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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    32

    Heart Rate Monitors - How To Choose

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    Please excuse the long post, but it's complicated...

    Note: I've edited it from my earlier post because I got more information since then.

    I'm using TrainerRoad and have a Bontrager Duotrap S speed / cadence sensor which is Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible. I've decided that I need to think about getting a HRM for use with TrainerRoad and outside. I think it will help me to make sure that I'm not overdoing (or undergoing) my training.

    Having done some research, I'm considering getting the ANT+ / Bluetooth compatible Mio Link HRM (Wristband). I've decided that I don't want to use a chest strap. Has anyone tried one this HRM?

    Now I'm thinking about whether a bike computer is worth buying or not, since I could theoretically use an app like Strava on my iPhone 5S to track speed / cadence and heart rate. If I was to use Strava via my iPhone 5S only, would I need a Wahoo ANT+ dongle and a 30-Pin to Lightening adaptor as well? This is because I have a feeling that I can only connect one device via Bluetooth at once (e.g. the HRM). Could I then connect another device simultaneously via ANT+ (e.g. my speed/cadence sensor)?

    Or if I buy a bike computer, can I get one that will pair with both my HRM and speed / cadence sensor simultaneously (via ANT+, I presume)? Would I be able to download the info to an app like Strava later?

    Are there any computers that you recommend? I would want to buy something decent, but not too expensive. I realise that if I get the Mio, then I need to rule out Polar, as Polar technology is propriety.

    Cheers.
    Last edited by Dubz; 01-05-2015 at 10:56 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,501
    Here's my only real contribution, and this is really based on your asking about calories in your other thread. You'll have much more accurate calorie approximations from a HRM that gives you the R-R interval and can approximate your VO2Max. That requires a chest strap - wrist sensors are optical and can't sense the electrical pulses from your heart.


    If you get a bike computer, I'd highly recommend one of the older Garmins, like the 800 or 805. NOS computers can be had fairly cheap as everyone wants to upgrade to the latest and buggiest.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    55
    On my phone (android) I can have several bluetooth devices connected at a time. At least, I can sync my fitbit while streaming music to speakers and sending pictures to my computer, that sort of thing.

    However, I concur with Oakleaf that a HR strap is the way to go. The newer ones aren't that uncomfortable, although I am glad to take it off the same way I'm glad to take off my bra at the end of the workout.

    Definitely go with an older model for now. I bought my past computers on ebay. You could also try craigslist, or a lot of places like clever training and heart rate monitors usa have discount codes you can use.
    2007 Trek 7.2 FX
    2015 Felt F85X with Specialized Oura seat, Specialized Road Pro II handlebars, and Look Quartz pedals

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,897
    I no longer use a HRM because I never found that they did anything for me and I prefer to just ride my bike and not worry about it. But I can say that I have a Garmin Edge 500 which works great with the Bontrager Duotrap, and I could have gotten a HRM to go with it if I wanted one. And I'm pretty sure you can upload the data from the Garmin to Strava. I personally only upload it to Garmin Connect.

    You might find some helpful information in DC Rainmaker's reviews.

    http://www.dcrainmaker.com/

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver 2003 aluminum road bike
    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    32
    Thanks, everyone. Great advice.

    @Oakleaf: Good point about the calories burned.

    Having thought about what everyone's said, I think that I'm going to get a Garmin Edge 500 on its own (with the mount included) as there are some really good deals out there at the moment (25% off) and it has good reviews. If I go for a bundle, it would include a speed / cadence sensor (which I don't need) and the HRM chest strap. It'll work out cheaper to get the ANT+ HRM chest strap separately. This way, I can get the Black / Silver Garmin 500 which would look better with my bike.

    Are there any particular chest straps which you find comfortable with a sports bra? I'm not sure what the differences between them are. I'm big on top, so comfort's important!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,501
    I think it's more about the bra than about the strap. I'm small but floppy, plus I run, so we probably aren't wearing the same bras. But all the bras I wear have some space between the breasts and above the band where my HRM modules fit just fine, both the old style Garmin hard strap and their new HRM-Run (which the newer style straps seem to chafe intolerably for anyone with a prominent xiphoid, but that might be a problem unique to runners, and IAE a little tape over the sharp edge fixes that).


    Just to add something else into the mix: http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2015/01/a...-activity.html - but it's Bluetooth only.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Columbus, IN
    Posts
    216
    You can buy the Garmin heart rate strap separately (you don't have to get the bundle with the Edge) and they pair just fine. Eventually the HR straps wear out/stop connecting as well (when that happens I get crazy HR readings -- like starting at 280, decreasing as I work harder) so I bout a separate Garmin heart rate strap at REI (I think about $75) and it paired easily with my Edge 800. I've also used the Wahoo bluetooh HR monitor successfully with both my Edge and my Garmin watch (FR 610).

    I wash my Garmin strap weekly (just throw the strap, without the monitor part) in the wash and let it air dry when done and I've found that to extend the life before it goes wonky. I didn't like the chest straps at first, but now I don't even notice they're there. I'm pretty well endowed, and they fit right below the bottom band of my sports bras. Occasionally if things shift (mainly with running, never biking) the strap will shift on top of the bottom band of the bra and then it stops reading but that only ever happens with yoga type tops with the built in shelf bras and I don't use those to run or bike that often since they're not very supportive.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    32
    Cheers, ladies.

