So my trusty Polar 610i has been diagnosed with a cracked case, probably as a result of having to calibrate and condense all those massive heartbeats I've been sending its way for the past six years or so. (As was established in a blog post below, NeilA's Polar is older, but then so's his heart.)


The equivalent latest model is the RS400 which goes for $250 or so. However, recent blog posts from the Fitz Epic showing all those lovely Garmin readings, wherein you can accurately measure just how big the hill was that nearly gave you a heart attack, got me thinking of a Christmas self-present. Think how much faster one will race home to download the data!


At the moment I've got an Echowell speed and cadence monitor vying for space with a light and the Polar monitor. A combined goo-gaw would free up valuable handlebar real estate. 


So I'm looking at the Garmin 500, a steal at $299 but then I note you've got to buy a speed/cadence sensor for about $69, and then there's mention of "combined with a heart rate monitor" so it would appear I'll be in the hole for another $69 for that. Real estate is getting more expensive..


Any advice, tech nerds out there? Are there any other players in the market? And if I do buy the Garmin, is that the make that gives annoying bleeps every time one stops or sets off, and if so can I get it to not do that cos it'll drive me bonkers ...




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I'm hoping my Polar will hit the deck (separately from me) so I can justify replacing it with a Garmin. Not sure if I'll go the 500, 705 or 800 yet - will prolly depend on how much is in the pocket money account that week.

Then sign up for Strava so you can compete against yourself and all your mates (assuming they're not one and the same). You can set particular climbs which Strava will automatically calculate your start and finish points, and therefore your time etc. Of course if you have a mePhone then you can just download the app.

Couldn't agree more that the bleeps. Fine if you're riding solo, but should be as banned as bulltribars in a group.

The other much cheaper option, if you quite like your Polar, is to buy a replacement case for it - I did this for mine. Cost about $15+P&P from memory, and they also offered to do it for me if I sent it to them:

Local distributor is Pursuit Performance:

T: + 61 8 8100 8600

F: + 61 8 8100 8611


P: PO Box 7172, Hutt Street S.A. 5000




I've been dealing with Pursuit Performance, they noticed it was cracked when looking to replace the battery. I've always been impressed by their service. Snag is I need a new strap, plus a new battery, plus the new case ... it's becoming a situation of "I own my grandfather's axe". So if I'm going to buy new, the Garmin is winning. Sorry, nice Polar people ... 

can't add much except that I have been using a 705 for a couple of years and love it. Mine came with the heart rate monitor which I stopped using after the first couple of months when i found that it was always roughly the same result no matter where I rode. Could be because I never push myself, .... you would probably use it though Mr o'. I also hated putting the cold strap around my warm torso on winter mornings.

You would have also noticed that it is easy to send the output graphs to others which is useful after riding with friends.

I had a lot of frustrations with my Garmin 500.


As soon as I got it the battery would lose 40% overnight while turned off. I tried many times to fully discharge and re-charge and still same thing. Now after 6 months it seems to be holding a charge when its been turned off but if I wasnt so lazy I would have returned it in the first few weeks based on the battery.


The elevation data is rubbish. Spent ages calibrating and re-calibrating and I was still climbing 500 metres on my commute and spending some of that 50 mtrs below sea level. But now this is also working a little better, no more scuba diving on my bike at least.


And finally the calorie counter is great for getting fat if you're the type of person that goes "oh cool I just burnt 2000 calories on that 5 minute ride so now I'm going to smash a family size pizza and a 6 pack of beer".


Summary, I love the unit now but first couple month's it really annoyed me.

Does this model have a barometric altimeter? Elevation by GPS is about 5 times less accurate than the position information. If the position is +/- 5m, then elevation from the GPS will be +/- 25m.

Edit: Yes it does have a barometric altimeter.

Forgot about the calorie calculator.  It is indeed ridiculous.

The elevation takes a long time to stabalise, I've found.  It works best if you turn the unit on and leave it static for 5 minutes.  And because it is barometric, it varies with the weather.

@Struggler.  Yes, that is what you are supposed to do (let it stabilise before you take off on your ride).  I do that with my 705 and have no problems.  Also, as I download my ride info every time I get home after a ride, I just leave it plugged into the USB port of my laptop so it is constantly charging.  That's worked for me for a couple of years.

Any calorific estimate has to be taken with a grain of salt.  There's no way it can really know what you have actually burned off.  It doesn't know whether you've ridden into a headwind the entire time, for example.  But it is OK for a rough guess and a comparison with other rides.

But ... but ... I WANT to be able to cycle underground at a rate which burns a family pizza and a six-pack every five minutes. Where can I buy that Garmin?


At the moment, Turramurra is at the head of the leader board for my hard-earned ... any final offers ....?

It's a very good deal considering that 10% of that is GST.

All up $329+14.80 delivered , or can you pick up at their store?


Edit : *whispers* Are you absolutely sure you can't find $200+ to spend on in CRC and pay $125+ for it  as a second order , a bunch of Attack / Force tires..... spare tubes..... a jersey..... maybe a SIDI shoe?...

I don't know how much info you really want from the device.

If you don't care about heart rate and cadence, and if you have an iPhone, Blackberry or Android phone, you can get FREE apps which track your path, speed, elevation, direction.

I put my phone in a ziplock bag (for sweat protection) in my back pocket and it works great.

You can email your path straight from the phone to your PC and open it in Google Earth.



John K 

True, but to see the 6% gradient/checking out that you are not breaking the speed limits while you are riding means some obtuse holder needs to be clamped on the handlebar.


Nup, I primarily want it for the beats my heart skips. Nothing like flying along thinking "I'm putting in some effort", and then being called a liar by the little display on your bars. Also, I don't have a smartarse phone. I spend too much time on the information superhighway and not enough on the other roadways as it is. 


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