Heads Up with These Dis­plays

Fea­tures on two top bike com­put­ers

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS -

Fea­tures on two top bike com­put­ers

A mini­van pulled out into the mid­dle of my small group. Those ahead were able to keep rid­ing. Two of us had to jam on our brakes. The pave­ment was bro­ken up at this spot so we had a bumpy slow­down. It was a dumb move by the mo­torist, but no one got hurt. I prob­a­bly gave the mini­van driver the stink eye be­fore try­ing to catch the oth­ers.

As I rode along, I heard a siren, like some ship’s cap­tain had just called a red alert. Was that a car alarm? No, it was not as loud, yet seemed close. Wait. It was my smart­phone go­ing off in my jersey. What? The Garmin Edge 820 head unit ($ 540, garmin.com) thought I’d crashed.

I had set up in­ci­dent de­tec­tion and listed my wife as my emer­gency con­tact. I also had the good sense to tell her that I had done so. (Garmin should prob­a­bly prompt you to tell a per­son that she or he has been added as your emer­gency con­tact. No one needs to be sur­prised with a cy­cling-in­ci­dent sms.) The unit gave me the op­por­tu­nity to stop the in­ci­dent text from send­ing to my wife. I thought I had can­celled it, but she got a text with a Google Maps link and the gps co-or­di­nates of where I came to a sud­den stop. My wife sent me a text. I was a bit slow to re­spond, so she checked the live ac­tiv­ity I had also set up be­fore the ride. The Live­track dis­played a map that showed I was mov­ing.

That has been the only time the in­ci­dent de­tec­tion has gone off. I’ve done a lot of rid­ing with quick stops, ac­cel­er­a­tions and bumpy roads, with in­ci­dent de­tec­tion en­abled. While the false alarm was good in that it showed me how the func­tion works, I hope it doesn’t go off again, in er­ror or oth­er­wise.

The Po­lar M460 ($ 300, po­lar.com) is the most re­cent ad­di­tion to the Oulu, Fin­land-based com­pany’s bike-com­puter lineup. Po­lar’s ap­proach to its hard­ware is in­trigu­ing. It doesn’t re­lease new units to ren­der old ones ob­so­lete. In­stead, it tends to add func­tion­al­ity to ex­ist­ing prod­ucts. (A re­cent ex­am­ple was the June an­nounce­ment that the Po­lar V800 watch could now man­age some op­er­a­tions for a Gopro Hero5 ac­tion cam­era.) In terms of fea­tures, the M460 is a lot like its pre­de­ces­sor, the M450. They can dis­play data for speed, cadence and heart rate. With more and more power me­ters able to trans­mit via Blue­tooth, the Po­lar units Blue­tooth-only com­pat­i­bil­ity is less lim­it­ing. What sets the M460 apart from the M450 is the for­mer’s abil­ity to work with Strava Live Seg­ments and Train­ing­peaks met­rics, such as nor­mal­ized power, in­ten­sity fac­tor and train­ing stress score. The story of the M460, I’m bet­ting, won’t end there. I’m in­ter­ested to see what the com­pany might add later.

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