    I ordered the unbundled Black / Silver Garmin Edge 500 and the Garmin Micro Mini USB ANT+ Stick. Got both for good prices. Loads of deals around at the moment.

    This is the kind of bra I wear. I'd prefer to just stay with what's comfortable if I can versus hunting down a special bra that takes HRMs. I think I'll just have to try it for myself and see.

    http://store.nike.com/gb/en_gb/pd/pr.../pgid-10105336

    Have you tried the premium Garmin soft strap? That seems to be the one that most people use. It has mixed reviews though.

    @Oakleaf: The product that was in the link you sent looked very interesting. I think the next few years will see some really cool products being launched in this space.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,897
    Quote Originally Posted by Dubz View Post
    Cheers, ladies.

    I ordered the unbundled Black / Silver Garmin Edge 500 and the Garmin Micro Mini USB ANT+ Stick. Got both for good prices. Loads of deals around at the moment.

    This is the kind of bra I wear. I'd prefer to just stay with what's comfortable if I can versus hunting down a special bra that takes HRMs. I think I'll just have to try it for myself and see.

    http://store.nike.com/gb/en_gb/pd/pr.../pgid-10105336

    Have you tried the premium Garmin soft strap? That seems to be the one that most people use. It has mixed reviews though.

    @Oakleaf: The product that was in the link you sent looked very interesting. I think the next few years will see some really cool products being launched in this space.
    Do you already have the Bontrager Duotrap? Does the Garmin ANT+ stick do something that that the Duotrap does not do?

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver 2003 aluminum road bike
    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    32
    @ny biker

    I have the Bontrager Duotrap S ANT+ / Bluetooth speed and cadence sensor fitted onto my bike already. But I need the Garmin ANT+ stick to pair the HRM chest strap with TrainerRoad, which I'm using for my Cyclops Fluid 2 trainer workouts.

    All the gadgets... It can get confusing!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    32
    Have now decided to cancel my Garmin order and get a HRM Chest Strap instead to use with my iPhone 5S and bike apps. I can always get a bike computer later. I'm considering getting the Wahoo Tickr HRM because it's Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible (if I did decide to get a Garmin Edge 500 later).

    Just wondering if it's possible to pair my Bontrager Duotrap S ANT+ / Bluetooth speed and cadence sensor and the Wahoo Tickr HRM simultaneously to my iPhone 5S via Bluetooth 4? Or do I need to also buy an ANT+ Adaptor to pair one while I pair the other via Bluetooth?

    There are so many apps out there. I just want one that records my route and where I can see my speed / cadence and heart rate. What do other people use?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,501
    Quote Originally Posted by ny biker View Post
    Does the Garmin ANT+ stick do something that that the Duotrap does not do?
    The ANT+ stick is a connectivity dongle for the receiving device, that's all. AFAIK there are no general purpose computers/tablets/phones that come with ANT+ connectivity. That's the main reason that, now that BTLE (Bluetooth Smart) allows for smaller sensing/sending devices, that a lot of the manufacturers are moving over to Bluetooth, where before, ANT+ had been the standard communication protocol for fitness devices for a long time.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,897
    Quote Originally Posted by Dubz View Post
    Have now decided to cancel my Garmin order and get a HRM Chest Strap instead to use with my iPhone 5S and bike apps. I can always get a bike computer later. I'm considering getting the Wahoo Tickr HRM because it's Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible (if I did decide to get a Garmin Edge 500 later).

    Just wondering if it's possible to pair my Bontrager Duotrap S ANT+ / Bluetooth speed and cadence sensor and the Wahoo Tickr HRM simultaneously to my iPhone 5S via Bluetooth 4? Or do I need to also buy an ANT+ Adaptor to pair one while I pair the other via Bluetooth?

    There are so many apps out there. I just want one that records my route and where I can see my speed / cadence and heart rate. What do other people use?
    I do not use any phone apps, because I don't want to deplete the battery. During bike rides, my priority is saving the phone if it is needed for important things -- calling 911, calling friends to locate them if they've gotten separated from the group, emailing my bike club's listserv for advice when I'm alone and stranded with a broken spoke, etc.

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver 2003 aluminum road bike
    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    I'm like NY. I don't use my phone for anything except phone/text when I'm riding, for all of the reasons she stated. I have a Garmin 1000, which could do all of the things you are talking about, but I only use it for distance, cadence, speed, and average, as well as downloading routes from Ride with GPS. I stopped using my HR monitor about 8 years ago. It never worked right, and I was just focusing on that. I've been exercising for 35 years; I know when I am working hard and when I need to back off, so RPE works fine for me. As far as calories burned, my take is that it's all wildly inaccurate, especially for someone who is five foot almost one and weighs between 105 and 109. I guess I sort of subscribe to RocknRoll Girl's theory.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura
    2017 Specialized Ariel Sport

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    32
    I've been asking about counting calories on another thread (some of you have kindly responded there too). The topic of HRMs has come up there as well. Thinking about what people have said there - and here - I'm in two minds now whether they're useful for my purposes or not. I think I need to read more and decide for myself. I'm pretty good at estimating my effort as I used to do a lot of running at one point.

    For the type of rides I plan on doing, my iPhone 5S battery should be fine. But I appreciate the need to be aware of battery issues etc. I will be keeping that in mind when I ride outside. As I said, I can always get a bike computer later.

 

 

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