Friday, March 21, 2008

Product Review - Sports Instruments Pro9 HRM

OK, let me just lay it on the table - I HATE POLAR HEART RATE MONITORS! Actually, I hate HRMs in general. They are overpriced and under-featured. To get an HRM that will do the things you want for even a semi-serious training plan, one has to spend $200 or more. It doesn't cost that much more to get a power meter and train the "right" way!

It will come as no shock that I've struggled with my Polar F3 HRM for 10 weeks of my training plan and I am absolutely and finally sick and tired of trying to shoehorn a round peg into a square hole. That model absolutely would not do what I wanted it to do.

Now the good news. I recently came across the Sports Instruments Pro9 Heart Rate Monitor and decided to give it a try. Why, you might ask? Because it advertised doing the two things I had been looking for (and are almost impossible to find) - it would track 5 HR zones and record time in all 5 zones (most have 3, at best) and it tracks time in zones for laps, as well. What's even cooler is it has two timers that will link to the stopwatch and keep track of intervals and rest periods. The SI-Pro9 also keeps track of 5 workouts at a time and calculates a "workload" for the workout.

So far I'm thoroughly impressed. I've been using it about a week and it does everything I want. The only possible downside I see is that the 5 zones are pre-calculated and can't be changed. The good thing is that the zones can either use Lactate Threshold or Max Heart Rate as the basis for calculation. I used the LTHR number from my last TT stress test a couple of weeks ago and the numbers came up within 1 or 2 bpm of Training Peaks' calculations, which is well within margin for error, so I'm happy.

Here is the best thing. Price. This HRM originally lists for $174 but I found it at Amazon for $59. That's way less than I paid for the Polar, even including the fact I got the Polar at about 60% off. Click on the link above or check out my Amazon Store (under Equipment) to see it.


Anonymous said...

I am really happy with the Pro9 I just bought also. Have you figured out how the "Work Load" number is calculated?

Mike Busch said...

I ended up e-mailing the company. They confirmed that workload is simply calories by a different name.

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