a dozen years or more.

These days I tend to use them only on the Turbo as I now use an ANT+ HR strap which will link to my GPS computers. ANT+ technology is probably more versatile than traditional HRM's, which typically have wireless protocol unique to individual manufacturers. Your mobile phone may well be ANT+ compatible.

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Rcartes
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Re: Heart rate monitors

Postby Rcartes » 7 Dec 2018, 12:17am

Two very helpful answers: thank you!
"....And Umpire Bucknor's trousers are filling with the wind." - Jonathan Agnew, TMS, November 2006.

Canuk
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Re: Heart rate monitors

Postby Canuk » 7 Dec 2018, 8:02am

My experience of heart rate monitors is this :

1: You will wear it for about two weeks, after that the thought of licking the chest strap and applying it clammy cold to your beating breast will fade. Then you need to fiddle about with it to get a good contact signal. Then you need to buy 3 batteries (two for the strap and one for the receiver when the run out : £15)

2. It's a novelty, unless you are training to race. It will then sit in a drawer (I have two) for ten years after which the batteries will have died, and then you will get a sudden notion to buy a new one.

3. Then you'll remember the above, and remind yourself that ultimately even the £15 one from Laldi's will suffer exactly the same fate.

Don't buy it!

De Sisti
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Joined: 17 Jun 2007, 6:03pm

Re: Heart rate monitors

Postby De Sisti » 7 Dec 2018, 9:07am

Canuk wrote:My experience of heart rate monitors is this :

1: You will wear it for about two weeks, after that the thought of licking the chest strap and applying it clammy cold to your beating breast will fade. Then you need to fiddle about with it to get a good contact signal. Then you need to buy 3 batteries (two for the strap and one for the receiver when the run out : £15)

2. It's a novelty, unless you are training to race. It will then sit in a drawer (I have two) for ten years after which the batteries will have died, and then you will get a sudden notion to buy a new one.

3. Then you'll remember the above, and remind yourself that ultimately even the £15 one from Laldi's will suffer exactly the same fate.

Don't buy it!

Your experience may not concur with of others who have bought one. Why would you want to lick
yours anyway? Weird :: :wink:

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foxyrider
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Re: Heart rate monitors

Postby foxyrider » 7 Dec 2018, 9:13am

Canuk wrote:My experience of heart rate monitors is this :

1: You will wear it for about two weeks, after that the thought of licking the chest strap and applying it clammy cold to your beating breast will fade. Then you need to fiddle about with it to get a good contact signal. Then you need to buy 3 batteries (two for the strap and one for the receiver when the run out : £15)

2. It's a novelty, unless you are training to race. It will then sit in a drawer (I have two) for ten years after which the batteries will have died, and then you will get a sudden notion to buy a new one.

3. Then you'll remember the above, and remind yourself that ultimately even the £15 one from Laldi's will suffer exactly the same fate.

Don't buy it!


They are much better these days - no licking straps required and i've never had a contact/signal issue since I started regularly using the function.

As to novelty - well maybe it is to some extent. OTOH I find it very useful to monitor my health and fitness. I don't ride to it but rather take note of the averages which can spot an issue before symptoms appear.

Not had to replace battery so far despite @ 650 hours of use.

You don't have to use one but I find it quite useful in monitoring my health.
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

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NUKe
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Re: Heart rate monitors

Postby NUKe » 7 Dec 2018, 10:19am

Canuk wrote:My experience of heart rate monitors is this :

1: You will wear it for about two weeks, after that the thought of licking the chest strap and applying it clammy cold to your beating breast will fade. Then you need to fiddle about with it to get a good contact signal. Then you need to buy 3 batteries (two for the strap and one for the receiver when the run out : £15)

2. It's a novelty, unless you are training to race. It will then sit in a drawer (I have two) for ten years after which the batteries will have died, and then you will get a sudden notion to buy a new one.

3. Then you'll remember the above, and remind yourself that ultimately even the £15 one from Laldi's will suffer exactly the same fate.

Don't buy it!

I sort of a agree with Canuk, if your talking about a chest one but a watch style one whilst a little more expensive, are a little more useable Garmin Vivosport or Vivosmart
would be my recommendation. fitbit is another possibility.

I have a Vivosport find it useful and wear it ever day. you can use it to check HR against route. The active will do this if you combine with your Phone GPS. I find the calorie count on long rides is useful indicator useful,

I think the Vivo active is available for around £80 if you snap up one the model 3 now being sold off.
NUKe
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whoof
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Joined: 29 Apr 2014, 2:13pm

Re: Heart rate monitors

Postby whoof » 7 Dec 2018, 11:13am

Rcartes wrote:Two very helpful answers: thank you!


