a Weekend Warrior
from Nashville TN
Date Reviewed: October 16, 2005
Strengths: It works fine - exactly as designed. I've NEVER had any complaints on the reliability or accuracy, except my battery has finally died. This is the leader in HRM's. Go buy one. I've never tried the the 510's or other bike computer types, but that seems pretty cool.
Weaknesses: Someone's wireless alarm system makes it read 250bpm as I pass their house. Their website stinks when you try to find information on battery replacement.
I'd buy another one in a heartbeat, but I'd upgrade to the bike computer model.
Bike Setup: Surly LHT, Colnago Asso, SS MTB, Trek Fuel 90.
from herndon, va
Date Reviewed: May 21, 2005
Strengths: 1. reliable reading 2. not interrupted by other equipment at the gym 3. calorie counter appears to be accurate 4. easy to use 6. reasonable price
Weaknesses: 1. It only has 'in zone' function, no three zones or above specs. 2. The chest belt is small in width, not as comfy as those wider one made by sports instruments. I am relatively thin and have sensentative skin. It gives me rash the first few times when I used it.
I mainly used this Polar 5 at the gym for step, aerobics and spinning classes, 4~5 times a week, 10-12 hours total. It gives consistent reading and doesn't interfere by other equipment. Very good monitor. I had other fancier ones before but they either didn't give reasonable accurate calorie counts or was easily interfered by outside sources. I wish it had three or 5 zones specs so I can monitor my workout more efficiently. Overall it is a great watch.
Similar Products Used: sports instruments Circuit 5, FIT 3
Bike Setup: none
Date Reviewed: October 19, 2003
Strengths: Simple, reliable, comfortable.
Weaknesses: I'm a little leary of having to send it in to Polar for battery replacement. It will give crazy readings if the chest strap is not positioned the right way.
This was on sale at REI....and so far has been fun to use, relatively hassle free, and durable. I MTB 4-5 days a week and was expecting this unit to fail from all the funky single track...but it has stood the test of time( a full summer) For the price, it is what I was looking for.
a Cross Country Rider
from Portland, OR
Date Reviewed: August 29, 2003
Strengths: Good basic fucntions. Easy to figure out without the manual.
Weaknesses: Very prone to interference.
When it works, it works fine. Unfortuately it is very prone to interference from high voltage lines. Its just about useless for me in the city. Between the power lines and the high voltage lines for the trains, I can't get a good reading for very long. It consistently reads in the low 200's near power lines. It works well for me mountain biking. I would not buy this model again.
Strengths: Transmitter is comfortable. Works perfect so far, mountain or road.
Weaknesses: Strap is clunky. Manual is awful, if you buy a polar for the first time be prepared to muddle through the manual.
Works perfect for me. The transmitter is comfortable. Never looses signal on rough rides, file functions recall perfectly. This is my second Polar, had good luck with them. Manual is very poor, all the info to operate the unit is their, just laid out terrible.
Strengths: When it works it does what I need, heartrate, alarms etc.
Weaknesses: Resets itself, quits, NOT reliable.
Unreliable!! Got it in April 2003, reset and quit enough times that I gave up and sent it to Polar for repairs. They replaced the battery and sent it back. Two weeks later during a race it completely quit. Thanks to REI for their return policy I just sent the darned thing back and got a refund. Avoid this lemon at all costs.
Bike Setup: Trek Fuel 80, Nothing stock but the frame & fork. 519/xtr wheels, XT drivetrain.
Date Reviewed: July 29, 2003
Strengths: The product has been 97% accurrate for the last year I've used it. I wear it almost daily as a watch and about 5x's a week for running or cycling. It keeps good time and a consistent HR reading.
Weaknesses: The monitor has wigged out in the past and temporarily given me HR readings in the 200's, for less than 30 seconds. Also, it has gone blank twice requiring me to reposition the battery in the watch.
The HR monitor/watch has had a few glitches over the last year and a half but nothing that wasn't easily fixed, although annoying. The monitor continues to work, for the most part, in all its functions and I would buy it again!
a Weekend Warrior
from Ottawa, ON, Canada
Date Reviewed: November 12, 2002
Strengths: Looks good, easy to use, chest strap is almost unnoticeable and very unobtrusive. I got mine for $100 CAD ($60 US) because I had just purchased a treadmill at the same time.
Weaknesses: Seems that after reading other reviews, that there may be some reliability/longevity issues, but I have not experienced anything like that yet. (I will repost if my A-5 needs to worked on.)
I think that people have to keep in mind that this HRM is intended to be used mainly indoors and also by beginners. This is my first HRM and so far I am pleased with its performance. Right now, I am using this device as an aid to help get back in shape. I use it mainly on my treadmill where I can control all of the variables (distance/speed/HR/etc). I don't know how effective this unit would be on the trails. Obviously, if I decide to pursue using a HRM to train seriously, I would upgrade to a more capable piece of equipment. But based on what this unit is designed for, (beginners), and the excellent price that I paid, I have to give it 4 Flaming Chilis.
