Strengths: Software helps to track workout info. Watch works great with new batteries.
Weaknesses: I found that the Sonic Link works best with a pillow over your watch 2-4 inches away from a mic. 90% success rate vs. 20%. Also, it only stores 1 file completly that you can upload. Press the wrong button at your rest point and sorry. I wish i would of got the next model up to save 5 files completly so if i do bike, run, and swim workouts i can set different Heart Rates for each and monitor my zones correctly. Also, if you have AeroBars, you may not be able to mount it in the correct spot. I had to mount it on the stem sideways, tho a little annoying, i'm use to it now.
Get the next model up for the exercise storage compasity
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: May 30, 2004
Strengths: many features multiple trainings programmable including interval training, computer download, fitness test (estimated VO2max),cadence function, speed function also works on rear wheel if you change jupmer setting inside sensor. (manual does not mention this however)
Weaknesses: sonic link can be somewhat tricky to get working, display gets scratched easily, Wristreceiver has bulky design and toy like blue color.
Bike functions At first I got weird speed readings (about the double of my actual speed) but mounting another (suplied) magnet solved this. Only maximum speed is wrong sometimes. The speed sensor also works fine on the rear wheel. This is especially handy when using an indoor trainer during winter. The optional cadence sensor works fine.
Heart rate monitor HRM functions are all fine. It is also possible to display your heartrate as a percent of your maximum heartrate. But you can not program it this way.
Programming exercises can take some time but this is mainly caused by the multitude of parameters you can set. E.g. min/max heartrate, warm up / cool down, interval training,.. If you want to you can upload this data from your PC using uplink. PcCoach makes it easier to set all parameters instead of using the wristreceiver. Fortunately you can store five exercises in memory which can be given a real name instead of only an number.
Computer connectivity Computer download can be somewhat troublesome but as soon you get everything set up right it works fine. This mainly depends on settings of your computer and is not related to the HRM self. As soon these troubles were solved I did not have troubles again.
In short this is a good product worth it's price but not completely perfect. It has a good set of functions and seems to be quite reliable so far.
Recommeded for people serious about cycling and seeking a tool to get a good view on their workout and progression.
Strengths: Potentially great architecture and functionality.
Weaknesses: Not user friendly, poor manual.
Product review for Polar 520: While this HRM has the potential for being a great product, I had a list of problems and issues starting with transmitter malfunction within 1 month of purchase. The overall reliability of the product has been degrading over time. Other problems included receiver malfunction and software problems including data download problems resulting in inaccurate and unreliable data. The manual left much to be desired. For those users who desire a downloadable product, reliability in that particular feature would be crucial for user satisfaction. I would recommend to anyone thinking about buying Polar to do more research before making a Polar purchase.
Bike Setup: Presently being tested on a cyclocross bike used for commuting. Daily usage.
a Cross Country Rider
from Kokomo, IN
Date Reviewed: September 3, 2003
Strengths: loaded features for biking! the caloric counter is very handy to impress your friends. everything else seems to work great.
Weaknesses: the wireless fork mount for detecting the magnet makes me nervous that it will break off if i hit something or get something caught in the spokes. and that little marvel can't be cheap if it were busted. it feels solid when i wiggle it, but still it makes me nervous. the bar mount gets a lot of heat, but it isn't that bad! come on, it is fine!
it has all the main features of a good computer and a heart rate monitor all in a wireless package. forget what people say about the bar mount; it works fine. if you want perfection, go to heaven, otherwise just deal with it. it holds the "watch" securely while riding, what else do you need? a backrub? a dozen roses? free email? please don't let the bad reviews about the bar mount discourage you from buying this little wonder.
Bike Setup: EPX Terrashark frame, mostly XT drivetrain, easton bar and stem and marzoochi MX Pro fork, crossmax ust disk
Date Reviewed: June 18, 2003
Strengths: Large display, wireless, large easy to push buttons when you are riding
Weaknesses: Only store one complete file (workout), the accompanying software stinks, the "Sonic Link” data transfer
Not a bad product with an easy to read display. Good for the recreational cyclist looking for something a little better than a standard HRM.
But, if you train hard, often, and are using this as a tool to improve performance for the race season, it may not be for you...
Since only one file (workout) is stored in memory, you must remember to download prior to using it again or your data will be lost! Or, if you push a wrong button and reset during a ride, you will lose everything prior to that point. Since I work a full-time job and train, I need the HRM to store more info until it is more convenient for me to download the data.
Speaking of downloading... I have difficulty with my PC and getting the Sonic Link to work well. It usually takes 2-3 attempts to get a download from the HRM to the PC. And I have never been able to get the PC to upload information to the 510.
