Polar’s S720i
Polar’s S720i (courtesy, REI)

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

Polar’s S720i

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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.

Polar’s S720i

Polar’s S720i Polar’s S720i

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.

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021 Lead Photo: courtesy, REI