Q:

What’s the best bike computer for an avid cyclist?

I'm an avid cyclist and want to upgrade my dated bike computer to something with more features. A model with gearing and cadence information plus a heart-rate monitor is ideal. What’s my best bet for such a computer that’s compatible with my bike’s Cpy components? Brian Madison, Wisconsin

May 19, 2006
Outside
Outside Magazine
Polar’s S720i

Polar’s S720i

A: Several choices are available to you, although you may balk at some of the prices. One is Polar’s S720i ($300; www.polarusa.com). It combines a standard cyclocomputer with a heart-rate monitor, giving you such features as the ability to set various heart-rate target=s, record distance and speed, and know your altitude, ambient air temperature, and more. Plus it can all be wirelessly downloaded to a PC for analysis. You can add a cadence and power output sensor, but not a gear indicator. Really, that’s quite a package for the money.

The Polar unit is wristwatch-style (mountable to handlebars) and you pay a premium for its compactness. The CatEye CC-HR200DW ($179; www.cateye.com) has many of the same features in a slightly larger, handlebar-mounted unit. It has all the usual bike computer features (average and max speed, distance, and so on) plus a wireless heart-rate monitor with a variety of measuring parameters and programmable HR zones. It doesn’t, however, have the link-to-PC feature.

Lastly, Garmin’s Edge 305 HR plus Speed/Cadence Sensor ($430; www.garmin.com) does more or less the same thing as the CatEye, but throws in a GPS unit to track distance, indicate your location, and show altitude. The amount of data on the screen at one time is astonishing—I even wonder if it presents a hazardous distraction. But for tons of info, the Garmin sure offers it.

The votes are in: Check out the winners of Outside's 2006 Gear of the Year awards, including the year's hottest bike.

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