The Software, PC Coach Light, that comes with the product leaves a bit to be desired. I’m planning on upgrading to the 710 to get the functions I need; that comes with the full-blown version of PC Coach. I hope that’s a better product!
Again, a good tool for the cyclist needing a few more features than a bottom of the line HRM. Save your money a little longer if you need a tool to really help you train for the BIG race and get the 710.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: May 12, 2003
Strengths: The usual for this type of product. You get a lot of important and useful info about you Heart Rate, Speed, Distance, Calories consumed, etc.
Weaknesses: DESIGN... the worst looking monitor EVER!!! Only stores detailed info for 1 workout. The bike sensor is not sturdy enough... will break easily INTERFERENCE??? It sometimes gives out wrong info Not very good Customer Service
Well... overall it's a good product. It gives you the info it's supposed to and you can analyze your workout and progress on the computer. It has several good features.
It also has some serious flaws though, as I mentioned in the weaknesses:
1. DESIGN... well, you've seen the pictures. It really looks awful. One reviewer said it looked like it was designed by Fisher Price, I agree. Designed by them in the 80's.
2. Only stores detailed info for 1 workout. Usually this is not a problem, since you can upload the data to the computer every day. Unfortunately, I just went on a 5 day vacation where I was away from my computer and rode all the time. Now I don't have all this info and my software is not up to date with my real workouts.
3. Bike Sensor. This is a real design problem, the "glue" at the attachment points is not strong enough. Mine is already broken and I have to use a small piece of duct tape to keep it from falling off. It still works though.
4. Interference. This happens sometimes, I will get a readout of 00 or 220 in the middle of a ride!?!??? I suppose it's interference from electricity cables or something. It doesn't happen that much, but it's is really annoying.
5. Customer Service. I bought my monitor and a week later they released it with a different and much better sofware program. I emailed them asking if I could get the new software and they just said... sorry, you should've waited for the new product!!! Of course I had no idea they were going to change it! I emailed them again and they just didn't bother to answer.
Well... I hope this helps if you're on the market for a HRM. Will I buy this product again??? I think I will check out all other options first... to me, Polar is no longer the "only" choice.
Similar Products Used: Other Polar Products and Cateye computers
Bike Setup: Kone CinderCone with a few changes
Date Reviewed: September 9, 2002
Strengths: HR/bike computer in one. Detailed information adequate for most athletes. Sonic Link for download/upload to PC Coach Software.
Weaknesses: I bought the S510 in January and had a lot of problems with it right off the bat. First, it just would not pick up the HR consistently, it was either 00 or >220. I tried everything Polar said. By March and many calls and emails later, Polar consented to send me a new unit. It worked much better, but still had intermittent problems. Second, I would say that the monitor is largely useless in the city as there is so much interference. Go out to the country and it's much better. Third, I have to use a conducting for more consistent readings. I'm a small female, and I suppose they design these receivers for males as the contact is poor. Downloading info to computer works fine via Sonic Link. Finally, the appearance of the watch leaves something to be desired. Did Fisher Price design this thing?
Not worth the dough given the lack of reliability. What's the point of all the technology if once the info is downloaded to the computer the reports are completely inaccurate and therefore largely useless.
Similar Products Used: I had a really basic model that I bought about 7 years ago and it worked much better.
Bike Setup: Vitus 979, Shimano 105, Look Pedals.
Date Reviewed: August 26, 2002
Strengths: Lots of info Big Display Lots of excellent features
Weaknesses: only stores detailed info for last workout start button accidentally pushed too easily sometimes it stops reading HR info while riding
I truly love this HRM despite it's couple of flaws. I wish that I could upload multiple workouts to my PC. If for some reason I accidentally hit the start button (which is easy to do) I lose the details of my last workout. My only other beef is that on longer rides I sometimes lose the HR signal. I either get a really low HR or a reading of zero. This happens especially on uphills. That sucks as this is when my heart is ounding the most. That aside, I have to say that it is rich in features, and works pretty well on the bike. It is flawless on runs. I have never tried to swim with it. (I'm a little scared it won't work.) Bottom line it's a solid product. I can live with the last workout thing, but I would like to fix the signal problem.
Similar Products Used: Polar hr52, Polar night vision
Bike Setup: Mongoose TI, Ultegra/105, Mavic Ksyreium SSL
from Barrington, NH, USA
Date Reviewed: August 10, 2002
Strengths: Combined Cycolometer/Heart Rate Monitor Functions, Unique HRM functionality to determine overall level of fitness. Completely Wireless.
Weaknesses: Poor structural design, sensor mounts are prone to breakage at attachment points. High failure rate for both monitor and sensors. Poor handlebar mount. Does not recover from interference or loss of heart rate signal.
I used the S-510 for almost a year and recently sent it back for a refund. I'm primarily a serious road rider.
