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  1. #1
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    HRM for multiple bikes

    I want a heart rate monitor (and cyclometer if possible) that I can move between two bikes. I have a friend with a Garmin that he moves between a bunch of bikes (bought multiple mounts) but I don't need the GPS aspect (nor do I want to pay for it again since my phone/Strava has that but don't want to use my phone for this purpose in case I crash--don't want to break my phone).


    So assuming the phone and a $300+ GPS system isn't an option, are there cyclometers with heart rate functionality that I can move between bikes easily? I like how the Garmin just twists in and out of the mount, but don't want to spend that much since I don't need the GPS aspect.


    I have a cyclometer on my road bike that this would replace and I don't care about real time speed for my MTB so convenient wheel size changes aren't a concern. I don't really want an HRM watch...

  2. #2
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    I use a Wahoo Fitness Blue HR monitor for riding both of my bikes.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by beshannon View Post
    I use a Wahoo Fitness Blue HR monitor for riding both of my bikes.
    That looks like its for use with your phone right? I don't want to put my phone in a position to be damaged in the event of a crash. Would rather replace a $100 unit than a $700 phone.

    I want to be able to see my heart rate in real time...

  4. #4
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    There are bike computers that will record only HR.

    Let me cover some of the advantages of having GPS data WITH your HR data.

    First of all, your HR will be saved in a file along with each position point the GPS saves. So you will have nice, regular intervals for your HR data you can analyze later. This presents you with additional opportunities for data analysis so you can determine why your HR was what it was, and how to improve your workouts. You can look at HR alongside your speed, elevation (pretty useful), cadence (very useful), and power (most useful).

    Contrast that with a basic HRM (in the $100 range you stated) that will not allow you to do that sort of data analysis: You get to see your current HR, see what HR zone you might be in, and possibly get alerts regarding any parameters you may have set (which you can get with a GPS-enabled HRM). You might find a HRM at that price that records data at pre-set regular intervals, but all it's going to tell you is your HR. You won't get any more information than that.

    You also don't have to spend $300+ to get a GPS-enabled HRM. Look at the Garmin Forerunner series. Especially some of the older models. The Forerunner 305 has been discontinued for some time, but does everything you want and you should be able to find them for less than $200. They are still popular, so the price can be kinda high for a discontinued electronic item. I got a Garmin Forerunner 310XT (a triathlon watch) for $169 as a refurbished unit. It did not come with the HRM strap, but I can use any ANT+ HRM strap and I can use other sensors with it, too (foot pod for running, speed/cad sensors for cycling, and power meters). Additionally, my bathroom scale (Tanita) is also ANT+, so my Forerunner will operate my scale and download data for me. It will also wirelessly transmit data to Garmin Connect when it's within range of my computer if it is on and the ANT+ stick is attached.

    I can use it on as many bikes as I want, but I am more limited by the number of sensors I pair it with. It will only pair with so many speed/cad sensors and power meters. But that's okay. I have no desire to use a power meter and very little desire to use a speed/cad sensor.

  5. #5
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    I think Polar might do heart rate and speed/cadence without GPS. I like my ForeRunner a lot. Which cycle computer functions do you want?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    I think Polar might do heart rate and speed/cadence without GPS. I like my ForeRunner a lot. Which cycle computer functions do you want?
    Road bike: Speed and heart rate in real time, that's it. Strava will give me averages and elevation that I don't need to see mid-ride.

    MTB: Heart rate in real time, that's it. Strava will give me everything else later.

    I'll keep my cell phone in my pack with Strava running and for emergencies either way and don't want more than one unit on my handlebars... so it would need to replace the one on my road bike and be easily moved (<10 seconds) to my mountain bike.

    Thanks guys.

  7. #7
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    My goal is mostly to establish what range wears me out so I can stay just underneath it and last longer. I've read that there's usually a point that, when exceeded, it really takes it out of you. So if you train at 90-95% of this figure you can go much longer. This way I can recognize when I'm getting close to it and back off (e.g. climbing or sprinting).

    Is this stupid? Is there a better method? Tracking HR against elevation and speed would be nice but I'm only partially convinced it would be worth the premium. Let me know what you guys think.

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    HRM for multiple bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    Road bike: Speed and heart rate in real time, that's it. Strava will give me averages and elevation that I don't need to see mid-ride.

    MTB: Heart rate in real time, that's it. Strava will give me everything else later.

    I'll keep my cell phone in my pack with Strava running and for emergencies either way and don't want more than one unit on my handlebars... so it would need to replace the one on my road bike and be easily moved (<10 seconds) to my mountain bike.

    Thanks guys.
    I thought you disn't want to use your phone with Strava?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    I thought you disn't want to use your phone with Strava?
    No I just don't want it mounted on my handle bars. It's in the pack under my saddle... much safer for it back there. But back there it doesn't do me any good mid-ride when I want to see heart rate in real time for both bikes and speed on my road bike.

    How about this one?

