Need Reviews on Ciclosport HAC4

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by TheDude, May 27, 2003.

  1. TheDude

    TheDude New Member

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    I'm considering one as a birthday present to myself this year.

    How do you like the PC software? Is it easy to use? Does it provide any graphical analysis? I'd be curious to see a chart of distance, heart rate, % grade, etc. If charts are available, can you customize the parameters?

    Does the % grade feature work okay?

    Is it very heavy?

    I have a good bike computer right now, so I'm looking at this more as a toy and hopefully as a way to glean some information from my rides. If it doesn't work very well or is a pain, I'll end up not using it. So, that's why I'm looking for comments from experienced users.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. chuy

    chuy New Member

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    this shold help you link.
     
  3. TheDude

    TheDude New Member

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  4. kneighbour

    kneighbour New Member

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    To me the software looks very poor. I am a programmer by trade, so perhaps I am a bit biased!

    One of the big issues is that it has not had a single update in what looks like 5 years. In the software field, this is a couple of generations! Truely amazing. It means that it almost has to be written in VB3 or something very similar. Not good either - but the fact that no updates or any bug fixes in that time means (to me) that it is a dead product. The original programmers have probably left the company.

    Apart from the general issue of age, there is no ride diary. You have to load each ride from a separate hard disk file and have a look at it that way. You cannot get ride totals (ie distance ridden in the month, etc). Since this is one of the main reasons for getting one of the things in the first place, it seems like a big handicap to me.

    While I liked the gradient features (which the Polar does not have), you miss out on some of the good HR functions of the Polar. You do not have a "Fitness Test", where the Polar estimates your VO2max and HRmax. I just love that feature on the Polar. The Polar also gives you Calories burnt, which I find very interesting.

    There are only two reasons I would buy the HAC4 (and I am still thinking of getting one)

    - the gradient functions.
    I like to know the gradient on the ride itself. The Polar can only show it to you after the ride. But the way these things estimate gradient is rather poor - they do it by computing change in altitude over time - a very coarse method and prone to error. I am not convinced it is accurate enough to be of much use. Perhaps this is actually why Polar do not give it to you?

    - less interference
    the Polar units are very interference prone. ie RFI from taxis, traffic lights, train lines, etc can (and do) give you completely wrong readings. Depending on where you live, this may or may not be important to you. But I would look at a HAC4 for this reason alone. Then again, I do not know if the HAC4 suffers from this same problem.
     
  5. andy_welch

    andy_welch New Member

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  6. andy_welch

    andy_welch New Member

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    Seem to have messed something up with my first attempt to reply and the second one crapped out when the attached file was too large. So I'll keep this brief. You certainly can get grapys of totals (distance, time and ascent) as well as average speed for each minth. Just use the database facility in Cyclotour. The HAC4 also seems pretty immune to the errors that seem to plague the Polar units. I ride past a variety of overhead power lines, TV and radio transmitters, mobile phone masts etc and have never had a problem with the speed reading. The recorded didtance for my 22km commute has also been the same (to the nearest 10m) for at least the last dozen trips. Overall I'm quite pleased with the HAC4.

    Cheers,

    Andy
     
  7. jestork

    jestork New Member

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    You may have been looking at only the Hactronic software, which is really just for downloading from the watch. My HAC4 also came with Ciclotour and Ciclotrainer. Ciclotour can be used to load rides into a database, which allows you to browse the data, and also do all the summations of data which you claimed were not available. You can also link a map to the tour, and then print a very nice sheet with the map at the top (maps can be any JPEG - I "borrow" a map from Mapquest on the internet, pop it into Photoshop, and outline the route on it) and the altitude profile, temperature curve, heart rate curve, etc. on the bottom. The curve display, and the map can be nicely annotated within Ciclotour with comments, icons, etc. The y axis of the altitude/speed/etc. profile can be set to either time - which would include any stops - or distance, which edits out stops, and shows you just the terrain covered.

    Ciclotrainer analyzes heart rate data by zones, etc., allows you to formulate a training plan, and tracks the data. So it includes the training diary that you also couldn't find.

    It's is obvious that both pieces of software were originally written in German, and ported to English - little anomalies persist - dates are in European format, some screens still are in German - Karte for map, etc. The user interface may be a little kludgy, and instructions are basically the online help file, but I find both pieces of software to be quite functional.

    The monitor itself works well. Altitude data is quite reproducible, and the same ride day to day is very reproducible - there is in fact a mechanism built in to compare your current ride to a previously stored ride in real time, and show you at any point if you are ahead or behind. Altitude may vary by 50-100 feet from the beginning to the end of a ride which starts and ends at the same point, but I think that is a function of the barometric pressure changing over the course of the ride.
     
  8. Alphamoose

    Alphamoose New Member

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    While it's not exactly the same, I recently got a Ciclosport CM436M, which is very similar to the HAC4 except for the heart rate function. The software is indeed very weird, UI-wise, but once you get used to it you find it's pretty full featured. The database function lets you do all kind of analyses and comparisons on your past rides.
    I like doing export to HTML for rides to make my other friends ooh and aah over the pretty graphs.
    In fact, I think I'm going to download the data on this morning's ride now...
     
  9. cacti

    cacti New Member

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    Kneighbour,

    The software has indeed been revised recently (past three months), and is a bit more useful.

    The gradient is not calculated by altitude and time, but by altitude and distance. There is no other way to calculate gradient. In my experience with the HAC, the gradient and altitude functions are very useful and quite accurate!

    JMHO!!!
     
  10. kneighbour

    kneighbour New Member

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    Indeed I was.

