Polar climbs the Alpe d’Huez to show off new bike computer

polar m450 group bike ride
From the hill overlooking them, the infamous 21 hairpin turns of the Alpe d’Huez slalom can be seen slicing through the valley. The Tour de France traditionally weaves its way up those famous roads, and will again in the last stage before Paris, on July 25 of this year. On June 4, Polar brought together cycling journalists and industry reps to show off their new bike computer, the M450.

These lucky riders were able to put the new computer to the test. DC Rainmaker gave the M450 a shining review, while reserving the right to retest in colder, darker winter months when gloves, shorter sunlight hours, and dipping temps change things a bit.

Polar, famous for their sports watches and fitness monitors, already has the V650, which does just about everything you could ask of a bike computer, but its multitude of features are reflected in its price, which comes in at $320. The M450 is set to cost $170, positioning it as a solid computer for someone who wants more than basic speed and distance. polar m450 cyclocomputer The M450 gives you speed tracking, distance, and route via GPS, as well as a barometer for precise altitude readings, but the little device really starts to shine when you connect sensors to it for cadence and heart rate. It’s Bluetooth Smart so it can connect with your phone, however it won’t connect with all third-party sensors (the Keo Power pedals are one named exception that does work with the M450), but it doesn’t work with PowerTap, and doesn’t have ANT+ (Polar claims because that’s because that tech is proprietary to Garmin).

Working in part with the Polar Flow data platform, you can run a quick test or two to find out what exactly needs work, and then design your own training plan. The Fitness Test measures your resting heart rate and heart rate variability, and takes your weight, age and height into account.

You also need to include a self-assessment of the previous six months of training so, of course, be honest. The test takes about five minutes, and the result is your OwnIndex, a prediction of your maximum volume of oxygen (VO2 Max), how much oxygen your body can use, based on your body weight, in one minute. This is a measurement of your cardiovascular fitness — how long it will take before you can’t catch your breath, your muscles are screaming, and you give up.

To see your data over time, you can use the Polar Flow app (free for Android and iOS) and the Polar Flow website. There’s also Polar Flow for Coach, which is great for teams, riders just starting out, or those working with a personal trainer. It has a training benefits analysis for the week, month, and year, as well as a calendar for use as a training diary and planner, and it allows a third party to view full training logs including heart rate information and power outputs.What’s more, they plan to connect Strava to Polar Flow by the end of October 2015. polar m450 group ride break You can customize the info on the M450’s almost glareless backlit screen to show just what interests you. The twist lock system for the mount, which is the same as for the v650, unfortunately doesn’t work with quarter-turn third-party mounts. On the plus side, the buttons are large and logically placed on the side to navigate menus and on the top to confirm.

It charges via a waterproofed micro USB port with a stated battery life of about 12-17 hours. So the long and short of it is, the M450 is a powerful little bike computer with a good platform backing it, but to get the most out of this item you’re going to want a heart rate monitor.

Considering the quality of the computer itself and the integrated coaching features that come with Polar Flow for Coach, the M450 can give users the same results as some much more expensive computers. It is set for release later this summer.

Deals

REI slashes prices on Suunto, Garmin, and Fitbit Versa smartwatches

Though fitness trackers and smartwatches can get pretty pricey, REI is offering some sweet discounts on top brands. Right now, you can get a new smartwatch from Fitbit, Suunto, and Garmin for up to 35 percent off its normal price.
Wearables

Omron HeartGuide brings blood pressure monitoring to your wrist

High blood pressure leads to heart attacks, strokes, and many other health problems, so it's important to keep an eye on. Omron's HeartGuide is a fitness tracking watch that can also monitor your blood pressure from your wrist.
Emerging Tech

Look forward to your morning commute with one of the best ebikes available

A proper ebike is perfect for commuting or a trek along the trailhead, with most offering pedal assistance and a long-range battery. As more brands offer their own take on this innovative way to get around, it's hard to distinguish the…
Deals

Before buying a Fitbit or Apple Watch, check out these fitness trackers under $50

Fitbit and Apple Watch are top of the line when it comes to fitness trackers but if you want to save, we have alternatives. If 2019 is the year you keep track of your health and budget your expenses, then take a look at these fitness…
News

Digital Trends Top Tech of CES 2019 Award Winners

5G. A.I. Voice assistants. Metaverse. Yes, metaverse. CES 2019 slathered on the buzzwords thick and heavy, but beneath the breathless hype and bluster, there were amazing products to back it up, too. Except metaverse. C’mon Nissan, you…
Deals

Want to eat healthy in 2019? 10 everyday kitchen products from Walmart can help

If 2019 is the year you curb your delivery habit and start getting intimate with your kitchen. After all, you want to eat well. The only problem is that you’re not sure how to begin. Here are some fantastic kitchen products to aid your…
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

This energy-generating treadmill cuts your waistline and your power bill

Fitness equipment maker SportsArt was on hand at CES 2019 with its latest piece of sustainable sports equipment - the electricity-generating Verde G690 treadmill.
Emerging Tech

Stomach implant device uses jolts of electricity to fight obesity

An implant created at the University of Wisconsin-Madison could help fight obesity by attaching to users' stomachs and then suppressing feelings of hunger using jolts of electricity.
Product Review

Garmin’s 4G LTE VivoActive 3 keeps you safe when you’re out on the trails

Garmin takes its already great VivoActive 3 Music fitness smartwatch and adds a 4G LTE connection, courtesy of Verizon. The watch now has streaming music, independent GPS, and best of all, SMS support and various safety features. We’ve…
Product Review

One breath into this device could change what you eat forever

Anyone living with a food intolerance knows the pain — literally and figuratively — of dealing with it, and even identifying what the cause of the problem is. The FoodMarble Aire wants to solve this, and we took a closer look at CES…
Health & Fitness

Futuristic mask filters out air pollution for cyclists and runners

A concern for cyclists in urban environments is staying safe from airborne pollutants. A cycling mask shown off at CES 2019 could help combat this problem by blocking out air pollution to keep cyclists' lungs clear as they ride.
Emerging Tech

Face-scanning A.I. can help doctors spot unusual genetic disorders

Facial recognition can unlock your phone. Could it also be used to identify whether a person has a rare genetic disorder, based on their facial features? New research suggests it can.