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Cheap HRM or Garmin 500

dinyulldinyull Posts: 2,979
edited September 2014 in Road buying advice
I setup the turbo in the spare room last night as the nights begin to draw in. Plan on doing interval training a few nights a week throughout the winter and then getting out at the weekend for the usual longer run whatever the weather.

Don't really want to waste my time/effort on the turbo not training properly so plan on getting a HRM, have seen 1 or 2 for around £30 but with Santa coming soon I have the opportunity of going for a Garmin 500 with HRM and cadence sensor. My current computer is a standard Cateye wireless with no cadence.

Is GPS and cadence worth an extra £130 over the basic HRM? To be honest, I'm really not sure how often I'd need or use the GPS but thinking it could come in handy at some point.


  • I would definitely go for the 500 and the HRM. That way you can map your rides on a site such as Ride With GPS and download them to your device. You can also upload your rides to Strava if that tickles your fancy. Personally I think Strava is a very good tool to keep an eye on your progress over time.
    Ribble Ultralite Racing 7005, Campagnolo Veloce groupset, Campagnolo Khamsin G3 wheel set
  • dinyulldinyull Posts: 2,979
    I don't use Strava and don't really want too. Going off a few people I know who use it I could see it potentially spoiling the fun of riding for me.

    So I would rarely use the GPS and can't see me wanting to download rides to strava or to analyse.

    Cadence and HRM would be helpful though, and the cheap HRM I'm looking at is a watch style thing which would be fine for turbo use but I wouldn't be happy with (or have cadence) when out on the road.
  • hypsterhypster Posts: 1,229
    One of the advantages, not often mentioned about the Garmin, is that it is a datalogger as well as a GPS device. This gives you the ability to download and look at how your ride or training session has gone in real time rather than just an overall average.

    I resisted getting a Garmin until earlier this year when I was training seriously for the Marmotte. I have to say it's one of the best bits of kit I have bought for a long time and wouldn't be without one now. I have an 800 and very rarely use the mapping and don't bother with Strava but I do download every ride to Garmin Connect and check various data, something which is just not possible with an ordinary bike computer even with a cadence sensor and HRM (which is what I had previously)

    I opted for the 800 over the 500 because I wanted the larger screen to show more options when I am riding but the 500 is more than adequate for the basic speed/cadence/HRM functions. You also have the ability to set up training Workouts which is something I have done for the 2x20 and HIIT sessions I do and also find that very useful.
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    I use a Garmin 500 to track my MTB and Road rides on Strava. I don't get that obsessed about it but it is helpful to see where people are going faster than you so you can improve your speed and technique. One example is on a 25% hill near us the fastest riders were much faster than me on a section of the hill. I worked out if I chose a harder gear and stood up to pedal on that section I knocked over ten seconds off my time.

    The same is true for a downhill section off road near us. I saw what speeds were possible and became faster with better bike handling skills. The fastest rider on the downhill went across a blind junction at over 20mph to get a good speed before hitting the off road downhill section. They are welcome to commit suicide in front of on coming farm / village traffic ;)
  • crakercraker Posts: 1,739
    I've been playing around with the navigation features of my 500 - it's not perfect but I reckon with a well planned ride (rideWithGPS or similar) and my smartphone if I need to get a mapped fix I should be OK.

    Prior to that I had a GPS running watch (405) for years - it can be a great motivator especially if you do the same routes alot.

    I've had a HRM strap for years, you have to be doing really structured training to get anything from it IMO (I dont) and I got the cadence / speed thing last year. I still haven't got much confidence in the Garmin accurately tracking my speed but the cadence is kinda useful.
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