The saying that knowledge is power is at its truest in endurance sport training. No longer is it just about the simple act of movement and feel; we now have the tools to retrieve and analyze every finite aspect of our training and racing experiences. Here are four new products that crunch your numbers for you and deliver the data that matters most to your training.
Cateye Strada Wireless
Sleek, svelte style is the calling card of one of the sexiest bike computers on the market, the Strada. Its tiny design with a bar- or stem-mount bracket delivers big numbers for easy viewing, with data including current, max and average speed, odometer, elapsed ride time, pace arrow and clock. And do you see the buttons – or rather, the lack thereof? That’s thanks to ClickTec; the entire screen face clicks down, moving you through modes.
The Strada Wireless is available in colors including black, white, and pink – with $1 of sales of the pink version going to the Breast Cancer Fund.
$60 – www.cateye.com.
Sure, PowerTap has the luxury line, including the over-$2,000 model with ceramic hub bearings or a hub body with carbon fiber in it. But aside from a few grams, what’s the difference?
Proof that the price of power meters has made a massive dive (with us as the beneficiaries), you can get a pro-level power meter for under a grand, delivering exactly the same data and capabilities as the $2,000 version. That includes wireless power and Ant+ Sport capability, meaning you can run your data, as the Garmin-Chipotle team does, through Ant+ Sport-capable computers like the Garmin Edge 705. With accuracy within plus or minus 1.5 percent, there’s not a better tool to measure your bike strength progress – and you can get it at a price that won’t break the bank.
$999 – www.saris.com.
Garmin Forerunner 405
The evolution of the popular Forerunner line sees the immensely data-filled computer boiled down into a smaller, less chunky design. Now present are the amazing GPS-tracked features: including speed, pace and heart rate, as well as workout features like virtual partner training.
What’s more, getting around the Forerunner’s features has taken a new, intuitive twist. The bezel around the screen is touch-sensitive, allowing you to move and scroll through features, even turn on the backlight with simple motion. We love that the rechargeable unit goes into a “sleep” mode after use, meaning you can wear it as a watch when you’re not putting it to work training and racing.
$299 – www.garmin.com.
Picking tunes for your long run is a tricky task; they have to have the right energy, the right cadence to keep your legs firing and your spirit up. Yamaha’s solution is BODiBEAT, an MP3 player with a built-in heart rate monitor. Load your favorite music and select your preferred beats per minute. With its built-in accelerometer that detects impact, BODiBEAT finds music that matches the tempo of your running or walking footfall. It also offers data feedback, including heart rate, time, distance and pace. And when you’re not training, you can put it in music mode to listen to whatever you want!
$299 – www.bodibeat.com.
With its red button standing out to identify it from any other, Polar is the brand on everyone’s wrists when monitoring heart rate. The gold standard of fitness analysis has been made personally accessible; the Finnish brand continues to drive the market with the debut of the RS800CX, a multisport-specific unit that delivers the heart rate data Polar is known for. Beyond that? Try a built-in interval trainer. Try GPS mapping of your training or race course, downloaded and displayed through Polar Protrainer 5 on Google Earth for 3D analysis of your ride or run. Further, the course is color-coded based on the user’s heart rate zones, allowing correlation between heart rate and effort or terrain.
The RS800CX offers run, bike and multisport-specific sensors, with the latter capable of on-the-fly changeability from bike data (miles per hour) to run data (minutes per mile pace). We’ve been putting this to work, and for all the data it provides (the overlay of heart rate zone over terrain on Google Earth is simply brilliant), it’s fairly low profile. And that red button still sets it apart from all others.
$499 – www.polarusa.com.