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You did not specify which computer you have. For example with a Garmin you can buy it without HRM and/or Cadence but add them both later. What computer do you have.

Cadence is very nice to have when working out on a trainer. I rarely look at my cadence when on the road.

A HRM is nice to be able to gauge your effort/ride intensity.
 

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Neither or both

edhchoe said:
I have neither. My computer only gives me trip info and speed. Can I add HRM and/or Cadence or do I have to get a whole new system?
It mostly depends on how experienced you are. Cadence comes with experience, and if you have learned to spin, then you pretty much know what it is without a readout. If you are not experienced, then having a cadence readout on your computer can help you learn to spin. Obviously, you can count your cadence against 10 seconds on your watch and know what you are doing.

Not so with HR, though "perceived exertion" has been shown to be pretty accurate. I had been riding many years when I got an HRM, and my reaction was essentially "So, that is my HR when I'm going that hard." IOW, my perceived exertion was already telling me how hard I was going. Just as with the cadence readout, if you are in the learning phase, then an HRM can be instructive.
 

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If I had to write a reply, it would be word for word from Kerry Irons. I vote HRM, an experienced rider knows his cadence.

Cadence is learned and what you feel comfortable with. If your cadence is too slow and you can't spin faster, you aren't. As you become a stronger rider, your cadence will become faster once you are aware that you are suppose to have a faster cadence.

HR fluctuates but it can be controlled by you. The more you ride, the lower your HR will become. You can see yourself getting into shape and the improvements you are making.For longer rides you can monitor your HR to keep it low so you can control the amount of carbs you burn and keep lower than your LT lactate threshold level.
 

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Kerry Irons said:
It mostly depends on how experienced you are. Cadence comes with experience, and if you have learned to spin, then you pretty much know what it is without a readout. If you are not experienced, then having a cadence readout on your computer can help you learn to spin. Obviously, you can count your cadence against 10 seconds on your watch and know what you are doing.

Not so with HR, though "perceived exertion" has been shown to be pretty accurate. I had been riding many years when I got an HRM, and my reaction was essentially "So, that is my HR when I'm going that hard." IOW, my perceived exertion was already telling me how hard I was going. Just as with the cadence readout, if you are in the learning phase, then an HRM can be instructive.
HRM is also pretty useful for racing (especially hill climbs or TT) where you know your threshold (AT) and don't want to blow up by redlining your heart too long. Cadence is worthless IMO.
 

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Should...

Bocephus Jones II said:
HRM is also pretty useful for racing (especially hill climbs or TT) where you know your threshold (AT) and don't want to blow up by redlining your heart too long. Cadence is worthless IMO.
Should probably never look at the old HRM when racing. We do what we do to win. HRM be damned.
 

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lawrence said:
If I had to write a reply, it would be word for word from Kerry Irons. I vote HRM, an experienced rider knows his cadence.

Cadence is learned and what you feel comfortable with. If your cadence is too slow and you can't spin faster, you aren't. As you become a stronger rider, your cadence will become faster once you are aware that you are suppose to have a faster cadence.

HR fluctuates but it can be controlled by you. The more you ride, the lower your HR will become. You can see yourself getting into shape and the improvements you are making.For longer rides you can monitor your HR to keep it low so you can control the amount of carbs you burn and keep lower than your LT lactate threshold level.
IMO, heart rate is the more important of the two. I bought a new computer with cadence for my new bike this spring just to see what my actual cadence was. I thought I was a spinner, and by manual count I came up with 80+ RPM most of the time. The cadence monitor on my computer confirmed that I actually settle in a little higher than that in the mid 90's most of the time. After a few rides of seeing the same readings over and over I now seldom bother to look at cadence. It was a novelty, and the novelty wore off. At least that was the case for me. On the other hand, the computer with cadence was only about a $10 premium over the none cadence model (wired), so it was not a big deal money wise.

Later,

Jay B.
 

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HR is definitely the more important. As Alex points out it does have many limitations but as long as you understand those it is crucial if you are hoping to train effectively and efficiently. So many people ride ridiculous amounts of kilometers in group rides but never actually do any focused training, you can ride half as much as someone and beat them easily if you train efficiently.

A HR monitor is very good in determining your training zones, such as recovery, lactic threshold and VO2 Max. Every book I have read on cycling performance, including Lance Armstrong's, refers to heart rate analysis as an extremely important part of any training regime.

