Intro to Power Meters – Polar CS600 with Power

News Power Meters Series Product Review
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Alex from Silicon Valley Cycling Center continues our series of intros to power meters by giving a brief introduction, the Polar CS600 with Power and heart rate.

The CS600 measure power by using the Power Output Sensor W.I.N.D. direct from the chain, unlike other models that use the crank or hub. This precision system combines measures from two key factors: chain tension, (using a sensor on the chain stay) and chain speed (using a sensor on the rear pulley.) The polar is not only the lightest power meter in the series on your wallet, but it’s also the lightest system on your bike, at a measly 275 grams for the whole system installed. The system retails for $710.

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More detailed information including technical specifications from Polar.com – click here.

Stay tuned for the next installment, where we’ll start looking at the included software and how to utilize them to make sense of all this data being collected!

About the author: Thien Dinh

Thien Dinh gained most his cycling knowledge the old fashioned way, by immersing himself in the sport. From 2007 to early 2013, Thien served as RoadBikeReview Site Manager, riding daily while putting various cycling products through its paces. A native of California, Thien also enjoys tinkering with photography and discovering new music.


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  • bill says:

    I don’t believe that the WIND power unit will work properly the way it’s mounted in the picture. The unit has to be much closer to the chain — maximum 3 cm (according to the specs), and the closer the better (according to my experience). If too far, the readings will be inaccurate. If set up properly, though, the unit works well, although it is sort of ugly on the bike.

  • Cliff says:

    I bought two under recommendation that they “work”. I’ve found that getting them to work is near impossible… I’m constantly trying to get the power and candence to work at the start of rides and races. My pro bike mechanice won’t even install them. I wanted a system that didn’t constrain my wheel choices, when it works I like it. However, it is WAY more hassel that it is worth. Poor job from Polar in my opinion.

  • bill says:

    okay — here’s Polar’s dirty little secret. If you have the first generation of WIND units, you could have bum equipment. I have two — one works well. Really very well, actually. The other, not so much, which at first I thought might have been due to mounting issues. When I found myself talking to Polar Customer Service about how to set up the second bike function (which wasn’t hard — I was a little stupid), and he asked me the serial number of my power unit. I told him, and he said, “Send it back.” I’m still waiting to see what happens.

  • Matt says:

    I have had mine since October. Never had a problem with it. The 3 cm from the chain to the wind sensor is when the 11 or 12 on your cassette and small chain ring. Mine is about 1 cm when pedaling in the small/small.

  • David C says:

    I have used Polar WIND power for over 6 months now and am very impressed. I found an initial issue with the magnet strength that I was used on the drive crank; my magnet was so strong it was causing chain deflection. Other than that, no issues. I particularly like the analysis of L vs. R pedal stroke and (albeit slightly latent) the power seems to be consistent with effort (and also highly consistent with what I am able to achieve on a Computrainer). Recommended – especially for the price. Do be aware that WIND products won’t talk with the previous generation of hardware; in other words, if you want to wear one WIND HRM strap to do a triathlon SBR you will need a WIND compatible watch, your older generation watch won’t pick up the signal from your new WIND strap.

    Also, I had some comprehension issues in switching between two bikes – Polar Customer Service were very helpful and I got it resolved.

  • Jeff W says:

    The guy in the video makes it sound like it’s easy to properly set up. It’s not, but it can be done, though with little help from the included directions. Once set up properly, it works well. As one person mentioned, the first-round production of sensors had power/cadence dropout problems. Call customer support, and they will replace.

  • Brokerbiker says:

    The CS600 has worked very well for me and I have one of the early manufactured units. The only issues I have experienced is the speed unit battery did not last more than a few months. It is a sealed unit, which is a ‘planned obsolecense’ on Polar’s part. They replaced it free of charge. The AAA batteries in the Power unit and the battery in the CS600 head unit expire rather rapidly, but can be replaced by the owner.

  • V. Neks says:

    I have 2 WIND power sensors and 1 head unit. This is quite frankly the best computer I have ever used. The product is very easy to use and figure out, the setup is only hard if you are a complete idiot when it comes to technology.

    I find that their Customer/tech support is probably the best I have dealt with in the industry. Very responsive and knowledgeable. Top 2 companies to deal with IMO

  • Jeff W says:

    If it was so simple to set up (being a professed ‘non-idiot’), why do you even have experience with customer support? Do you even know if your CS600 is set up properly?

    It will work fine and give you power numbers when improperly set up, despite the directions which give few details on correct setup.

  • Rick says:

    Wow the price is still high, hope it will be down and reasonable for training only…do you know any cheaper around US$100 to 200 ??

  • Zender says:

    To measure watts, you gotta pay to play. For 200 bucks you can probably pick up a HRM that measures altitude. At least you can log that stuff for your training rides.

  • Mark says:

    Anyone try the Ibike?

  • Mark says:

    Anyone try the Ibike Pro wireless?

  • M says:

    We have two sets of CS600′s that are used on two tandems. Each person is assigned a computer which is moved between bikes. The CS600 allows one HRM to be assigned to each computer as well as up to 3 separate bikes, each with its own set of speed, power and cadence sensors. Both of the original power sensors that came with the units failed, but were quickly replaced by Polar USA with its online warranty system (took about 8 days, door to door). One power sensor was DOA out of the box and the other one lasted about 3 months, so we are on a second set of power sensors. All of the other original hardware continues to function. In general, we like the computers a great deal due to their long range and lack of cross-talk. The accuracy of the power measurements does not seem great, but we have triple cranks with wide range cassettes, so sometimes the sensor is quite far from the chain. For tandems, having the long range, interference-free 2.4 Ghz and coded HRM’s are great as well as the programmability on displays. All in all, I would give the CS600 pretty good marks, other than the very high price. Like most Polar products, the system is somewhat complex and requires time studying the manuals and getting used to the software and downloading of ride data.

  • James says:

    I have used one for about 9 months now. IMO this is the best bike computer on the market right now. I work in a LBS and we sell pretty much everything. Basic computers and power sensors.

    We sell more of these, and less times the customer comes back to us. And if they do its to rave about it.

    On another note, I deal with EVERY company in the bike industry. Im the buyer. Polar is the best company to deal with here in the US. My sales rep is ok, but the support crew is amazing. I found myself at one point calling them just to talk bikes.. I’m serious about that too!

  • Adam says:

    I currently have 2 of these units, I used 1 for about 3 months with no issues other than slight variances between 53-12 and 53-25 power on a trainer about 10% off, which is typical, Mabey polar could do some rough calculations and have a gear correction or somthing on a new model, would probley require another sensor or a way to tell gears. I do like the unit especially the plan an exercise and training diary, being a college student riding in group rides is difficult so the plans make it easy to keep a good pace and have a hard workout, like having your own coach right there. I had one small issue with one of my meter as it would randomly drop out and not read power or cadence then somtimes after fiddling with the connections would come back on. Eventually I tracked it down to my error not the units as I had a partially split power cable that would sometimes make contact other than that everything is working great. I rate the product at a 8.5 out of 10… Not always as acurate in every gear as a srm but cost 1/3rd as much.

  • M says:

    This is a follow-up to my August 14 post. Since then, one of the replaced power sensors has started to fail. In addition, one speed sensor failed and both HRM straps failed (but not the HRM itself). The power sensor cases leak moisture and are of a poor design. Polar needs to work on its hardware a little more.

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