In the first few months I had very unreliable operation, loss of signal and lack of recovery afterwards forcing frequent restarts of the training session. Finally the start button cracked and I exchanged the unit for a new one.
A few months later I found the speed sensor hanging by a thread and realized the area where the tie-wraps pass through was much too weak. I managed to convince Polar service that they should send me a few replacement rear sections (no electronics) for the sensor since it was clear it would break again. They weren't too interested in hearing that they had some severe design flaws.
A couple of month ago the cadence function quit on me. I don't know if the sensor failed or the monitor. When I was removing the unit to send it back I discovered the mountings on the sensors were cracking again, as I had expected they would.
I really wouldn't recommend this unit to anyone. If you just want a HRM get a smaller one with just the functions you want. The other Polar's are fine for this. Forget this this for cycling use until Polar redesigns the physical package and improves reliability.
I'm going to try a Vetta V100HR Wireless with Cadence in hopes I have better luck.
Similar Products Used: Vetta C20, Shimano Flight Deck, other HRM only products
Bike Setup: Cannondale R2000 (Road Bike)
from Sydney, Oz
Date Reviewed: July 28, 2002
Strengths: simple setup, information overload, clear big screen. Does what it is supposed to do well.
Weaknesses: Difficult to setup intervals but that is more a fault of me than the HRM. Polar assume you know all about heart rate and training methods.
It really is very cool with features about the features. The wireless sensor is no dramas to install and works flawlessly. I am unsure why people have had problems with that as it seems pretty straight forward to set up. In short a great monitor but you need to hit the internet or other information to get the most out of it. If the weatherman told you all about isobars and fronts you would not know what the weather was going to be like. A HRM is the same, it tells you information. It is up to you to decipher it and tailor it to your needs
Craig de Leon
a Cross Country Rider
from Penrith, NSW, Australia
Date Reviewed: July 14, 2002
Strengths: Love the intival training setup. Heaps of info at your finger tips.
Weaknesses: Sonic link download can be a little frustrating sometimes.
Buy this product if you are serious about knowing what you're Heart is doing. Suits the roadie application much better as speed senors can be a little slow in picking up the speed change for an MTB. I have suggested to my MTB buddys to just get the S410 and use a standard bike computer, but for a roadie this is awsome, -- had no trouble with interferance like some of these other people have suggested. worked first time no worries.
Bike Setup: Cannondale Road bike, and Specilized FSR-XC MTB
from Cardiff, Wales
Date Reviewed: July 3, 2002
Strengths: Looks, versatility
Weaknesses: none so far
This is a follow up review. I have had no errors with the readings on this HRM. I put speed sensor near top of front forks and it works 100%. Granted have only cycled 300 miles with it on but no errors so far, even covered with mud etc. Upload to PC is easy and accurate.
from Seattle, WA USA
Date Reviewed: June 24, 2002
Strengths: All sorts of great functions; easy to view multiple data items at once (e.g., speed, cadence & HR).
Weaknesses: Speed sensor does not work reliably. Tried two different ones on same bike (Cervelo) and the speed gets through only intermittently at the start of a ride and then usually quits for good. Cadence has no such problems, but will go crazy every so often (usually doubling rate). Inablility to speed sensor to work made me remove the product totally from one bike. Note that on same bike, wireless speed sensor from Specialized works like a charm. The speed sensor works more reliably on my other bike (Klein quantum race), so I am assuming that something about the geometry or materials of my Cervelo is screwing it up (but believe me I have tried every combination of positions I can to get it to work).
Don't buy this until you have verified that the speed sensor will work on your bike. And even then, I recommend a Specialized Elite or Pro, or a Ciclosport HAC4, and get a polar S410 or S610 for just the HR and related functions -- the stuff that Polar is actually good at.
Similar Products Used: Specialized Pro Festina (wireless speed, wired cadence); Cateye Astale (not wireless).
Bike Setup: Cervelo P2K (Ultegra), with X2 pedals.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: June 15, 2002
Weaknesses: Unreliable-doesn't do what it says on the box! Handlebar mount is dreadful.
I've used this monitor on both my road bike and MTB. Same results on each. The receiver is ridiculously prone to interference from outside (at leat I assume that is what the problem is). I've not done one ride where I haven't got erroneous readings at some stage. I've tried different positions etc - no improvement. As for the speed sensor operation: it's crap too. It starts and stops unexpectedly, sometimes won't stop when it is supposed to (when the bike is motionless!) and is generally well below the standard I would have expected from something sold as a heart rate monitor+, let alone one in this price range. The two Vetta monitors I've owned prior to this, although lacking in build quality and longevity, were actually far more accurate - and much cheaper!. Back to the drawing board Polar. I really can't recommend this product.