I purchased a Garmin and use Sportstrack to analyse my data and I have never looked back, the best investment I have ever made. People spend thousands of dollars on equipment for minuscule advantages when at the end of the day it comes down to the engine. Learning to train that engine effectively will give you ten fold improvement over any equipment you can buy.
 

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lawrence said:
If I had to write a reply, it would be word for word from Kerry Irons. I vote HRM, an experienced rider knows his cadence.

Cadence is learned and what you feel comfortable with. If your cadence is too slow and you can't spin faster, you aren't. As you become a stronger rider, your cadence will become faster once you are aware that you are suppose to have a faster cadence.

HR fluctuates but it can be controlled by you. The more you ride, the lower your HR will become. You can see yourself getting into shape and the improvements you are making.For longer rides you can monitor your HR to keep it low so you can control the amount of carbs you burn and keep lower than your LT lactate threshold level.
Getting an HRM did indeed aid me in getting more fit, but I didn't notice my HR going down - it actually went up. As my power and endurance increased I simply got more comfortable maintaining high HR's, and stayed there longer. When I first started using the HRM, my rides would most often conclude with an average HR of 80%, and that felt like a pretty strenuous workout, but now my average HR at the end of the same rides is often 92%. Yeah, I know what you're saying - for any given power output your HR will decrease as you get more fit, but riders who push themselves according to feel will simply push harder as their fitness improves and never notice their HR going down.
 

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you can try to state it very simply, but I don't think there is anything simple about training with HR or PE. sometimes in the first 30mins warmup, and HR of 140 feels "hard". I might get some LA before it starts clearing properly. does that mean I should do my intervals that day at 140 because it feels "hard". why would anyone voluntarily go back to the dark ages of training. I hear alot of comments like "just eat good food" and "get on your bike and ride". and might as well find some old wool jerseys to wear as well, and how about a "hair net". my point is that you can choose to go old-school if you want to, but its a tough argument to make that your results will be as efficiently attained as someone using modern tools and testing. Years ago I was a big weight lifter. I "went hard" all the time. my best gains however were when years later I settled down and worked each body part 1 day per week. same thing on a bike. I used to go way to hard too often. I now use my HRM just as much stay under a limit, as I do to train LT and V02max. I think very, very few of us know our bodies so well that we can ride a sustained effort for 5-20mins at a level just below the blow-point without any tools(HRM, power, etc). I sure as heck can't. that said. just because I can ride one day at an HR between 170-185 does not mean in anway that a week later I can repeat the performance exactly. I may be a PE of 9 with an HR of 160. that tells me immediately that I am tired, and need a rest day. without HR, I might assume that everything was fine, and that my HR was much higher do to my PE.

RE cadence: just count for 10 secs every so often. after awhile you will know what climbing at 78 feels like, and spinning at 120. no problem
 

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magnolialover said:
Should probably never look at the old HRM when racing. We do what we do to win. HRM be damned.
How about in a high altitude hill climb? If you blow at altitude you're finished for the day.
 

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What am I missing about cadence?

A cadence function never seemed very useful to me. After you've ridden awhile you develop a feel for how fast you're pedaling, and you can always count the revs in, say, 10 seconds and multiply. Granted, I don't train very hard anymore, but it just seems like a needless complication.
 

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I didn't read all the replies so this may have already been covered.

The HRM is really useful for empirical measurement for training. This is especially critical for the easy days. It's way too easy to overtrain on days you should be going light. The HRM lets you know right where you should be and if you're going too hard. Also useful for tracking your results over time, e.g. doing your favorite loop measuring not just time but also average heart rate. You can use perceived exertion for today's ride but it's really difficult to compare today's perceived exertion with the same route you did last month. Granted a power meter is more accurate but that's a device that costs as much as a decent entry level bike where as an HRM can be had for less than $100. I would rate the HRM very useful.

Cadence is a nice to have but as always it depends. If you have perfectly smooth efficient spin, you don't need to worry about it. However if you want to work on your cadence, measurement may be helpful but optional. I would rate this as somewhat useful.

You would probably be looking at a new system but it depends what you have now.
 

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They are both useful learning tools. One illuminating drill is ride as fast as you can at various HR levels. You will probably find that there is a specific cadence that gives you the highest speed at a given Heart Rate. Use these tools to develop you most efficient pace. After a couple of months of using these tools, you won't need either of them ever again. You will simply know.
 
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