So what's the deal with the Polar CS600?

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by Austin Flyer, May 5, 2007.

  1. Austin Flyer

    Austin Flyer New Member

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    Has it been out long enough to get some thorough side by side comparisons with other power meters? The price is attractive, but if I imagine when it comes to power measurement, accuracy is important if you're going to measure improvements in small mile stones.
     
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  2. jcjordan

    jcjordan New Member

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    Ride magazine is doing a comprison at the moment. As soon I have read the articl i will let you know the details
     
  3. Austin Flyer

    Austin Flyer New Member

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    Thank you sir
     
  4. Thom_y

    Thom_y New Member

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    Part 1 of the review (including SRM, ergomo pro, PT SL 2.4, Polar, ibike) appeared in issue #35 of Ride cycling review mag and the results are supposed to be in the current issue #36 (now out) with Stuey on the cover. For those interested part 1 can be downloaded from ibike website:

    Part 1 Ride review

    I am real anxious to get part 2, but no magazine dealers here in Eastern Canada sell the Aussie magazine. Doesn't seem you can buy an electronic version on the ride website.
     
  5. Austin Flyer

    Austin Flyer New Member

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    That article was outstanding. I would be anxious to have part 2 & 3
     
  6. RHR38

    RHR38 New Member

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    IMHO there was nothing new about it (as it was just overview what's coming). I hope they test these systems only rainy days, rebuild them 5-10 times. PM is still quite expensive investment, a key element in training. Hopes are high when you get yourself one. Kinda 'ooh aahh' white glove testing gives nothing new.
     
  7. MY02_STi

    MY02_STi New Member

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    Had a quick look through the 'testing' part of the article - no real surprises, SRM and PowerTap a close tie for first place :D , Ergomo a somewhat distant second :eek: and Polar and iBike had problems on the indoor test rig (no real surprise there either).

    Tests were conducted during a Group ride, b) TT *efforts* c) hill climb and d) 2 criteriums.

    All well and good, and again it was SRM vs PowerTap :D but IMHO a fairly *useless* test protocol in that it didn't log any time on a trainer :mad:

    Basically, lots of words, some pretty graphs and nothing new to report - in reality, anyone that posts here has a better idea as to the comparative strengths and weaknesses of the various PMs :D
     
  8. doulos

    doulos New Member

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    How did Polar and iBike do on the road? I've got a Cycleops trainer with power for the indoors. Thanks Tim
     
  9. jcjordan

    jcjordan New Member

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    The SRM was give the baseline value as it was the unit in which they were able to calibrate for accuracy.

    Test 1 - Bunch ride

    Average power over the ride:
    Power tap - Same as SRM
    iBike - over estimate by 7%. Ergomo - Polar - had some transmission problems and a average over the ride was not possible.
    Ergomo- over estimate by 11%


    All units responded well in measuring uphill efforts with all unit showing similar readings. The iBike was found to be inaccurate during drafting and downhill and not particularly reliable in this type of application. The Polar was a little slow in keeping up with measuring surges, which resulted in showing more time in lower powerbands. Ergomo tended to show more time in the higher bands.


    Test 2 - Four Time Trial Efforts

    These efforts were measures of trying to maintain a prescribed target power and cadence for periods between 3:30-4:30min

    On average
    Powertap - consistently similar to SRM\
    Ergomo - consistently 14-16% over estimated
    Polar - consistently 23-31% underestimated.
    iBike - varied from +3% to -7%

    it was thought that as the Polar and Ergomo were consistent in their measurement that this would still provide a basis of comparison for training purposes.


    Test 3 - Black Mt Repeats (2.4km w/ave 8.9%)

    Two riders on separate days put each unit to the test with two climbs each

    Powertap - similar to SRM
    Ergomo - Rider 1 - over estimate 17%; Rider 2 - over estimate 12%
    iBike - Rider 1 - under estimate 11%; Rider 2 - over estimate 5%
    Polar - Rider 1 - under estimate 6%; Rider 2 - under estimate 15%


    Test 4 - Crit Racing - Race 1 20min +2; Race 2 15min +2
    iBike and Polar had some technical issues for various reasons in relation to fitting units, etc.

    Polar again showed that it was a bit slow to pick up the quick surges, etc and showed a lower overall average power value as a result.

    Powertap was similar to SRM, but did miss a couple of high value spikes.

    Ergomo had a similar result in relation to missing a couple of high value spikes, but also showed a high value for average overall power.

    iBike again showed that it is high susceptible to having inaccuracies caused by drafting.

    The next bit is my opinion on the data
    As much as I would love to have a SRM unit, the cost is prohibitive for your average rider.

    The powertap unit has the limitation to being restricted to a single wheel, in addition to the cost.

    The iBike unit would not be able to provide any group or race data, which I consider a limitation.

    The Ergomo unit is quite expensive when you consider the cost of the unit and the fact that it will require physical modification of the bike to install. In addition restricts the type of cranks that you can use.

    Polar, while not perfect, is still the best option. Its consistent in its measurements, works in a variety of environments and is relatively cheap. I know a number of people who use the old style of power unit for the S series of monitors and have had little trouble once set up correctly.