    Ah ha! That makes the whole thing a LOT more interesting then. You say it "came with" the HAC4. Does that mean there is no extra cost for these packages?

    Excellent! I am almost gettng excited again. If this software is extra to the normal HAC4, how much was it? Sorry to ask - but I have found the ads for these things very confusing.
     
  11. kneighbour

    kneighbour New Member

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    One of the advantages much touted for the HAC4 is that it is much cheaper than the Polar. Unfortunately, here in Australia this is not the case. It is actually more expensive by a fair bit - if you get the Plus pack. Somewhere around $650 AUD.

    The other problem is that there is almost no support here - whereas Polar has a very good support network.

    But I am excited by the comments that there is little or no interference with the HAC4. This is an enormous problem with the Polar units- out of the last 20 rides, I would probably have only 2 or 3 that really worked perfectly. It becomes so bad you do not believe the data you are collecting - and we are talking about massive errors in the data.

    And I am pleased to see that the "real" software has been updated recently. As a programmer myself, this is critical - no software is error free.

    Does any one know if the HAC4 uses a "standard" Polar compatible chest transmitter? If I get a HAC4 as well, I would want to use it with the Polar S710i I currently have. So using the one chest strap would be a real bonus.
     
  12. kneighbour

    kneighbour New Member

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    Very good - I am quite pleased to hear it. It puts the HAC4 back into contention for me.

    Of course you are right - how silly of me - must have been a long day!
     
  13. jestork

    jestork New Member

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    Ciclotour and Ciclotrainer were included (no extra charge) with my HAC4, which was a CICLOSPORT HAC4 PLUS USA STD (label on box). Package was $399 at my local bike shop - have seen it for just over $400 in various catalogs. Included HAC4, wireless handlebar mount - with cadence sensor, wheel pickups, wheel and crank magnets, PC interface, and software - HACtronic, Ciclotour and Ciclotrainer. Have seen cheaper sets, but then PC interface and cadence sensor are separate. If you are interested, I've attached a JPEG of a printout from Ciclotour - altitude profile, speed curve, temperature curve on bottom (wasn't wearing the heart strap that day, so no heart tracing), and linked map of route on top. Map is from internet (Mapquest), with route quickly traced in Photoshop.
     
  14. jestork

    jestork New Member

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    Ciclotour and Ciclotrainer were included (no extra charge) with my HAC4, which was a CICLOSPORT HAC4 PLUS USA STD (label on box). Package was $399 at my local bike shop - have seen it for just over $400 in various catalogs. Included HAC4, wireless handlebar mount - with cadence sensor, wheel pickups, wheel and crank magnets, PC interface, and software - HACtronic, Ciclotour and Ciclotrainer. Have seen cheaper sets, but then PC interface and cadence sensor are separate. If you are interested, I've attached a JPEG of a printout from Ciclotour - altitude profile, speed curve, temperature curve on bottom (wasn't wearing the heart strap that day, so no heart tracing), and linked map of route on top. Map is from internet (Mapquest), with route quickly traced in Photoshop.
     
  15. jestork

    jestork New Member

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    Sorry- Here's another try at the attachment..
     
  16. dmccaw

    dmccaw New Member

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    Hi, I tried inserting the map, but got invalid filename back. It was just 010104.jpg Is there a special file name structure that Ciclotour uses? Which name filing system did you use on the jpg?

    David

    <<
    QUOTE]Originally posted by jestork
    Ciclotour and Ciclotrainer were included (no extra charge) with my HAC4, which was a CICLOSPORT HAC4 PLUS USA STD (label on box). Package was $399 at my local bike shop - have seen it for just over $400 in various catalogs. Included HAC4, wireless handlebar mount - with cadence sensor, wheel pickups, wheel and crank magnets, PC interface, and software - HACtronic, Ciclotour and Ciclotrainer. Have seen cheaper sets, but then PC interface and cadence sensor are separate. If you are interested, I've attached a JPEG of a printout from Ciclotour - altitude profile, speed curve, temperature curve on bottom (wasn't wearing the heart strap that day, so no heart tracing), and linked map of route on top. Map is from internet (Mapquest), with route quickly traced in Photoshop. [/QUOTE] >>
     
  17. pablo_gg

    pablo_gg New Member

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    Been playing with my new HAC4 Plus Imperial version and noticed a problem with the ciclotrainer software.

    Used HACtronic to download from device (v1.5xxx) and saved .dat file. Works great loading the data into ciclotour.

    However in ciclotrainer v1.11, when importing training from the .dat file, the dates are mixed up as well as the mileage.
    Example:
    February 8,2004 (2/8/2004) gets read in as August 2, 2004 (8/2/2004)
    Miles 40.1 -> 66

    Anyone else experiencing this problem with the imperial version?

    Thanks.
     
  18. Randybaker99

    Randybaker99 New Member

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    Does anyone know how the HAC4 determines power (watts) ?

    I read on the Polar site that the S710i uses chain tension, which seems a little out there. I am wondering if either of these units are as accurate as a PowerTap - obviously the price difference is pretty compelling. ($800 vs. $299.00).

    I think power data is much more useful than altitude data, so if this unit has unreliable power readings, then I will stick with what I am using now - a separate HRM and cyclocomputer.
     
  19. Aztec

    Aztec New Member

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    It's unreliable.

    It measures it based on speed, weight, and gradient. It doesn't (and can't) take into account wind or any other variable.
     
  20. cc2001

    cc2001 New Member

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    I have the English version. Most of my dates are scrambled as well. I emailed the company and attached my file. The reply was there was no problem with my data. I wonder if it is the time/date format in my pc?
     
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