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Cat Eye HR20 HRM

Product Reviews - Bikeman's Product Testing

I found it to happen when my HR was actually higher, which is worse, because it was sometimes confusing. Several times I couldn't tell if I was at 195, or it was the monitor, and I would look down again 5 seconds later and it would be 180, then 5 seconds later it would be 213, and then slowly it would narrow down on what I think was a real value of 185 or so. It seemed to happen more when cars were around, or going through busy areas. In any event the maxHR value was wrong on EVERY ride I went on, making that measurement useless. I would say that on average on the road, the monitor read incorrectly 25%-50% of the time, depending on the ride. That's a pretty critical problem.

On the other hand, the monitor seemed to work fine on XC rides, probably from less nearby interference. I never once saw it do the huge swings, but then again I also look at it a lot less in the woods. The maxHR was wrong when I went back to look at the values after my last XC ride with a value of 219. My max is about 200-203.

I kept meaning to call Cateye about the monitor to see if it was defective or something, but the closest I made it was getting the Cateye automated answering message and I didn't hang on to leave a message. I just never called back.

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Non critical areas, comparing features to my old monitor, the Polar S120. Out of the box the monitor was better looking than my old Polar S120. I just don't like the big red button on the Polar. The black and silver of the Cateye is appealing, and I was even more likely to wear it in public if I forgot it on. I don't wear watches anyways. The watch and chest strap were comfortable, and arguably more comfortable than the Polar, which had a really crappy wristband that started breaking in the first two weeks I had it. The light was effective on the cateye, but using the alarm feature was discouraging. I couldn't figure out how to "un set" the alarm. I didn't WANT to get up 6AM the next day, but it woke me up anyways.

I found the user interface and setup slightly easier than the Polar. Plug in your age, height, weight, maxHR, whether you are cycling or running, and it's pretty much ready to go. The setup was the simplest part of the monitor.

Push the lower left button to change modes. The lower right button starts the mode you are in or changes the options of the mode, and the upper right button starts the HR timer. The book is only OK at describing the different modes, but was WAY better than the Polar which was just ridiculous and the functions weren't even linear. Sometimes it was hard to tell which time was being displayed, the total time, or the lap time, and it was hard to tell if you stopped the timer or not if you weren't in the stopwatch mode. Additionally, it was hard to tell which display you were in because the symbols are pretty small and some look alike.

The best part was that once you were into your mode and running, you just pushed one button to scroll through all the data. MaxHR (almost never right), AverageHR, Total time, lap time, time, calories burned (if you believe it), % of calories burned as fat (if you believe it).

Overall I give the Cateye HR20 2 Bikeman-heads because it's easy to setup, comfortable, looks decent, and lets you change the strap battery without sending it in. You already read the negatives, which IMHO, are pretty significant.



Tom Lambert

Rated: Image
Cat Eye HR20
 $75.95


CatEye MSC-HR20 Heartrate Monitor: Three programmable exercise profiles. Records up to 44 laps with lap data review. Backlight display. Current Average and Max heart rate. HR target zone with visual and audible zone alarms. Stop watch, total exercise time, calories including percent of calories burned as fat. Low battery indicator...
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