Polar CS500 TdF Cycling Computer review
If you’re serious about cycling but can’t stretch to Garmin’s Edge 800, then Polar’s CS500 is the feature-packed darling of the Tour de France peloton. There’s no GPS support, but wireless speed, cadence and heart rate sensors beam data back to the diamond-shaped head unit, which has an in-built altimeter and thermometer.
Installation is simple: the head unit mount and sensors are held in place by non-slip rubber mounts secured with zip ties, which remained rock solid for the duration of our testing. The computer itself clicks into place on a central hinge, and the release catch on the handlebar/stem mount ensures that is impossible to disengage accidentally.
The sizable LCD readout displays speed, cadence and heartrate – with buttons on each side used to scroll through other information such as average speed, maximum speed and ambient temperature – and it’s easy to read at a glance. The CS500’s display isn’t backlit, though, so isn’t much use for training in winter evenings.
The optional Polar DataLink wireless USB stick (£37 inc VAT) uploads workout details to Polar’s website. A calendar view allows you to view your progress week-by-week, view individual workouts with detailed graphs, and, crucially, the Training Load feature ensures that your regime isn’t pushing you into the dangers of over-training. Disappointingly, though, it’s not possible to download the training sessions to the CS500 – setting a timer and minimum and maximum heartrates for each session is a manual affair.
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