    Cateye Strada Digital Wireless | Cateye | Brand | www.PricePoint.com

  10. #10
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    HRM for multiple bikes

    Look into a remote display for your phone. This is a new class of devices just starting to hit the market. Keep in mind that the phone's gps will be less accurate when it's in the pack and will reduce the accuracy of any analysis you do.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    Look into a remote display for your phone. This is a new class of devices just starting to hit the market. Keep in mind that the phone's gps will be less accurate when it's in the pack and will reduce the accuracy of any analysis you do.
    Seems like the cost of that + the heart rate sensor itself would be knocking at the door of the cost of a standalone Garmin unit. Couldn't find any remote displays on a quick Google search.

    Do you mean it would be less accurate because the signal is obstructed or its physical location on the bike?

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    HRM for multiple bikes

    Gps signals are easily obstructed. Putting the phone in your pack will degrade accuracy. It does not help that phones do not have equal gps accuracy to standalone units to begin with.

    So since you actually do want to use your phone, do you plan on wearing two straps or the same strap for both devices? Because it seems now like that will be your biggest issue.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    Gps signals are easily obstructed. Putting the phone in your pack will degrade accuracy. It does not help that phones do not have equal gps accuracy to standalone units to begin with.

    So since you actually do want to use your phone, do you plan on wearing two straps or the same strap for both devices? Because it seems now like that will be your biggest issue.
    If there REALLY is value in having your heart rate mapped against elevation/speed (for someone who doesn't race or intend to), then I'll just get a Garmin 500.

    Otherwise I'll just use Strava for speed/distance/elevation and a separate unit for real time heart rate, for which I would wear the strap. Unless I really should have Strava keep track of it... then I'll use the Garmin 500 for everything and the phone would just be for emergency calls.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    My goal is mostly to establish what range wears me out so I can stay just underneath it and last longer. I've read that there's usually a point that, when exceeded, it really takes it out of you. So if you train at 90-95% of this figure you can go much longer. This way I can recognize when I'm getting close to it and back off (e.g. climbing or sprinting).

    Is this stupid? Is there a better method? Tracking HR against elevation and speed would be nice but I'm only partially convinced it would be worth the premium. Let me know what you guys think.
    There's an easier method. Two, actually.

    My training book has the reader set zones based on a 30 minute time trial. One rides as hard as one can for a half hour on flat terrain. The average heart rate from the latter 20 minutes is one's lactate threshold rate. There's a table in the book that gives zones based on that, but the author, Joe Friel has published the formula in his blog, so you don't even have to buy the book.

    The other method is just not to bury yourself on your rides. There's a cliche that most amateur endurance athletes already know their zones by rate of perceived exertion. They're just bad at staying in them consistently without a little help. Certainly it's true of me. You should really be able to tell if you're riding at an unsustainable pace. What gets me is stuff like knowing I can hold out until the top of a hill and then shifting up as I go over it and never giving myself a chance to recover. So one of the things I find really helpful about using a heart rate monitor is that it reminds me when I start to wander off my planned workout.

    For me, a heart rate monitor is useless for sprinting. My heart takes about a minute to settle at a new level. A sprint is shorter than that. Though the track is certainly amusing afterwards. :-)

    I don't find speed a useful measurement on my bike. Too many disturbances.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    HRM for multiple bikes

    IMO, if you are running a GPS and a HRM at the same time, you are begging to link/associate the data. You really do get more out of it if you do. It allows you to not stare at your instantaneous HR on the ride and focus on the ride.

    You can know the circumstances behind your HR at a specific time for as long as you save the data and make changes to the way you do things. Some of the Garmins let you set up fairly advanced alerts to draw your attention when necessary. A cheap HRM (a sub $100 HRM is generally pretty cheap) may not give you many options for alerts.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    There's an easier method. Two, actually.

    My training book has the reader set zones based on a 30 minute time trial. One rides as hard as one can for a half hour on flat terrain. The average heart rate from the latter 20 minutes is one's lactate threshold rate. There's a table in the book that gives zones based on that, but the author, Joe Friel has published the formula in his blog, so you don't even have to buy the book.

    The other method is just not to bury yourself on your rides. There's a cliche that most amateur endurance athletes already know their zones by rate of perceived exertion. They're just bad at staying in them consistently without a little help. Certainly it's true of me. You should really be able to tell if you're riding at an unsustainable pace. What gets me is stuff like knowing I can hold out until the top of a hill and then shifting up as I go over it and never giving myself a chance to recover. So one of the things I find really helpful about using a heart rate monitor is that it reminds me when I start to wander off my planned workout.

    For me, a heart rate monitor is useless for sprinting. My heart takes about a minute to settle at a new level. A sprint is shorter than that. Though the track is certainly amusing afterwards. :-)

    I don't find speed a useful measurement on my bike. Too many disturbances.
    Particularly on my MTB I agree about speed, but on my road bike I ride the same 20-30 miles every time I go out depending on how much time I have and it has a whopping 30 ft of climbing according to Strava... so besides the obvious wind/nutrition/rest factors, it's nice to see if I can maintain or improve on certain sections.

