Mountain bike computers and mountain biking is a special area of expertise for our company, as Rusty was a podium finisher in
the Master's Class in the U.S. National Mountain Biking Championships and has put in thousands of trail miles and race miles on a mountain bike.
The fact is that the technology now available that will actually work well on a mountain bike improved enormously in the past two years
thanks to GPS and several other developments.
Our top picks for the current crop are the brand new Garmin Edge 800 with an SD topographic mapping card and the Polar CS500 with
double-locking barrel bolt mounting system. Depending upon your needs these two bike computers absolutely kick butt for the kinds of
details mountain bikers need, plus they double as great road cycling computers and are easily interchangeable between bikes. Just
don't forget to adjust the wheel size if you ride a 29-niner mountain bike on the Polar CS500, for GPS that is irrelevant because
satellites measure your speed and distance.
Drum roll please!! The new Garmin Edge 800 absolutely rocks. The whole thing is touch screen programmed and you can increase or decrease
the scope of the full-color topo maps with your fingers. It's like the IPhone of cycling computers on absolute steroids. It even works
with glove touches, which is absolutely key for mountain biking. It measures speed, distance, cadence, altitude, feet of climbing and
descending, upcoming terrain in 20 foot increments, maps of known trails, plus street maps with the CityNav for your road bike and more. This
thing is unbelievable. It even has a protective silicon cover for bumps and bruises.
If you could care less about maps, and just want rock solid data, then consider the Polar CS500 bike computer. What we really love about
this cycling computer is the double-locking mounting system that uses a barrel bolt. Literally, this device should never come off no matter how
many gnarly holes you hit. The other thing is that the data is big and readable, which is key when you have to spend 99.9% of your time watching where
you are going. Get speed, distance, pedal cadence, heart rate and all the good core data.
Here is the really big news. Both Polar and Garmin will be launching pedal based power systems in 2011 that will get you power data far less
expensively than current systems and both of these new pedal based power systems are going to work with the Garmin Edge 800 and the
Polar CS500. These pedal devices will also have transferability between mountain and road bikes, so a lot of really cool technology has
arrived that, no pun intended, will bring power to the pedaling people. This is killer because to be honest I did not feel like springing for over
a grand to get a power system for my bikes.
The Garmin Edge 500 is also a great GPS based system that gives you all the data and will link to ANT+ power devices. It gives you heart
rate, calories, speed, distance, cadence and all the goodies except for maps and has a mounting system that uses rubber O-rings instead of zip
ties, just like the Edge 800, so no more Exacto knife scars on your carbon stem - yeah!
For watches, the Garmin Forerunner 310XT GPS watch and the Timex Ironman Global Trainer work great as bike computers, plus
you can use them for cross-training while running, nordic skiing or rollerblading and get all the same speed, distance and heart rate data. That
is the beauty of GPS, it doesn't care what you are doing, just that you are outdoors and you are moving.
If you'd like help selecting bike computers or GPS watches that will work for your cycling endeavors than just give the experts
a call here at the Heart Rate Watch Company at 866-586-7129 and we'll get you totally dialed in.