    Hopefully my new CS600 with power arrives soon, bike shop was told today by the distributor that I will most likely have to wait till June :(
     
  10. lodd

    lodd New Member

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    Does anyone know how does the Polar Power Sensor does in wet conditions?

    Thanks
    Luis
     
  11. parawolf

    parawolf New Member

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    Mine works fine. Did 114km the other week spending about 3 hours in consistant downpour. Worked fine the entire ride and hasn't missed a beat since. This is the S725X + Power Output Kit.
     
  12. Thom_y

    Thom_y New Member

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    I am in the same boat, I wanted to believe the Polar CS600 would be an acceptable alternative, but reading your synopsis of the Ride magazine review, I am really put off the Polar. Sure accuracy is not that important, as long as the device is consistently reproducible for your own training. Yet, this device seemed real inaccurate and varied from rider 1 to rider 2. Plus, the Polar is not that cheap (around 700 USD) and for me, I really would like to use it on a trainer ... which is not possible it seems. Therefore, I'm starting to think more about a Powertap SL 2.4 at this point. Especially, where it sounds like the newer hubs may have addressed the problem with data drops.
     
  13. Tom Anhalt

    Tom Anhalt New Member

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    Interesting...was this test done on a trainer, perhaps?

    Also, was there any detail on the setup of the Polar, i.e. what was entered for chain weight (was it actually measured), chainstay length, etc.? It would be great to see a bit more detail into the setups/calibrations of the systems.
     
  14. Ergoman

    Ergoman New Member

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    I think one problem with all these magazine tests is that they really don't have or take the time to properly setup, calibrate and learn to use the units they test. After about 5000 miles with an Ergomo, I'm pretty confident that the maximum error if ever get is less than 5 to 10 watts and then only if I don't take the time to do an offset when I should. It took me a few weeks of learning to get the most from the Ergomo. I would guess that the Polar unit would be the same. It's possible to just pop it in and get erroneous results, but it's also possible to spend the time to learn how it works, do a little fine tuning, and then get good results. Of course, I may be wrong.
     
  15. Jore V

    Jore V New Member

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    Same question’s I have in mind. Just don’t believe those numbers...
     
  16. MiSzA

    MiSzA New Member

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    Strange - Ergomo needs as much "work" when installing as any other unit - well - maybe short of facing the BB shell in comparison to other similar products.

    Physical modification? Of what kind?

    Restricts the type of cranks? How come? You have ISO, ISIS and spline - what you can not use are the integrated cranks (like FSA) and new Campa - as well integraded with the BB unit - again - same applies when installing SRM...
     
  17. matt1

    matt1 New Member

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    My understanding of the test was it was done by a person either involved or formally involved with the Australian Institute of Sport cycling program. The first article in the rpevious issue went through the set up process for all the power meters. They did go to great lengths to set up all the un its correctly. So the figures must have some validity.
     
  18. jcjordan

    jcjordan New Member

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    you cant use any of the new Shimano 10speed cranks
     
  19. jcjordan

    jcjordan New Member

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    The two riders were of completely different strengths and capabilitys so there is going to be different to each other, so I am not sure why this is a problem

    with the older version of the power meter there is no problem with using it on a trainer so I am sure there would be no problem with the new unit
     
  20. Thom_y

    Thom_y New Member

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    Sure, but for one rider the device underestimated by 6% and 15% for the other, while in another this it underestimated 23-31%. This seems too inaccurate ... although I believe set up is an important issue given everything I have read. Tom's remark regarding measuring chain weight, plus attention to height of the sensor are all relevant to the quality of the data. Nonetheless, out of the box the SRM and PT tracked consistently (sometimes you do get what you pay for I guess).

    My understanding from the Polar clan, including the inventor, this was a big limitation of the system ... it did not reliably work on trainer ... this does not appear to have been fixed on the second generation according to this review and other info floating on the net. Personally, I think Polar missed the boat on a few fronts: 1) adequate memory to allow 1 second sampling for more than 2.5 hours; 2) fixing the trainer issue; and it would appear ease of setup is still an issue given this current review.

    I know Alan Cote was hoping to test the new Polar system and I would still love to see his findings (especially on a trainer) to make my final judgement ... yet, even if his findings are better you have to be able to reproduce his setup on your own bike. Personally, I guess in the end I have to decide is it worth an extra 800 USD (over the Polar) to get more accurate and consistent data and have the ability to use the system on my trainer. Given that it may cost around the same (or more) to get a trainer/ergometer to track inside training, the PT SL 2.4 is starting to sound like the way to go for me (if I want to get into power-based training. The ergomo is not a consideration for me, as I don't want to give up my FSA K-force integrated compact cranks/BB, plus this review doesn't look that good for the ergomo ... again set up may have been an issue ??

    Lastly, I can't speak for Ride magazine, but these things always have to be taken with a grain of salt, as I don't know if any of the companies are bigger advertisers in their magazine (e.g. SRM or Powertap). That's why rigorous independent review by people out in the cycling community are much more valued in the end.
     
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