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Buyer’s guide to heart rate monitors

Buyer’s guide to heart rate monitors

Measure you effort and improve your fitness With all the attention given to power meters in recent years, you’d be forgiven for thinking that heart rate monitors have vanished. Not so, and they’re still a useful training aid.

A heart rate monitor, as the name suggests, measures your heart rate in beats per minute and displays it on a screen. As you’ve no doubt noticed, the harder you ride, the faster your heart beats, so heart rate is a useful proxy for your effort level.

You can therefore use a heart rate monitor as a training aid, setting target heart rate ranges for training sessions. Some monitors record your heart rate every second for later examination and may also estimate the Calories you’ve burned, useful if one of your cycling aims is to lose weight.

Heart rate’s not a perfect measure of riding effort though. It can be affected by the time of day, caffeinated beverages, the weather and how tired you are. But with that in mind, it’s still useful, and a heart rate monitor costs a lot less than even the cheapest of the new wave of power meters. The more sophisticated units will work with a power meter too, […]

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