    I think I'll just get the Cateye that I linked earlier, since I can exchange the one that I have now (same model minus HRM) and just pay the difference and buy a second mount. It takes just a couple seconds to disconnect and reconnect the unit.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    IMO, if you are running a GPS and a HRM at the same time, you are begging to link/associate the data. You really do get more out of it if you do. It allows you to not stare at your instantaneous HR on the ride and focus on the ride.

    You can know the circumstances behind your HR at a specific time for as long as you save the data and make changes to the way you do things. Some of the Garmins let you set up fairly advanced alerts to draw your attention when necessary. A cheap HRM (a sub $100 HRM is generally pretty cheap) may not give you many options for alerts.
    Are there Garmin options other than the 500 model that are cheaper? It's looking like you can get the bare unit for $250 then have to buy the HRM band itself separately or buy the kit that includes it for $350... kind of a hard sell when my other option is pay the $30 difference between the model I have now and the one with HRM. Yeah I'd like to have them linked but at 10x the cost? I'd have to consider that...

    edit: looks like the cheapest Garmin that supports heart rate is the Edge 500 model @ $249 + separate HRM or kit @ $349

  18. #18
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    Cateye Stealth 50

    GPS, Ant+, HRM, power, cadence, etc.

    I think they are about $150.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    That looks like its for use with your phone right? I don't want to put my phone in a position to be damaged in the event of a crash. Would rather replace a $100 unit than a $700 phone.

    I want to be able to see my heart rate in real time...
    Ok.

    I use a Wahoo RFLKT to see the data and the phone stays in a pocket.

    Good luck

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    Quote Originally Posted by beshannon View Post
    Ok.

    I use a Wahoo RFLKT to see the data and the phone stays in a pocket.

    Good luck
    That's actually pretty sweet. I'll look into that.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    edit: looks like the cheapest Garmin that supports heart rate is the Edge 500 model @ $249 + separate HRM or kit @ $349
    Expand your options. The Edge series are not the only ones that work on the bike. I use a Forerunner 310XT. Bought it refurbed for $160 or so. It did not come with a strap, but it's still a significant margin cheaper than the Edge 500. Also consider an Edge or Forerunner 305. They're older, but do all of what you want.

    Keep in mind that stowing the phone in your pack will reduce GPS accuracy because the antenna will not have an optimal view of the satellites.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    Expand your options. The Edge series are not the only ones that work on the bike. I use a Forerunner 310XT. Bought it refurbed for $160 or so. It did not come with a strap, but it's still a significant margin cheaper than the Edge 500. Also consider an Edge or Forerunner 305. They're older, but do all of what you want.

    Keep in mind that stowing the phone in your pack will reduce GPS accuracy because the antenna will not have an optimal view of the satellites.
    I'm not too concerned with GPS accuracy at that level... I've run the same trail with my phone on the bars (before choosing to not do that) and there was a 10' variance in climbing reported for the whole trail compared to the phone in the bag.

    Thanks for the GPS suggestions I'll check those out.

  23. #23
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    HRM for multiple bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    Expand your options. The Edge series are not the only ones that work on the bike. I use a Forerunner 310XT. Bought it refurbed for $160 or so. It did not come with a strap, but it's still a significant margin cheaper than the Edge 500. Also consider an Edge or Forerunner 305. They're older, but do all of what you want.

    Keep in mind that stowing the phone in your pack will reduce GPS accuracy because the antenna will not have an optimal view of the satellites.
    I ran a Garmin Forerunner 210 for years mtb'ing, and now I have a 510, and the only real difference is more climbing accuracy and more "windows" in which to see your data. On a budget, the 210/310 series will work just fine for what you're looking for.
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  24. #24
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    If you are wanting to monitor your HR in real time I would suggest whatever device you get get one that has a large display so you can view your HR at a quick glance. I was using a Sigma cycle computer / HR strap before my edge 800 purchase and was not able to quickly glance at my HR reading when riding singletrack on the mtb as the digits were too small. My edge I normal have set on 3 windows and very easy to glance down and see the readings

    "it's nice to see if I can maintain or improve on certain sections." Some garmins you can setup virtual partner. Those certain sections you can create private/puplic segments on strava and using raceshape vitual partner tool VPU - Virtual Partner Uploader for Strava rides create courses of the segments from one of your previous rides or another members ride to load onto the garmin. You can then in real time over the course with virtual partner turned on see how well you are going against the virtual partner. It'll show how many seconds in front or behind you are on the course/segment/section.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sslikesnake View Post
    I ran a Garmin Forerunner 210 for years mtb'ing, and now I have a 510, and the only real difference is more climbing accuracy and more "windows" in which to see your data. On a budget, the 210/310 series will work just fine for what you're looking for.
    Are there any in this price range that are a standalone unit, not a wrist watch?

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