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Bike Computers and Electronics Buying Guide

by Levi Bloom

There are three main options when it comes to computers and electronics for your bike: Cyclocomputers, heart rate monitors, and power meters.

Computers are the most common and the most useful for most people. They give you information like speed (current, average, and max), distance, and ride time. Some advanced models even include altitude! Even the most basic of information can assist you in becoming a better, safer, and fitter cyclist.

And it sure is fun to watch your speed as you fly down a steep hill!

Although there are many makers out there, my personal recommendation goes to Cat Eye and Sigma Sport. Expect to pay $20 or $30 for a quality computer.

I also recommend getting a wireless computer for the easy set-up and clean look. These days going wireless is quite inexpensive.

Next you might want to look at a heart rate monitor (HRM). Quite straight forward, this device monitors your heart rate and displays the readout on a small screen (on a watch or handlebar mounted unit.) The readout comes from a transmitter strap that is worn around your chest. Don't worry, you won't even notice it's there.

The best HRMs are made by Polar and Sigma Sport.

Coaches agree.. Using a heart rate monitor is the best method to meet a specific fitness goal in cycling. You need a heart rate monitor in order to train at the right intensity, to accurately measure your exertion and intensity level, and assist you in very specific training workouts.

An HRM continuously measures and displays your heart rate without interrupting your workout. It gives you valuable training feedback and assists you in making the appropriate changes to your workouts.

Once you have selected the model that best fits your needs, you are ready to begin heart rate zone training!

To determine your various heart rate training zones, you must first determine your estimated maximum heart rate.

The heart rate zones, in general, are as follows:

50 - 60% - moderate exercise for beginners
60 - 70% - builds endurance, recovery ride and weight control
70 - 80% - aerobic, tempo workouts
80% + - performance, interval and anaerobic threshold training

So if your max is 200 bpm, zone 1 is...

There are many good heart rate training books, but we highly recommend the following book written specifically for cyclists.

[heart rate monitor book at amazon.com aff link]

Power meters are more advanced and more expensive.


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