If you still want one I've got Sigma one that I've never used. It will need batteries but I will put new ones in and test it before sending.
£10 posted.
If you're interested let me know and I'll take a photo and let you know the model.

althebike
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Re: Heart rate monitors

Postby althebike » 7 Dec 2018, 12:45pm

I used a garmin for years, I used it through my running career and also when I turned to cycling. As a runner I could judge to within a couple of beats, what I could maintain over any given distance, but for cycling, where undulations and accelerations are more frequent, the HR monitor became for an interesting toy than a useful tool. It is needed for heart rate based training, but I am not convinced it is a very precise way to train, it is certainly better than nothing.Zone 2 I can ride all day every day, too much zone 3 and I do not recover the next day, any more than a little riding in zone 4 and I can just manage alternate day riding.
I found the garmin device often gave false highs, it was affected by electrical interference, power lines , cables and so on. I now use a wahoo unit, I never moisten it before putting on, it is much more comfortable than the garmin ( on me) and gives a more steady reading. Regarding batteries, I brought a strip of 6 over 10 years ago, and still have a few left. They are currently under £1 each

hamster
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Re: Heart rate monitors

Postby hamster » 7 Dec 2018, 2:35pm

Chest ones remain the gold standard for accuracy and take the electric signals to the heart.
However wrist-mount ones can work well: they work on skin flush and need good contact with the skin as watch vibration lets stray light in. Depending on handlebar grip, wrist dimensions, exact watch shape and even blood vessel position then they may work well or not at all for you when riding.

Cheap chest ones use an analogue signal and tend to be more susceptible to interference (e.g. from phones, lights, overhead power lines etc). Polar ones use a digital link and are more robust to interference. Digital onnes also can be linked to tracking devices, which may be useful.

borisface
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Joined: 19 Feb 2010, 3:48pm

Re: Heart rate monitors

Postby borisface » 7 Dec 2018, 3:46pm

I bought my first HRM around 10 years ago and just bought a cheap watch-based HRM. The problem that I found that I only had a real time reading and couldn't download anything. I then graduated to a garmin non-gps watch which allowed me to download a file for later analysis and fitness tracking.
However, I then found that the download was just a fluctuating line which didn't tell me anything about my response to hills or descents, so I eventually graduated to a garmin gps which allowed me to download a file but also gave me an indication as to how my HR moved as a response to hill efforts and headwinds etc as I could tell where on my ride my Hr was highest and lowest etc. My advice would be simply buy a garmin gps or equivalent to avid the frustrations that I experienced.

Tenkaykev
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Joined: 9 Sep 2018, 2:57pm

Re: Heart rate monitors

Postby Tenkaykev » 7 Dec 2018, 5:49pm

To echo what althebike said, I too was a runner and am taking tentative steps in cycling since recently acquiring a folding bike.
I used to run with a Polar heart rate monitor and found it very reliable. It was quite a basic model but did the job well.

I'm not sure if it is the same with cycling as it is with running as I don't ( yet ) have the cycling experience, but your perceived effort often does not reflect your physiological effort. This used to make itself apparent when racing, I'd go through a stage of feeling good and think that I could maintain the pace for the whole race and then the wheels would come off and I'd do the " Survival Shuffle " for the last few miles. It was a tough lesson to learn and I'd forget from time to time and make the same mistake " This time it will be different " - it never was. ( There is the Mantra " listen to your body " ) I stopped listening to mine because it told me lies :-)

Going back into the mists of time, on one occasion I had entered the London to Brighton. I decided that as an exercise, I would ignore the time, not wear my running watch and simply run on Heart rate alone using my Polar Monitor. My plan was to keep it at a target rate of 135 bpm, if it dropped below 130 bpm I would consciously up the pace no matter how tired I thought I felt, and if it rose above 140 bpm I would ease off even if I felt strong. The run went well, and keeping an eye on the heart rate was a welcome distraction when it got a bit tough. I finished the run feeling quite fresh, and my recovery after the race was far more rapid than in any previous endurance event.

I now run with a Garmin 235 which has wrist based heart rate detection, not as accurate as a chest strap but this seems to constantly improving with each iteration of the hardware.

NewHorizon
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Re: Heart rate monitors

Postby NewHorizon » 7 Dec 2018, 7:55pm

I've used a Wahoo TICKR HRM for a couple of years and been pleased with it. It has the advantage of being both Bluetooth 4 and ANT+ and I've used both with different Garmin, Wahoo and Polar receivers without any issue at all - starts broadcasting both formats immediately it's put on. Still on the original battery as well. Using it with an ELEMNT Bolt and a Polar M400 at the moment (but not at the same time). Wahoo do several free and good HRM apps as well.
Last edited by NewHorizon on 8 Dec 2018, 9:07am, edited 1 time in total.

Canuk
Posts: 447
Joined: 4 Oct 2016, 11:43pm

Re: Heart rate monitors

Postby Canuk » 8 Dec 2018, 6:11am

De Sisti wrote:
Canuk wrote:My experience of heart rate monitors is this :

1: You will wear it for about two weeks, after that the thought of licking the chest strap and applying it clammy cold to your beating breast will fade. Then you need to fiddle about with it to get a good contact signal. Then you need to buy 3 batteries (two for the strap and one for the receiver when the run out : £15)

2. It's a novelty, unless you are training to race. It will then sit in a drawer (I have two) for ten years after which the batteries will have died, and then you will get a sudden notion to buy a new one.

3. Then you'll remember the above, and remind yourself that ultimately even the £15 one from Laldi's will suffer exactly the same fate.

Don't buy it!

Your experience may not concur with of others who have bought one. Why would you want to lick
yours anyway? Weird :: :wink:


Oh licking is in all the manuals, that is if you want to get a good cold frisson of a Saturday morning in winter :wink: FWIW I find that wrist based HRM can range from 'not as accurate' to as much use as a chocolate fireguard. Garmin and Fitbit are getting closer to chest strap monitors, but even a cheapo chest monitor will knock spots off a wrist one, that is if you don't mind licking the cold rubber strap beforehand!