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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hi,

Time for serious training. And for this i need a computer. I am under the impression that the most important features that I need for serious training are cadence and trip distance. I have looked at some Cateyes, Vettas and Polars. What are your thoughts about those?

also, are non-wireless computers really messy on a bike? I have heard nasty stuff about wireless reception and am leaning towards one with wires (relaibility instead of hip).

and finally heart rate monitors. How important are those for training?

thanks all
 

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Cowboy up
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My advice in general is to get something like a Cateye Astral 8 (with wires) and an inexpensive heart rate monitor. With both of those you get lots of functions for less than $100.

There are lots of different ways to train. You can do fine just enjoying the rides on day tours, group rides, club races and such without lots of gizmos. I find things such as speed, ave. speed, and distance interesting to note but I go mostly by time. If you move to a more structured training program you can make more use of the data.

Cadence is helpful especially if you don't have a lot of riding experience. It helps to remind you to shift or pick up the pace to keep yourself in a good range, and to confirm your perception of your cadence with a value. The jump in price for wireless cadence is not worth it in my opinion.

HR monitor can be used simply to help keep yourself in aerobic zone for base training. You can also do interval training with it. The main features are looking at it and seeing your heart rate while you are working out and determining your heart rate zones for different levels of effort.
 

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Art gives good advice. Personally, I look for both computers & HR monitors with big, easy to read numbers. I like simple displays. Some of them display 4-5 lines of info at a time. That's too much for me to decipher on a 45mph downhill with a graveled turn at the bottom. IMO, a quick glance should do it. No need to read a text book when riding.
 

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Art853 said:
My advice in general is to get something like a Cateye Astral 8 (with wires) and an inexpensive heart rate monitor.
I'll second this advice. Wired computers are superior, IMHO, since they give instant feedback, as opposed to wireless computers which "sample" less frequently to save transmitter batteries. Plus, wireless computers are more expensive, and you have to worry about batteries and interference. I have a Cateye Mity 8, which is the Astrale without cadence; it cost about $20 and is easy-to-read and ultra reliable.

If you want to spend money somewhere, spend it on a good Polar HRM. More money can buy you features like multiple training zones, data recording, etc. Don't bother with the cycling functions, since you'll already have that on your computer -- unless you plan on recording detailed speed/cadence data alongside your heart rate data for analysis later. For just basic HR data, one of Polar's cheap runners'/fitness models will do.

Cheers,
Ari
 

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Depending on what your goals are, your definition of "training" may differ greatly. For general fitness, a cyclocomputer with cadence is very helpful and probably all you need, even if you've been riding for a while. Computers are for taking the guesswork out of training while riding; may as well get one with cadence. You may know by feel that you're pedaling around 90, but you may indeed be pedaling either 85 or 100 depending on terrain and how intensely in-tune you are with your specific cadence. Almost no one can estimate cadence absolutely accurately all the time, and a few beats too high may mean that you're pushing an easier gear than you should be for a resistance workout or too slow for truly efficient pedaling (and to save your knees and tendons).

Training for racing--or if you're following a book on bike training for fitness or racing--will require close attention to heart rate. I have the Polar CS200cad, and the display size, set up, and sensibility of the modes/info layout is quite excellent. Took me a couple of days to get used to it all, but after that, I've been amazed at how easy and intuitive it is to get info from it. The display is large and displays HR, cadence (and not in cheesy smaller fonts like many), and any combination of current speed, exercise time, clock (time of day), avg. speed, HR zones, etc. Also has an easily set HR zone alarm to be your coach on the road and to keep you from going over or under your zone; makes training solo much more bearable, too, and allows you to keep your eyes on the road/scenery instead of glued to the computer screen. You can turn the alarm on for solo rides or off for group rides with friends.

The cadence does take a couple seconds to update while riding. Initially, this pissed me off and I felt robbed, but I'm used to it now and it's really quite alright by me, especially considering just how easy the whole unit is to use. After a ride, you can quickly and easily scan through all the pertinent information, including: avg. cadence, avg. HR, avg. speed, time in/above/below the specific zone, calories burned (estimated, of course, but helpful all the same), and other easily available info.

I swear by it. Looks great, no wires, easy to set up, easy to read on the road. Oh yeah: it has a backlight as well, which is a huge plus. Price around $150; shop around.

Hope this has helped a lot.
Nige
 
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