When I opened the box for my Polar 720i and looked at the instructions, I thought, “this looks complicated,” but if you can work a computer, which you are doing at the moment, or a mobile phone, you can use this heart rate monitor with ease.
HEART RATE MONITOR, IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT, THIS IS THE MONITOR TO GET.
HOW TO SET UP
Fitting the computer on your bike is very easy. It comes with a handlebar bracket for the watch-monitor, and the speed sensor zip-ties to the forks. The space between the sensor and the wheel magnet has to be within 0.2 and 5 mm, you’ll know if this is correct as there is a small light on the sensor that flashes when the magnet passes.
The chest strap goes on your chest, and that’s it. You have to enter your setting into the watch; this is as simple as setting up your mobile phone and is fun, then its time to get going.
On the road
OK so you’re on your favorite ride, what is your monitor going to tell you?
Well, it will tell you everything you’ll ever need to know, first and most importantly your pulse so you can keep track of your training, this would be on the bottom line of the display.
The middle line is best for your training time, but if you prefer, you can have speed, lap time, or time of day.
The top line can have time, lap-time, calories burnt, trip distance, speed, average speed, maximum speed, and altitude, I’ve found the speed to be the best thing to have at the top and training time in the middle and the pulse at the bottom.
When your out training, you don’t need to know all this stuff, but when you come home, you can download all the information to your PC. You can do it via an infrared connection, which I’m lucky enough to have on my laptop, or you have to buy a Polar IR interface to plug in a USB port, or you can use the Polar Uplink that connects via the speakers using sound.
When you’ve downloaded to your training diary, you have all the information at your fingertips.
The main graph for today’s training has all your details, including:- pulse, distance, speed, altitude, temperature, time, calories burnt, ascent, and descent.
All of that day’s performance is in front of you and can be printed out or sent to your coach. This is great for improvement or for your coach to tell you that you are not training hard enough!
There are two optional extras with the Polar 720i heart rate monitor. First you could get a cadence sensor, this work similarly to the speed but counts your pedal revs, this is useful to get a nice pedaling rhythm, you could be pedaling like Lance in the mountains of the Tour.
More importantly, if you are using a home trainer in bad weather, the cadence meter helps you to keep a steady rate.
The other optional extra is the Polar Power Output Sensor; this measures the vibrations of the chain, so it gives you your power output and the balance, or misbalance between your right and left leg, then you can build up the weaker leg.
How good is the Polar 720i?
In my opinion, this heart rate monitor has everything, the problem is that maybe you don’t need all this information, but if you haven’t got it, you can’t look at it, so you might as well have it.
My only criticism would be that you can’t quickly zero the trip distances counter every time you ride, but this a small problem and unimportant. If you can afford it, this is the monitor to get.
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