Polar RC3 GPS watch further details - Interbike 2012

Multisport watch for recording location and training data

Polar debuted a new RC3 GPS watch at this year's Interbike show. The device is designed to serve the diverse needs of multisport athletes looking for a single solution for cycling, running and even swimming. 

As with other GPS-enabled devices, the RC3 conveniently tracks your location, speed, distance and related data by triangulating signals from orbiting satellites – or via Polar's optional wireless speed, cadence and foot pod sensors for even greater accuracy.

According to Polar, the RC3's SiRFstar IV GPS chip locates satellites faster than competing products from Garmin, and also remembers locations for even quicker locks. 

Once it's worked out where you are, the RC3 will run for a claimed 12 hours via the USB-rechargeable Li-ion battery, despite the fact that the higher sampling rate supposedly provides more accurate data than other GPS computers.

Multiple configurable screens provide a host of metrics that seemed easy to access and navigate during our brief visit to Polar's booth. The small, monochrome LCD screen is sharp and easy to read, too.

Polar is putting a heavy emphasis on training with the RC3 GPS, as opposed to mapping or navigation applications, with prompted alerts for interval sessions and even encouraging messages when you've met a target. Data can be downloaded to Polar's own software or the popular TrainingPeaks suite for post-workout analysis, pre-workout planning or longer-term evaluation of progress.

More serious cyclists will be disappointed to hear that the RC3 won't work with the KeO Power pedals the company developed with Look, or any other power meter, as it doesn't incorporate Bluetooth Smart or ANT+ wireless capability. The RC3's data also can't be downloaded to Strava or GarminConnect.

Polar says the new RC3 GPS should be available in stores now. The updated retail price is US$279 without a heart rate strap, or US$329 with one included.

Polar's collaborative effort with look on power measuring pedals is supposedly coming to fruition, with very limited quantities available until production ramps up at the end of 2012:

The power measuring pedals developed by Look and Polar should be available soon

Buying an RC3 GPS? Then head over to our new fitness site BikeRadar Training. It's a free online resource for you to record and analyse all aspects of your training, log your training routes, get yourself tailored training plans, see how you're doing on our leaderboards, set goals and plan your season with a comprehensive events guide.

James Huang

Technical Editor, US
James started as a roadie in 1990 with his high school team but switched to dirt in 1994 and has enjoyed both ever since. Anything that comes through his hands is bound to be taken apart, and those hands still sometimes smell like fork oil even though he retired from shop life in 2007. He prefers manual over automatic, fizzy over still, and the right way over the easy way.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA

Related Articles

Back to top