Polar RCX3M Bike HRM£185.00

Easy-to-use heart rate watch/computer

BikeRadar score2.5/5

Whether you’re actively trying to increase your functional threshold or simply curious about your performance, the clarity of data feedback from the RCX3 is first-class. 

That big face of this ‘watch’ offers an almost cinematic experience – the digital display is bright and clear with numbers an inch high, making it easy to read at a glance.

Having donned the comfy chest strap, you can run the pre-programmed five-minute fitness test to easily set your zones. You then use the between-zone beeps for pacing between the extremeties. 

Two of the four ‘training views’ show what zone you’re in, and post-ride the watch shows a clear graph of how long you were cruising versus pedalling in the red. The Big Red Button makes inserting lap breaks a doddle. However, although the numerical feedback is clear, the paragraph of congratulatory text quickly becomes stale.

The other two training views show heart rate and calories burnt along with elapsed or lap time. In both cases, elapsed time is frustratingly diminutive, and it takes a long second to switch between views, which can grate.

The potential for data geeking is immense. You can register on polarpersonaltrainer.com, download your data using the USB transmitter and pore over your graphs, even comparing your performance with others taking on the posted challenges. Can’t be bothered every time? The watch saves 11 sessions for a weekend data binge.

The RCX3M’s cadence and speed functions add further depth to your feedback, and it copes with an array of wheel sizes while storing the details of two bikes – making switching steeds a breeze.

It’s a doddle to set up, and perfect for riders wanting to train smarter, although the lack of GPS might disappoint. Oh yes! It tells the time as well. 

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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