Bike Setup: 99 Cannondale F-900 with Hayes disc brakes and 130 mm Psylo instead of the Headshock.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: March 25, 2002
Strengths: Looks nice, can set training zone for the day, can monitor calories burned if thats your thing
Weaknesses: crazy readings, died after a year of use, not easily fixed--must buy a new one if it konks out.
This monitor has always given me nutty readings. It just burned out after a year of use about 6 days/week. The warranty states that the battery is good for 6 years with daily use. Working with Wheatridge in Denver, I have replaced the chest strap at no cost to me (good work WRC) but to no avail. Now I am looking for a new monitor. So...if there is anyone out there who has heard of a better monitor (Polar or otherwise), drop me a line
Strengths: Looks good, easy to read, easy to wash, comfortable
Weaknesses: Flaky readings (often), resets, and no maximum heart rate
This is my third A5 in six months. The first one consistently read incorrectly (42 bpm on the second mile of a steep climb was my favorite) and I sent it back to Performance who replaced it right away (way to go Performance). The second unit was working fairly well when I took it out for a ride and the wrist unit shut down completely. Sent it back to Polar who found that the battery compartment was busted and repaired it free of charge (way to go Polar). This third one seems to be working well. That said, if I had it to do again, I would absolutely get two functions: maximum heart rate and more than one log file. I would also ditch the BMI index (as though this changes all that often) and the Walk Test. Finally, I would allow users to input their own maximum HR. How difficult would it be to add any of these? Ugh.
a Cross Country Rider
from Draper, Utah
Date Reviewed: March 8, 2002
Strengths: I have used the A5 everyday for about a year. I found the HR readings to be exactly the same as other machines at gyms and even at a doctors office. It has never produced irregular rates or values outside of an expected range. It appears to be extremely accurate. While I have no way of verifying the calorie expenditure function, it does seem to be about right. It typically produces results about 25% lower than gym equipment, which have always seemed too high to me.
Weaknesses: The watch has reset itself at least once a week since I bought it. I use it in mostly moderate temperatures, 40-80 deg F., so I do not believe that its constant resetting has anything to do with cold temps. When I use it in the cold (10-40 deg F) it doesn't reset itself any more often than in warmer temps. While I don't really care what time of day is on the watch, it is time consuming to always reset my weight, birthdate, height, and other required settings.
Strengths: Nice looks, it is easy to read and set up, calorie counter is kind of cool. I've used it during SPINNING classes and it works great.
Weaknesses: Unreliable readings on the road/trail.
DON'T TAKE IT OUTDOORS AND DON'T BUY THIS HRM! As soon as I wore it on a road ride today, I discovered what a piece of crap it is. Within 2 minutes it started reading over 200 bpm when I wasn't even working hard yet. For the rest of the ride, it would regularly register over 200 bpm--even when coasting. It did periodically register an apparently accurate heart rate, but it wouldn't last long. As neat looking as it is and as well as it functions indoors, the A5 is TOTALLY unreliable in the real world of cycling. By extention, I'm not sure that I can trust any of the new Polar line--I've already had troubles with the S210 and just sent it back for warranty repairs.
Similar Products Used: Polar s210, Cardiosport Exel Sport (should have never sold that one)
Bike Setup: Ellsworth Truth
a Cross Country Rider
from Collingwood, ON, Canada
Date Reviewed: January 11, 2002
Strengths: This watch has some basic features that make it useful for training purposes - i.e., average heart rate, zone alarms, and zone displays.
Weaknesses: Lots of features such as Body Mass Index, Calorie Count, and Fitness Test that are not useful for Heart Rate Training.
I got my A5 for Christmas, just returned it for the Polar S410. It has some features that might be useful for someone interested in exercising to lose weight, but not for training. If you want to buy this product for training, save some money and buy a HRM with fewer features. You might add a couple of Chilli's to Value if you're paying in US Dollars!
Bike Setup: Stock Klein Attitude - will probably upgrade brakes to LX next season...
Date Reviewed: January 2, 2002
Well here's the thing - I have no issues with the function of the watch or the accuracy of the readings. My third time wearing it, the plastic piece used to secure the elastic band to the chest transmitter snapped. On the bright side, CHPONLINE sent me out a new one the next day no questions asked.
So it's kind of early to review - so there may be a follow up.
Oh yeah, and a necessity is The Heart Rate Monitor Book for Outdoor and Indoor Cyclist by Sally Edwards.
How does the 'Walk Test' on the A5 work? I mean, what does it use to give you that arbitrary number at the end of the test? I scored a 39 and I honestly thought that I was more fit than the ' fair' rating i was given.
A.Read More »
Yes, they're road pedals. Many here can still use them. These sell for about 90-95 on fleabay.
90 - 20% (floating around on this message board) = $72 + S/H.
Dont' forget, "standard" shipping from Performance is 2 weeks.Read More »