How do I Choose the Best Cycling Heart Rate Monitor?

Dan Cavallari

A cycling heart rate monitor usually includes two parts: the chest belt and the receiver, which is very often in the form of a wristwatch. These two units work together to keep track of the cyclist's heart rate during strenuous exercise, and the information gleaned from the cycling heart rate monitor can help the cyclist train more efficiently. When choosing a cycling heart rate monitor, it is important to consider the functions available on the unit, the quality of the unit's construction, and the cost of the unit, as they can get quite expensive as more features are added on.

Road cyclist.
Road cyclist.

Be sure the cycling heart rate monitor receiver unit fits comfortably on the wrist. Some units come with a mounting bracket that allows you to mount the wristwatch receiver on the handlebars of the bike without the unit sliding or otherwise shifting during a ride. This is a great option if you do not like wearing a wristwatch or if you want to view the display easily without taking your hands off the handlebar, which can be dangerous during a ride. Make sure the mounting options are varied and will allow you to see the display clearly when riding.

The chest belt should be adjustable to accommodate your chest size. This is especially important if the cyclist is losing weight during his training; the chest belt may need to be tightened or loosened accordingly. A cycling heart rate monitor chest belt with an elastic strap that attaches easily to the side of the plastic unit that presses against the front of the chest is the best option for comfort and adjustability. Be sure to take note as to how easy it will be to get replacement parts if necessary, as straps can become overstretched or torn after significant use.

The cycling heart rate monitor should be easy to use and should have enough features to suit your training style. The menus should be easy to access, and the reset features should be easy to initiate. Some cycling heart rate monitor models feature other functions that track how many calories you have burned during your workout, and functions that indicate where your target heart rate zone should be; alarms that sound when you have left that target zone are another common feature on many high end monitors. Keep in mind that the price of the unit will rise with the amount of features that are included, so be sure to choose a monitor that suits your needs and your budget.

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